Action Catalyst Blog

The Focus Funnel

The Focus Funnel is our attempt to codify and articulate the unconscious thought process that Multipliers go through when they are evaluating which tasks to spend time on.

They are, of course, governed by the overall litmus test of multiplying time discussed in Procrastinate on Purpose. And in one sentence the way that you multiply time is by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that create more time tomorrow.

Each of the five choices in the Focus Funnel represents a different strategy for multiplying time. That is, that if you execute any of the strategies today, they will create more time for you tomorrow.

Multipliers follow this very simple process when deciding how to invest their time:

First, they ask can I eliminate this? In other words is this task even worth doing?

Second, they ask can I automate this? Because they know that anything they create a process for today will save them time tomorrow.

Next, they say can I delegate this? Because if I invest time today into training someone else how to do the task then moving forward they will be able to complete it for me.

If they cannot eliminate, automate or delegate, then at that point the task drops out the bottom of the funnel and they know that it is a task that must be done and it must be done by them. At that point, there is only one remaining question…

And that is should I do this task now or can it wait until later?

If it must be done now, then that is concentrate which is the corresponding permission to protect. It represents the typical strategies you hear about time management theory such as maintaining focus and eliminating distractions.

However, if the task can wait until later then that is where we are challenging you not to eliminate, automate, or delegate, but to procrastinate on purpose. You don’t procrastinate on it forever but you pop that activity back to the top of the Focus Funnel.

At that point, the task enters into a holding pattern and cycles through the Focus Funnel until eventually one of the other four strategies will be executed.

Multipliers give themselves the emotional permission to spend time on things today that create more time tomorrow. And then they use the Focus Funnel to eliminate, automate, or delegate everything else.

One Response

  1. John says:

    I love this!

    But there’s something I don’t quite understand.

    Let’s say that I can’t eliminate a task but I can automate it.
    Does that mean I have to start automate the task? Or do I have to ask the other questions as well.

    I might be able to automate it AND delegate it (that is the automation of the process).

    Or maybe I can’t delegate it, but it’s not something I have to do now. So I can procrastinate on it.

    I guess that basically my question is: If the answer to any of the questions (can you eliminate, automate, delegate it?) should the task be taken out of the funnel at that step? Or should you complete all questions about the task first?

    Also, let’s say a task that can create more free time tomorrow gets to the latest question: Can the task wait? Can you procrastinate on it? Well, yes because it’s not urgent, even though this is the kind of task that can multiply your time. This is another thing I don’t understand.


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