There’s too much to do,
You’re drowning in your Inbox…
…What if there was a way out?
Getting there is a matter of practice, building from smaller to larger efforts. Eventually, you know how it all flows together, and you can travel to places you didn’t think were possible.
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- Announcements for Waves of Focus
- The Anchor & Sail Technique – A free PDF describing a simple pen & paper technique for finding and gently guiding focus from scatter
- Letters of a Wandering Mind, an email series describing the difficulties a Wandering Mind often encounters and a way forward
- The Weekly Wind Down, a newsletter on finding meaningful work and play
How many times have you heard:
“You’re so creative. You’re so bright.
Why can’t you get your act together?”
Lists, scheduling, and sticky notes can help for short sprints, but then they fail. Reminders jumping out of the phone every 5 minutes hardly works either.
One thing that may have worked well is deadlines. But they can be both friends and enemies. Deadlines put you on high alert, bringing your sharpest mind to focus. You may even procrastinate to get there. Meanwhile, the stress when you do get there can be tremendous. After all, projects rarely line up nicely with each other, and they can quickly swamp you with far too much to do.
Still, sometimes you make it through! And well, sometimes, you just don’t. Either way, you don’t know how you got there or what you could have done differently.
After all, they don’t know where your mind is, and it’s frustrating whenever they interrupt you. As a kid, the demand to “Clean your room!” never came at the right time either, whether a parent said it or you even said it to yourself. Now that back and forth continues in some form to this day.
Maybe you’ve tried several productivity systems without success. But somewhere you stumble. Too many systems give you a list of tips that you just can’t hold on to. Or they demand that you be just like the authors. Somehow, if you’re not like them, well, then you’re either too rebellious or just out of luck.
Whatever works, it’s going to have to work for you.
Set Yourself up for Success
You don’t have to fight yourself.
Wouldn’t it be great to do that without fighting yourself?
Procrastinating less, getting more done on your own, means that you’ll be able to set your own goals. By being more on top of things, you can even get to the things you want to with less guilt. By knowing that what’s important will get done, you can better get to where you want.
Could you have a “wandering mind”?
Every mind has its own natural rhythms. The waves of thought and feeling are powerful. What if your wandering mind wasn’t a weakness?
Whatever system you build, you need to feel like you. You can’t go about suppressing yourself, especially when you know full well that you can do very well under the right circumstances.
Do you have a “hyperfocus” superpower?
You only have to learn how to wield it. Sailing forward with the elements on your side can make you a force to be reckoned with.
The increasingly computer-dependent world means that so much of your work is on your laptop or phone. Unfortunately, that means that any usual methods of keeping on course are easily broken. There is simply too much to explore and be excited by. Systems you design, apps you set to put up barriers can all be useful, but they can also be defeated.
Now, more than ever, learning how to guide your mind is crucial to finding success.
Start Caring for your Future Self
Getting there is a matter of practice, building from smaller to larger efforts. You start with something small, gradually piecing together how one thing works with the next.
You can start with Waves of Focus. A 9-week course that gives you exercises to get out from under the overloaded lists, chaotic desktops, and a sea of sticky notes to start guiding your powerful and creative mind to where you want it to go.
To be announced
An online course providing you exercises to get out from under the overloaded lists, chaotic desktops, and a sea of sticky notes to start guiding your powerful and creative mind to where you want it to go.
We’ll go in depth on the following concepts…
Raise the Sails
Stay on Course
Message in a Bottle
Messages on a Board
This course is for you if…
Meet Your Instructor
Kourosh Dini, MD
But the fundamentals of a good solid system are sometimes not the issue. Several clients and readers would come to me, despite having put in their best efforts, having collapsed into an exhaustion of messy apps and lists. They felt they were unintelligent or weak.
“Why can’t I just focus?!”
But it wasn’t about the system, and it wasn’t about intelligence.
In fact, working with clients like these directly, I often see these strengths go hand-in-hand with such problems. Instead, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not about being bright or using a particular tool or method.
In working through their systems, from simple to complex, we would often run into several common blocks to getting things on track.
I built this course to bring together the exercises that help a wandering mind not only find focus but to bring their inherent creativity into play.
A New Type of Online Course
In this course, you will have exercises to get out from under the overloaded lists, chaotic desktops, and a sea of sticky notes to start guiding your powerful and creative mind to where you want it to go.
Active Learning, not Passive Watching
We’ll build each component, one at a time. At every step, you’ll be able to engage, bring up what has and hasn’t worked for you, and practice the skills.
