Focus Focus Focus [Newsletter]

This is a copy of the weekly newsletter sent out to subscribers on 5 April 2017. To get the newsletter every week click the button below…


I’ve struggled to motivate myself to exercise this week. And it’s not because I’m procrastinating.

I’m actually finding myself so engrossed in other tasks that I’m reluctant to make the time to exercise. I can’t wait to get to my desk and get working every morning as I’m finding the work so enjoyable. I even find it hard to drag myself to go and get something to eat.

My solution is to keep telling myself that being healthy is good and that if I want to keep enjoying what I’m doing, I better do some exercise. That keeps me linked to a “Why” and forces me to take some action.

Keeping some discipline and respecting the calendar helps. I block time for exercise and for lunch and do my best to keep those appointments with myself. Unless I’m really in the “zone” with something and then I do allow flexibility to keep the best work flowing!

Do you ever find yourself enjoying your work so much that you just can’t put it down? How do you handle other responsibilities?

6 ways consistently productive people get things done

I shared this article on social this week but I wanted to point out one of the 6 things that I liked: “Train your brain to get to work during focus time”.

Clearly I’m not having any trouble with this right now (see the intro above) but thought it was interesting. A really common problem for people is that even when they do carve out the time to focus, the brain doesn’t play ball.

It feels like, because we’re bombarded with so many distractions the rest of the time, that we’re always anticipating the next interruption. Even when we know there won’t be any.

What we need is a big switch in our heads to turn on focus mode and settle the brain down.

What the article suggests is to use calming (no lyrics) music to achieve that focused state. The idea is that after so many times of doing this the music becomes an anchor to put you in a focused frame of mind. Like a switch.

I will be trying it when my current focused state leaves me.

Do you use music to get focused? Or something else?

How mindful are you?

In keeping with the theme of focus, this is a short assessment by HBR that looks at how mindful and focused you are. They define mindfulness as:

“Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the moment. When you are mindful, you are focused, not distracted, and you are aware of your thoughts and actions, rather than acting on autopilot. This leads to better decision making and problem solving and to increased well-being.”

Answering for my usual state of mind rather than the heightened state of focus this week, I am still mindful…

“This means you are effective at staying present and focused and at managing your work and completing tasks. However, continuing to improve your mindfulness can help you become healthier, happier, and more productive”

The assessment takes less than 30 seconds if you want to see where you fall on their scale.

Top 10 Note-taking Apps for 2017

I’m a sucker for a list of productivity tools. If you’re into taking notes digitally or thinking about moving to a note taking app, this list could be a good starting point.

Evernote at the top (my personal favorite) but there are a few new ones on here that I’ve not heard of before. May have to carve out some time to try them out.

Wrap Up

That’s it for this week. Any questions or comments, just hit reply.

All the best,

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About Paul Metcalfe

Hello, I'm Paul, the founder of Workweek Zen. When I'm not searching the internet for the best productivity techniques, I'm implementing them. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter

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