Your Focus Host
👋 Hello. My name is Shawn and I am honored to be your host and guide through Focus Course Academy!
I’m a writer, small-business owner, productivity coach, and creative entrepreneur living in Kansas City with my wife and our three boys.
For nearly 20 years, I have been learning and teaching about creativity, diligence, and focus. I’ve spoken about these topics at conferences and workshops; I've taught them to private groups and one-on-one clients; and my online courses have helped tens of thousands of people.
♥️ Married for 16+ years, and we have 3 boys. Send pizza. 🍕
My Journey From Overwhelmed to Focused
I used to work 80 hours per week. And even, with all those hours, I still felt behind with my never-ending issues at work. I kept thinking I would eventually get ahead of the craziness and start making progress on meaningful work.
Eventually I quit that job to begin working for myself. But even then, I still found that I was always chasing my to-do list. I never felt satisfied at the end of my work day; there was always more to be done. Work was always on my mind.
When my first son was born, I realized that I needed do to better. I didn’t want my work life to dominate my time and energy. But, at the same time, I still had a strong desire to do meaningful work.
These seemingly-opposing forces shouldn’t have to fight one another. I knew it was okay to have a thriving work life while also having an awesome personal life.
My 4-Focus Method
I have spent years figuring out solutions related to focus.
We live in an age where the Internet lives in our pocket, and it seems like everyone everywhere is both distracted and in a hurry.
I’ve examined my own habits, studied many other solutions, and rigorously tested different approaches over and over again. And I have worked hard to create a lifestyle that is conducive to doing my best creative work without sacrificing my personal and family life.
What you will learn during Focus Academy are the same methods, ideas, and frameworks that have allowed me to grow a thriving business, do meaningful work that I’m proud of, and give time to myself and my family.
These are time-tested, proven ideas I use to keep all the areas of my life in harmony and thriving, despite the craziness that is naturally found in day-to-day life.
The material in The Focus Course Academy has changed my life. It has changed the lives of so many others who have already taken it. And it can change your life, too.
Focus Course Academy
1: Components of a Focused Life
The whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. These five components make up the core framework inside Focus Course Academy. You will discover what each component is, how they tie together, and then how to use them as a tool for both diagnosing and solving problems related to your habits, schedule, tasks, goals, and motivation.
2: Your Life's Mission
Over the years, we've developed a unique and powerful approach to crafting your life's mission. Instead of leaving you with a blank sheet of paper and expecting you to pull something out of the air, we have a systematic template that helps you easily identify the most important areas and then funnel that into your own unique statement. From there, you get to refine and edit.
3: The 8 Laws of Focus
The primary expressions of focus in your life is twofold: (1) the attainment of focus in the form of a clear vision and priorities; and (2) the skill of focus in the form of your ability to direct your attention on to that which matters. As such, there are 8 Laws of Focus which you need to know and use in order to get and stay clear, and also to follow through on doing the important work that matters.
4: Goal Setting (Big & Small)
You will identify life goals for each of the 6 major areas of your life and discover how your small actions tie in to the larger desired outcomes you have.
5: Cornerstone Habits
Life is almost entirely made up of small, usually-inconsequential choices and moments each day. The little things we do (and don’t do) are what paint the picture of our life. If you want a different life, make a small change to something and stick with it.
6: Time Management & Your Ideal Schedule
Managing your time is unto the living of your life. How you spend your time is, quite literally, how you are living our life. In this section on time ownership, elimination, delegation, and your ideal schedule we will discover how to reduce your commitments and priorities and how to establish time in your schedule for doing the things that you value and that only you can do.
7: Overcoming the Obstacles
Any great endeavor will elicit resistance. No doubt you have set out on a goal before, only to be derailed at some point. We've identified 7 primary areas of resistance, what they are, and how you can overcome them so as not to get derailed.
8: A Life with Margin
Margin is a necessary component of a focused life. Do you have the breathing room, health, and strength you need in order to lean into each area of your life? Margin exists for relationships and thus it enables you to be present for your most important roles and responsibilities in life. A life without margin is a life on the edge of burnout.
As you go through the Academy, you are going to be exploding with ideas, possibilities, dreams, and energy! It's a very fun and exciting process.
But.... if you try to do it all right away, then you will not get the results you want. You will have to simplify and focus. Not only do we help you in this final step of the journey, but the whole process is amazing and unique... you are going to love it.
