This 3-minute habit changed my life

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

[Photo: Flickr user XoMEoX]


[P1] It seemed mundane at the beginning. On Monday, April 20, 2015, I opened a new spreadsheet on my laptop. I put the days of the week along the top. I put half hour blocks, from 5 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. along the left side. I began recording what I was doing on this time log: work, sleep, drive to train station, make kids breakfast.

[P2] I kept this up for the next week–168 hours–and archived the log. I opened a new one and kept tracking. I then continued doing this for the next three years.

[P3] I certainly didn’t plan to record more than 1,100 straight days when I began this new habit, but the payoff, compared with the time invested (about three minutes per day) was so large that I saw no reason to stop. Tracking my time has changed how I think about my time. Indeed, knowing exactly where my hours go has helped me, in some moments, feel like I can slow time’s ceaseless ticking.

[P4] To be sure, I wasn’t inefficient before. I work; my husband and I are raising four children. I didn’t think I was going to find vast swaths of hours I didn’t know existed. But my time logs showed me that even in a full life there can still be space. Knowing where the time goes allows you to redeploy time from the mundane to the meaningful, and from the forgettable to the memorable.

FINDING HIDDEN READING TIME
[P5] I saw this in particular with reading. While I love to read, I had been telling myself that reading wasn’t a huge priority during such a “busy” phase of my life. When I started logging my time, my youngest child was just three months old. Everyone knows working moms don’t have time to read, right?

[P6] Except I did read. I read 327 hours that first year, which is almost an hour a day. Unfortunately, I was using that time unintentionally, reading whatever was easiest–usually gossip and fashion magazines that showed up due to the magic of auto-renewal, and a shocking number of online comment sections. Once I knew this time existed, I vowed to use it more mindfully. I began going to the library, and ordering e-books I could read on my phone in little spurts of time. The result is that since I started tracking time, I have read War and Peace. And Moby Dick. And Ulysses. And Kristin Lavransdatter. And 1Q84. And so forth. Knowing I have the time to read like a graduate student is liberating.

[P7] I also realized I spent a lot of time in the car. Since I mostly work out of a home office and don’t have a regular commute, I wasn’t building “time in the car” into my mental model of life. But it was time, and much of it was spent listening to whatever was on the radio. So, as with my reading time, I became more intentional. I delved into the world of podcasts (even starting my own with a friend) and began to listen to music more intentionally. I might spend a week listening to all of an artist’s albums, learning to detect themes.

TIME TRACKING HELPED EASE WORKING PARENT GUILT
[P8] I’d recommend time tracking to anyone prone to parental guilt. I could see that, even with work and travel, I was spending copious quantities of time with my children. Working 40 hours a week, and sleeping about 52 (my rough average), leaves 76 hours for other things. I saw that I did have time to scale up my own personal interests. I joined a choir. I nudged up my running frequency from four times a week to seven.

[P9] Broadly, though, the most important outcome from time tracking has been a sense of abundance. I have always known I have a good, full life. Now I see the evidence, hour after hour. I see stressful times, such as the week before I wrote this when I was on planes three times, with multiple delays, ending up at the wrong Hilton somewhere in Ohio. But I can see that in the same 168 hours, I took the kids to an amusement park. I saw Renoirs and Matisses at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. I ate at one of my favorite restaurants with my husband. I sat on the porch multiple nights watching the sunset.

[P10] Without the time logs, I might be tempted only to remember the flight delays. I might tell myself I was rushed and harried. But with the time logs recording those sunsets, I simply cannot claim that I have no time. This sense of time’s abundance costs a mere three minutes per day. I can’t think of a better investment.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40582720/this-3-minute-habit-changed-my-life

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
mundane (adj) dull and ordinary
e.g. They lead a pretty mundane life.
ceaseless (adj) seeming to never stop : continuous or constant
e.g. his ceaseless complaints
spurt (n) a short period of greatly increased effort, activity, or development
e.g. a spurt of hard work
delve into (v) to search for information about something
e.g. Before the trip, I delved into the history of the city.
harry (v) to ravage, as in war; devastate
e.g. The troops harried the countryside.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. What does the author say about the benefits of time logging?
  3. How do you manage your time? What kind of tools do you use to be more productive?
  4. How important is productivity to you? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

Successful Networking Is All About Having the Right Energy

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

[P1] There are three things that set any business person apart from the rest of the pack.

