Both my husband and I are entrepreneurs and business owners. In everything that we do, we’re always looking for ways we can give our customers a “win”, something that makes a tangible difference and lets them experience success, even through something small.
Today, that’s what I want for you.
It can be overwhelming to look at the broad scope of your entire life and figure out exactly what it’s going to look like to sharpen your focus and spend your energy on the right things, can’t it?
In my own life, I’m moving away from that desire to overcomplicate things and the previous compulsion I felt to create a ton of super-specific goals in each and every area of my life.
Sure, I was able to make a pretty spreadsheet to chart out the 25-50 mini-goals I was simultaneously trying to work on, but in reality? Achieving all those goals always felt downright impossible, no matter how many times I tried to re-assess them, come up with a new schedule, a fancier spreadsheet, a better method. No wonder I felt continually defeated.
I needed to simplify so that I could be successful.
Here’s what has been working for me (and believe me, I’m still very much a work in progress):
As I consider each area of my life that is a true priority for me (and I’ll list mine below), I consider what one thing would be most effective to focus on in my current season.
Not which three goals I could work towards, or which five simple steps I could implement, or what new thing I could try each month for a year.
Just one thing. One focus. One action that if I could make it into a regular habit, I would see an actual difference.
Here are my personal priorities and my current ONE thing I’m focusing on:
- My husband – cultivating a caring, affectionate friendship.
- My kids – to be fully present and actively paying attention in my interactions with them (as opposed to being frequently distracted).
- My faith – to be authentic in my relationship with God, even when it’s hard or when it hurts.
- My kitchen – to cook homemade food with simple ingredients 95% of the time.
- My home – to keep it clean enough (this is relative, of course, but clean enough by our family’s standards and preferences) and simplify/declutter when I’m able.
- My career- to hone my writing skills and narrow in on EntreFamily.com (one of my websites).
- My friendships – to be a truly good friend to a smaller circle and be OK with just a few, more intimate relationships.
- My personal/creative life – to stop telling myself I’m not an artist and choose to be more confident in my creative style and the things I make or do.
Notice that in my marriage, for example, I haven’t specified that I’m going to plan one date night per month, and write him a love letter each week, and try to be more physically affectionate, and read 3 books on how to be a better listener. Not that I won’t try to do any of those things or sometimes add them to my to-do list one at a time, but they’re not my main focus.
My ONE thing with my husband in this season is to cultivate a beautiful friendship – to give him the benefit of the doubt, purposefully spend time with him just because I enjoy him, speak to him how I’d speak to any other friend (respectfully, kindly, etc.) – and I hope that other benefits will flow naturally out of this.
Is it the only important thing I could be doing? No. But it’s enough and it gives me a clear direction for how I interact with my husband.
Another example is in my kitchen. I’m a bit of a nutrition nut, and I love to study and learn about how to better optimize our family’s health. I’m also currently pregnant with my fifth child and in the midst of a busy season, with less time for cooking than usual.
So rather than specify that I want to follow a specific diet (like Paleo or Whole 30 or gluten/dairy free, etc.), or that I want to make sure we eat 4-6 fruit and vegetables servings per day, or that I want to try 3 new recipes each week, or make all of our bread from scratch, I’m simply aiming to make 95% of our meals at home, from wholesome ingredients.
Sometimes this turns into basic meals like baked chicken, brown rice and sautéed broccoli. Occasionally, it means we eat scrambled eggs and toast for dinner. And when I have the energy, I try out something new that looks both delicious and healthy.
The point for me right now is that if we focus on eating a variety of whole (not processed) foods, prepared simply at home, we’ll still be doing pretty well, fancy diet or not.
Time to try it yourself. Ask yourself this question:
“If I could do just one thing that would be meaningful and impactful in this area (mothering, work, crafting/creating, staying fit, etc.) what would it be?”
This doesn’t mean that you focus on this to the exclusion of everything else – it just gives you a target, a bull’s eye to aim for. It makes everything else icing on the cake.
It also isn’t forever. Areas of specific focus like this are usually just for a season. In a little while, you’ll likely want to change your focus, and that’s both healthy and natural.
The point is that you always know what your primary focus is, even as it shifts from time to time.
And the whole point of defining our areas of focus? It’s exactly what I talked about in the first post.
To be that woman who is living more intentionally, more passionately, and with more joy. To get better at ignoring all of the noise and distractions trying to pull us off-course from what matters most to us. And to see just what can happen when we pursue the things that are most meaningful to us and live more fully alive.
P.S. Next up, we’ll talk about what to do with all the other things while you focus on that one thing!
ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS
- How many things are you trying to do at once? How many goals? How many new skills? How many volunteer opportunities? How many business ideas?
- How well do you juggle all of those things? Be honest. Maybe you’re doing just fine and you wouldn’t consider them too much. But if you’re constantly feeling like you’re dropping a ball, it may be time to reevaluate?
- What ONE thing could you focus on this week instead? What one thing would make you feel successful if you did it well?