Living a focused life is not about trying to seek happiness all the time. It is about leading a meaningful life.
It’s about making sure that our values and beliefs are aligned in all that we do. Making sure that nothing is wasted and everything is for a purpose.
Focus brings a life of lasting impact… one that will resonate across the generations long before we are gone.
It’s difficult to find focus in this digital age of information.
There are so many distractions.
Media has evolved. Consumers were given empowerment unlike ever before. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever for anyone, anywhere to share content to the world. Advertising became more potent and, well, distractive.
Television has become so powerful that many people’s lifestyles were based on it. It has become so ingrained in our way of life that many households leave their TV on even when no one is watching because they feel more secure when there’s background noise.
With the advent of smart phones, information has invaded the peace and quiet of day-to-day existence. In the family dining room, checking the phone or playing games has become a priority over conversation among parents and children. In the bedroom before sleeping, checking social media is more of a concern than intimacy with your spouse.
If we are not careful, these things will consume us, and we will lose all focus on why we are really living here… now.
I’m sometimes guilty of losing focus when it comes to getting things done.
Just this morning, I woke up earlier than usual just to sit down and write a post for this blog.
Then I was tempted to open my browser.
Without me knowing it, 30 minutes have passed and I hadn’t written anything. The original purpose why I woke up earlier was defeated.
Before becoming a minimalist
I was unsatisfied with how I used my heart and energy. I was starting a family with my wife and a growing toddler, but I had very little time available to spend with them because of busyness.
I had too many hobbies, played too many computer games, involved in too many sports activities, and multi-tasked and spent extra hours at work which made me unhealthily busy.
Because of that I’ve neglected the things that were really important to me: reading, writing, and taking care of my family. Even going to the market and cleaning the house, two unpopular but very important chores that I have to do.
To think that for me, nothing is more stressful than going home to a house that is messy, cluttered, and just plain filthy.
Enough is enough!
Then is when I decided to live a focused life.
Time Management? Not that. I know we are all given by God the same amount of time every day. And it is up to each of us to use it wisely.
Priority Management was the answer.
How to Live a Focused Life
If you want to live with focus, you must make time to sit down and examine your life. It’s always been said that without acknowledging that there is a problem, you can’t solve the problem. So first sit down and look at who you are and what you’ve been doing lately.
My first step was to simplify and reduce the number of my commitments to just the essential ones.
I learned to say no to the rest – and slowly got out of commitments and activities that aren’t aligned to my values and beliefs.
I got out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential. I also learned to say no to myself, and stopped watching TV and playing computer games. I embraced a little inconvenience by stopping unnecessary, self-pleasuring activities.
For exercise, now I only do two physical activities – basketball and running – both my passions.
It’s not that easy at first because I’ve been so used to being preoccupied, and I had the fear of feeling “useless.”
But I realized that all these thoughts are untrue and all it takes is just to do it one small step at a time.
By just starting small, moving forward, and focusing on the moment, you will be accomplishing a lot before you recognize it.
It’s never too late to focus your life. If you want to do it now, here is a simple step-by-step guide:
- Sit down with your laptop, or a pen and paper.
- Focus on just one thing in your life, and just one thing. What is most important to you? What do you value the most? What is your non-negotiable? Family? Work? Relationships? Health? Making money? Spirituality?
- Write down this one area of focus. Repeat this exercise four more times, and now you have a list of five priorities.
- Reflect on how you are actually spending your time. Are you spending a lot of time on areas that are not even on your list of top five priorities?
- Write down your goals for each priority.
- Device a plan and schedule to accomplish your goals for each priority.
Remember to be honest. You are not cheating on anyone except yourself.
Reminder: Do make time for rest and recreation. Just don’t overdo it. A life well-lived is a well-balanced life.
Another important reminder: Also, don’t forget to schedule your daily Quiet Time. Your time alone with your self. This is when you recharge your internal batteries for the battles of every day.
A Life of Lasting Impact
Even when your priorities are firmly in place, there will always be many distractions to push and pull you in many different directions, but that doesn’t mean you have to conform.
Get comfortable in saying no to anything that may sidetrack you. Because saying no to these things is actually saying yes to your valued priorities.
If you want to live a focused life, one that is meaningful and with lasting impact, then you must spend most of your time on the things that you value most.
And as you now live your life with a new-found focus, examine it still. If all your priorities are self-serving, then it is not balanced and will be doomed for destruction.
We want to live a focused life to make a mark in the world. To live a life of lasting impact. We can’t accomplish this by focusing only on ourselves.
Something to think about: What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?