  • The energy she carries.
  • The situational knowledge she has.
  • How she leverages relationship capital, not only of herself but of others.

[P2] Many young professionals have a shortage of experience or situational knowledge; they also lack a huge network of relationship capital. Having this capital is all a variable of time, nothing else. But, by putting an effort into networking, anyone can accelerate her success.

[P3] This is where the energy that you carry comes into play. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. And one of the best ways to build this asset is to put your energy, intention and attention on networking. Energy makes it, quote-unquote “network,” meaning the energy that you carry is what makes your connections work.

Energetic first steps
[P4] The first step when you have identified an event, a place or a situation where you can network is simply to put yourself into the right frame of mind. First, think of yourself as an equal. You mustn’t think of yourself as separate, inferior or even superior. Don’t fall victim to your ego! Envision yourself on a level playing field.

[P5] If you don’t have the right energy before you step into a networking or connection situation, then you must shift your energy. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve entered a room of my own family where I’ve felt separate, inferior or superior. And it always tends to make situations worse. This is why we must first have our energy aligned and be connected as one. You must feel like you belong, especially if you’re younger and you don’t have many relationships that you can leverage. If you don’t carry the right energy when networking, you will not be very successful.

Bring your value
[P6] When you walk into a room, you want people to feel and know that you provide value, and can be of service. Also that you’re radically humble and can ask for help. I want the energy that I carry to utilize the 100/20 Rule: Everyone who speaks with me or meets me knows that I’m giving much more value than I’m asking for. Networking will be easier if you have a simplified approach to your interactions or connections. Once you have the right energy, make sure you maintain eye contact, smile and always have at least one question to ask.

Second, that emotion
[P7] When formulating your question, remember that people “buy” on emotion for logical reasons. Therefore, it’s a good idea to connect emotionally. Emotion is energy in motion. There are numerous ways to establish an emotional connection from the outset. You can share a passion for a sports team, for the place where you grew up or the community you serve. If you both have children, you can talk about their school activities. Or anything that’s important to you, and in common with the other person. Finally, when networking, be “more interested than interesting.” Simply put: Find out what they know, rather than showing off what you know.

[P8] A key part of networking is making sure you have a simple system in place to keep track of the people you meet. That way you can easily keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection.

[P9] Exchange contact numbers on the spot by having them call your mobile phone with theirs. In the same day you meet them, send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. At home, or in your office, do not file business cards alphabetically. Rather, put them in order of importance — or strongest influence — or in the order of generating most to least ROI. And keep them in plain sight on your desk as a reminder to follow up. Remember when putting together your system: The universe loves simple.

Network and thrive
[P10] When you can effectively connect without the ego’s need of being separate, inferior or superior, you leverage more than just your situational knowledge, you include others’ as well. Not only can your relationship capital, and that of your mentors, help to accelerate your networking (and career) but utilizing the spheres of influence can, too. Most importantly, make a point to connect emotionally, then develop a process or system to continue to connect to those people emotionally. For example, if you connected on both of your kids’ school activities, you can check in once in a while to inquire about their progress. When you effectively connect to others and provide value, you can easily connect to what inspires both of you. If you bring the right energy to your networking and connect to goodness, you’ll exponentially experience more success and happiness.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/315064

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
fall victim to (exp) be hurt, killed, damaged, or destroyed by
e.g. Many streams have fallen victim to the recent drought.
be of service (exp) be available to assist someone
e.g. “Can I be of service to you?”
outset (n) the start or beginning of something
e.g. She set high goals for herself at the outset of her career.
in plain sight (exp) in a place that is clearly visible
e.g. Very important clues are hidden in plain sight.
inquire (v) to ask for information
e.g. When I inquired, they told me she was not here.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. What does the author mean by “relationship capital”? What does “situational knowledge” mean? Explain the terms in your own words.
  3. Do you attend many networking events?
  4. What is the most important thing to remember when you want to build a relationship? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

We’re all getting dumber, says science

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

[Photo: Flickr user Internet Archive Book Images]


[P1] Researchers at Norway’s Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research now have scientific proof of something we’ve long suspected—we’re all getting dumber.

[P2] In their paper, “Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused,” which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg report that IQ scores have been steadily dropping since the 1970s.

