Focus: Your Key to More Productivity at Work

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Reach your potential: all of it.

It starts with focus.


Feeling distracted? Scattered? Time’s slipping away from you?

You’re not alone.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.


Focus will help you

get past procrastination,

overcome today’s 24x7 bombardment of

messages and demands,

escape from deadly routine,

and infuse your life with

creativity, flexibility, and power.

It’s easier than you think.

The proof is in this book:

All the skills and strategies you need to

decide what you really want,

make a plan, go for it,

and get it!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137002566
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 12/24/2010
  • Pages: 261
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jurgen Wolff is a writer, lecturer, and consultant. His books include Focus: The Power of Targeted Thinking (Pearson), Your Writing Coach (Nicholas Brealey), and Do Something Different (Virgin Books). His specialty is developing innovative right-brain approaches to creativity, productivity, and marketing.


He has also written more than 100 television episodes for the United States, Great Britain, and Germany. His film, The Real Howard Spitz, starred Kelsey Grammer, and his mini-series, Midnight Man, starred Rob Lowe. His plays have been performed in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Berlin. His original animated series, “Norman Normal,” has been broadcast throughout Europe.


As well as teaching workshops on personal development, time management and creativity, he has written many articles, including a personal development column for the Times Educational Supplement. He has made numerous television and radio appearances in support of his books and workshops.


The companion website to Focus: The Power of Targeted Thinking is He publishes a free monthly Brainstorm e-bulletin, which is full of tips and techniques about being more creative and productive. For a free subscription, please email His writing-related websites are and, and his writing blog is


He divides his time between London and Southern California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword     xiii

About the Author     xv
Introduction     xvii


Part I: Finding Your Focus
Chapter 1: How to Focus on Your Vital 20%     1
Chapter 2: How to Focus on Your First Goals     15


Part II: Your Focus Strategies
Chapter 3: How to Focus Your Time Patterns for Success     39
Chapter 4: How to Overcome the Obstacles to Focus     57
Chapter 5: How to Focus on What Already Works     75
Chapter 6: How to (Finally) Beat Procrastination     89


Part III: Your Focus Tools
Chapter 7: How to Use the Alter Ego Strategy     105
Chapter 8: How to Manage Other People     117
Chapter 9: How to Focus Your Language for Extraordinary Results     129
Chapter 10: How to Create Information Focus     153
Chapter 11: How to Conquer the Paper Mountain     163
Chapter 12: How to Tame the Email Monster     177
Chapter 13: How to Master Meetings and Networking     189


Part IV: Putting It All Together
Chapter 14: How to Deal with Deadlines and Multiple Projects     203
Chapter 15: How to Maintain Your Newfound Focus     223
Chapter 16: How to Put It All Together to Reach All Your Goals     235


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FOCU_A01 Introduction How Creating Focus Will Change Your Life

Have you ever felt frustrated by knowing that you could do a lot better in your career and the other parts of your life, but you just can’t seem to do it? Have you ever been angry with yourself because you’re not achieving your potential and time is slipping by? Do you have a vision of the life you’d like but no clear path for how to get there?

If those statements ring a bell, you’ve come to the right place. This book isn’t about what, it’s about how. You probably already know what you want from life (and if you don’t, Chapter 1 will help you clarify it). Probably the big question in your mind is, “How do I get there from here?”

What this change requires is focus but, frankly, the world conspires to prevent you from having that kind of focus. It’s not surprising that you feel scattered and distracted. You are being bombarded every waking minute with advertising messages that pull you in one direction, the expectations of family members and colleagues that pull you in another, haunted by the ghost of goals you may have set for yourself but didn’t reach for reasons that weren’t your fault. On top of that, you’re expected to be reachable 24/7, so any little scraps of time that you might have had for reflection are snatched away from you. Under these circumstances, it would be amazing if you were able to focus.

Well, prepare to be amazed—and amazing.

This book will take you, step by step, through the process of deciding what you really want, figuring out what has stopped you in the past,becoming aware of the disruptive influences in the way you use time (and how to fix them), and learning how to overcome the factors that hold back the majority of people. Finally, it will show you how to put all this information together into a plan you can follow again and again as you set new goals for yourself. The methods revealed in this book will become automatic habits that lead to success with less and less effort on your part.

