How to Stay Focused

Apr 28, 2020

“Give yourself permission to do new things even though they’re uncomfortable, even though you might fail, even though you might not do it just right. Go ahead and do it anyway.”

Learn three specific things you can do to maintain constant focus and live effectively.

Hear about two of Joshua’s greatest fears and how he overcame them.

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“You’re going to become somebody better. You’re going to experience life at a different level, you’ll have the joy of being in the battle”.

Full Transcript

So how do you get things done? 

I find that it’s particularly difficult to stay focused and to get things done when there’s a crisis, when there are challenges. 

Like, “Oh!” If I get onto my computer in the morning, and I check the news, and I start getting all wired up about all the different things that are going on in the world, I find that it’s so easy for me to just lose track of minutes, hours, the entire day. 

So in the middle of this crisis, and in the middle of you reaching for new things –  

Because this is the other thing that happens to me, and I don’t know if this happens to you, but this happens to me when I’m looking at doing new ventures, new processes, new programs – 

I get really caught up in the minutiae and the details of trying to figure out, well, what’s the next step, and how do I do it, and not being sure of myself, and having those self-doubts and some of the frustrations about doing a whole new thing. 

How do you do it? 

So my question today is, how to accomplish things, stay focused and get the jobs done, the task and the project’s done that you need to do in order to create the lifestyle of your dreams? 

It’s a really big question because if we’re not careful, then days and then weeks and months and years can go by, and we’re not any closer to achieving our dreams and to having our hopes fulfilled and to accomplishing what we need to accomplish. 

So in the middle of all that, how do we rise up? How do we achieve? 

How do we become somebody better, somebody brighter, somebody bigger than we are right now today? 

So I want to talk today about three specific things you can do to stay focused and to be effective and to get closer every single day to your hopes, your goals, your dreams, and your ambitions. 

And in saying that, I recognize that you’re probably doing your best right now, and I’m just going to invite you to do a little bit better than your best, to grow and to become an even better version of yourself because of the crisis. Sometimes crisis provides a motivation for us to achieve more, become more, and do more, and that’s what I want for you as I want you to have that better lifestyle. 

Now just to be clear, my name is Joshua Boswell. I’m the founder of Copywriter Marketer and I’ve had the opportunity to coach with thousands and thousands of writers just like you, helping you turn your dream of writing into an amazing dream lifestyle. 

I’ve been blessed to write the number one best-selling program on helping writers to achieve their goals and to get clients and to make money, and I want to share with you today again three specific things that you can do right now, three perspectives that you can have right now in your life, to get closer to your dreams of living that great lifestyle. 

These are things that have been enormously helpful for me, and I’m telling you what, I am the king of shiny object syndrome. I am the king of distraction. I’m a king of living in the moment and forgetting all about all my big dreams and goals and hopes and aspirations. 

So I want to share with you some things that I’ve had to do to achieve anything in my life, instead of just sitting around and playing with my children, and working out here in this beautiful yard that I’ve gotten and doing stuff that’s really fun, but not actually getting me closer to my dreams and goals, and doing it in a way so that I can in addition to being effective, have time, have the energy to actually achieve the lifestyle that I wanted to have, my dreams and goals fulfilled. 

Okay, so let’s look at three specific things that you can do right now today and some of these will be action things, some of these ways that you think. 

So very first one, here we go. The first one is something that I learned from the Frizz. 

Who’s the Frizz? If you’ve ever watched The Magic School Bus, if you’ve got children, or maybe when you were little you watched The Magic School Bus, you’ll remember Frizz, Mrs.Frizzle. 

She’s the teacher and she has an expression that I love, that’s been so valuable for me for I don’t know, since my children were little, and I was watching the Frizz with them and learning all the great lessons, probably learning more than they did.  

But she would always tell her students in the Magic School Bus she would say, “You’ve got to get messy and make mistakes.”