[P3] The study consisted of analyzing 730,000 IQ test results gleaned from young men entering Norway’s compulsory military service from 1970 to 2009. They found that scores declined by an average of seven points per generation, a reversal of the so-called “Flynn effect” where IQ was seen to be rising during the first part of the 20th century.

[P4] The decline may be due to environmental factors, but because the researchers couldn’t find consistent trends among families, Bratsberg and Rogeberg discounted factors like parental education, family size, increased immigration, and genetics as significant causes. The more likely culprit is our Cheeto-eating, binge-watching, video game-playing, never-reading lifestyles.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40584777/were-all-getting-dumber-says-science

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
reversal (n) a change to an opposite state, condition, decision, etc.
e.g. Reversal of the decision is unlikely.
glean (v) to gather or collect (something) in a gradual way
e.g. She gleaned her data from various studies.
compulsory (adj) having the power of forcing someone to do something
e.g. a compulsory law
discount (v) to think of (something) as having little importance or value
e.g. You shouldn’t discount [=minimize] the importance of studying.
culprit (n) a person who has committed a crime or done something wrong
e.g. The police eventually located the culprits.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. Compare your generation to your parents’ generation. Are we getting smarter?
  3. Is IQ a good measurement of intelligence? Why do you agree or disagree?
  4. Who is the smartest person you know? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

6 Things Successful People do Before 9 a.m.

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

[P1] What do successful people do differently? For one thing, they typically wake up very early. Long before they hit the office, they’ve been up and active, performing tasks that will set them up for success throughout the day. By waking up early, you can get an edge on the day ahead. You’ll clear your mind and schedule so that you can focus on your work, which can help you reach your goals faster. Curious about how to make the most of your morning? Here are 6 things successful people do before 9 am, and how you can incorporate them into your routine.

1. Get physical
[P2] You’ve probably heard the phrase “healthy body, healthy mind.” It’s important to take care of yourself physically. For most people, early on in the day is the best time to exercise, before the responsibilities of the day kick in. Whether it’s a brisk walk with your dog, an early run or a bike ride, get your body moving. Not only will it make you feel good, but studies have shown that exercise can improve brain function, so it might even make you smarter at work.

2. Eat something
[P2] If you’re a busy person, chances are that eating a healthy breakfast is the last thing on your mind. But in terms of the day’s productivity, skipping breakfast can be a huge mistake. If you don’t eat something, chances are you’ll be hitting a vending machine or gorging on donuts at 10:30 am. How productive will you be, and how clearly will you be thinking at work, after that? If you want to be thinking and working at your best, make time to eat a balanced meal in the morning.

3. Take care of the necessary stuff.
[P3] Picking up the dry cleaning. Walking the dog. Packing school lunches. Everyone has things that they have to do. To get a leg up on the day, get these things out of the way early. When you wake up early, you have time to attend to these quotidian tasks that can take up valuable mind space during the workday. If you get them out of the way, then you can focus solely on work, and your day will be far more effective. It’s a small change that can have a massive impact on your career.

4. Cross off the most annoying to-do list item.
[P4] Everyone procrastinates on one thing or another. Start the day right and get at least one of those hard to tackle tasks off of your to-do list. In the morning, you’re at your most energized and refreshed, and best prepared to take on a difficult task or project. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter it makes you feel for the rest of the day. Not only will you have the sense of accomplishment at having completed that task, but it won’t be looming ahead and causing stress all day.

5. Learn something
[P5] To truly be successful in the long run, you must make a lifelong commitment to learning. There is never a point at which you’ve learned “enough”. Learning keeps the mind elastic and allows you to remain nimble in your work. This is important, as the landscape of every business will change over time.

[P6] Every day, make a point of spending some early AM time learning something. This might be by reading the newspaper, learning a new skill, or it might be by listening to podcasts relevant to your work. It might be a self-imposed study routine on a certain sector of your business. There are many ways to continue educating yourself. You never know what might give you your next great idea.

6. Make a plan.
[P7] The best time to map out your day is in the early morning, before the distractions of the day set in. This is a time to consider your goals for the day and how to prioritize tasks to realize them.

