Welcome to our book review series! Today we’re covering one of my favourite books on productivity. This book has helped both myself and countless people I have taught this to. Productivity is paramount for any business turnaround situation and this is the perfect place to start. (Check out the Resources page for more great books.) And now without further ado, let’s dive right in!
- Book: Free to Focus
- Author: Michael Hyatt
- Subject: Productivity
- *Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
*Score ratings out of 5
Who Is This Book For
‘Free to Focus’ is for anyone who wants to learn about what real productivity is, live intentionally, be happier in themselves, crush it at work and spend time with their family. Does that sound like everyone? I think it does. Michael Hyatt claims that you don’t have to sacrifice either your work or personal life. You can have both! In my opinion, this book is for anyone who has a lot of responsibility at work and wants to maintain a good personal life at the same time.
What are the main headlines of ‘Free to Focus’
The REAL Definition of Productivity
At the start of this book, Michael Hyatt explains what real productivity is. The permeating myth is that productivity is all about getting lots done. However, Hyatt argues that this is simply not true. He shares studies of different industries who work 120 hour weeks (yes, you read that right) and the detrimental effects that working long hours has on us. In fact, after the 50 hour period, we become exhausted, our mental faculties aren’t as sharp and our productivity is likened to that of someone who is intoxicated or even drunk! That was a real-eye opener for me.
No, instead, Hyatt’s emphasis is that productivity is about getting the right things done. He argues quite compellingly that there will always be more for us to do, there will always be another thing on your to-do list, there will always be work that is yet to do be done. However, if we accept this as a ‘liberating truth’ then the pressure eases. I can tell you that when I read this part, I felt a wave of relief come over me. I didn’t feel as stressed or as guilty any more. Hyatt is right!
The book then proceeds to tell us what getting the right things done entails.
The Desire Zone
Another genius concept is the ‘Desire Zone’. Hyatt uses a matrix to show things that we loathe and things that we love. The ‘Desire Zone’ is, of course, the things we love to do. This is where time disappears and you get in the ‘zone’. This is where your passion lies. In the spirit of living intentionally, we must start to shift our focus to things that lie in our Desire Zone. For me, it’s writing, teaching, coaching and performing. I love doing these things. These things aren’t classed as ‘work’ to me. Now for some, they may be the very idea of ‘hell’. However, for some, like myself, this is what I was born to do. Therefore all the things that fall in my ‘Drudgery Zone’ (i.e. the things I hate doing) are outsourced or delegated, leaving me to focus on doing what I love.
The Big 3
By far, the best takeaway in this book is the Big 3 structure. Simply, if you were to look at your quarter, month, week or day, what are the 3 most important things that will get you towards your Desire Zone goals? By using the Big 3, you prioritise your activities and ensure that you are focused on the right things. Focusing on the right things will move you closer towards your goal. If your goal is located in your Desire Zone, then you will feel more fulfilment, more accomplishment and your productivity has now become immeasurably more valuable.
I have re-read ‘Free to Focus’ multiple times and upon every read, I discover something new. I have taught the principles in this book to many people in various businesses and it works! The people I coach feel less stressed, more fulfilled and achieve their goals much quicker than they did before. ‘Free to Focus’ is an instant classic in my eyes, and I’m sure it will be for you too.