And the number one thing that I want to share with you in terms of staying focused and achieving your hopes, and your goals, and your dreams is allowing yourself permission to make mistakes. 

This is a huge one for me because, see, a lot of times I fail to take action because I’m so worried that I’m going to make a mistake. I’m so worried that it’s not going to be just right. I’m so worried that I’m going to be embarrassed by the results of the outcome. 

I’m so stressed and concerned that maybe people will think that I’m weird or different or that I should be this pro and this star and I should be knowing how to do this stuff better. 

And so a lot of times I didn’t make that video. I didn’t write that letter. I didn’t do that promotion. I didn’t contact that client because I was so afraid of doing it wrong. 

And what I want to encourage you to do is…. and by the way, when I had that fear and I had that concern inside me like, “Oh I’m going to do this wrong”, when I had that concern, what ended up happening was I didn’t take action and I didn’t get the results that I wanted and I ended up doing what I affectionately call buffering. 

So I ended up buffering in the sense of I don’t know and sit around and watch another movie or go play with the kids or fiddle around on social media. 

I would do stuff that was not producing the results that I wanted but was chewing up a ton of my time, and then I would make up things like, “Oh, I’m so busy. I’m so stressed out. I couldn’t do this.” 

And really what was happening there is I was just worried about making mistakes and getting messy, and I was worried about looking like you know and being embarrassed or being rejected. 

And the very first thing that you can do to be productive in your life is be willing to make mistakes and to get messy and just go for it. Just try it and just recognize that you will do things that aren’t perfect but that is okay. 

It’s fine because you’re going to learn a great experience from it. You’re going to become somebody better. You’re going to experience life at a different level, then you’ll have the joy of being in the battle. You’ll have the joy of trying and doing your best and making, you know, the old college effort out of it. 

So get messy and make mistakes. That’s the very first thing. Give yourself permission to do new things even though they’re uncomfortable, even though you might fail, even though you might not do it just right. 

Go ahead and do it anyway. Just do it anyway. That’s my first suggestion for you. Get messy and make mistakes.


The second suggestion that I’ve got for you has had a huge impact. It was something that really crystallized in my brain a number of years ago when we went on a cruise together as a family. 

Here’s what happened. Of course, you get on this cruise ship and there’s all kinds of stuff. There’s an ice skating rink, and there’s little go-kart things, and there’s bungee things you can jump up and down on, and of course at the back of the ship is a great big beautiful fabulous rock climbing wall. 

Now, I say all that facetiously because if you grab the ladder – I mean I’m up on my deck right now and I don’t know, it’s like 15 feet or so, 20 feet down to the bottom here – and if you grab the ladder and stuck it up on there, I’d be nervous climbing up that ladder. 

I’m just not a big fan of heights. And here’s this rock climbing wall on the back of the deck and it looks like it’s hanging out over the ocean. 

So, of course if you fall, then all the support wires are going to break and you’re going to plunge down into the water and then the sharks are going to eat you and you’ll die a miserable death somewhere out in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. I mean, that’s what was going through my mind when I saw this rock climbing wall on the back end.

And you know exactly, my children at the time, what was the very first thing they wanted to do? Well, they wanted to go climb on the rock climbing wall of course. 

And so I go over there so I can take pictures and be a good daddy. And we go over there and Esther gets on her gear, and then Joshua gets on his gear, and Hyrum gets on his gear, and they shinny on up and they climb up there and they’re so excited and they ring the bell. You go up, I don’t know, it was like 40 or 50 feet up and they go up there and they ring the bell and then they lay back down and they’re so excited. 

Then they did all that and then they came running over me like, “Daddy, daddy, daddy! You should climb the wall.” 

And I’m like “No, that’s all right. I got a lot of cute pictures, click, click, click, lots of cute pictures. I’m not climbing the wall.” 

“No, daddy, please! We want to see you climb the wall. We climbed the wall. You should climb the wall!” 

