How many times are you working on something, then get interrupted?
- Knock at the door
- Unexpected phone call
- Text message or
- (The worst) Email
Let me offer a solution that two people I trust, follow and admire have adopted to “force focus”.
First, there’s Advisors Excel founder Cody Foster. I think Cody may have stolen this idea from Darren Hardy at one of his High Performance Forums. But regardless of the idea’s genesis, it has a lot of merit. To show you a method behind Cody’s “forced focus” I snuck into his office and snapped this picture:
Looking at that, notice anything strange?
You may have picked up on it, but look closely and you’ll see Cody has two desks. One on the left for normal “work things” that require thought, focus and undivided attention. But then, did you notice the long desk on the right? Cody was gone the day I took this picture, but if he was inside the office you would’ve seen just one laptop computer plugged in on that right desk. And what’s on that one laptop (and NOT on his desktop computer to the left)? Email.
Cody had email (which at the AE office averages 200 a day) taken completely off his normal computer. If he decides to tackle email, Cody needs to physically walk over to another desk, stand there since there’s no chair, and go through his inbox.
- Do you think he lets email get in the way of bigger objectives?
- How would this same set up in your office change focus?
Next, there’s Austin Kleon – author of Steal Like an Artist, which is the book I’ve gifted more than any YTD. Austin’s forced focus comes in the form of two desks also, but in a different way. Here’s a pic to explain:
On his two desk setup, Austin says:
“I have two desks in my office — one’s “analog” and one’s “digital.” The analog desk has nothing but markers, pens, pencils, paper, and newspaper. Nothing electronic is allowed on the desk — this is how I keep myself off Twitter, etc. This is where most of my work is born. The digital desk has my laptop, my monitor, my scanner, my Wacom tablet, and a MIDI keyboard controller for if I want to record any music. (Like a lot of writers, I’m a wannabe musician.) This is where I edit, publish, etc.”
Could you, or anyone else in your office, employ this strategy too? Anyone who needs to stay right-brained would love this feel – giving them permission to be creative, without electronic distraction!
There are countless other ways to force your own focus – I’m simply highlighting two I love. If you have others that work for you, I’d love to hear them! And if you decide to set up your office/desk(s) like Cody or Austin above, you’ve got to share that with me too!
Stay focused; whatever that means, however that works for you.