4 Things I’m Currently Focusing On

Photo by Mr TT

It has gradually become clear to me that I need to have defined areas of focus. If I don’t, I either become overwhelmed and try to focus on too much, or I focus on nothing and stagnate.

Today, I’d like to talk about 4 of the things that I’m working on right now.

THIS BLOG || I don’t have enormous and/or specific aspirations for myself within this platform just yet, but I do know that it’s something I’ll continue to focus on. I love creating. When I hit publish on a post and send my finished product into the world, I feel proud and so content. I also see this as a unique opportunity to engage with like-minded and maybe even more importantly, NON-like-minded people. Finally, I love having yet another excuse to expand my knowledge base and explore interesting topics.

NOT LETTING THINGS PILE UP || I have a natural tendency to let things pile up over time. These days, I am doing things on a more consistent, little-by-little basis. For example: instead of letting laundry pile up for weeks, I’ve been doing smaller loads once or twice a week. It seems to take less time and more importantly, it takes a lot less energy. Doing 7 loads of laundry on a Saturday or Sunday sucks a lot. Plus, I don’t give myself the chance to build up the task in my mind and turn it into something bigger and more unpleasant than it really is.

READING || I didn’t read enough in 2018 and it really bummed me out. I love reading, but if I don’t make it a priority to do so, I find that it will just slip through the cracks. Well, it’s a priority for me again. I make sure to open up my book at least once a day, usually when I crawl into bed. I won’t get into the joys and benefits of reading, I will just say that I am a happier person when I’m in the middle of a book. [I’m currently reading Dune.]

CONCENTRATION || I’m working on my power of concentration. I knew going in that this would be very difficult and it really is, friends. It truly takes practice. I’ve started small with tasks that take 5 minutes or less. For example: if I set out to brew some coffee or do a quick dusting of the bookshelves, I will do that and only that; I won’t pick up my phone in the middle of it and start scrolling through Instagram. Once I feel I’ve mastered this level, I’ll move up.

Of course there are many other things (e.g. my wedding in September!) that have my focus at the moment, but these 4 have had the most significant impact on my happiness and mental health as of late.

Normally I don’t like to preach, but do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes to define some of your areas of focus. I promise, it will help you immensely.


Managing my time on weeknights ( + 3 tips ).

One big [entirely self-imposed] obstacle on the road to positive change has been my tendency to let time slip away from me. Today I want to talk about 2 ways this happens, specifically during the week, and how I’ve been trying to fix it.

Historically, my evenings looked a bit like this: I’d get home from work and sit down for a while (problem #1) before making and eating dinner, and then I’d just relax and watch TV (problem #2), and before I knew it… it was 10PM and I’d be tired and basically useless, and bedtime was upon me.

Problem #1: Sitting down when I get home from work. It took a while but I eventually came to terms with that fact that doing this is bad for me. It takes a long time and a lot of willpower for me to get up again once I’ve succumbed to the couch. 20 minutes will fly by as I sit and dinner has yet to be started. I know I am not alone here; I’ve spoken to others like me.

My solution: I keep moving once I’m in the door and I don’t stop until it’s time to eat dinner. I’m already walking, so why break that bit of momentum I have? I put away my stuff, pet Morty (my cat) for a few minutes, and get working on something. Usually it’s emptying the dishwasher and starting on dinner. Making this tiny change has not been difficult and it has had a great impact.

Problem #2: TV, my ultimate time-sucker. I have to control my TV intake during the week or it will surely control me. If it goes on before I’ve started my after-dinner tasks, I’m in trouble. I will just want to stay glued to it and before I know it, 3 hours have passed.

My solution: Now, on most days, the TV stays off ’til around 7:30 or 8PM. I’ve also instituted “No TV Tuesdays.” By doing these things, I’ve freed up a few hours each week to focus on more worthwhile things. (I’m waayyy behind on so many shows now which totally sucks from a TV lover’s standpoint, but at least I’m being a more productive adult, right?)

Another (and probably my favorite) thing I like to do is set timers for anything and everything. It works as a call-to-action for me and I kinda enjoy racing the clock. Also, knowing there’s a limit keeps me from totally resenting the task at hand because I know there’s an end in sight. If I need to dust, for example (important when you have a cat), I’ll set a 10-20 minute timer and then go be a dustin’ fool. And BONUS: I’ve usually built up so much momentum by the time the alarm sounds that I’ll just continue for a while or I’ll easily move on to something else.

These are small changes but over the course of a couple months, they have totally made a difference. It no longer feels like time is constantly disappearing from me, and I consider that a very big win.