You’ll find several articles about personal productivity and organisation on this blog. The books and tools reviewed here have all helped me to improve with regards planning, prioritising and not over-committing. But, procrastination remains a problem.
Some years ago I bought Focus – The Power of Targeted Thinking by Jurgen Wolff and can only think it was delivered with a bundle of other books because it wasn’t read – at least not right away. (Did I mention I had a problem with procrastination?)
Last year I stumbled across Jurgen Wolff, the author of Focus, when I was looking for something entirely different.
Regular newsletters from Jurgen and participation in one of his Massive Action Days at the beginning of January, reminded me that Focus remained on my shelf – largely unread. That situation has now been addressed.
So, what can I tell you about Focus?
In his book, Jurgen weaves together all manner of tools and techniques to provide something for everyone, no matter what your learning or work style. He recognises that many of us are very ‘active’ but fail to achieve a great deal and the book is written to encourage productive activity.
Step by step the reader is guided through a process of identifying goals (and Jurgen’s technique for identifying and setting goals was new to me), looking at time patterns and distractions, dealing with obstacles, identifying and focusing on strengths and, of course, overcoming procrastination.
The book is supported by a number of web based resources that highlight or elaborate upon the points made in each chapter.
Whilst there is some discussion of the problem, the book is very solution focused. I’m sure most of us know about our problems and whilst there’s comfort to be drawn from learning you are not alone in your struggle, there’s also a real need to got to the point.
Jurgen does just that.
My own problem with procrastination (or resistance if you are a Pressfield fan; lizard brain if Godin is your hero) has gone on for years and it is getting worse rather than better. Despite the fact that I am far more aware of this self sabotage mechanism the devil gets me, just about every day. I go to bed and realise another skirmish has been lost.
It’s a terrible thing to disappoint your Self.
Employing some of the techniques advocated by Jurgen has given me a sword and shield to use in the daily battles with the enemy. Each time I try one of the author’s tips or tricks it’s as if a new piece of armour appears to strengthen my resolve. I know it sounds melodramatic, but this really is a daily battle.
As an entrenched, fear driven, procrastinator it occurs to me that if this book has helped me so much, so quickly, it can help my fellow procrastinators too.
Maybe you are a rampant multi-tasker who runs on a treadmill but never gets anywhere? May be you are a scanner who struggles to focus on just one thing? It doesn’t matter what your personal enemy is, there will be something in this book (probably many things) to help you.
It’s a great pity I didn’t read Focus sooner. It’s no reflection on the book – rather more on me.
If you have read Focus I’d love to know which of the strategies suggested by Jurgen have worked best for you. Perhaps you’ll join the discussion in the comments?
As usual with book reviews I will send a copy of Focus to the first person leaving a comment and I hope they too will come back and let us know their views.