And my number one objective in life is to be the world’s greatest husband and the world’s greatest father. 

And so here I was staring at these children who wanted me to be a hero to them and wanted to have the enthusiasm and the excitement of watching their daddy climb and conquer this wall. 

So I overcame my fear of heights. I strapped into that harness. I put that helmet on. I snapped onto that guide rope, and then I walked over to them, look up, and I see the bell up there. There’s the bell and like, “Okay, that’s my objective.” But I couldn’t look up there because it looks like it’s 10,000 feet up in the air and I’m already starting to feel nauseous. 

And so what I did is I looked right straight in front of me and there, lo and behold was a handhold. And so I said, “Boswell, just put your hand on the grip. That’s all you have to do.” 

So I put my hand on the little handle and then I look down. And sure enough, would you believe it? Right there, right down on there was a foothold, like all you got to do is just put your foot on that hold. 

And so I did, and so there I am and I looked up about an inch above me and there was another handhold. And so I put my other hand right up there, and then I look down and there’s another one, just stand up. 

And so I just stood up on this foothold and put that one on there just a couple inches up. And then over here, here’s another one, and then there’s another one, and then there’s another one, and then there’s another one. 

And all I did is I focus just a few inches ahead of me, step-by-step, grip by grip, hand by hand until finally, you know it, I’m looking straight at the bell. 

And I’m like, “Yeah!” So I ring the bell ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! And I’m super excited and I’m sitting there and I’m all excited. I’m having this victory party up there 50 feet up in the air on the back of this cruise ship and I’m so happy. 

And then the guy says, “Now let go.” And I look down like, “I ain’t letting go, no way.” He said, “Just let go. The line’s weighted. They’ll automatically catch you. Just let go.” Like, “I’m not letting go!” 

So anyway, eventually obviously I did get down but man, the key to that whole thing was this next step that I’m going to recommend to you right now and that is, take micro-steps.

You see, so many times what happens in my life and maybe this is true for you, I don’t know, but so many times what it is, I’ll come into my office and I’ll make a list of like, “Oh, what do I need to get done today?” 

And I’ll put out and I’ll list all of this stuff and there’s all these projects and there’s all these to-dos and there’s a big long list of, “You need to get this done. You need to do that. This is important here and that’s important there.” 

And I have all these things there, and as I look at that I go into complete and total overwhelm. I think I can’t get all that stuff done today. I’m not even sure that I know how to do some of that stuff. 

And it was the same way when I started into my writing business. If you recall from my stories, I was making telemarketing calls. I was cold calling. 

And so I pick up the phone and I call and I dial, I call and I dial, and I did that thousands and thousands of times. 

But when I first started, it was so overwhelming to me to think about making a call, going through the negotiating process, having the conversations, doing all this. It was just too overwhelming, and so I broke it down into micro-steps. 

I said, “Okay, first just do what you know how to do. Can you dial?” No, “First of all, can you find a phone number? I can find a phone number. That’s not very scary.” 

Number two, “Can you dial a phone number? I can dial a phone number, dialed lots of phone numbers. 

Number three, can you say hello, my name is Joshua Boswell? Can you do that? Yes, I can do that. Can you then ask for someone – Hi, is Bob there? Yes, you can ask for somebody.” So I went and I broke the whole process down in these tiny little steps. 

Now you think I’m being facetious and that I’m like kidding. I’m really not. Literally, on my checklist for a day in the beginning days was, “Find phone number, dial phone number”. 

And I went through a number of things where literally I found a bunch of numbers, I dialed a bunch of numbers and then I just hang up because I was too scared to go to the next step. 

But eventually, I was like, “Hi, Joshua Boswell here, is Bob there?” And then I went to that and they would be like, “Yeah, this is Bob,” and then hang up. 

I literally burned through hundreds of calls doing that. I’m happy and giddy. I went through this because I needed to take these micro-steps. 

