It has been 121 days since I wrote my last blog. Prior to that, I had blogged faithfully for the prior four years. Lots of writing, lots of thoughts, lots of laughter. So why did I stop? I needed time to focus.
I was entering into my last semester of seminary, there are some big things happening at the church, and I had to answer a very tough question: Could I balance it all?
And that’s when it hit me; I shouldn’t even try! Balance is the exact opposite of what I wanted. What I wanted was the ability to focus. And while I know that goes against the common thought that we need to balance our life, what I would like to suggest is that the real thing we need is focus.
Balance is the mythological belief that we need to do everything at 100%. The problem with that belief is that when we fail it only leads us to wrestle with guilt and shame. Focus is different; focus says that I am here right now, in this season, to do this particular task.
Focus is the catalyst to productivity and the enemy of distraction.
So, I stopped blogging so I could focus, and now that I’m done with that season I can change my focus! Seasons will come and go, tasks will change, but only you can decide what you want to focus on in your life.
There are so many ways to wrestle with focus, I’d like to suggest three:
1. Daily focus. What is the most important thing that needs to be done today? What needs your attention more than anything else? Sometimes the best way to achieve daily focus is to unplug from your devices and turn off the notifications. In my own life, I try to do this for several hours at a time, maybe two or three. During that time I am most productive.
2. Seasonal focus. For the next several months what works in your life and what doesn’t? A great example of this is when I decided to coach my son’s baseball team. Saying yes to that commitment changes my focus for the season. Anytime you bring something new into your life it will change the way the season looks. Far too often we think we can add something without letting something go. In that process, we only end up disappointing ourselves.
3. Spiritual focus. This one is my favorite: What are you asking God to work on in your life? In my most recent season, this has been the impact of the Holy Spirit, learning as much as I can while I can. Having a spiritual focus is giving yourself permission not to be overwhelmed by the vastness of God.
If you choose to work on your focus I am willing to bet things will change, if you are chasing balance then you might be surprised what doesn’t get done. So, do you have time to focus?