Have you ever got to the end of the week, and realized that even though you’ve been super busy and organized, you simply don’t have much to show for it?

Or you haven’t been able to move a signature project forward? When was the last time you looked back on the day and said, “I did well today.”

If it’s been a while since you had a great day or you find yourself moving key tasks back week by week; focus blocks could be your solution. 

In case you’re already on the lookout for productivity breakthroughs, focus blocks won’t be something new to you. Maybe, you’ve tried them and got mixed results. But, here’s the thing: If you want to make the focus blocks work for you, know that there’s an art and science to them.

So what is a focus block? It’s a set period where you’re distraction-free and can focus on one problem, improvement, or step in your project. 

Here’s a secret. You can maximize focus blocks by making the best use of your creativity and connection to the focus block. It’s all in the set-up and your out-flow process; this is where you reap the rewards of your focus block.

HOW TO SET UP A FOCUS BLOCK

A focus block generally lasts between 30-minutes to 90-minutes. The duration depends on your schedule or how deep you want to go on the area of focus.

Whether you need a focus block to move a project forward or examine something in detail or apply critical thinking to it, the first step you need to do is to set it up a focus block using the following steps:

  • Schedule some time the day before to plan out your focus block.
  • Clearly define the outcome you’re after or create the question you’re seeking the answer to. Make sure it is clear so that you check if you have met your goal at the end of the session.
  • Define the intro and outro so that you can directly move into the issue without warming up the question. 

The intro means the events or issue that has led to the problem you’re seeking to resolve. Or it can be the context for the question that you’re after.

The outro is the step you want to take after you have concluded this focus block. It is like the breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel. You can use the outro frame in a way that it becomes your intro to the next focus block. 

  • Once you have your question or the abracadabra in the breadcrumbs defined, it’s time to set up your space free from distraction. So use an app that stops you from connecting to the web or social media if you’re using your laptop. Place your phone into a different room during your focus time. If you need reference materials during your focus block, print them out or save them to a device without the internet. 
  • Next, set up your availability. Arrange some time out with anyone who might need you during this focus time so that they know you’re not available. Or, you can also enlist their help as your focus buddy if you need some accountability.
  • Place a clock in your room; quiet one, battery-operated, that doesn’t tell you the weather or other distracting information when you have the task in hand.
  • Herbs can be helpful. Ginkgo, Rosemary or Gotu Kola can sharpen the mind, helping with recall and focus. If you have an existing medical condition or are taking any medications, check with your herbalist first.
  • Allocate a time duration for your focus block so that you can stop when it’s time.

MAXIMIZE YOUR CREATIVITY

If at the end of the focus block, you’re still thinking; write down where you’re at and what you’re thinking and use that as your outro.

This is one part of the framework we use to maximize your creativity when you come out of the focus block. This framework helps you mine for gold by using the process to capture all the insights that are coming to the surface in response to the focus block.

So there you have it. Not just what a focus block is but also the art and science of optimizing your focus block. Utilize it if you want to supercharge your productivity, breakthroughs, and ability to gain deep insights.