How have we let ourselves become so easily distracted these days? What is it that derails our thoughts so well that we cannot focus on the things that are most important?
Today, we find it so simple to get lost in things that are really of no value to us. At least not at the moment. For example: You decide one day that you want to try something new for dinner. So where do you go? Pinterest of course! However, once you scroll down a couple times through the recipes, something else catches your eye. “Oh look at that centerpiece! I’ve been wanting to decorate for spring. I’m gonna check that out!” Before you know it, you’ve been sucked into looking at all the amazing photos of centerpieces to find the perfect one. Then, your family comes in asking you when you’ll be starting dinner. You forgot what you were on there for in the first place.
How about shopping? Oh yeah, you know you’re guilty there! We all are. Going to the store, you have this idea in your mind of what you’re going to get and how much you plan to spend. Suddenly, you’ve loaded up a basket and ended up pulling out your credit card at the check out because you didn’t budget for all that extra. It’s a vicious cycle.
This day and time it doesn’t take much at all to run off the rails and create in your mind, a total train wreck. For me, it usually only takes about 5 seconds before I can no longer immediately redirect myself. Between kids, work, writing, house hold chores and all the daily demands, who can stay focused? Not this girl. Oh and we can’t forget the wonderful gravitational pull of social media. Facebook feeds and their drama; Pinterest and all the eye catching magic shared there. We’re pretty much screwed ya’ll. Generally speaking, if we had no self control whatsoever we really would all be completely useless without our ability to focus on what matters.
I’ve found myself lately, scrambling around all over the internet trying to learn every piece of information I can about blogging. What photos to use and how; where to get the most traffic; the best posts to write. My head is spinning in circles. Don’t even get me started on the frustration caused by the over use of abbreviations. What ever happened to writing; “LOL (laugh out loud)” or “SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Is a brief description or explanation too much to ask?
The whole process is exhausting, yet exciting, overwhelming and yet motivating. But, bouncing back and forth between Facebook and Pinterest, this site, that blog page, this engagement post, I am fighting crash mode.
Then it dawned on me.
You have got to prioritize your focus, in order to fully accomplish anything.
I was having a hard time keeping my son occupied long enough to do some more research and get started on a new post. Realizing that it was lunch time, I decided to make some cinnamon rolls. “He can eat, then go lay down for a while and I’ll be golden!” During this time, I began to feel as though I had already processed so much information, that I couldn’t grasp a solid thought. I walked around giving myself a break. Threw in a load of laundry and made myself some hot chocolate. Ten Minutes later, here comes the little one. He’s hungry. You know what I did? I made him some hot dogs. See where this is going? I walked outside to check my plants and when I walked in…
Yep, there they are. Can you guess what we’re not eating? All because my focus shifted into too many different things. My mind had gotten caught up in the chaos of my research that I burnt the stinkin cinnamon rolls. AAHH!
Well, at least I fed him hot dogs. Right?
That’s what life is like these days. For many of us.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is precisely why I try so hard to stay organized. THIS is exactly the reason I chose to use schedules and routines. The very reason I decided to create a blog geared towards helping to simplify the chaos in our lives. When I don’t, something like these burnt cinnamon rolls, happens. Always. My own thinking was that he was the only one of the three kids home today. I could get by with ‘wingin’ it for a day…WRONG.
But, did I get fired up and decide to just quit for the day? Nope, I’m now sitting here, writing to you; the very thing I should have been focused on from the get-go.
I’m not going to try to convince anyone that I’m perfect, have it all figured out and can save us all. Clearly I am FAR from it. So why would I take a chance on humiliating myself to show my readers this flaw? Because I want you to know that you’re not alone and I know that I am not either. So you know, that if one things doesn’t work for you, you’ll know it’s highly likely that it didn’t work for me at one point either. We can do this. We will get through this.
Here is something I’m working on to get myself better focused on my most important priorities, and less “off the rocker” so to speak.
Take a Break:
Before you can even think about shifting your focus where it needs to be, you’re going to have to give it a rest. Take a break, breathe and concentrate first, on clearing your mind. Go, sit back, grab some coffee, a piece of paper if necessary and just “brain dump”. Get rid of any and everything not 100% essential for this moment. (If taking a break is a little too difficult for you, check out my post Rest: One of the Joys of Less.)
- Make a Plan: Having a solid plan really is essential for getting back on track and being able to stay focused. You have to have a plan. After you’ve taken a good break, sit down and decide what is most important and plan for it. If you plan to go on Pinterest to look up a chicken dinner recipe, then set yourself a timer. Give yourself a small time frame for searching, and mean while, write down what you find. Check out my Meal Planning Made Easy. You are finished when that timer goes off. If you don’t have something picked out, go for what you know and try again later. It’s time to move on. Priorities guys. Priorities. Chances are, you’ve got more priorities than just finding something new for dinner.
- Develop a Routine: Think about everything you need to do in a day. What about a week? Can you set certain things on certain days, and plan out the rest at better times? Find something that works best for you and STICK TO IT. They say it only takes 21 days to break a habit or create a new one. Can you hold on for 21 days?
- Know Your Purpose: In whatever you do, there is usually a purpose for it. If you leave the house, you left for a reason. When online, be on it for a good reason. If you have time to just sit back, play some games, skim through your newsfeed and surf, you have time to work on priorities. All too often, we set aside the most important things in life with time wasting JUNK. That’s all it is. Junk. Have a purpose for everything you do. Know your purpose for doing whatever it is you need to, and focus on that. That’s it. Consumption and clutter (in our lives, minds, home), is why I wrote Learn to Live With Less. How will you ever be able to even notice the important stuff, if you’re constantly consumed by things, time takers, and junk?
- Focus: Now that you’ve gone over the rest of these steps, it’s time to train yourself to focus. Get in the habit of doing these things when you feel overwhelmed or become too distracted. Keep your plans, stick to your routines and focus on the MOST IMPORTANT TASK FOR THE MOMENT. Not anything else. Do whatever you can to redirect your attention to where it needs to be.
I am going to work extra hard at keeping myself focused and able to get back on track when needed. Tell me, what is it you get so lost in, that you forget your main priority and focus? Have you ever burnt a meal because you were too distracted? Leave me a comment I’d love your feedback. If you’re interested in the printable lists and schedules I use to keep myself on track, subscribe with your name and email and let me know. I’m happy to share.
I’ll see you soon.