Chapter 1. Basics

A quick introduction to the workshop, course outline, and things you need to make the best out of this. Plus, how focus works.

DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

  • Focus Workshop Chapter 1 MP3 - Download
  • Focus Workshop Chapter 1 PDF Slides - Download

CHAPTER TRANSCRIPT

00:01 | Hi, welcome to the Focus Workshop. Let’s me start with a brief introduction about myself. My name is Dean Yeong. I write about the art of science of living a better life at DeanYeong.com. I’m also a Quora Top Writer for 2017, and my words have been featured in Inc, The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and many other major publications.

00:27 | This workshop is a digital course on how to get focused and stay focused. At the end of the course, you will learn the fundamental pillars that make focus possible, how to create the environment that makes getting focused and staying focused easier, the psychology you need to maximize the intensity of focus, how to overcome distractions and procrastination, and much more. In this introduction, I’m going to show you the basics of focus and then the course outline. Let’s dive in.

01:01 | The first question I have for you is “What is productivity?” Many people think that productivity is about the time they put into a particular task. So the more time they spend on — let’s say work — they more productive they are. But that is not the truth.

01:21 | In the book Deep Work, Cal Newport stresses the importance of focus in productivity. In his words: Productivity equals to the time spent multiply by the intensity of focus. That basically means you can spend a lot of time on a task without fully engaged and focused on it. And at the end of the day, you get nothing done.

01:44 | The next question is: What is focus? Before answering this question, let me show you a short clip: [Awareness Test Video]

02:56 | This video was made by Transport for London to raise the awareness of drivers to look out for cyclists. So, did you see the moonwalking bear? You probably didn’t If you were focused on counting the passes made by the team in white and it’s absolutely normal.

03:13 | This video has shown us how focus actually work. First, we only see what we’re focusing on. Second, when we’re focusing on one thing, we don’t focus on another. There is a name for this, and it’s called the “inattention blindness”. And lastly, we can decide what we pay attention to, but we can’t pay attention to multiple things at the same time.

03:43 | I think the best metaphor describing what focus is is by Dandapani in his TEDx speech. Our mind is a big canvas filled with many sections of priorities, emotions, and thoughts. Our FOCUS, on the other hand, is also our attention. Image that it’s a ball of glowing light surfing above the surface of this canvas. And it brightens up the section and everything around at where it rests.

04:14 | Getting focus and staying focused is about managing our attention — the ball of glowing light. And just like getting distracted, the ability to do so is not born, it’s learned. How to practice and improve this skill is exactly what I’m going to show you in this course.

04:34 | Without further ado, let’s dive into the course outline. The Focus Workshop is being broken down into five chapters. And it’s designed to allow you to complete in a day, or maximum a week, then implement it immediately.

04:52 | Each chapter comes with a video, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes in length. There will be a short summary and related resources under every video. In the next three chapter, we’re going to talk about the big three elements of focus: Energy. Stimulus, and Environment. Then, the final chapter will put all the three elements in one big picture.

05:20 | Before I sign off this chapter, here are a few tips I have for you to make the most out of the Focus Workshop. First, this won’t work if you don’t put in the work. In fact, no course will if you don’t put in the work. That said, I want you to implement everything you learn at the end of this. If you can’t make use of all of them, even ONE strategy in this workshop can dramatically improve your focus.

05:50 | Next, acknowledge that getting focused is a skill. Just like getting distracted. Unfortunately, most of us have spent our lifetime practicing the skill of getting distracted. And it takes time to rewire your mind and behavior and master the skill of focus. However, just like any other skill. The more you practice it in the right way, the better you get.

06:15 | And finally, this is one assignment I have for you before you move to the next chapter. I want you to figure out your underlined motive of taking this course and getting focused in overall. Why would you want to get better at managing your attention? How is that going to help you in your career and your life? What the lack of focus costs you?

06:39 | Spend some good amount of time to think about that. And if you want to share that with me, you can reach me via my personal email. This exercise plays a big role in all later chapters. Make sure you complete it before moving to the next chapter.

06:55 | In the next chapter, we’re going to talk about the first element of focus: Energy.

FOOTNOTES & MENTIONED LINKS

  1. In this first chapter, I've mentioned the two materials that help me understand how focus really works. They are also the materials that got me to look at performance and productivity with a fresh perspective. I've include the links below if you're interested to learn more.
  2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  3. Unwavering Focus: Dandapani's TEDx speech at TEDxReno