Methodology

The Focus Course Review

As I reflected on the year in 2014 and 2015, the two things I said I wanted to improve the most was my focus. I still have a long way to go, but I’m convinced in an increasingly distracting world, focus is what separates those who make an impact and those who get lost in the shuffle.

I want to focus on not being distracted by social media and giving my full attention to the people around me.

Jim Elliot’s quote continues to resonate with me.

Wherever you are, be all there.

I haven’t come close to fully living that out yet. But I’m working on it, with a lot of help from The Focus Course by Shawn Blanc. Shawn is a prolific writer about creativity, focus, intentionality and runs a few of my favorite websites: Tools and Toys and The Sweet Setup.

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What is The Focus Course?

The Focus Course is a 40-day online course that helps you:

  • get clarity about what you want to be doing
  • get real about what you’ve actually been doing
  • plan for what you want to do
  • and helps you take action to be where you want to be and become who you want to become.

The course is split into five modules.

  1. Foundations
  2. Honesty
  3. Clarity
  4. Action
  5. Planning

This course stretches beyond the scope of focus and gets to the heart of living a meaningful, purpose-filled life. It’s about being intentional about how you live and work, putting your values at the center of everything, and making a lasting impact with the one life we have here on earth.

Who Is It For?

Anyone who wants to live with more focus and intention.

I wish I would have taken this as a college student, so I could have more fully lived out the principles embedded in this course.

I’m grateful I took this course as a young professional with a newborn (I started the course in the hospital just after our daughter’s birth!). It will continue to help mold and shape the person (and dad) I want to become.

I’ll retake this course as I grow in my career, my marriage, my relationships. As I start side projects and tackle areas of my life I want to continue to grow in.

Basically, if you have a pulse and want to increase your focus, make a difference, and live a more  purposeful life, The Focus Course is for you.

How Long Does It Take?

Each day takes about five to ten minutes to watch the video or read through the content, but there are additional exercises and assignments you’ll need to complete, which is where the true value comes.

As a warning, the second module about Honesty takes lots of extra time and effort, but it will help you live in reality and see who you want to be and become. It takes serious discipline to keep trudging through days 12 – 17 and finishing the tasks you need to. I promise it is worth it.

Altogether it’s a 40-day course, and I love the way the course is set up. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and having to diligently work through each day and each module means you’re chipping away at bad habits that have been built over a lifetime.

Extras and Improvements

Beyond the daily modules, there are all kinds of assessments for finding what’s distracting you, if you’re addicted to notifications and checking your inbox, extra articles for going deeper in areas like personal integrity, daily habits, tips for how to use your Mac, how to overcome the fear of missing out (FOMO) and a whole lot more.

Shawn continues to improve the course and invest in it heavily. Shawn recently released version two of the course, which adds a video to every single day.

It’s beautifully designed and you can cruise through the course with any device. My personal preference is on iOS. You’ll be able to see all the modules you’ve completed and see your progress as you go through. There’s also a members forum section where you can provide feedback, connect with others, and share what you’re learning and processing.

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Favorite Aspects

The most valuable portion of the course for me was thinking about the person I want to become. If a morning manifesto is what is true about yourself, then crafting your values on Day 10 of the course is what guides you in who you want to become.

The course drips with authenticity, attention to detail, and beautiful design. I didn’t know an online course could look so good. Shawn pulled out all the stops in an effort to make the packaging look as good as the product.

I’m a huge fan of the additional articles and assessments for increased productivity I mentioned above.

I’ve started working through the course again to start 2016.

Is It Worth the Money?

In short: absolutely. I fully believe an investment in ourselves in an effort to make a greater impact on the world around us is one of the best ways we can use our hard-earned cash.

If it wasn’t worth the money, I would have asked for a refund. Shawn backs his course up with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

This is a course about intentionality, focus, productivity, making an impact, and living with purpose, all rolled up together. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year.

I can honestly say the cash I dripped on The Focus Course was far and away the best money I spent in 2015. I’m excited to get back into the course again this year.

If you aren’t sure you’re ready to invest a few hundred dollars on the course, Shawn offers a free course called The Elements of Focus with a 16-day email series that will give you a taste of the full Focus Course.

If you decide to sign up for The Focus Course, I’d be grateful if you use my affiliate link. I can’t recommend the course highly enough, and I’d love to hear from you (jshirkman at gmail dot com) if you decide to check out the course.

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