The 4-Week Program
Cohort Schedule (Fall 2021)
Enrollment for the Fall 2021 Cohort is open from September 1 – 13, 2021. Onboarding and setup for all new members begins September 15th. Academy itself will run from September 20 to October 15, 2021.
Week 0: Sep 15 – 17
Onboarding → We'll get you all set up and ready for Academy. This is when you will download your workbook, join the Slack community, and connect with your mastermind, and more.
Week 1: Sep 20 – 24
Vision Week → We will dive into The 5 Components of a Focused Life; And, using our unique template you will be able to identify your core values draft your life’s mission.
Week 2: Sep 27 – Oct 1
Strategy Week → Here we will focus on goal setting plus strategy. You will identify goals for each area of your life and discover how your small actions tie in to the larger desired outcomes you have.
Week 3: Oct 4 – 8
Habits Week → The apex of the Academy... in Week 3 we will help you to identify habits that will move you forward in each area of your life. This is when most of our members have their "lightbulb" moments, and the results from this week are often what make the biggest, long-term impact on people.
Week 4: Oct 11 – 15
Margin Week → In the final week of Academy, we will dive into resistance and distractions, Margin (a.k.a. Breathing Room), the importance of having margin and boundaries in our life, and how to use the 4-Focus Method to keep things on track.
Your minimum commitment for Academy is about 2.5 hours per week. That is the time you will need in order to participate in the live training on Monday and complete the pages in your workbook.
Main, live training session
3 – 4:30pm Eastern
Focus Hour Study Hall. A dedicated time for you to work on the course material and ask questions, get feedback in real time.
11:00am and 3pm Eastern
Wednesdays (Pro and VIP only)
Pro Workshops with Q&A
Workshop hosts: Marie Poulin, Sarah K. Peck, David Sparks, and Havilah Cunnington.
Thursdays (Pro and VIP only)
Mastermind Small Groups and Peer Support
Choose either 11am or 3pm Eastern
Private (VIP only) mastermind with Shawn Blanc at 3pm Eastern
Group coaching, highlights, and Q&A session
3:00 – 4:00pm Eastern
Note: All sessions will take place over Zoom. Everything is recorded and replays will be made available.
Connecting Your Goals to Your Habits
with Marie Poulin
Marie will go behind the scenes to show how she uses time blocks and themes to make it easier to make regular progress on her goals. Also: how she uses "automated priorities" to spend less time noodling and more time creating in both her business and her life.
Marie is a life & business operations designer who helps entrepreneurs and small teams level up their digital systems, workflow, and product ecosystems, so they can spend more time on what matters. She's the creator of Notion Mastery, an online program to help folks use Notion to live and work better.
Do Half: Work Better by Doing Less
with Sarah K. Peck
When you look around at what we call work, life, and community — it's not working for most people. So many people are burned out, yet still trying to somehow “do it all” in their businesses and their lives as though this is the recipe for satisfaction and success. In this session, we'll look at the myth of "doing it all" and why making hard choices is so challenging. Sarah will show you specific tools to help make these decisions easier so you can lighten your load.
Sarah is the founder and CEO of Startup Parent and the host of The Startup Parent Podcast, an award-winning podcast featuring women in entrepreneurship, business, and parenting. She writes about work, culture, and parenting, and her work has been featured in Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and more.
Shutdown & Startup Routines
with David Sparks
Join David Sparks for a productivity workshop looking at the what, why, and how of his Shutdown and Startup Routines. Shutdown in particularly took David several years to nail down, and yet is one of the most beneficial rituals of his day.
David is a nerd who podcasts about getting more out of your Apple Technology, Automating your life, and getting more focused. David also publishes MacSparky.com where he writes about finding the best tools, hardware, and workflows for using Apple products to get work done. David’s favorite thing to do is build the MacSparky Field Guides. When not doing all that stuff, David practices a bit of law.
Boundaries for Life and Work
with Havilah Cunnington
Join Havilah and Shawn as they discuss boundaries, margin, and focus. You'll get helpful insights and examples for how to better navigate life and work, how (and why) to say “no”, and, ultimately, how to protect your life's mission and purpose.
Havilah is a wife, mom, pastor, author, and teacher. She travels all over the world, speaking for groups large and small. She is the founder of Truth to Table, a subscription website that creates high-quality video Bible studies and leadership training.