Learn with a Cohort of Peers
Throughout the course, you’ll be engaged in a discussion with a group of like-minded individuals, all interested in guiding themselves. Any challenges you are facing are quite likely faced by others willing to find a path forward together. The classroom can provide a unique environment to begin and strengthen a path forward together.
Accountability and Feedback
You’ll have a direct connection over regular meetings where you can report back on your work. One of the useful levers for those with wandering minds is that of accountability. When you have somewhere to report to and a time to be there, you’re that much more likely to engage and make things happen.
The building and exercising nature of the course means that, at any point, you can always pull back to rebuild more fundamental levels. In fact, it needs to happen for any real mastery to occur. Mastery, after all, does not simply go in a straight line. The course lays out building from the fundamentals to advanced tactics so you know exactly where to return and rebuild.
What students are saying about the course
“I wake up happy…”
The course has not only given me a few tools, but has actually given me the means to leverage those tools into a system that will allow me to process what really is almost 50 years worth of accumulated desires that are represented by reams of post-its, papers, notebooks, etc. which I’ve been carrying around in what I’ve just learned that people with ADHD refer to as a “doom box”.
You might think of it as the bag under your bed. My doom box is, in fact, all the undone things that, for what I think of as psychological reasons, I’ve not been able to attend to. And the course has given me, the mechanism, the muscles to develop a system to attend to them, a way to guide myself to attend to them, and then second a system for actually attending to them.
And that’s been, as I say to everyone who asks, a life changer. I wake up happy, and I have not done that for most of my life.
Waves of Focus met several needs for which I had long struggled to find resources. It helped me recognize the subtle emotional dynamics that not infrequently thwarted even my best-laid productivity plans. It helped me approach these challenges from a place of gentle awareness and accountability rather than paralysis, panic, or shame. It taught me concrete techniques to prevent certain familiar problems, and also to respond in the moment when I get stuck despite my best efforts. And it gave me a great sense of encouragement by doing all these things in the company of others with similar strengths and struggles, under the expert guidance of Kourosh.
“After years of trying… I have finally started to improve”
I had never understood why other people could do everything on time in an orderly way, while I was a victim of deadlines and overflowing inbox lists.
Definitely, I have a wandering mind. After years of trying multiple time management methods and applications, I have finally started to improve my productivity thanks to this course. It teaches the basic concepts that can be applied to several systems (from pen and paper to fancy apps). You learn how to decide what to do in the present moment (the anchor technique), principles of organizing, ways to engage in a task and make transitions to other tasks, an easy way to manage daily lists, and how to control your inbox overflow.
Once you understand the concepts, rather than following fixed rules, you start applying your own time management method.
- Juan, from Madrid, Spain
“A really great course!”
I loved the kind and gentle approach and the care of describing what having a wandering mind is like as a description and not a judgement. The philosophy and tools introduced here were and are incredibly helpful. I think about them and use them throughout the day. What struck me with the cohort was what accomplished, brilliant and productive people identified with having a wandering mind and struggled with many of the same things I do. I learned so much from the others in our group. This approach seems like a basic life skill for me that I didn’t get until now. Thank you!
I think everyone with a wandering mind could benefit from your approach to productivity. I find myself wanting to share your ideas with so many people, some from my past (including younger me!) and some from my present.—Beverly
“a wonderful coach.”
I’m grateful for being aided by an incredible–or shall I say very credible–set of skills brought to bear upon a seemingly interminable problem. The skills of a neuroscientist, the skills of a psychoanalyst with the direct insights of a ‘wounded healer’ who knows well the “myopic” condition he speaks of, the skills of a writer who deploys metaphor with precision, and as importantly for me, the practiced skills of a musician … Such mastery is rare to come by. Such combined mastery is what enables..
I have received numerous practical benefits from this engaging and intriguing course in this short span of time.It’s now up to me to ensure that the lessons of the course are practiced –that it becomes a gift that keeps on giving. And now that I understand how to, I know that I shall keep unfurling those sails as and when I choose to. You’re a wonderful coach. The next cohort, should you have one, is already lucky.
“This course does not tell one how to live their life but gives one the tools to figure out how to live with dignity.”
Kourosh, I think you are on to something wonderful. This course does not tell one how to live their life but gives one the tools to figure out how to live with dignity. I needed to figure out how to get myself out of my chaotic existence. You presented the materials with respect to all, no judgements . The class participants were a highly educated group. Which I think indicates how universal this problem of scattered mindlessness is in our modern world. Some of the material was a ah ha moment…I remember that, which reinforced the reasoning behind the course modules. Universal knowledge that just gets lost in the information flow we are overwhelmed with as individuals.
