Creative Focus Summit – Day 1

In my mind, a new year started December 1st. Well, on a personal level I should say. Professionally, I’m looking forward to something to share come the first of the year. Between then and now, my primary goal is develop some habits that will be necessary to balance a workload unlike anything I’ve tackled before. So I was intrigued when Shawn Blanc announced the free Creative Focus Summit. While I knew it was partly marketing for his Focus Course, I’ve been reading his blog long enough to know that it wouldn’t be a gimmick.

Here are some bullet notes I took from the first two conversations.

Jocelyn K. Glei @jkglei

  • Value emerges as the product of focused work.
  • Focus on doing your best creative work.
  • 2 90 minute focus blocks in morning. Don’t open brain to other people’s ideas.
  • Make todo list night before. Wake up knowing what you want to accomplish. Deep attention work
  • Hyper attention – can be interrupted, editorial/curatorial items later in day
  • Mark McGinnis – different templates for the day. Not about one routine to rule them all, but set of routines based on context of where work is.
  • Gary Keller – The One Thing (book)…best work is way out on fringes…seasons of life
  • Create built in feed-back loop. 3 month cycle, daily schedule
  • Make time for reflection – time for course correcting
  • Time for exploration
  • calendar is best place to go on offense
  • 3 todo lists – 1 we write down, email and calendar bring them into alignment (for me email == async comms–BC, GitHub issues)
  • rhythm of the constant optimization ??? Work/life balance more about Fitz and starts, track how you are doing, journal at end of day small wins/progress (Progress principle)
  • metric is the accomplishment itself, not the system to track how productive you are.
  • completion bias – checking off things that may not be part of the deep focus project
  • create a Stop Doing List!!!!

Todd Henry @toddhenry

  • Making tough choices creates value
  • focus is how you define the problem you are tying to solve, and working on most pressing problems/solve those problems.
  • Projects come as as a result of a set of problems
  • Define work by establishing challenges
  • what you do know but not doing
  • top 3 problems always around you. in front of you consistently (Phone screen, at bottom, clear apps to make room)
  • establish adjacency – clustering attention
  • continuous partial attention
  • theme – afternoon less taxing, early day creative work
  • Circles – Three Questions for your Circle: (1) What are you working on right now? (2) Is there anything we can help you with? (3) What’s inspiring you right now? Would be a great bi-weekly coffee get-together.
  • innovation happens in the white space
  • dedicate time every day to study, take notes and truly contemplate what you are taking in.
  • what do you with the stuff you take in? How does this apply to my goals/ambitions.
  • fake work is more dangerous than no work.
  • create for yourself but not necessarily in the same vein as your “job”.

A Couple of thoughts I jotted down were:

  • Find a way to make sure world isn’t on fire without getting sucked into social media/lesser news
  • Try to have research materials in place BEFORE starting focused work to avoid rabbit holes of search. Bookmarks, tabs already open.

After day one, I’m looking forward to the rest of the week’s conversations and hearing more about the course now.

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