Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less

by Michael Hyatt


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Michael Hyatt is the founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm specializing in transformative live events and workshops, plus digital and analog planning and productivity tools. Formerly chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael is also a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of several books, including Living Forward, Your Best Year Ever, and Platform. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and other publications. Michael has been married to his wife, Gail, for forty years. They have five daughters, three sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren. They live just outside Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more at

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801075261
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 11,937
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Michael Hyatt is the founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm specializing in transformative live events, workshops, and digital and physical planning tools. Formerly chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael is also a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of several books, including Living Forward, Your Best Year Ever, and Platform. His work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, and other publications. Michael has been married to his wife, Gail, for 40 years. They have five daughters, three sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren. They live just outside Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more at

Table of Contents

Stepping into Focus 11

Step 1 Stop

1 Formulate: Decide What You Want 25

2 Evaluate: Determine Your Course 43

3 Rejuvenate: Reenergize Your Mind and Body 65

Step 2 Cut

4 Eliminate: Flex Your "No'5 Muscle 91

5 Automate: Subtract Yourself from the Equation 115

6 Delegate: Clone Yourself-or Better 137

7 Consolidate: Plan Your Ideal Week 161

8 Designate: Prioritize Your Tasks 183

9 Activate: Beat Interruptions and Distractions 205

Put Your Focus to Work 223

Acknowledgments 229

Notes 233

Index 245

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Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I have been following Michael Hyatt for years, have read his other books and also use his Full Focus Planner, so when I heard this book was coming out, I jumped on the opportunity to read it. As an entrepreneur and business owner, my world is full of task, projects and fires to put out. As a wife and mom, I haven't always been successful in prioritizing my crazy daily life. This simple to implement, full focus productivity system really does help you achieve more by doing less by focusing on what is truly important. Michael provides a number of nuggets of wisdom and reminders throughout the book of where our focus really should be AND what we are missing out on but not focusing on what is important. The book is broken down in easy to follow chapters and activities to evaluate your current areas of focus, what to hand off, what to delete and what to hold on to for down the road. This book was engaging, educational and eye-opening for this busy entrepreneur. **Full disclosure - I received an early copy of the book to read and review but receive no financial compensation from Michael Hyatt.
StrategicDoer 5 months ago
"As a Business Coach, the number one challenge my clients have is the constant tension between work and life. After reading through this book, I am impressed that it is not just another to-do list system, but rather offers practical advice from someone who has walked the talk. I recommend that you read it through once, then go through it a second time to begin implementing the system. I am excited to see the results that I and my clients will experience.
123phoenix 5 months ago
This is another great book from Michael Hyatt. He gets down to the core issues in personal productivity. He has you build a workable system through reflection, exercises, and templates. I have followed Hyatt since his "Living Forward" book. Yearly for the last three, I retake his LifeScore assessment and revise my Life Plan. His company's online newsletter and blog is a great inspiration for life and work.
LisaK2018 6 months ago
Free to Focus is a book I wish I'd had years ago. Michael Hyatt has succinctly provided a game plan for ensuring you have the most time to focus on your Desire Zone, which is the place where passion and proficiency intersect. In Free to Focus, Hyatt clearly outlines how to Stop, Cut, and Act. There are so many useful suggestions and tools offered in this book. One simple automation idea has saved me considerable time. It's really one of the best productivity books I've read.
GoGoGators 6 months ago
This book will change your life! To get the full benefit of this book you need to digest it, not read it. Take the time to do the exercises, use the FREE tools that Michael provides for you. If you do this you will notice immediate, lasting change. Michael Hyatt is a master at productivity and this is yet another great book from him.
JamesHauptman 6 months ago
I've been following Michael Hyatt for the last seven years - I've read most of the blog posts and listened to most of the podcasts, but this is my first book from Hyatt that I've read. This book includes so much wisdom from everything Michael has studied and put into practice when it comes to living and working with focus. I highly recommend it! This is my honest opinion of this book after reviewing an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.
NateJB 6 months ago
