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BOOK REVIEW: Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt

My review on the productivity system that changed my life and business

Before I was exposed to Free to Focus, I was a hot mess.

My family and I just moved to a new city and state, I had just started a new business, and the tasks on my to-do list were reaching the 20s and 30s almost every day. To say I was overwhelmed, overworked, and frustrated on a daily basis is an understatement. I had reached the place I said I’d never go again: burnout.

I felt like crap physically, mentally, and emotionally.

All I wanted was to spend more quality time with my family, while building a successful business. And, yes, I wanted to feel great, too. It all seemed like a pipe dream…that it would take some kind of miracle to change my situation (like winning the lottery…LOL).

Time was against me – I never seemed to have enough of it. I felt like I was on my own island…no help in my business (it was just me), meanwhile, I had four other people staring me in my eyes every day, counting on me to be a husband, father, and person who put food on the table.

I was scared to death.

Every day, MULTIPLE times a day, I would ask myself, “How am I going to pull this off?” “I’m destined to screw this up if I keep going like this.” I knew deep down inside I had no control of my life and schedule…everything and everyone around me controlled it.

Until one day, I had reached my breaking point. I had THREE major things I had to get done. But I remember sitting at my desk at 5PM and NONE (yes, NONE) of those three things were done. The sad reality is I needed those three tasks done to be able to collect a check and cover business and personal expenses in two weeks.

What the heck just happened?!

I started my workday at 8AM. What did I do for 9 hours? I’ll tell you what I did.

Answered texts.

Responded to emails.

Picked up the phone when anyone would call.

Stopped and did laundry (ugh!).

I could keep going, but, bottom line, I was doing everything BUT what I needed to do.

Something needed to change, AND FAST.

Too much was at stake – my business, my marriage, my LIVELIHOOD.

A few days after my breakdown, I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed a post about Michael Hyatt’s Free to Focus productivity system.

At first, I snickered because I was like, “I need productivity surgery, not a new system.” I was that cynical. But, then I remembered taking Michael’s Best Year Ever course – and how he had a way of making the goal-setting process simple for me. And how after applying those principles, I had one of the most successful years of my life.

So, naturally, I wondered if Free to Focus could do the same thing.

I said, what the heck. I have nothing to lose. Buy Free to Focus, go all in and see if this works just as well as Best Year Ever.

I was beyond desperate. NOTHING was working for me.

My plan was to do what I do with most books – read the whole thing, then go back through and implement things I liked.

Well, one chapter into Free to Focus I realized my plan wasn’t going to work. This book is written in a way that each chapter builds off one another.

The thing Michael Hyatt does masterfully in this book is that he breaks you in with baby steps, many of which have to do with your mindset towards productivity and success. That’s why I continue to consume, read, and apply Hyatt’s works…he knows his audience and how to get us results.

He knows we’re busy, overwhelmed, and desperately need help. So, the way he breaks things down and then gives us bite-sized chunks of how to apply them speaks directly to us and prevents the overwhelm.

The best part about this book and system – you can implement at your own pace. That’s what carried me to the finish line…I realized I MUST apply these strategies and use the resources if I wanted to see change in my life and business, and the fact that Michael empowered me to do it at my own pace was exactly what I needed in this season of my life. I already had too much on my plate (and the thought of change sucked!).

Fast forward three months after applying every resource found in Free to Focus

I found myself less-rushed throughout the day. I actually felt proud of myself that I had control of my own calendar. I’ll be honest, it was tough saying “no” to a lot of things in order to truly apply the Free to Focus resources, but the short-term pain has led to my long-term gain – in EVERY area of my life.

I’m sleeping better…

I’m more focused during my workday…

I’m less irritable (because, again, I feel as though I have more control of my calendar AND emotions)…

The quality of my work has gone through the roof…AND (and this is my BIGGEST “and”)

My time with my family is now QUALITY time.

Although I still have bad days, they’re less frequent – I’m more intentional and present during my time with my family, and not thinking about work and other things that would pull my attention away from them. As a result, my marriage has deepened and my relationship with my kids has seen a significant uptick. I’m also now able to coach my kids sports teams, and volunteer in the community when I want.

Little did I know that a “productivity” book would transform my life and the way I do business.

The biggest shift that happened to me after applying Free to Focus in my life was this – I realized I COULD have success WHILE being the person I wanted to be…the person I MUST be for my family and clients (i.e. the people counting on me!).

Bottom line, my encouragement to you is this: just open this book with an open mind and commitment to at least try out its tools. If you do, your life and business will change.

The simplicity and practicality of this book was a breath of fresh air. And, BTW, everyone that I’ve shared these strategies with has seen results…some as quickly as 24 hours!

If you’re ready to get out of the rat race and ditch overwhelm and distraction for good, then read the book, do EVERYTHING Michael encourages you to do, and then sit back and watch the results. It’s amazing what happens!

Did you end up buying and reading Free to Focus? If so, drop a comment below about your experience. I’d love to hear about it and cheer you on!

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J.R.'s work is ground-breaking. It goes completely against the grain and helps you think completely outside
the box and communicate. He's a leader. He's one of the best leaders I've ever seen. – Micah McAdams, Leader of Houston H2C Baseball
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