If you’re avoiding distractions and you’re trying to get things done, one of the most powerful things that you could do is break your projects down into tasks and your task down into micro-steps. 

And if you’ll just break it down into things that are comfortable, reasonable, and accomplishable, you’ll find that it’s not hard to avoid getting distracted. 

Because here’s the other reason why we get distracted. We feel overwhelmed and we don’t feel up to the task of doing what’s in front of us. 

We’re not sure how to do it all, and so we delay doing it and postpone it and set it aside and we buffer and we watch Netflix and look at our phones and we check our messages because we’re avoiding doing the thing that’s way outside of our comfort zone. 

So don’t do it, break it down to a micro-step so that it’s inside of your comfort zone, and you feel clear and comfortable about the task at hand. 

So that’s my second set, my second suggestion for you in terms of avoiding distractions and getting things done. Break it down into micro-steps. Look at one little handhold right in front of you. Figure out how to dial that phone number. Whatever that is for you, it’ll help you to stay focused and do the things that need to get done. 

Okay, last suggestion that I’ve got here for you today, last action that you can take. 

I grew up in a world where I thought that Boswell was synonymous with loser. I didn’t know anything that had been done in my family that had been magnanimous and fabulous. And this is just early childhood teenage stupidity. Of course, there were amazing things that happened in my family and in my family line, I just didn’t know it. 

One day I went to this little town in Illinois called Nauvoo. And if you know anything about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you’ll know that Nauvoo plays this central role of where a lot of early members of the church gathered together, and a lot of them sacrificed a lot of stuff and went through a lot of persecution. 

And then they packed up into wagons and then they went west. And they were some of those early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were some of the early pioneers in American history. 

So Salt Lake City and St.George and San Diego and San Francisco and a bunch of towns in Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno, all of these were areas that were originally either initiated and colonized by members of our church, or were some of the first settlers there who helped to build it up and expand it. 

Same thing with Arizona. Snowflake and Taylor and Phoenix and Mesa, all these different areas were these colonies that were pioneer colonies of some of my early ancestors. 

Well anyway, I was in Nauvoo, and in one of the buildings in Nauvoo, they had a registry of people who had lived their own land there and then had traveled with Brigham Young and some of the early pioneers and literally forged trails across the country. 

No roads. No bridges. No Walmarts. Nothing was out there. And they had just done amazing superhuman feats and accomplishments, just incredible stuff in all of human history. 

And I’m flipping through this book I’m looking like, “Hmm, I wonder if like anybody that I know is in here.” And so I turned to the Boswell section and bam! There it was, Abraham Boswell, my fifth great-grandfather. There he was, and he was one of these early amazing settlers and pioneers and he, I’ve later learned, essentially did amazing stuff.

And when I read that, I had two Impressions. The first impression was, “Holy cow! I come from great stock.” 

Now this is not my suggestion, just my action, but you should learn your history because I bet you come from great stock too. There’s something amazing that’s happened in your family history that you should learn about. 

Okay, that’s a side note. But that’s the first thing and then like, “Oh, there is this blood, this greatness that’s running through my veins and man, I should take more pride in who I am and not think of myself as a loser.” 

But the second thing that I thought of as I thought about Abraham Boswell and Paul Gourley, another of these great pioneers, and their wives and families that trekked across the United States. And I thought of the experience that they must have had. 

No roads. No bridges. No convenience stores. No food supplies. No nothing. They just boom, they trailed. 

And I thought, “Thank heavens I am not that person because I would not do well. I don’t think I would do well in that environment.” And I thought, “Thank God that I live in a day and age where there are roads, where there’s airplanes, trains, modern cars, transportation.”  

I’ve been across this country dozens of times, from one end to the other, from top to bottom in our motor home and airplanes and our cars and I’ve never once worried about food supplies or water or bridges or safety or any of that kind of stuff. 

And I said, “Thank heavens that I am in a place where I can run on proven paths, established transportation systems, and I don’t have to go out and create it myself.” 

