In our previous article, I shared what most focus advice gets wrong and the importance of both the WHY and the HOW behind living a focused life.
The WHY are things like your purpose, your priorities, your goals and desired outcomes.
The HOW are things like your habits, routines, strategy, and other actions.
And you need both if you want to see the true power of a focused life. (Good news: I walk you through, step by step, for both the HOW and the WHY as part of Focus Academy next week.)
But today, let’s get a quick win right out of the gate.
I want to tell you about what I truly believe is one of the most underrated, unexpected super powers of living a focused life.
This is the skill — the muscle — the glue — that holds your habits and your goals together.
“What’s your number one productivity tip, Shawn?”
I have a bizarre answer to this common question.
When people first hear it they give me a weird look. And then as I explain it, everything clicks.
The tip is this:
Tonight, before you go to bed, set out your clothes for tomorrow.
Yep. That’s it.
Here’s why this matters:
1: You are helping your future self
This is something simple and easy to do at the end of your day that will make your future life a little bit easier. (You’re going to do something tonight that will make your life better and easier tomorrow morning.)
2: You are keeping a promise to yourself
When you follow through with your promise to yourself about what you will wear, it’s a small step toward building your Personal Integrity.
Personal Integrity is what you use (or don’t use) all day every day to keep (or break) the commitments you make to yourself.
People with strong Personal Integrity are the same people who consistently keep the commitments they make to themselves. These are the people who show up every day for the most important roles and responsibilities in their lives.
Simply put, it’s impossible to live a focused life without personal integrity.
. . . . .
If you often struggle to accomplish your goals, then it’s likely that one or both of above two things are holding you back.
- Perhaps you are overwhelmed by all the other distractions and responsibilities going on in your life, and those things keep you back from making meaningful progress on other, more important, things.
Perhaps you just aren’t great at follow through… when the time comes to focus on a task at hand or to do an activity, you choose to do something else instead.
Setting out your clothes tonight, and then putting them on tomorrow, is an extremely simple action. It’s so simple, it’s almost laughable. And that is 100-percent the point.
Set an easy goal — one that you can totally win at. Which, in turn, will help you to start winning as you set harder and more difficult goals.
I will be setting aside my outfit tonight. Will you?
Fun fact about routinization….
Pre-deciding some of the trivial, everyday choices of life will give you more energy in your day-to-day for everything else.
I met a man who worked for the state of Texas, and he would eat lunch at the same restaurant and order the same meal every day. He had turned the trivial choices surrounding his lunch hour into something he didn’t have to think about so he could keep his mind free to solve other problems.
Think about Steve Jobs who wore the same outfit every day: that black turtleneck, jeans, and New Balance sneakers.
Even President Obama spoke about how he would only gray or blue suits. In an interview with for Vanity Fair, Obama mentioned how the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions:
You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.
If you’d like to be the sort of person who regularly accomplishes their goals… someone with breathing room in their day… someone with deep personal integrity… then you, my friend, are going to LOVE Focus Course Academy.
Enrollment for Academy is open now until September 13. Don’t miss out: