The Main Areas Of Your LIfe That Need Your Focus
So much has changed in the past few months. We’ve been staying at home and we’ve been practicing social distancing. In fact, if you’re like me, your activities and social interactions don’t look anything like they did 6 months ago.
And, additionally, for many of us that have outside employment, our daily commute to the office has changed from a 30 minutes drive by car to a short walk to a desk in the spare bedroom!
So in the context of all of this, has your focus changed as to what you feel is really important in your life? Have you changed your priorities and changed where you want to focus your attention?
I know I have! I have found, that for the most part, I have 4-5 primary areas that are important to me that truly warrant my attention.
I have realized I want more time with my family and more time for self-care. I want to make sure I walk out the calling of God on my life. I want to have successful outcomes in my place of employment! I want to maintain the important relationships in my life. And, I want to give back part of what I am given.
So, my priorities break down like this:
- First of all, I am a child of God. Of course, this relationship is important to me so I need to spend time in the morning reading, writing, and reflecting on what I am learning.
- Secondly, I’m a wife and a mom. My family is a huge priority to me so I want to give them my full attention especially during non-work hours.
- Next, I am a full-time employee and an employer. My employer, employees, and daily work tasks need my full attention for at least 40 hours per week and usually a lot more. (If you work outside the home, you can probably relate.)
- I am also a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a cousin. Those relationships also need my time and attention. I find, now, that I am feeding those connections through text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, and lots and lots of presents from Amazon! 🙂
- I am also a volunteer. While I am not volunteering like I have in the past. I am still currently involved in a group that helps underprivileged children. They have a few big events throughout the year as well as virtual ongoing meetings and staffings as needed.
- And, lastly, I am a writer. I focus my attention on learning and writing late at night and during snippets of time on the weekends.
So why am I telling you all of this?.
I think that perhaps your life is also crazy busy and that it has become more convoluted during the pandemic also. And that, quite likely, you have had to rethink habits and priorities.
Perhaps you also found that you need to do a better job of segmenting different areas of your life and of scheduling the things that were truly important.
I know that in my own life, prior to the pandemic, I thought that what I needed was to have the perfect work-life balance and I needed to keep all of life’s balls in the air at the same time. I needed to be able to work 80 hours a week and still take care of my family, clean the house, cook the meals, and take care of myself (which didn’t happen by the way) and I needed to have a healthy spiritual life all while engaging in community activities.
It’s almost laughable. I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I tell you that was just was not working!
So, recently, I decided what I need to do is counterbalance all of those things not balance them!
What do I mean by that?
In his book, The One Thing, Gary Keller says
“When you act on (a) priority, you’ll automatically go out of balance, giving more time to one thing over another”.
He says “the magic doesn’t happen when we invest our time in “the middle”, it happens when we invest it in the extremes. That means fully committing to one thing over another, then pivoting back to achieve counterbalance.”In other words, we need to truly do one thing at a time and focus on doing that one thing well.
That’s where I went wrong. I was always trying to do it all at the same time and I oftentimes let various areas bleed over into the other areas which meant some things got my full attention and some things got what was leftover.
Tips for Success
So in light of all of that, I have decided to do a better job of segmenting my life. That means that I focus 100% of my time and attention to my family when it’s family time. I turn off the work phones and shut down the work computer and set aside the paperwork.
In the spiritual area of my life, it means that in the morning when I am listening to YouVersion, I am more fully present and I take note of the specific things that really speak to me.
And, when I’m working, I focus on doing my best and engaging fully in work activities. (This is one area that was never really a problem for me since I tend to be a bit of a workaholic).
The next thing is relationships. I have made a decision to engage more with those that I care about. I have decided to make it a point to schedule quality time for the important people in my life.
And, now that I’m working from home, I am focusing much more on healthy living. It seems much easier to eat healthier and to take walks at night than it did when I was working in an office and I had a long commute!
So back to you.
Throughout his book, Gary Keller has us ask ourselves,
What’s the One Thing we can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
In the context of what we are talking about, what’s the one thing you can do with your family that by doing that one thing everything else will seem easier or unnecessary?
What’s the one thing you can do regarding your spiritual life, right now that by doing that one thing, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
What’s that one thing on the job or in your finances that right now by doing that one thing, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?
What’s the one thing you can do regarding your health that by doing that one thing everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
What’s the one thing you can do regarding your community activities, that by doing that one thing, everything else will be easier and unnecessary?
Take out a piece of paper right now and quickly list the priorities in your life.
Here are my examples. Yours may be the same or different:
- Spiritual growth
- Personal Growth and Self Care
Write beside each area the one thing that you believe you should be focusing on right now in each area that by doing that one thing everything else will be easier and unnecessary
Will you make a decision to join me and focus on those things?
If you will then put up reminders to yourself on your mirror or bulletin board and start today to focus on your list of One Things. We can do it together.
To help you learn more, I recommend reading the two books below that can be found on Amazon. Both will help you learn to put first things first. Both books are classics. And, if you haven’t read them yet, I think you will enjoy them both. .
(I am an affiliate for Amazon so if you purchase anything through my links, I may get a small commission with no extra cost to you.)
I mentioned Gary Keller and his book The One Thing throughout this article. The message of the book really spoke to me at this time in my life.
Amazon says the following about The One Thing by Gary Keller
YOU WANT LESS. You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what’s the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller paychecks, fewer promotions–and lots of stress. AND YOU WANT MORE. You want more productivity from your work. More income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends. NOW YOU CAN HAVE BOTH–LESS AND MORE. In The ONE Thing, you’ll learn to * cut through the clutter * achieve better results in less time * build momentum toward your goal * dial down the stress * overcome that overwhelmed feeling * revive your energy * stay on track * master what matters to you The ONE Thing delivers extraordinary results in every area of your life–work, personal, family, and spiritual. WHAT’S YOUR ONE THING?
I am also a fan of Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First.
Amazon says and I quote,
The Interactive Edition of First Things First is an efficient way to apply Dr. Covey’s tested and validated time management tips while retaining his core message. First Things First: The Interactive Edition will help you:
- Get more done in less time
- Develop and retain rich relationships
- Attain inner peace
- Create balance in your life
- and, put first things first.
That’s definitely sounds like a winning combination to me!
So in review, here is what we have learned:
- Most of us have 4 to 5 significant areas of our lives where we focus most of our attention. Sometimes, however, the lines of those activities start to blur and start impacting and interfering with each other.
- In reality, we all need to counterbalance our priorities and focus our attention on one thing at a time.
- We need to learn to concentrate on the important people and activities in our lives that are and should be our priorities.
- We need to make it a habit to set strong boundaries where they are needed.
- We need to spend a designated amount of time on spiritual things daily at a designated time each day.
- We need to focus our attention on work when it’s time for work.
- We need to allow ourselves time for self-care and to focus our attention on our health. We need to develop healthy meal plans and set up an easy (or grueling) exercise plan, depending on our fitness levels. 🙂
- And, we need to give back to the community where and when we can.
I hope you will join me in this quest..
Tell me in the comments below, what are you focusing on that is truly important?