In the few days before and after January 1st, all of social media is a-buzz with “Word of the Year” chatter. Seems everyone who is setting goals is choosing a word of the year. So naturally I started to think of what I wanted my word of the year to be. Oh, I came up with some great ideas but it kept coming back to the same word.
Choosing a Word of the Year – FOCUS.
I need this in my life. I’m desperately in need of focus because frankly, I’m a bit of a mess! Yeah, I’ve got four kids so my time is stretched pretty thin. My daily to-do list varies from blog posts, freelance writing assignments, doctor’s appointments, household budgeting, social media upkeep, grocery shopping and kid’s sports events and practices. On any given day, I might be coloring my hair, rotating 6 loads of laundry, making Pins for Pinterest, sending out emails for my blog, or going to Bible study. And I’ve not told you yet, but I’ve decided to go to night school for a medical career position. I’m still not sure where I’m going to squeeze in the time for all that entails.
But none of this is anything that causes you to blink because I know you’re all in the same position. Isn’t the real deal of being a mom is that we have a hundred things on our plate at any given time? Moms are supposed to do it all, right? I mean, that’s what we’ve always heard.
Multitasking is Life.
Sit around with a group of moms and bring up your schedule for the day. I can almost guarantee you that someone is going to “one up” by sharing their daily routine. There’s going to be a big one in there too, something you can’t even compete with, like a business trip or surgery. It’s going to seem like piling everything you possibly can with as little sleep as you can get by on is the norm. Must be why everyone is like, “But first, coffee”.
In the time that I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been everything except focused. I currently have open my Google Analytics for my blog, I’ve un-followed about a hundred people on Instagram, I’ve followed about a hundred people on Twitter, I’ve scheduled about 50 Pins in my Pinterest account, I’ve entered several online contests, researched two upcoming posts, checked my email dozens of times, updated two other blog posts, read a few articles I searched for on Google and I’ve had several Facebook messenger conversations.
Ahem…where’s the FOCUS and how do I get it?!
My struggle with doing everything is that I try to do it all at the same time. My free time is limited of course. I squeeze in snippets of work during the day while the toddler naps or during an episode of Sesame Street. I check email in the bathroom on my phone so I don’t have to hear my husband complain about me being on social media all the time. I stay up after my family has gone to bed so I can finish a post or send out a blog idea. And of course, I try to do everything at once.
Not possible to do it all at one time, I’m finding. At least it’s not possible to do it very well! It’s not only not getting done, things are sloppy and oft forgotten in my haste to “do it all”. With the upcoming addition of night school taking me out of the house for 6 hours each week and homework on top of that, I know that finding focus NOW is imperative.
Is True Focus Available for Everyone?
I actually find it really really hard to do just one thing by itself. Multitasking!! All moms do that, don’t they? Is it just in my nature to be all over the place? Is true focus even possible?!
But what if all this multitasking means that I’ll never be able to gain the focus I need? Do I really need focus at all or can I continue to just get things done as I have been – willy-nilly, squeezed in work, flitting here and there until it’s completed at the last moment. I’m thinking that I’m going to need an overhaul in my thinking. I’m going to have to make some MAJOR changes in my routine to truly focus.
What Does Focus Mean to Me?
In my eyes, focus means I’ll be able to complete one task at a time to completion. Focus feels like a COMMITMENT. Seeing a single thing done and completed before moving to the next.
I imagine looking through a camera lens, when I depress the shutter slightly and what’s in view becomes crisp and sharp. I can’t see what’s outside the frame, I can only look at what the camera is pointing at. Nothing else matters, only what’s in that small box. Even the background in the shot is blurred. There is laser focus on that single thing and all else fades away.
For me, that means if I’m writing a post, I’m only writing that post. This might mean I wait to write until all other distractions are out of focus (kids in bed, dishes all washed, TV off). And not only am I using my Word of the Year FOCUS on just my work ventures, I’m wanting to improve my life all around. If want focus on my family, my spiritual life, my marriage and my home. Less overlap. Less multitasking. More full completion.
So how does one get FOCUS?
Oh, the million dollar question! How am I going to take a WORD and bring it into fruition? How do I amend what comes naturally to me (multi-tasking) and gain sharp focus instead?
After a Google search, I found these ideas:
- Preparing yourself for the task
- Understanding where you need to focus
- Drink coffee
- Minimize multitasking
- Take a 30 minute break
- Turn on music
- Create a to-do list
- Understand why you lose focus in the first place
- Get organized
- Visualize the results
- Work on a particular project for only 30 minutes at a time
Some of these work for me and some of them don’t. I think that finding things that are the most appropriate for you, things that will help you stick to your goals are what matters. Personally I can see myself really being able to work for 30 minutes on one task before needing a break. Making a to-do is something I already do (I live for checking things off my list!) And knowing how and why I lose focus is important (hello, can you say constant interruption from little people?)
I’m excited to see how my WORD OF THE YEAR is going to help me towards my goals of FOCUS! Share your word or goals for this year.