The premise of the class is grounded on presence. How simple but difficult for one to maintain. The course gives one a method on how to get back sane living after losing their way. Having an exact technique to gather up ones ideas, goals and actions is invaluable. The emphasis on being honest with ones self is a important part of this method. After all we all play those mental games with ourselves,
“I loved the course!”
As with most of your work you leave the student to make their own path. My guess is that your background as a psychiatrist leads you to provide information for people to be help themselves rather than you just giveing them the answer you think is the answer.
What People Are Saying about Dini’s Projects
The depth of your work allows me to change how I meet the moment
Thanks so much for all of your work. I used GTD for many years. It was helpful. I then used Mark Forster’s work. It was even more helpful. Then I discovered your work. It is simply transformational; the depth of your work allows me to change how I meet the moment in front of me, as well as create a structure to guide those moments.
It’s changing my relationship with my work
I can’t praise @Kourosh’s Being Productive enough.
Dini’s course takes an approach that lives up to its subtitle, Simple steps to calm focus. This might be expanded to be Simple, yet profound, steps to calm focus. It’s changing my relationship with my work.
…Dini’s course comes across as well thought out and built on foundational research. This makes sense, as Dini has years of medical and other training that enables him to build this foundation.
I would challenge anyone not to be able to pick up any new tips and tricks from this book
What Kourosh has been able to do with this publication, is nothing short of stunning…
…you really can be at ANY skill level to read through this book.
From contexts to projects, perspectives to meta-tasks, I would challenge anyone not to be able to pick up any new tips and tricks from this book.
I always refer to Getting Things Done as my productivity bible and I go back to it regularly to ensure that I still follow the sage advice given within. Well, I’ve now got a second book that deserves to sit alongside GTD and I really cannot give it any higher praise than that.
…you saved my company… and because my life is my job, you probably saved my life.
I do a creative job, but with going freelance I met the struggle of running a business and all duties and responsibilities that come with it. I was totally overwhelmed by all these things I needed to do to keep the business running. I had this moment, when my workflow stopped, I felt frustrated and depressed. I thought about closing my company. I was using the Things app at the time and all the tasks were in one big bag, without contexts, groups, anything. I knew there was this Omnifocus system, but the app seemed too complicated and not legible at first sight. I watched some tutorials—still not excited about Omni. Few days ago I decided that I can’t go like this and I have to switch to Omni and decided to give it one more try. I found your book. Read it in 2 days.
Now I feel like I have been blind and I can see. All these things, personal, business, family, everything is organized, I don’t need to think about a million things to remember. I can focus on designing. I feel really free.
If not for your book, I would never encourage myself to learn Omni, it just feels not intuitive at first contact. You made a huge effort to create this great book. I really feel you saved my company. And because my life is my job, you probably saved my life. From all my heart – thank you. I’m sure I will buy your other book about workflow soon.
Learn with a comprehensive curriculum
The Voyage – An Introduction to the Wandering Mind
A wandering mind is a powerful and creative mind. We’ll orient ourselves to these strengths and consider how we can begin building on them. We’ll outline the ideas and exercises that you’ll be learning and practicing along the way.
The Anchor Technique
Knowing how to stop and start should be easy, right? Not really. And definitely not when you have a powerful creative mind. The playful mind hardly likes being told what to do, whether that’s from someone else or yourself. By using the Anchor Technique, you’ll be better able to make clear decisions as to what you want to start and stop.
Organizing – Pillars & Foundations
Knowing is rarely enough. More than explore the fundamentals of organizing, we need to consider our motivations to do so. We’ll apply the principles of organizing to simple objects, but these foundations will reverberate throughout the rest of the course.
Changing Course – The Lighthouse Technique
Reminders are a great way to create a mess. The number of badges, the sounds they make, and more all create a sea of things, each trying to shout louder than the next one to get your attention. It can be quite easy to brush them off without even realizing you’re doing so. By knowing the principles of the mind’s momentum, you can start creating meaningful guides so that when they appear, you’ll not only see them, but you might even welcome them.
Raising Sails – Engaging & Breaking Barriers
You don’t have to wait for a deadline to do something. Getting into something is not about forcing yourself. Faking deadlines never seems to work anyway. But there are ways to bring yourself to work or play, for that matter, in a way that is genuine. By learning the natural waves of your mind’s ability to engage, you’ll be able to be honest with yourself and still make things that need to happen, happen.
Staying on Course – with Hard Work
Hard work doesn’t have to be a misery. In fact, by knowing how to pay attention to your reactions, you might even find that moment where the work changes from “hard” to “neat puzzle”. When something falls into the right window of challenge, the sails align and you’re often off and flying with the wind.
