This framework is the lesson that took 10 years to drill through my thick skull.

It’s a way of looking past all of the different productivity systems and tools and tricks in order to see the thing that really helps you get more done. It’s not a new system, it’s not a new app, and it’s not reading another book.

It’s a mindset shift. 

We already talked about the swarm of tasks most of us spend our daily lives living in…

The reason this swarm feels so overwhelming is that our brains have no way of prioritizing. 

Everything seems equally important. Vacuum the stairs feels just as urgent as feed our child or write our novel. Hem the curtains carries as much psychological weight as return our sister’s phone call or pay our water bill. Twitter is just as distracting as reading a good book or spending time in conversation with a friend. 

Every task — significant or not — is shouting at you with the same volume level. 

No wonder so many of us are overwhelmed, burned out, or just generally shutting down. 

Okay. So, let’s think of the task level as the basement level of a productivity system.

Most productivity systems teach you to manage and sort and rank all these tasks so that you could knock them off a list one at a time.

The way most systems teach you to do that is by adding layers above the tasks level.

Each one of those layers adds context to the tasks in the basement level, helping sort them into priorities so you can better identify what’s important and what’s not. 

The problem is that most of us live in the lower levels of this pyramid. 

Hopefully we’re rising above the pure Task level to think in terms of Projects, Goals, and Priorities. 

But until we get to the top level of the pyramid — Vision —  we’re still just trying to stuff 20 pounds of bullshit into a 10 pound sack.

That’s because vision acts like a spotlight. 

Imagine a stage, with dozens and dozens of Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats and dancers, each doing their own thing.

The stage is fully illuminated, so you’re not sure where to look — that one’s doing backflips! That one’s spinning plates! That one’s riding a … horse? 

It’s overwhelming to the senses.

But then the stage goes dark except for a single spotlight pointing straight down from the catwalks, illuminating a single performer in the center of the stage.

The rest of the performers haven’t gone anywhere. They might even still be doing backflips and spinning plates and riding horses. 

But they’re no longer distracting.

Your brain has tuned them out, because the spotlight clearly says: 

“This is the important part. Everything else on this stage is just fluff.”

When you’re connected to your vision, it acts exactly like that spotlight to highlight only the most important tasks in the chaos swarm around you.

The curtains still need hemmed. Social media is still having Discourses. But unless hemming the curtains or arguing on Twitter supports your vision, they’re outside the Spotlight.

The Spotlight Framework gives you intense clarity on exactly what you should be doing right now in order to reach your vision. 

When you’re living in a spotlight moment, it’s extremely intense. Incredible, even, like every distraction that used to seem important just… isn’t.  

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.”

Brené Brown

Looking for more clarity? Start the 5-Day Pathfinding Challenge, or read the free Path to Creativity series.

Jessie Kwak

P.S. If you enjoyed this article and can think of any friends who also need to hear this message, it would mean the world to me if you shared it. ❤️ Jessie