As someone who loves setting and pursuing goals, the need to stay focused on what I’m working on is really important to me. But man, sometimes it’s hard to keep that focus in the midst of challenges and moments when things don’t go your way! As February comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about how I want to approach March, the last month of the quarter, and some of the things I need to do to keep that focus. I came up with a list of 6 questions to ask myself when the target gets fuzzy. I don’t know if this is the study nerd in me but I decided to use the good ol’ who, what, where, when, why, & how framework to make it easy to remember :).
These certainly aren’t the only questions to ask yourself when you need clarity but it’s definitely a great place to start!
1. Who are you listening to?
We’re all impacted by the voices we surround ourselves with. This includes family, friends, people you work with, TV shows, podcasts, books, magazines, posts, etc.. If you’re filling your head with words that aren’t life-giving and helpful, figure out where you can minimize or completely remove that input. Here are examples:
- Unfollow social media accounts that are feeding your anxiety, angst, insecurities, etc.
- Set up boundaries around people who aren’t good for your mental, emotional, or spiritual health.
- Unfriend or mute people who post things that are not helpful, healthy, or are distracting
- Be mindful of the kinds of books, magazines, articles, and posts you read regularly. You may be reading things that are technically okay but they may not be helping you get where you want to go in life. While I’m all for a little escapism now and then, don’t get distracted. Make sure your steady diet consists of things that are purposeful, edifying, educating, motivating, and challenging you forward.
- Ditto for TV, radio, podcasts, and music!
While you’re at it, think about what you’re telling yourself too! Are you in the habit of speaking to yourself negatively? Are you too critical and exacting with yourself? Practice being gracious and kind in your self-talk. Practice preaching truth to yourself. Practice treating yourself with care, the way you would your spouse, child, or best friend.
2. What are you eating?
I’m really feeling this one currently cause I’m in the middle of a juice cleanse and my carb cravings are KILLER!!!! I never truly consider my relationship with food until I’m not eating 😜.
I’m sure you know this but what you put in your body absolutely effects your brain function. I know that when my diet is carb-heavy, I don’t perform as well. When my body isn’t properly nourished and I’m not feeling my best, it has a direct effect on my focus. This doesn’t mean you need to do a juice cleanse (although you might consider it!) but DO consider how you’re fueling your body. Here are some things to think about –
- Water intake
- Caloric intake
- Protein intake
- Vitamin intake (through foods and supplements)
Every person is different and has different needs so if you’re fuzzy on the details, take some time to take stock of what you’re eating and what you need to be eating to stay in tip-top condition! It will only help your clarity and focus now and in the long run!
3. Where is your stuff?
Okay, so I don’t know about you but I absolutely do not work well in the midst of chaos and clutter. This is especially true since I work from home. Does that mean my house is always clean and clutter free? Nope! And it does have a negative effect on my productivity and focus. Now, don’t read what I’m not saying – I’m not saying that a picture-perfect house is required to reach your get things done. It’s impossible to live well in a house that is squeaky clean and wrinkle free 24/7. But here is what I am saying –
- If you don’t need it, don’t keep it
- Find a rhythm to the housework that has to be done on a regular basis
- Make sure that everything you own has a place so that it can be put away when necessary
- You should be in control of your possessions not the other way around
- When you’ve reached the point of overwhelm with your stuff, you’ve got to address it or it will absolutely mess with your ability to focus on what matters
- A cluttered space can clutter up your mind
So, where’s your stuff? Is it taking over your home? Do you have too much junk that you really don’t need? Do you need to reorganize? Look around your home and consider how it may be impacting your ability to live well and stay focused.
4. When are you scheduling your priorities?
This one is simple in theory but may take some doing to get sorted out. If you don’t know what your priorities are, you need to figure it out. One way to do that is to consider what is most important and what is most urgent this week. Something can be really important but maybe not that urgent. I have to be careful and not think that everything on my to-do list is both important and urgent. When I find myself labeling too many things with both categories, I have to take a step back and reconsider my priorities.
I have to ask myself questions like –
- What is truly essential now?
- What is realistic based on everything that is going on?
- What can I reasonably accomplish with the time I have?
- Where can I ask for help?
- What can I delegate?
- What can actually wait until a later time?
This is why I love the Live Well 6 because it gives me a cheat sheet when I need to be reminded of my entire life, and not just get wrapped up in work. So as you’re thinking about what’s most important this week or month, don’t forget to consider all aspects of your life and how you can live well…
5. Why does it matter?
This can be a hard question to answer when you’ve lost your focus but it’s a really important question to wrestle with. Whatever you’re working towards, shooting for, fighting for, reaching for, praying for, desiring, or dreaming about, has to have a why. You have to know concretely, why it’s important and why it matters.
- Why do you want/need to put in the hours?
- Why do you make sacrifices?
- Why do you make one choice over another?
If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing then your momentum will get shot. You won’t have a foundation on which to build anything substantive or long-lasting.
If you don’t remember why your projects, goals, or work matter, get reacquainted so you can get re-focused and back to work!
6. How will it change you?
And finally, you need a picture of the effect that success will have on you and your season of life. Ask yourself these questions –
When your project is complete, when the goal is reached, when the habit is formed…
- How will you change?
- How will your circumstances change?
- How will this effect future projects and goals?
- How will this impact others in your life?
The more you can visualize what is possible, the more wind you might have in your sails to keep moving forward. You might feel tired and a bit jaded or out of balance now but just think of how you’ll feel when the task is done! Think of how it will impact you to cross it off your list and benefit from the results of a job well done!
I hope these questions are helpful if you’re needing to get some clarity and focus in your life! Let me know in the comments what you do when you’re feeling fuzzy on your goals or projects! I’d love to read your thoughts