Now, what does this have to do with you staying focused and actually getting stuff done? 

You see a lot of times, what happens is we make this effort. We think we’re going to start something new and so we try to be the pioneer, we try to be the Paul Gourleys and the Abraham Boswells of the world. 

And my suggestion to you is this, follow proven paths, use proven paths. You see everything you’re trying to do in business, everything you’re trying to do in your personal life, everything you’re trying to do with your writing and your writing career, all of that stuff, every ounce of that, it’s already been done by somebody before. 

There are systems. There are processes. There are formulas. There’s templates. There’s structure there that’s already in place. 

You just have to get in the car and go. You just gotta jump on the airplane and fly. You just have to move forward using the systems. 

And so many times we say things like, “Well, I don’t have money for that.” Where you buy this system you say, “Oh, I don’t have time to follow it.” Where you start doing and say, “Well, it just doesn’t work for me.” And my suggestion is that you use the proven paths. 

So many times distractions are simply us trying to make up new systems. We’re trying to be pioneers. We’re trying to build the roads. We’re trying to build the bridges. We’re trying to figure out the new systems and there’s no reason for it. It’s already all there. 

So whatever your goal, dream or aspiration you’re trying to accomplish, writing a book, building a business, finding clients, having a great marriage, wonderful parenting skills, I don’t care what it is, somebody has already done it and so just find proven systems. 

I’m a proven system sort of guy. I love jumping on a path that’s proven and is well established and just going as fast as I can, because I’m not in this for the innovation. I’m not in this for the glory of doing something new or great. 

I’m in this for my lifestyle. I’m in this for my success. I’m in this for my family. I’m in this for my God. I’m in this for myself. I’m in this to have the end results and the end product not to build out the systems. 

So even all this stuff that I work with you on and teach you on, the truth is, in one way or another, I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. 

I’ve learned this stuff from other people and then throw my own application and now I’m sharing it with you. 

So these are my three suggestions on staying focused and getting a lot of stuff done and being super productive. 

So number one –  where’s my little number one here? Number one, be willing to get messy and make mistakes. Give yourself permission to just get in there and do it. 

Number two, take micro-steps. Be willing to break this down into things that are comfortable for you and that are reasonable for you to accomplish so you can celebrate the victories. 

And number three, use proven systems and patterns. 

And if you’ll do those things, it’ll help your brain stay in the gear, and you’ll have the logistical processes you need to actually get stuff done and to achieve your goals and your dreams. Sound good? 

So your assignment, here’s my invitation to you. Think about where you might have some fears or anxieties about doing new things and being embarrassed or not doing them just right, and give yourself permission to say, “Oh there’s no right and wrong here, there’s just learning experiences.” And give yourself permission to learn. 

Number two, take all your big projects, all your big task lists, all your stuff that you’re doing, break it down into micro-steps that you can accomplish. 

Generally, my rule of thumb is I like to break things down in something that can be accomplished in anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. If I can get it done in 15 to 40 minutes, it’s pretty good. I can do that. 


And number three, use proven paths. Look at what you’re trying to do and say, “Hey does somebody already have a system for this? Does Joshua have a system for this? Can I buy into that or can I learn from them or can I mentor with them? And can I just use proven paths and proven systems that are already in place?” And that’s my encouragement for you. 

And if you do that, you’ll find it’s a lot harder to be distracted, a lot easier to stay focused and it’s a lot easier to get stuff done that you need to get done in your life. Sound good? 

Okay go out there and get them. Talk to you soon. Bye now.


Joshua T. Boswell

Founder & CEO of Copywriter Marketer

He’s been the personal copywriter and business trainer for startup founders, authors, 
public speakers, entrepreneurs and over 5,000 clients around the world. His techniques have been show to dramatically improve career success, work quality, copywriting tactics, marketing skills, income and even overall life and relationships! Now Joshua Boswell can be YOUR virtual coach!

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