Finally -- a business book that gives me permission to stop and take stock of why I do what I do at work. Michael Hyatt's "Free to Focus" is a phenomenal resource for anyone in leadership. I'd personally recommend it for others in my position (a millennial at the middle management/director level) learning to set boundaries, communicate with excellence and delegate. Whether you love the career path you're on or are looking to maximize your positive impact, "Free to Focus" is chock full of outstanding and practical insights from the field, print and digital resources to add efficiency to your business, and down-to-earth anecdotes that will make you say, "Yup, been there. Done that. Never again." Bravo, Michael and team -- you've got a bestseller on your hands, and for good reason. I urge you to do yourself a favor and buy this book. Then share a dozen copies with your team and get to learning and applying.
Mike_Car 6 months ago
I just finished Michael Hyatt's book Free to Focus. In this work, Michael battles for your focus as he asserts his methods of clearing away all the clutter so that you can truly focus on what matter most. There are so many products, be it a book or electronic tools that claim to provide greater focus, but often these products inadvertently cloud clarity. Free to Focus clears that way by redefining productivity, then begins to help the reader reshape their work schedule around what matters. My favorite chapter was when the author stated that we need to balance our selves with seven basic patterns. This balance will help keep the reader at optimum productivity. The research in this section is clear and concise, yet highly compelling. The reader is invited to evaluate their life balance to see if it is helping or hindering their focus. Each chapter ends with an exercise where you can digest the information in a more meaningful way. These exercises take the words from the pages and allow the reader to see how the framework of what the author is sharing will work in their circumstances. Powerful!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Free to Focus is an excellent and clear book teaching the reader how to focus on creating a lifestyle that is both healthy and productive, a balance that is extremely hard to find in our modern American business world. My favorite quote from the book is this: "Productivity should free you to pursue what’s most important to you." So cool!
sdaleallen 6 months ago
“Free to Focus” is definitely a life changing book for me. Michael has also written “Living Forward” and “You Best Year Ever”. These three books together give you a strategy for living life intentionally. Where “Living Forward” looks at your entire life and “Your Best Year Ever” your current year, “Free to Focus” (FTF) is about living here and now: living life each day to its fullest. FTF gives you perspective and tools to get the most out of your day. Michael’s approach is to “achieve more by doing less”. Although he refers to “Free to Focus” (FTF) as a productivity system, it is really much more than that. The book is divided into three parts (with three subtopics each): Stop, Cut and Act. Stop to ask yourself what you want to accomplish, how to spend time on things which are important to you, and how prioritizing rest and rejuvenation will energize you to be successful. Cut out time killers: eliminate things you do not want or should not be doing, automate to accomplish low level tasks, and delegate in a way that gets things done in the way you want it done. Act by working strategically: consolidating similar types of activities, scheduling time to do your most important things (designating) and avoiding interruption and distractions with tips to increase your effectiveness. The book links to exercises and activities to get the most out the learning process. In purchasing this book during the next few days of its release, the Michael Hyatt Company is also including additional materials that will help you incorporate these new ways of thinking and doing. I am 64 years old and my wife turns 60 this year. We are making plans to live well into our 100s. I want to live well and, at the right time, to end well. Life is precious and it doesn’t matter how old you are, our choices each day will influence and determine our daily satisfaction and accomplishment. FTF is a manual that when followed will help you take care of yourself, increase your efficiency, engage with others for your and their well-being, and to look back on your life with fewer regrets. I recommend all three books, but this one will move and empower you from good intentions to great actions. Implement these methods and also buy his planner to help make it happen.
JoshMelton 6 months ago
Michael Hyatt has done it again! For years, I've followed Michael online and have consumed much of the content he has created. This book isn't a repackaging of what he's said or written in the past. It's new and vibrant and a systematic way to build your days...and your life... around what is truly important to you. If you're tired of feeling overwhelmed by the distracting world we live in, Free to Focus is for you.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Michael really hit it out of the park with this book. He nails the fact that our society thrives on busyness—when that's the exact opposite of what we should be striving for, really. In this book he walks you step by step through determining what's necessary and what's not, and how to get more done in less time, leaving you with more time for what matters the most—taking care of yourself and your loved ones. The best part of this book? That although it's a business book, this system he's created can also apply to your personal life as well. I've been able to determine what to let go of on my to-do list, and what can be done a different way in order to have more time for myself and my marriage. Whether you own a business or not, if you are looking for a better way to do this whole productivity thing, you'll want to check this book out.