[P8] Be realistic in mapping out your day: don’t set a mile-long to-do list that you’ll never be able to complete, or schedule yourself in such a way that you’ll be running from thing to thing and getting stressed out. Leave some room for breaks. Consider this plan like a road map, as if you’re on a cross-country trip. You have the freedom to veer off course if needed, but the structure of a general plan will help keep your journey on the right path.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/314388

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
brisk (adj) pleasantly cool or cold
e.g. The wind was brisk.
gorge (v) to eat large amounts of food — usually + on
e.g. We gorged on chips and cookies.
get a leg up (exp) To achieve or be in a position of advantage over someone else.
e.g. I’ve been practicing all summer long, and now I’ve finally gotten a leg up on Keith in tennis.
quotidian (adj) ordinary or very common
e.g. quotidian [=everyday] routines
veer off (v) to change direction quickly or suddenly
e.g. The car nearly veered off the road.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. Describe your morning routines. How is your morning routine similar or different from the one described in the article?
  3. Are you a morning bird or a night owl?
  4. How can you become more productive in your life? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

How to use long summer days to boost your productivity

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

[Photo: Bethany Legg/Unsplash]


[P1] In the summertime, the days get longer and–depending on the typical weather where you live–hotter and sunnier, too. Researchers have found links between exposure to bright natural light and enhanced mental alertness, mood, and energy, which means now’s the time for folks in the northern hemisphere to take advantage of a seasonal productivity boost. Your first step is obvious: Go get some sun.

[P2] As sleep researcher Ivy Cheung and her colleagues explained in a 2014 study, “Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and the body.” It’s no surprise that daylight can have physical and mental health benefits considering what we know about what happens to our brains and bodies in its absence. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common form of wintertime depression brought on in part because our brains tend to manufacture less of the happiness-boosting chemical serotonin when we aren’t getting as much sunlight.

[P3] Even very mild SAD can put your brain into “avoidance” or “withdrawal” mode, making it harder to feel motivated to work out, take social risks, and think creatively. It’s for that same reason that summertime, on the flip side, is a great time for making major life and career changes, breaking bad habits, and staying on track with a gym routine. Here are a few other ways to take advantage of the seasonal boost.

TAKE A RISK
[P4] Your brain may feel safer plunging into big, daunting goals in the summertime, particularly those that require taking social risks, meaning that now’s the time for asking someone out on a first date or requesting a promotion. Since daylight tends to boost the cognitive processes that lead more “approach and engage” behaviors–the opposite of what happens in SAD sufferers–these stressful conversations might be a bit easier to tackle.

[P5] If you’ve ever visited or lived in the Pacific Northwest, the San Francisco Bay Area, or the U.K., you know firsthand that people tend to hibernate once the dark and cloudy winter days set in. The further north you go, the higher incidence of SAD sufferers you’ll find, as an early-morning light fix is further delayed. So soak up those summer rays while you can, then get out there and interact with people. Your brain will be better primed to step out of its social comfort zone.

PICK THE WINDOW AT WORK
[P6] If you can, work by a window or even take your work breaks and lunches outdoors, especially in the afternoon when energy and productivity tend to dip. There’s some research to suggest that people who work in offices with natural daylight are more productive and happier than those who toil under artificial lighting. One study found that people who work in windowed offices spent significantly more time (15%) on work-related tasks than those who don’t, and another linked light conditions to how well-rested workers felt and their overall vitality.

[P7] But if you can’t duck outside very often during the workday, you might still be in luck. Some researchers believe that getting even a mild amount of daylight in the evening (for example, on your commute home) can shift the sleep/wake cycle and the body’s regulation of the sleep hormone melatonin. So as a result of the summertime’s later sunsets, you may feel alert until later in the evening. As long as you’re not feeling tired during the day for other reasons, losing a bit of sleep in order to gain a little more productive time might not come with the trade-offs it would in the winter.

RETOOL YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE
[P8] Many people set ambitious exercise goals after New Year’s, trying to whip themselves into shape in the depths of winter. It rarely works. But summer gives you a chance to maximize your mornings since sunrise comes earlier, especially if you make it a point to open your blinds and let yourself wake up naturally, with the sunlight streaming in, to help curb the urge to hit snooze for an hour. If you can push yourself to get to the gym or go for a jog outdoors, you may find it less painful than in the winter, when restricted daylight keeps you feeling sleepy longer into the morning and makes you nod off earlier in the evening, creating natural barriers to exercising before or after work.

