What does it mean to focus? Focusing seems like an easy concept, but it can feel elusive at times. Especially if you’re easily distracted. As I seem to be much more of these days. So when someone in my blogging group suggested we choose and write about our “one word” for 2018 I knew exactly which word, of all the possibilities, that I would choose. I love this idea and I can’t wait to read about what everyone chose. Look for the links to their posts below. And more on my one word in a bit.
Where did the One Word concept come from? I searched and searched and couldn’t seem to find the originating source of this concept. It’s not a concept really as much as it’s a movement. It’s an idea to move you away from external resolutions such as losing weight or getting in shape, to a more inward reflection of the person you want to be or become. Or to improve upon an area of your character. Focusing on that one word all year long.
Things like kindness, patience, loving. Gracious, joyous, thankful. If it’s an adjective then you can use it as your one word.
There are two sites I found for the One Word movement that still seem to be going strong for 2018. One Word 365 helps you connect with others who’ve chosen your same word. To find your Tribe of people who are like minded and looking to improve in the same area as you. The other is One Little Word by Ali Edwards where you can follow along with monthly subscription-based workshops to help keep you on track, and purchase cute notebooks and stickers to help motivate you.
Whether you choose a simple or fancy method the important thing is that you remain focused on your word of choice. Focus. That’s my word. FOCUS. To focus on focus. But when you have a focus problem already? Is there hope? Can I be successful? Yes, I can do it, I just can’t give up trying.
The dictionary’s definition of Focus is: a center of activity, attraction, or attention, directed attention.
Focus is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I tried the One Word challenge last year but I lost focus on the challenge. Other things grabbed my attention. So much so that I don’t even recall the word I selected. The one word I’d committed to focusing on for the next 12 months. I’m not sure if I even wrote my word down anywhere.
I think I might be safe to focus on focusing. At least the word will be easier for me to remember should I get distracted. At this post we’re 8 days into 2018 and so far I’m doing good 🙂
Focus on the Problem
When you have an attention problem it’s even harder to focus when you do your work online. My part time job is somewhat online, researching vendors for my boss’ new store, checking out their websites, making calls, updating spreadsheets. I’m on the computer 4 hours a day so when something pops into my head it’s too easy to just open another browser tab and “quickly” handle that task.
Oh but it’s never quick, ever. Shiny things and squirrels steal my attention and before I know it I’ve been caught up in things that aren’t work-related. Then I have to extend my work day which cuts down on my blogging time.
Working part time allows me to still contribute to our household expenses and have time to work on blogging. That is until blogging brings in as much as my part time job. So my lack of focus steals time away from working on my blog. And that delays me reaching my goal. Which makes me stressed feeling like I’ll never get there.
When I have less time to spend on my blog, I’m more anxious and less organized. When I’m less organized, I create fewer projects. When I create fewer projects, I have less stuff to share with my awesome readers.
This isn’t a problem unique to me, however. The internet is awesome, there’s so much information at your fingertips. So many opportunities for making a living digitally. But this internet tool I use to blog is quite addicting. Just google it or watch the evening news and there are countless stories about how addictive computer screens have become, and that constant search for new information. And our attention spans are getting shorter. I’m sort of screwed. But I’m not giving up trying.
Allowing my focus to get derailed isn’t an option. I can’t continue to let myself be distracted from what’s important any longer. It’s a vicious circle that’s very counter-productive. Focusing is easy if I have a looming deadline; man can I get some stuff done then. At Christmas I joined several Christmas decor related challenges and was able to get them all done without a problem. It was awesome! If I could just work like that every day… That’s my ultimate goal.
Plan to Focus
Focusing on focus is going to take some work. But I’m always up for a good challenge. A few weeks ago I wrote “FOCUS” on a pink sticky and put it on my monitor. Hubby asked if it was for him, maybe he has a problem too 🙂
Today’ I’m going to clear off my desk (a messy desk equals a creative mind, right?) and create a To Do list of sorts so when something pops into my mind I can jot it down and take care of it later. I’ll do it after my job is done so I can focus only on that task. If I think of something while I’m working on that task I’ll jot it on my list so I can take care of it later.
Being online and blogging is a blessing and a curse. I’ve met tons of wonderful bloggers who understand what I do. I’m in some really great Facebook blogging support groups. They’re all great. But I’m in way too many of those groups. I already turned off all my Facebook alerts on my phone and laptop years ago. But I still see the Facebook notifications (23) (34) (28) (12) depending on the last time I opened it. So I have to click on every. single. one.
Well I don’t really have to, but I have to. Don’t you too? Leaving those notifications unopened is FOMO. Fear of missing out if you’re unfamiliar. But that’s another post entirely 😀
Having thought about this for the last several weeks I have some plans to help me stay focused. And to make better use of the time I have every day:
- I’ll start my day job no later than 9 am, every day. My boss is flexible when I work but having set hours is best.
- Close all my browser tabs except those few I need for my job. Contrary to popular belief (ok just my belief) having 12 open browser tabs isn’t a sign of multi-tasking. It’s the sign of lots of squirrels and shiny things.
- Keep my To Do list and a pen on the desk to jot down ideas and tasks to address later.
- Leave or unfollow Facebook groups to lessen distractions.
This last bullet point might sound odd but I should really have it at the top of the list. It should be the first thing I do every day. Once upon a time I had a great prayer-life. I spent about 30 minutes every morning sitting in my comfy chair reading my Bible and praying. Not praying as much as having a conversation with God. Telling Him what was on my heart and mind and asking for help or guidance for myself and those I love.
Do you want to know a secret? Sometimes I even got distracted while I was praying. I’d start thinking about something else. “Um, seriously, you’re talking to God and you just start thinking about grocery shopping or going to dinner with friends?” Ya that’ll make you feel awkward. It’s like talking to a friend on the phone and sending a text to someone else while they’re talking, and them catching you being distracted, but way worse. It’s OK, if anyone in this world gets you, it’s God. Just pick back up where you left off, He won’t mind 🙂
I know returning to a regular prayer life is the the right thing for me to help me focus. I had so much more peace in my spirit when I prayed regularly like that in the mornings. It’s time to get back to it.
I don’t think I could have chosen a better word for myself. This year I’ll Focus on God through prayer to quiet my spirit. Focus on keeping a regular work schedule so I can Focus more on blogging. Focus on using my To Do Jot It Down list and not follow shiny things and squirrels. Focus on focusing.
Do you struggle with focus or some other area in your life? Join us in our One Word 2018 journey and leave me a comment and let me know what word you’ve chosen.
Be sure to click on the articles below by my friends and see what they chose for One Word 2018!
Inspired Maker’s One Word 2018
Focus on What’s Important | Small Home Soul
One word 2018 and the best of 2017 | Honey and Hydrangea
One Word and Those Pesky Resolutions | Farmhouse Made
One Word 2018 – More | The Purple Hydrangea
My One Word for the New Year | SuziGabs
A Heart to Heart – My One Word | 1915 House