Would You Like Some Focus With That?

Last week I wrote about our goal (and 2012 Word #1) of being more Purposeful. We're still works in progress, but after I wrote that post I stumbled upon a wonderful talk by one of our favorite apologists, Michael Ramsden (a member of the RZIM team). If you have one hour and two minutes and you're interested in growing in your faith, I highly recommend that you check out Michel's talk on YouTube. We were convicted and encouraged and it was the perfect follow-up to our 2012 desire to be more Purposeful, especially in the area of sharing our faith.

But enough about last week, it's on to Word #2: FOCUSED. How ironic is it that I rabbit trailed on my post on developing focus? But that's not exactly the kind of focus I'm talking about anyway. Yes, I might have slight tendencies to become easily distracted (especially when I should be doing something I don't want to do - like cleaning), but the kind of focus that we're aiming for this year is the Long-Term-Life-Goals type. Deciding on a course (or courses) of action, and staying focused on the tasks that will help us accomplish those goals.


For example, one of our long-term goals is to be self-employed as landlords. To break that down into a smaller bite, one of our goals for 2012 is to finally complete the Project House that we purchased in November of 2010, making it our first rental property. It's super easy to loose focus when a temporarily better-sounding offer comes along, or when well-meaning folks tell us that we shouldn't always put off immediate enjoyment for a long-term goal, but this is where our FOCUS, as a couple, comes into play.

The fact of the matter is, we don't love our current jobs, and we don't want to be sitting in the same situation ten years from now, wondering where the years went and how we could have been so thoughtless with our time and resources. What we do know is that we enjoy working together, we have a knack for home renovation, and we'd like to create an environment that would allow us the freedom to travel and work on other projects. That means that if we want to be in that position in ten years, we have to maintain our focus and keep those long-term goals in mind so we don't get distracted along the way.

However, you don't have to have some super-huge project or a massive life goal in order to work on maintaining focus. If our larger goal is to become landlords, then we're going to need a working home office that is organized and tidy, which means that I have to start focusing (Little Bites) on making that happen. Remember earlier, when I said that I get easily distracted when I need to be working on a project or chore that I really don't want to do? I was specifically talking about the office. For the last year (no joke), I have walked through the office door, placed paperwork on the desk and chairs, and walked out. If I purchase a gift, it finds a (not-so) temporary home on the office floor. As of right now, there is a tiny path from the door to the desk (where the computers used to sit), and you can't even reach the storage closet for all the stuff on the floor. It's bad.

However, one of the reasons that I chose FOCUS as a theme word this year is because I know it's an area where I struggle. When I shared about my Little Bites plan back in December, I mentioned that in order to turn a chore into a habit, I had to practice, which required building some discipline muscles. I know that I am weak in the area of filing and office organization, so one of my bite-sized goals is to finally clean out and organize the office, coming up with a filing system that is easy to use and deciding what needs to be kept and what can be shredded, tossed, given away or sold.

To help maintain my focus while working in the office, I've stuck a timer (actually a Christmas gift from my sister) to the side of our filing cabinet. Five days a week, I set the timer for 20 minutes and get busy. I shred, file, staple, toss, and groan, but it helps to know there's an end in sight, and when the timer dings, I turn off the lights and close the door. And while I'm in the office, I'm reminded over and over again of why, once the mess is cleaned up, I will never let it get this way again. When faced with total clutter and my own little at-home version of Hoarders, I am thankful that I chose:

as my 2012 Word #2

Do you have areas where you are weak? How do you maintain focus when you're working on or towards a goal? Have you chosen words to sum up what you're working on this year?


  1. I'm in love with your timer idea. I might just have to put it to work today so I stop avoiding packing up OUR office and get my buns to work. Maybe if I work in small bites and give myself a reward periodically, I'll actually get it finished today?!?

  2. I hope it worked for you, Molly! It has been life-changing for me and the office is actually starting to look use-able again! Yay!!!


A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.


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