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a blog by Chris Barrow

Focused or trapped? Why we all need to create more protected thinking time.

This week I’m mostly in The Barrow Bunker, working my way through a substantial list of tasks, projects and research.

One of the better habits I have developed in recent years is to book a 3-day quarterly “retreat”, during which I have a chance to read, listen to and watch business development material that expands my thinking.

In the last 36 hours I’ve exposed myself to:

  1. a talk by Laura Roeder about how she and her husband created the social media management platform and grew it from zero to £3m+ annual revenues in less than 3 years;

  2. a guide to targeted Linkedin marketing;

  3. the Mark Costes Dental Success Institute;

  4. Chris Cardell’s membership site;

  5. Prime Practice – an Australian dental practice management company;

  6. the remarkable work of Jeffrey Davis at

Before the end of the week I want to:

  1. take some online tutorials to improve my skills with Camtasia video creation software;

  2. take a good look around the Kajabi web site and blog and think deeply about developing my online store;

  3. look at potential marathon locations over the next 6 months.

Interspersed with specific project work:

  1. preparation for my September Business Couple’s Retreat;

  2. a further review of slides and handouts for the Practice Plan Tour;

  3. a review of my own sales pipeline;

  4. a review of my sales forecast for the next 6 months;

  5. creation of a long-awaited guide to the perfect morning meeting;

  6. creation of my September newsletter

Add to that the day to day conversations with clients via email and Skype and the motto is “the next dull moment will be the first”.

In his blog “Zen Habits” Leo Babauta describes the power of focusing completely on one task at a time, free from the dilution of multi-tasking and the distraction of web notifications.

What if we made everything we do sacred? What if we decide that if we’re going to spend precious moments of our life on something, we’re going to treat it with reverence, wonder and respect? What if every time we ate something, we gave it our undivided attention? Every time we talk to someone, we treat their words as if they were their last words? What if, every time we open a website, we have only that website open … and treat it as if it were a sacred activity? What if, every time we do anything, we give it not only our full attention, but our full appreciation? We found gratitude and wonder and love in everything we did? If we acted like this, every day, then our lives would be filled with mindfulness, gratitude, happiness.

Here’s something I’ve discovered about myself (and ask you to think about).

I can only focus when I book the time to focus – whether it is 3 days in The Bunker per quarter, a 60-minute uninterrupted morning run (coming up shortly) or an appointment with myself during a busy day to get something done.

We all need to create some zero interruption, 100% focus time if we are to retain our sanity and avoid feeling trapped in the cage of getting things done.

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