The Focus Course

Our Annual Friendship Dinner

Next Saturday, my wife and I will be hosting an end-of-year dinner for us and 6 of our closest friends.

We first hosted this dinner back in 2016, and it has become a tradition and one of the highlights of the year for the 8 of us.

During dinner, we will all go around the table and share our highlights and lowlights from the year.

I remember back in 2017, I had two big highlights to share with my friends. One of which was entirely work-related…

I’ll share it with you as well in just a moment.

In 2017, I began a yearly schedule of taking 8 weeks vacation.

Not just for me, but also for my entire team.

We began taking all this time off in 2017… and it just so happens that in 2017 Blanc Media made more money that it had in any year prior. And then we’ve gone on to beat that again, again, and again in 2018, 2019, and even in 2020.

Additionally, I can count on one hand the nights or weekends that I’ve needed to work in the past 4 years.

My point is that, work-wise, we’ve had a very successful past few years. And I’m not even really talking about the financial side.

It has been successful in the areas that matter most to me:

  • Time with family.
  • A life outside of work.
  • Time to rest well.
  • Time spend doing meaningful work.
  • Being profitable without being stressed out.

The big question is: How?

How is that attainable?

What has contributed to this?

Obviously having a multiple successful years in a row is the result of many moving parts and lessons learned.


If I had to boil it down, the single most impactful thing has been our 8-week work cycles.

8 Week Work Cycles

In short, this schedule is our way to increase focus and productivity at the office while also increasing time away from our desks.

We have been doing these work cycles for 4 years in a row now (!), and they are life-changing.

For years, I used tell myself that I only needed to work through just one more difficult week / project to get to an important milestone. But I did that over and over for years. There will always be one more thing.

This approach to work also overlaps with something I’ve been doing on the personal side, with my family and in my personal life for the past 10 years…

Every January, my wife and I take an evening or two and we map out our upcoming year. And year after year, this time of planning is always a highlight for us.

Through it, Anna and I are able to define what matters most to us for the year and see what obstacles we may encounter.

It helps us maintain margin in our family life.

And it helps us to focus on what is most important so we can say no to everything else.

(It’s a very similar mindset and approach to what I began doing in 2017 with work.)

I would love for you to be able to go through the same year-planning process that Anna and I go through every year.

It’s called Plan Your Year, and it’s now ready for you!

Hero photo by Jay Wennington via Unsplash.

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