I started to use the term Focus work after having read the books The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey and Making ideas happen by Scott Belsky. Both books (and lot of others) emphasize the need to create room in your daily routines for the kind of work that help you reach your long term goals, and not only for the work that put out fires all around you.

Stephen Covey use the term quadrant 2 activities. This is derived from his time managment matrix. The matrix serves as tool where you can classify tasks as either urgent or non-urgent  and important and non-important. The quadrant 2-acitivites are typically important, but not important. That’s the kind of activities you that you really think you “should be doing more”, but never take the time to actually do.

This matrix is neatly presented here.

Scott Belsky writes: “..there is a great tension between the urgent operational items with current projects that arise every day and the more important (but less timely) items that are liable to be perpetually postponed.” (Making Ideas Happen, p 62). Acknowledging this tension is the first step towards making progress on the projects that are really important to you.

I find the the term focus work useful here. It describes a working mode where your work is focused, not interrupted by other input. In order to get something into focus, you need to direct your focus yourself. This tells ut that focus work is proactive in it’s nature, you may choose deliberately what tasks/projects you want to work on during focus work. That’s the kind of tasks that fit into Covey’s quadrant 2, and the kind of tasks Belsky describes as “really important to you.”

What do you think of this term?