I don’t know about you, but I am severely lacking focus in these fast changing times.
It’s been five months since we began the quarantine life. For me, it’s been a roller coaster of emotion and crazy lack of focus.
Today is the second day back to school for my kids and the thousands of school aged children within our school district. I had been very hopeful and holding my breath if school would actually start without any hiccups. Surprisingly, it went very well except for some delayed bus schedules which I am very grateful for everyone who made it happen – teachers, bus drivers, staff, and our school administrators.
In my mind, I had been planning out the first week of school for at least a month. Playing out what will happen, what I will do first, and how I plan on spending my 4.5 hours of daily freedom. Of course, nothing went as planned apart from writing this blog post and starting a priority list. I had been envisioning these grandiose periods of uninterrupted focus time, thinking I could start ‘catching up’ on all of the work I had set aside and planned to do at some point over the course of the next several months. My focus list of ideas had been expanding at a rate that I was having a hard time putting into motion.
Rather than diving deep into this long awaited and exciting time of deep focus, instead I drank Bloody Mary’s, made after school cookies, and washed all of my floors. Any kind of cerebral focus was out the door.
Over the last five months, I have struggled with my energy/time management and focus.
Not sure why this came as a shock to me, as I had many a-ha moments of the need to slow down and stop trying to do it all. At one time, I considered myself driven, focused, and disciplined. I was attempting to home-school and entertain my kids while trying to develop new strategies and program ideas for my business. I totally fell for the COVID creativity and focus movement, which was hyped to be, this is your time, or channel your best work because you have more time.
WHAT? There was no such thing as more time for me, if anything my focus time had shrunk considerably. I realize time is the same regardless of what is happening in the world. We all have the same 1,440 minutes in a day. I ended up focusing on spending my time trying to be all of these people – home-school teacher – coach – personal trainer – oh and I am supposed to keep the household going. Turns out, I was anything but of all the above. Instead, I was scattered and frustrated.
It was late June and I realized after one of my energy sessions, I was resisting the idea of the power of focus and choosing to do one thing at a time. I literally did everything opposite of what I preach, and I totally sucked at it. When I finally came to the conclusion (which has happened many times since I became a mom) that I simply can’t work and simultaneously be present with the kids, I released the pressure and let it go. As easy as it may sound, this is a challenge for a recovering type a control freak. I want to work. I want to hang out and go on adventures with my kids while I am able. The combination is a total failure…. and that is quite alright. What if I released and let go even a few months prior to this AHA?
What is the lesson here?
My good friend and Shaman always asks this question, what is the lesson? I believe I have several lessons (and reminders).
First, is the need to release the expectation of trying to do it all or have it all. For me it was trying to do it all. I want to do it all and I know that is impossible for me. I wrote a blog post about how work/life balance doesn’t exist here and talked about honoring the seasons of our lives and planning accordingly to our priorities and shifting roles as we move from chapter to chapter in our journey. Yes, I totally wanted to focus on my business and work with clients that want to improve their lives and their thinking, however my number priority is my kids. Period. I made that decision a long time ago and need to be reminded of that from time to time! In my sheer stubbornness, I wanted to continue to serve and work with my clients especially now. While I did not completely stop working, I released the pressure to do both.
The second lesson is the power of focus. One of my favorite quotes, “Energy flows where attention goes” is a reminder that whatever is capturing our attention, we will end up creating the results in our lives. Our thoughts create emotions which is energy moving through our body. When we think, oh I should be working instead of trying to teach my kid subtraction, it is going to create a feeling of frustration. This will drive us to stay rooted in old beliefs and negative feelings.
I am not saying negative emotion is good or bad; it is about what we are thinking that will create our results. It is never the circumstance. So in my case, I was choosing (not deliberately) not to take action and focus on the moment. Instead I was allowing my focus to be all over the place instead of accepting my circumstance as it is and choosing to think about it in a way that serves me. Again, not about being positive or negative, but choosing thoughts that will help me navigate the current situation. When we are clear on what we want, we can focus our efforts on creating results for ourselves and I completely lacked focus.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you get in the mindset of focus:
What are my current priorities?
Why is this important to me?
How serious am I in committing to my priorities (1-10, 10 being ultra committed)?
What results do I want to have?
What is one thing that I am willing to focus on no matter what happens?
Do I need to make any decisions (yes or no’s) that will help me follow through with my decisions?
When can I schedule a block of time in my calendar so I can follow through with my commitment of focusing on ________________?
Don’t underestimate the power of focus and the ability to focus on one thing at a time. The amount of energy expended into that one thing versus five things will give you powerful results in less time. Here’s to more focus in your day and creating results that you love.