Two years ago, I left my job to study in Israel where I still live today. Since moving, I have worked in a high-caliber sales position, served as a counselor for a summer program, and performed other odd jobs. I have enjoyed being active, doing different things, learning a new language, and feeling unrestrained. But when the time came to settle down and find a more serious position that would suit my role as a new wife and, G-d willing, a mother, I knew that I would most enjoy something that offered a flexible schedule while still giving me the opportunity to challenge myself to grow professionally.
Weaving Influence gives me the ability to prioritize my family while being part of a successful and growing company. But, I am learning, with the amazing opportunity to work according to my own schedule comes an increased need to be focused and responsible with my time.
Sometimes I can confuse having multiple responsibilities with multi-tasking. If there are too many tasks on my list or a big meal to cook for the Sabbath, I feel distracted when trying to accomplish anything else.
As part of my spiritual and religious life, I try to take time each day to focus on developing or improving upon specific character traits. The current trait: focus.
Since getting married, moving to a new apartment in the city, and starting a new job (a lot of new responsibilities to juggle), I have been experimenting with different ways to fine-tune my focus.
Here are a couple tools I am working with:
- Hold myself accountable. Speech is a powerful creative tool. If I say I will do something, then I need to do it. If I don’t think I can manage, I try not to say I will.
- Schedule my time. Everyone has been saying this one for years, but I was always the “go with the flow” type, right? WRONG. Scheduling my time, including leisure and household chores, helps me to use my time more efficiently and remember things I would have forgotten otherwise.
- Stay busy. Everyone is different, but I thrive best when I am busy with a healthy amount of responsibilities and activities (for me, too much free time is dangerous).
- One thing at a time. This one is really hard for me, especially when I am home and laundry, dishes, and other quick tasks beckon. Though still a struggle, by having this in writing (a sticky note by my computer), I can remind myself that other tasks can, and should, wait until I can devote proper attention to them.
Although, thankfully, I have been learning to stay fairly focused during work time, I still find myself wasting precious minutes. But life is a gift and I want to cherish each moment! Before venturing into marketing, I dreamed (still dreaming) of being a poet. In university, I was extremely involved in the writing world, travelling to conferences, working as editor of our literary journal, and even publishing a few poems in journals.
But for some reason, scheduling in my own personal “creative” time has proved to be the most difficult task yet. As I continue to work to improve my focus, I hope to learn to focus on more than just work and home responsibilities, but also my own creative outlets and dreams.
Tell me, how do you work to improve your focus?
Image source: morguefile
Margy Kerr-Jarrett enjoys reading, writing, and spending time in nature with her husband and daughter. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Margy has been living in Jerusalem, Israel for the past three years.
Good insights Margy. I am constantly “cleaning out the clutter”, which includes closet, my study, my desk. I call it the principle of “simplify to amplify.” Since it’s a never ending battle, the key is to stay current. I create some daily rituals (habits) to keep me on track…like making my bed first thing (this is why the military makes a “mean” bed. The secret of concentration is elimination. Thanks for the positive nudge.