[P9] Don’t feel like breaking a sweat? Use this extra morning time for creative time, catch up on emails, meditation, or a combination of each. Or, hey, just grab a cocktail and socialize with some friends or colleagues after work, since it’ll still be light out by 8 p.m. Those bonds count for something, too.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40582988/how-to-use-long-summer-days-to-boost-your-energy-and-productivity

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
withdrawal (n) the physical and mental problems that occur for a period of time after a person stops using an addictive drug
e.g. She experienced symptoms of nicotine withdrawal after she quit smoking.
on the flip side (exp) on the other hand
e.g. While the teachers were happy with the outcome, on the flip side the students were more frustrated than before.
plunge into (v) to start doing (something) with enthusiasm and energy
e.g. It was a big project, so we all just had to plunge in [=dive in] and get started.
toil (v) to work very hard for a long time
e.g. He’s been toiling (away) in his workshop.
duck (v) to leave suddenly and usually without telling anyone that you are leaving
e.g. We ducked out after the first act of the play.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. What are some ways to take advantage of the ‘summertime boost’?
  3. Do you prefer summer or winter? Why?
  4. What are some of your plans for this summer? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

These Are the Most Misspelled Words in Every State

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

Image credit: Google Trends

[P1] Karthik Nemmani, this year’s 14-year-old Scripps National Spelling Bee — crowned Thursday night after correctly spelling “koinonia” — puts us all to shame. But do you know who puts us even more to shame? Us. That’s the takeaway from the 2018 list from Google Trends of what English words, simple words, really, that Google searchers are misspelling the most — broken down by state. Examples?

  • Beautiful: The word most mispelled by residents of Washington, California, Utah, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina and Massachussetts
  • Tomorrow: Montana
  • Chaos: South Dakota
  • Hors D’ Oeuvres: Florida
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: Texas, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Georgia

[P2] Of course, some purists might object to that last, rather obscure, word, culled from Mary Poppins. And at least one complainant on the Google Trends page noted that North Dakota’s most misspelled word, “yacht,” isn’t exactly pertinent to that land-locked state.

[P3] Then there was a smattering of words that might, might, pop up in a business context: One was resume, the most misspelled word in New York, New Jersey and Colorado. Google’s version had no accent, so we’re guessing that the site meant the verb, as in “to start again”; but job applicants should be aware of the difference and recognize that for the noun, two apostrophes over both “e’s” are generally used for the title of the vita.

[P4] There’s sincerely, the most misspelled word in Missouri and Connecticut; cancelled, in Delaware and Oklahoma; and apparel, in West Virginia. All in all, not a bad list. Just remember that apostrophe, people. And, again, if you’re a job applicant, remember to apply to the personnel office and not make things personal.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/314383

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
spelling bee (n) a contest in which competitors are eliminated as they fail to spell a given word correctly
e.g. example
hors d’oeuvres (n) an appetizer served before a meal.
e.g. a tray of assorted hors d’oeuvres
purist (n) a person who has very strong ideas about what is correct or acceptable and who usually opposes changes to traditional methods and practices
e.g. jazz/music purists
cull (v) to select or choose (someone or something) from a group
e.g. She culled the information from newspaper articles.
pertinent (adj) relating to the thing that is being thought about or discussed
e.g. His comments weren’t pertinent (to the discussion).

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. What are some of the words that you commonly misspell?
  3. Find other words with confusing spelling with your tutor.
  4. Does misspelling and grammar mistakes bother you? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

5 Surprising Strategies for Unstoppable Focus

ATTENTION
This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


Article

After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

Image credit: Grace Lackey | The Oracles

[P1] In today’s microwave society—where more data is created in one year than the last 5,000 years—it’s a herculean task to stay focused. Getting distracted may seem innocuous, but the consequences are disastrous over time: lost productivity, falling revenues, and a gnawing ever-present sense of missed opportunities. These overachievers and members of The Oracles share their strategies to sharpen your focus, prolong your concentration, and beat distractions once and for all.

1. Ask if it’s a ‘heck-yes’ opportunity.
[P2] Here’s the trap: The more successful you become, the more shiny opportunities offer themselves to you. These opportunities may be great, but not great for you right now. A great opportunity at the wrong time is just a distraction. Always ask yourself, “Is this a heck-yes opportunity—right now?” Otherwise, default it automatically to “no.” This question keeps you out of the “grey area” where good opportunities become stressful commitments.