Karolyn_T 6 months ago
I'm a fan of Michael Hyatt's work, and Free to Focus has been my favorite book from him yet. There is a lot out there that tells us to be more productive so that we can the do more work. What I loved about this book is that it has a very practical approach to being more productive by doing the right things so that we can then spend time on the activities we enjoy and with the people we care about. I also liked that it is a relatively short and very easy to read. Hyatt includes lots of very practical examples of how to use this framework to be more productive and there are some excellent tools and worksheets that helped me get the most out of the book and actually apply what I was reading to my life. I genuinely feel more organized and less stressed as a result, and that has indeed made me more productive and more able to leave work at the office so I can be present at home. Highly recommend the book and if you enjoy it, look into Hyatt's Full Focus Planner as it complements the concepts in this book extremely well.
BenJoeM 6 months ago
Want a book to really get your Focus on the right things, increase productivity and be present in every moment. Well this is the book! I loved every page of this and was so happy with the results. The section Batching your time saved me hours and has paid me back in full plus dividends. I think it todays modern age we are all looking for productivity hacks and solutions through technology but Michael Hyatt breaks down how to just avoid what you hate and do what you love. Then you get the most out of it everyday! Great book....highly recommend.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I was excited to be selected to receive a review copy prior to release of this book and participate in the launch. My highest compliment, I would put this book right up there with Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as a treasured and ground-breaking book and guide that I will read over and over again, for the timeliness and relevance of its simple self-management principles. First, this is not a book, and I should have been clued in by the title – it is indeed a revolutionary productivity system to achieve more by doing less. I thought I could read it at my leisure in a matter of hours or days and learn a few things, but found the value of the system and the value to the reader largely depended on the time and ability to not just read but also do the hard thinking and complete the exercises and use the tools at the end of each chapter, then apply them to your work and life. The book starts with a compelling hook, setting the context of the Distraction Economy in which we live, in which we receive hundreds of text messages, IMs, emails, calls, meetings in any given day. We are overwhelmed and truly do have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. We are at risk of spending our days and lives in reactive mode, spending our time and energy on someone else’s goals. The nine chapters that follow offer a relatively straightforward, new, transformative approach to productivity, a road to achieving more by doing less. This system can and has brought life-changing benefits. The concepts of creating margin in my life, of focusing daily and weekly on my big 3 (top 3 priorities), of “mega-blocking” similar tasks, of creating rituals for repeated actions, of focusing on important activities for which I have both passion and proficiency, of planning weeks and weekends, are among the most impactful take-aways I had. For me, Chapter 3 was a true gem. Starting with Anne Lamott’s quote, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”, the chapter focused on Rejuvenation across 7 dimensions: sleep, eat, move, connect, play, reflect, unplug. This is one that I will refer back to over and over. As a final tribute, I will say that I am a senior executive for a major multi-national company, these views are my own personal views, and I have ordered many copies to share with my direct reports, my mentees, my leaders, and my family. The book and this system can change lives for the better, and I choose to share it with those I care about.
JegErAlan 6 months ago
I was blessed to be able to work in the tremendous country of Australia for a couple of years on the Olympics, but I came close to being buried there. I almost drowned. I enjoyed body surfing, but because I was a tall guy, I needed to go out relatively far to decrease the chance a wave would slam me into the ocean floor. I was cautious, staying between the flags on Maroubra Beach (where I loved the large waves). However, after swimming from the shore a bit one time, when I looked back I was no longer between the flags and much further out than I expected. A riptide had “assisted” me. No matter how hard I tried to get back, I was getting no closer to the beach. Those gigantic waves I loved were pounding me, especially when I finally gave up on my male ego and raised my hands so the lifeguards would see, and save, me. But they didn’t see, or save, me. All raising my hand did was bring me closer to drowning. I was spent. Praise God, a few body board surfers came within shouting distance, and I yelled, “I am not going to make it.” The body board one of them lent me is why I can share this story today. Why this apparently unconnected story in a book review? At work, school, or otherwise in life, do you feel like you can never get ahead of all the tasks you have to accomplish? Like you’ve been pulled out so far, that you can never reach the shore accomplishment-wise? Battered and soon to drown unless you somehow figure out how to swim harder and faster? Like raising your hand for help does no good? (I remember