What you are creating depends on your attention, like we humans depend on air. This devoted
attention, what I like to call SINGLE DEEP FOCUS, is a basic ingredient for creating something
of value, such as a company, a book, or any other creative work that you may feel called upon
What is SINGLE DEEP FOCUS?
Single deep focus is the ability to focus, for a period of time, without distraction on a single task
that is important and critical to your venture. During this type, you enable and allow your brain,
body and soul to all that it has to offer into this one single task. Some psychologist refer to this
state of being as DEEP WORK, where you may carve out a couple of hours to work devotedly
on something important. Other experts refer to this type of attention as a gateway to FLOW, that
sought-after state in which people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity and total
involvement with the task at hand and life itself.
Sometimes, it’s easier to define something by what it is not. So, the opposite of single deep
focus is distraction. We’ve all experienced distraction, though we may not always admit to
ourselves that we are indeed, totally and utterly, distracted.
Here are some examples that may resonate:
Distraction looks like the employee who decided to work on a pitch deck, while listening
to a telecon on the new client billing procedure, while checking email at 5-minute
intervals. Is this employee going to create an excellent pitch deck?
Distraction looks like the two lovers who agreed to spend time together connecting about
their days and lives – but instead their noses are in their respective phones at the first
beep. Are these two lovers going to feel connected after this time together?
Distraction looks like parents who come home early – only to be on their laptop working
for another 2 hours. Are those children going to feel attuned to during those two hours?
Why does SINGLE DEEP FOCUS work when creating something new?
This type of devoted attention to the important tasks for creating or building a new venture,
brings the following great benefits:
Allows you to prioritize what’s important for your venture
Clarifies what in your life deserves your single, deep focus
Creates a shield, a boundary of protection, from distractions, and most importantly,
Builds intimacy with your venture – in that moment of single deep focus, your venture is
getting you - all of you.
How can you cultivate a SINGLE DEEP FOCUS?
Like meditation, single deep focus is a practice to cultivate, and the following principles may
help you create a container that promotes focus and reaps its benefits.
1. Create A Container
You are in charge of creating the contained that promotes deep focus. As you plan and design
for you cocoon of single deep focus, your goal is to eliminate any and all types of interruptions.
Do not overlook any possible source of interruptions, as sources of interruption are pesky,
irreverent and all knowing. We are usually most aware of external sources of interruptions
(devices, people, noise) and less aware of internal sources of interruption (hunger, need to go to
the bathroom). Here’s my routine at work when I want to enter my single deep focused zone:
turn off my phone ringer, close messaging apps on the computer (like Slack or Skype), close
email, close browser, go to the bathroom, close my door, and begin.
2. Set Your Intention…One Intention
When you set your intention, you clarify on your mind what you are doing during your period of
single deep focus and why. As an example, I may say to myself: “Today, I’ll give single deep
focus for 2 hours to my sales slide deck, because it’s a critical tool for us to win more business.”
I’ll take a piece of paper and write “Sales Slide Deck – 2 hours.” By then, I have controlled my
environment and can now set to focus on what I’m working on, while knowing why this is
deserving of my time.
3. Set a Time Limit
Our attention spans are not limitless, nor are we robots who can work indefinitely without rest or
refuel. Single deep focus is meant to be a temporary state to achieve elevated creativity and
productivity. After the time limit has elapsed, the period of single deep focus is officially over.
Most times, you’ll be ready to get up, move around and allow your eyes and mind to focus on
something else. However, sometimes, you may get so into the task at hand that you may want
to continue focusing – here, I advise to really check in with yourself by asking this question: Can
I continue to produce high-level work at this time, or am I better off picking this back up with
single deep focus tomorrow when my body and brain have had some rest and refuel?
4. Practice Every (Work) Day
Each day, choose one area that will obtain your single deep focus for a period of time. I like to
write it down on a piece of paper so that I create a mini contract with myself to give this area my
full attention for a discrete period of time. The area of deep focus may change from day to day,
but the mind muscles exercised in that period of focus are the same. And daily practice, will
make these muscles toned, strong and beautifully productive.
And finally, a guided meditation to help you set your intention:
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Bring all the energy that may be occupied in activities that
are outside of your body, back into your body.
One more breath, hold it for 4 seconds, and as you breathe out, release any and all remaining
distractions. Here you are; simply, present in this moment.
In this state of relaxation, I’d like you to do a bit of mental scavenging and search for an area
that needs your attention. Perhaps this is a new feature for your software, a new scene you’re
your book, a new type of customer you’d like to attract, or a piece of art you see in your mind
but which doesn’t yet exist in the physical realm.
And now I’d like you to ponder these questions: What would transform for you if you decided to
approach this area with single deep focus? What would happen if today, or tomorrow, you spent
1-2 hours in single deep focus for creativity and production in this area? Can you able to commit
today to one session of single deep focus to investigate what manifests from it? I certainly hope
you can and support you in that commitment.
One more, deep, focused breath to seal in this intention of SINGLE DEEP FOCUS for days and
weeks to come. Open your eyes. And go get it.