[P3] If you don’t have the willpower to say “no” to shiny distractions, form an “advisory board” consisting of two to three friends who know you well, understand your goals, and have a good business mind. Run every opportunity through them for input. This tactic also makes saying “no” easier—you just blame the decision on your “advisory board.” —Chris Harder, philanthropist, coach, founder, and CEO of For the Love of Money

2. Resist ‘doing it all.’
[P4] Remove everything from your life that’s unnecessary or simply a diversion. You’ll be left with a bunch of worthwhile things to accomplish. Now, here’s where most entrepreneurs mess up: They attack everything at once. Soon, they’re overwhelmed from juggling too many things and feel guilty for not giving adequate focus to anything.

[P5] The simple cure? Have a top-priority item. Pick only one thing, the most important thing to accomplish—even if it’s difficult or daunting. Stay focused until you check it off. Then move to the next. —Kenny Rueter, co-founder of Kajabi

3. Find something to obsess about.
[P6] When you find something you love, focus comes naturally. When I started as a civil litigation lawyer, I excelled but hated it. Meanwhile, when friends of friends got into trouble with the law, they insisted I represent them—even though I had no criminal defense experience. I did a great job on each case because I was obsessed with the outcome and cared about my client’s life.

[P7] However, my partner at the time didn’t want me to pursue criminal defense, so I begrudgingly stayed in the civil field. Fortunately, I had another obsession: writing. I wrote kids’ yoga books and about my experiences with cars and racing. I simply wrote because I was obsessed with it, which compensated for my professional discontent.

[P8] Finally, when I started criminal defense full time in 2014, it became difficult to not focus on my cases. Colleagues and mentors said I cared too much about my clients and their cases. Then I came across the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, which advocates this approach. My career has been a beautiful obsession since. —Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm

4. Create a five-step customized strategy.
[P9] Every entrepreneur’s methods for staying laser-focused is unique. I’ve incorporated these strategies for optimal performance.

  • First, make stress your friend. Stress is not your enemy; it’s a valuable tool if you harness its force. Your mental faculties are heightened when you’re pushed against a tough problem or deadline.
  • Second, develop a morning routine. Make it a habit to get up an hour earlier. Start your day with breathing exercises and meditation. Don’t allow the digital world to control the first hour of your day.
  • Third, break your work into 90-minute blocks. Forget the standard 9-to-5 mentality. Learn your body’s natural ultradian rhythms, and then schedule your most important and productive work in time blocks. Take 25-minute breaks at the end of each block.
  • Four, create recharging rituals for your body, emotions, and mind. A body ritual might be a brisk walk. An emotional ritual might be gratitude. A mental ritual might be turning off your phone.
  • Lastly, optimize your sleep. Sleep isn’t a necessary evil or distraction from work; it’s a vital, natural way to recharge. The standard “eight hours per night” is more of a guideline; I sleep six hours per day with a siesta power nap. This biphasic sleep pattern (six hours plus 25 minutes) is my ideal sweet spot. —Nik Halik, angel investor, entrepreneur, astronaut, extreme adventurer, CEO of 5 Day Weekend

5. Create a fierce focus culture.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” — Mark Twain

[P9]In a world that follows the pack, if you want to build something special, fierce focus is not just what you do—it’s how your entire organization must think. This is the only way to avoid the trap of caving into the norm and losing the essence of your core difference. Fierce focus is only achieved across an organization when each person understands their purpose in the organization and then sets clearly defined, measurable goals to achieve that purpose.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/313853

Vocabulary

Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
innocuous (adj) not likely to bother or offend anyone
e.g. He told a few innocuous jokes.
diversion (n) something that takes attention away from what is happening
e.g. He created a diversion while his partner stole her pocketbook.
excel (v) to be or do better than (others)
e.g. She excels everyone else in sports.
advocate (v) to support or argue for (a cause, policy, etc.)
e.g. He advocates traditional teaching methods.
cave into (v) To submit, concede, or yield (to someone or something); to surrender or acknowledge defeat
e.g. Under the threat of a strike, the management caved in and agreed to reinstate annual pay increases for all employees.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. Do you have an activity/opportunity in mind that is not a ‘heck-yes’?
  3. What are you obsessed about?
  4. Is focus something that you care about? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.