Many of the techniques in this book are new. They are based on the fact that the old methods just don’t work anymore, especially for right-brain people. The traditional time management techniques were developed during the simpler industrial age to make people doing repetitive tasks more efficient. Using them in today’s atmosphere of 24/7 connectivity and constant demands leads to frantic multitasking and firefighting. The result: lots of activity, not much achievement.

If you have tried the traditional methods of time management and found them time-consuming, restrictive, and ineffective, the odds are you are a right-brain person. If you like variety, have good intuition, and enjoy new challenges but hate being trapped in old routines, this book has been written especially for you.

Today the need is for creativity, flexibility, and making smart choices. Focus shows you how to identify what’s most important and how to direct all your energy, without distractions, to the tasks that propel you toward success.

I know the techniques you are about to learn work because they’ve worked for me and for hundreds of people who have participated in my Create Your Future workshops. I predict that you’re going to enjoy using breakthrough techniques like the Alter Ego strategy for getting any task done in record time, and the MAD strategy for turbo-charging any project that is moving too slowly or in which you feel stuck. Here’s a quick roadmap of what you’re going to experience:

Maybe you’ve heard of the 80/20 principle before, but odds are you’ve not been shown how actually to apply it to your work and personal life. By focusing on the 20% of your life that gives you the greatest value, you increase your success exponentially—that’s what you’ll learn to do in Chapter 1.

In Chapter 2, you’ll translate that into a big, inspiring goal, but not until you’ve found out the one trap that dooms most goals to failure and how to avoid it.

In Chapter 3, you’ll learn how time patterns work and figure out how your time patterns have distracted you from the success of which you are capable. You’ll also discover how to put more effective patterns to use.

Have you noticed how easy it is to know what to do next, but how hard it is to actually do it? Chapter 4 reveals the hidden obstacle that stops most people from reaching their goals. This is what makes people go to the gym a few times and stop and what sabotages their intentions to learn a new language or a new skill—and you’ll discover a right-brain strategy for overcoming the obstacle every time it pops up in your life.

If you’ve been focusing on your weaknesses rather than your strengths, you’ve inadvertently been sabotaging your own progress. In Chapter 5, you’ll see that putting your attention on your strengths is the secret known by all high-achievers, and find out how you can do it, too.

The biggest enemy of focus is procrastination. If you finally want to overcome it, the answers are in Chapter 6.

If you’ve ever put off doing the important things because you’re not in the right mood, the innovative Alter Ego strategy in Chapter 7 is going to unlock your productivity. This one technique alone has the power to transform your effectiveness the minute you start using it.

While it’s important to be focused yourself, of course you also depend on others to cooperate with you. In Chapter 8, you will read how to set boundaries, how to say no, and how to manage other people so they help you reach your goals.

Chapter 9 takes this further with specific techniques of language that reveal why most conversations are dead ends and how to transform them into persuasive communication. You’ll learn how to recognise other people’s language patterns and use that knowledge to establish greater rapport with them. The additional methods covered include reframing, pacing and leading, and using metaphors and stories.

The next few chapters cover the most powerful enemies of creativity and productivity: information overload (Chapter 10), mountains of paperwork (Chapter 11), the email monster (Chapter 12), endless or irrelevant meetings (Chapter 13), and deadlines and the need to handle multiple projects (Chapter 14). For each of these, you will discover new solutions.

Zooming ahead in your career can be stressful as well as rewarding, so Chapter 15 shows you how to stay calm, relaxed, and flexible so that you can stay in a state of focus.

Finally, in Chapter 16 you’ll see how to put all of this into a plan of action. It recaps the key points of all the chapters that have gone before and guides you through the process of achieving your goal. You can use this plan again and again as you set new goals for yourself in any area of your life.

Because there are some resources I wanted to share with you that don’t fit within the pages of a book, I’ve also set up the website. There you will find chapter bonuses such as audio guided visualisations you can download and take with you on your MP3 player, video interviews with experts on communication and productivity, and much more.

You are about to embark on a great adventure—the adventure of finally achieving the success you have been waiting for and you deserve. Let’s get started!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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