BOOK REVIEWS

Free to Focus – Michael Hyatt

hyattMichael Hyatt, Free to Focus (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2019), 250 pp.

The subtitle of Michael Hyatt’s newest book, Free to Focus is a fitting summary of the content – A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less. Readers familiar with Hyatt know that he has created a unique reputation as being a successful businessman who is committed to efficiency and impacting the lives of people.

Free to Focus accomplishes its intended aim as the author unfolds a three-step process which promises a more productive life that achieves more by doing less.

The three step process to productivity includes STOP, CUT, and ACT. Stop is a foundational step that encourages a time of reflection. Readers are urged to formulate a plan: “Productivity should ultimately give you back more time, not require more of you.” Hyatt borrows Stephen Covey’s popular “true north” model, which sets the stage for greater productivity. The author comments, “True productivity is about doing more of what is in your Desire Zone and less of everything else.” Such a strategic move creates margin, which in turn creates personal freedom.

Critical to this process is the step which involves rejuvenation, what Hyatt refers to as “energy flexing.” Rejuvenation, then, involves sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercise, connecting relationally with other people, play, reflecting, and unplugging electronic devices. Hyatt adds,

Amazing things happen when we Stop. We create space to Formulate, to get a clear picture of where we want to go and what we want our lives to become. We take the time to Evaluate, understanding exactly where we are and what our current situation looks like. And we make the time to Rejuvenate, investing in ourselves and our energy reserves through intentional steps forward in our best, health, and relationships.

Step 1, then, is the place to begin for anyone who seeks to become a more productive person.

Cut is the second step, which entails three critical elements. First, eliminate everything that falls outside the Desire Zone. Several practical tips are offered to enable people on the go to “say no” to special requests and projects.

Second, automate involves implementing steps such as self-automation or routines that help build consistency into the ebb and flow of life. Hyatt also includes an emphasis on template automation, which helps create margins and relieve stress in one’s life.

Third, delegate ”boosts well-being by reducing our number of stressful, disliked tasks, and by helping us regain a sense of control over our schedules.” Most people resist delegation but the author insists on implementing it for maximum productivity. Indeed, “to become a master delegate,” writes Hyatt, “you must develop the patience and attentiveness to match the task to the person. When you do, you’ll set yourself up for unbelievable success.

Act is the final step in Free to Focus. The author focuses on three more critical elements. Consolidate helps prioritize one’s weekly calendar. Designate helps priorities tasks. Various tools are offered to make this a reality. Activate is the author’s way of encouraging readers to eliminate distractions and interruptions. His counsel is extremely valuable here and we are bombarded with distractions, especially of the digital variety, throughout the day.

Summary

Free to Focus is a helpful book that makes a solid contribution to the growing number of resources that address personal productivity. Michael Hyatt refers to “free to focus tools,” which can be accessed online and includes several templates that help gain the necessary clarity and disciplines to move toward a more productive life. In the final analysis, Hyatt’s goal to help readers achieve more by doing less is accomplished in spades.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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