Well, this is ironic.
My last post was titled, “Finding Focus in 2014,” and you know what? I’ve successfully done exactly the opposite.
In January, I was absolutely determined to make 2014 the most productive year yet. I wanted to do more of, well, everything. I wanted to read my Bible more, pray more, read books more, write more, blog more, exercise more, practice Tagalog and Spanish more, sing more, play guitar more, travel more, volunteer more…
The list could actually go on and on beyond what I’ve already mentioned. That’s definitely not what I — or anyone else, I’m positively sure — would call “finding focus.” It was an overly ambitious goal, and I think I knew that deep down inside. I kept pushing for it though, and you know what happened? I haven’t gotten much accomplished (especially blogging).
Am I surprised? No.
I am happy to say, though, that I have set systems for some of those focus areas. (Don’t remember the setting systems vs. setting goals discussion? Refresh your memory and read this.) For example, I’ve done my best to stick to a Bible reading plan from YouVersion, I’ve committed to being part of two book clubs (which means I must read at least two books within every one- to two-month period) and I have taken four months’ worth of guitar lessons that include weekly assignments.
Through it all, I’ve arrived at the following four conclusions:
- I need to understand what I can feasibly do with only 24 hours in a day. (Well duh, right?) Otherwise, I end up unrealistically expecting that I can do more than is realistically possible. Which leads to the next point…
- If I run out of time to finish everything, it’s actually okay. You might think this is the wrong attitude to have, but hold your horses. What I’m saying is this: none of these focus areas are bound by time. They aren’t that urgent in the grand scheme of things, and there’s always tomorrow to read the next chapter, begin the next lesson or write the last paragraph. I’d say there’s actually a sound argument for taking things a little more slowly and allowing them to marinate, taking deeper root than they may have otherwise. You with me? (If you still disagree, I’ll allow it…begrudgingly.)
- It’s fine to focus on different things on different days. When I first set out on this journey in January, I made a schedule of how I’d allocate time to each of my focus areas every single day. That was a terrible mistake. (Again, well duh, right?) I shouldn’t feel guilty if I don’t practice guitar every day, for example. If I practice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I should be proud of that — that’s more than I ever would have done if I hadn’t set my mind to it. A little is better than nothing.
- Taking a step back to prioritize tasks should be my utmost priority. I think I do a great job of prioritizing at work. I also do a great job at helping my friends and family put their priorities in order. But prioritizing tasks in my life is the ultimate exercise — I struggle through it and then don’t actually end up with a list of priorities. Whoops. Every time, I simply tell myself, “I’ll do as much as I can whenever and wherever I can, and that’s how I’ll get everything done eventually.” That never ever works. (Last time, well duh, right?) Some people who know me well may argue that I actually do get quite a bit accomplished, but I’d disagree. My self-proclaimed inability to prioritize is utterly inefficient by my standards, and I’m putting an end to that right now.
So there you have it, lovely people. That’s my explanation for why I haven’t written in eight months, an overview of what I have and haven’t accomplished in eight months, and a manifesto for how I’m striving to improve on all of this in months to come.
Mind you, I’m serious this time, so don’t doubt me. You can take my word for it.
As always, leave a comment if you’d like! Would love to hear from you.