Are there areas of your life that don’t get the attention you want them to? Of course there are. And it’s easy to get stressed out about it.
When our actions and behaviors don’t line up with our vision and values, it can cause stress and frustration. We feel tension when we find ourselves spending time on things we don’t really want to be doing, yet we feel helpless to do anything else.
You know what’s awesome? When your actions and behaviors align with your vision and values.
There’s a huge misconception that says you should be giving your full attention to every area of your life. Well, if you’ve ever tried, you know it’s just not possible.
There is no way you can deploy your full attention to your health, your relationships, your finances, your career, your personal hobbies, and your inner personal life all at the same time.
You and I only have enough mental and emotional strength to focus on just one, maybe two areas of our life at a time. Like really focus on them. The other areas simply can’t get our full attention.
And but so, what do you do with those other areas of your life? You certainly don’t want to leave them out in the cold — you can’t just ignore them.
The secret is in a little thing called routine.
By establishing healthy habits and routines for every area of your life, then you’re able to keep them on track even without giving them your full attention.
It’s a way to keep all of your life on track and in balance, no matter the season. It’s a way to ensure you’re not giving an unhealthy amount of time to one area at the detriment to the other areas of your life.
Think about some of the most accomplished and successful people you know.
Not in terms of the most well-off or well-known. I mean, who are the people you look up to as mentors and role models? Who do you know that has it all together?
Do you notice how they always know what’s next for them? They’ve got something they’re working towards, and they always seem to get things done.
They have a confidence and motivation that is more than just a personality type. Because it’s a confidence based on focus and clarity. They have a direction and know how to get there.
Good news! Diligence and focus are not a personality type. Focus is a skill you can learn (and continually improve).
And that’s exactly what I teach you in The Focus Course. You will walk away with the ability to focus on the areas of life that matter most to you, while still maintaining a healthy balance in the others. This is how the most successful people maintain breathing room in their daily life while also being so prolific and productive.
Margin: How to shift from overloaded to breathing. The necessity of breathing room and margin, and the only two approaches that work to restore it.
The 5 Components of a Focused Life: The overarching framework of The Focus Course.
The 4-Focus Method: My simple flywheel that I use to stay perpetually focused and productive in every area of life — for big projects and areas of responsibility, all the way down down to the small tasks each day.
Schedule-Value Fit and how to spend your time on more of the right things more often.
The 8 Laws of Focus and how to use them maintain your clarity and your direction.
What motivates you: balancing the roles in your life with your core values; drafting out your life's mission.
The Ownership Matrix: A tool that helps you cut back on the tasks and activities that are pulling you away from the more important things so you can eliminate or delegate your low-level tasks, and double down on the important things that only you can do.
Personal Integrity: The critical ability everyone needs in order to keep commitments to themselves and follow through with their goals and routines.
Success Strategies: How is it that focused people get (most of) the right things done day after day (most of the time)? (Hint: We don't get it perfect every day all the time. But we have a way to stay on track, even when we lose motivation or have a bad week.)
A simple task and time management approach that keeps you on track and can work with any type of app, tool, or schedule.
Cornerstone Habits and the connection between your big, desired outcomes and your small, daily actions.
Enroll in Focus Course Academy
Look. There is so much knowledge and advice out there. There is no shortage of information.
The shortage is with implementation and application.
It is difficult to go through all the best books, blog posts, think pieces, and podcasts and then dig out the main ideas and apply them to your life.
Don't waste your time trying to be this person:
The easiest (and fastest) path forward is to be guided.
This is what the world's best performers do. They don't get coaching because they're too lazy or stupid to figure it out on their own... The exact opposite — they get guidance because they have better things to do with their time; they are hungry to excel in life.
The Focus Course is the fastest path forward for you. I will guide you through all the steps you need to take and be shown how it all fits together in your life.
You can get a clear head amidst the craziness. You can thrive in the midst of the tensions of life. But the answer is not in a methodology, system, or app.
To spend your time creating meaningful work goes far beyond white-knuckle focus or ripping your internet cable out of the wall.
You don’t have to solve the tensions of life before you can create something of value. Meaningful productivity means consistently giving your time and attention to the things which are most important.
You can do work that matters, build momentum in your personal integrity, establish habits that stick, bring a healthy balance between your work and personal life, and re-define what you think of when you say productivity. Learn about your own lifestyle, the way you work, what your values are, and more.