Distant Voyages – Guiding Your Waves of Focus
Too often, a trail of unfinished projects and ideas can follow in your wake. It can be a struggle to keep track of what you have been doing and what you’d like to get to. Learn to create a structure that lets you keep an honest conversation going between Past, Present, and Future You. Doing so will help you to choose and guide your day and even start traveling further distances, taking on larger and larger projects.
Crafting Messages – Tasks & Lists
Writing something down is more than just getting it off of your mind. Lists become useful when you know you can finish them. Until then, they increasingly become scary accusations of everything you haven’t done. By knowing the phrasings of a task and the limits of a list, you can start finding their power and gain a tremendous advantage in helping something actually get done.
Clearing Decks – Buckets & Overflow
Overflowing lists, unread emails, and more are regular sights for the Wandering Mind. With the skills learned throughout the course, we can now apply methods to begin clearing them and getting powerful tools like an Inbox back into the fold.
Bringing it all together, we’ll review all we’ve learned. We’ll also attempt a settling exercise that incorporates the entire course’s fundamentals.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if this course is for me?
Waves of Focus is not about turning you into someone who looks like they are organized to others. For example, you could do very well with sticky notes. Some may even have a very solid system of creativity and work that involves them. Maybe you find piles of books and papers inspirational. That’s fine, too.
This is more about building the mental muscles to guide and re-guide your focus in a way that is about caring for your natural rhythms of mind. The hope is to reach a sense that you can rely on having what you want in front of you when it is useful and ready to be acted on with only the friction that could be inspirational.
Consider the following to help you decide if this course is for you:
- You’ve been struggling with your attention, constantly fighting yourself rather than finding flow
- Your relationships are burdened by needing to keep you on track
- You find flow but don’t know how you get there
- Your Inbox is constantly flooded
- You get into the flow of something and then lose track of other important commitments
- You fear taking on commitments because you can’t keep promises to yourself
- You’re open-minded about learning in an online class setting
- You’re willing to put in some time and effort to watch the lessons, engage in the class, and practice the exercises
How do I know if this course is not for me?
- You are looking to do more than is actually possible
- You don’t have time to make an effort to improve your attention
- You already have a solid system of work
- You are looking for a replacement for therapy or medication
- You are looking for shortcuts and quick fixes
- You are being forced by someone else to take the class
Will this help me if I have ADHD?
More accurately, have you ever found yourself doing something you didn’t mean to be doing? Have you ever caught yourself doom scrolling for longer than you intended?
Whatever that distinction is—that part of you that says “do this thing!”, and that part of you that says “nope!” and vice versa, that’s the relationship I’m trying to help you with.
Please do note that I will not be functioning as a psychiatrist, physician, or therapist in this course.
Can’t I learn this on my own?
Several powerful systems like Getting Things Done, the Pomodoro Technique, Zen to Done, Don’t Break the Chain, Deep Focus, and more, all promise a depth of focus. And they often deliver. But they depend on an approach that doesn’t take the wandering mind into account.
All of them require several important mental muscles to build. Once you have those muscles, those systems and more can blossom.
Quite likely, you can find these principles on your own. But doing so, piecing together different systems, and designing something that works for you, can take a tremendous amount of time and effort.
What if I’m too busy right now?
I recognize the snideness in the comment, too, but the sentiment is important.
Will you turn this into a book or self-paced course?
Still, having written several books and a self-paced course, I’ve grown quite fond of them. Many readers have been quite happy with them.
I expect changes and adjustments to Waves of Focus as I teach the course. As I bring them into a more solidified shape that lends itself well to a book or self-paced course, I’ll certainly consider it.
How different is this from your books and course?
Being Productive is a self-paced course that takes the user through the individual, foundational steps and habits that shape a solid working system. It is adaptable to just about any other system out there. Many people wrote in to say that they found it transformational and that they refer back to it regularly.
However, there is a subset of people for whom the principles don’t quite take. Their Inbox still overflows, procrastination continues unabated, and it is difficult to even make it through the course itself. Whether creative, with ADHD, anxiety, or otherwise, there is a continued tendency to skip past whatever the intended focus is. Overwhelm and frustration pervade.
In working with clients, one on one, we would try to find where the tires just weren’t connecting with the road. Waves of Focus is the result of those discussions. The years of frustration can build in such a way as to stand in one’s own way and atrophy certain muscles.
While there are several tips and tricks to share, there is a process of exercise that seems to be helpful. More than just a change of perspective, a person needs to be able to practice a care for the Future Self. Waves of Focus is about doing just that in the context of meaningful work.