one case where, when I mentioned to my boss I was a bit overwhelmed, her immediate request was for me to create a list of everything I was doing. Hand raised, wave dunking me under.) Well, if you feel like that, Michael Hyatt’s Free to Focus is the body board that can save you and get you to shore every single day. With a sense of accomplishment. Hyatt’s book is the right combination of facts, inspiration, and practical advice. Facts that show you why you need to change how you work. Stories and quotes that will inspire you to try. And practical advice on how to. It is a system he had to develop for himself, since: “My problem back then was doing to much-mostly by myself. Later I realized focusing on everything means focusing on nothing.” We are scattered. And drowning. We can stop both from happening. Without going into specifics (that’s what the book is for): “If productivity isn’t fundamentally about improving efficiency and increasing success, then what is the goal? Why should we bother? That brings us to the real objective, and Free to Focus’s underlying foundation: productivity should free you to pursue what’s most important to you. The goal, the true objective of productivity, should be freedom...” Not just trying to squeeze more work in. Not measuring success on success. Instead, focusing on what is important. To you. True success will follow. I received a pre-release electronic copy to review, but I was so impressed I pre-ordered hardcover copies for boss and myself. (Don’t tell him, it’s a surprise.) I will be getting more coworkers copies and discussing it with my peers and my team. It’s that good. As an avid user of Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner, it didn’t surprise me his book would be so useful, and it has encouraged me to start leveraging the planner more fully. If you are drowning at work, don’t swim harder or raise your hand for help. Grab this body board. Apply its advice. You won’t regret it.
Stan_S 6 months ago
Do you want to be freed to focus? Are you accomplishing all you want to during your day at work or are you so overwhelmed with so many irons in the fire it seems like you never accomplish anything? Does your today begin just like yesterday, with the same set of tasks on your "To Do" list plus a few new ones? Regardless of how you answer those questions for yourself and your current situation, you will be doing yourself, your employer, your family, and friends a favor if you get your copy of Free To Focus today and learn what Michael Hyatt has to share regarding not just getting things done but getting the right things done. You will learn that there are some things you should not be doing that are affecting what you really should be focusing on. Do you have a “Not To Do List”? The title of the book is Free to Focus and if you read and apply the FTF principles, you will be “freed” to focus and will achieve more by doing less. I expect that result for myself as I learn and apply the principles inside. If you are anything like me, you have already read many other books or techniques to become more productive at work. You know what to do but, for some reason, are not doing it. Free To Focus might be just the catalyst you need to get you over that hump between knowing and doing. You might see that one idea that makes the light bulb come on for you. Everyone is different so that light bulb moment is different for all of us. If I had to pick a couple of quotes from the book that stood out to me, it would be these, one from Steve Jobs and one from the author, Michael Hyatt. "I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done." ~ Steve Jobs "Even if we hate saying no, we must understand that every yes inherently contains a no." ~ Michael Hyatt This book will benefit anyone who reads it and applies the proven ideas inside. I give it five stars because I know it can change lives for the better. I hope you get your copy today and become one of those changed lives soon to be freed to focus.
candiRSX 6 months ago
I purchased the Full Focus Planner prior to reading this book. I used it part of the way but not to the fullest potential I would like. The intro videos were helpful. However, not until I read this book did all of it make sense to me. The Free to Focus is more than just productivity. It's able identify the things that you enjoy and help you reach your goals vs things that can be distracting or counterproductive to your goals. One of the biggest things that was a huge realization is if you don't say "no", you're actually saying "no" to something you agreed to. You only have a set time for things. When you commit to too much, something else ends up on the back burner. I also like the idea of rituals. When you're on auto-pilot, you don't have to think about certain tasks because it's part of your routine. Even if you don't get the Full Focus Planner, Michael provides a lot of great tools to help you reach your goals. A lot of reflection can really help one realize one's potential and growth.
CelticAngel 6 months ago
Michael Hyatt’s book title says it all in a nutshell. In this crazy, topsy, turvy world, we crave and need to focus on the things that matter most. With some many distractions, increasing digital notifications taking up our most valuable asset, - time, this book enables us to not only get back on track, but gives us practical tools that will enhance our ability to deliver and our quality of life. The author has a gift for simplifying complexity and breaking it down into bite size pieces that are easy to understand and empowers us with techniques that can be applied again and again. Think of this book as a recipe not just for productivity, but a gift of freedom. If you want to stop feeling overwhelmed, and gain control over your life, then this book is a must read. It’s a keeper!