Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Power of Focus

Becky say: What should I freak out about first?

Right now I am focused solely on writing this blog post. Steady, that's it now Becky. Just this post. Not the edits waiting for you, not the laundry that just signaled your attention by beeping "I'm dry now!" not your worries about the 83 things going on at work that you can't do anything about till tomorrow, not Matthew's spelling list, not wondering why you volunteered to help your child's class make pumpkin pudding, not refinancing your mortgage, not your brand spanking new copy of Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races...just, this, post.

And this post is about the swirling abyss of THINGS that always need to be either thought about, planned for, accomplished, or just plain grunt work DONE--all those things vying for your attention. Right now, there are hundreds of must do items that fall under the various categories my life is divided into: Mother, Aspiring Author, School Psychologist, House Keeper, Avid Reader, Cook, Money Manager, Exerciser, etc, etc, and at times, the sheer breadth and depth of all those things is enough to make me want to crawl back into bed on any given day and have a good cry.

Except, I have a little trick.

I noticed a few years ago, as life events began to grow and compound, that I would at times become paralyzed by To Dos. My mind would just spin from one thing to another and another. I would begin one task only to have my mind jump in 1/4 the way through and say, "wait! this thing over here! look at this stressful thing that you haven't done yet. drop that grocery list and do this NOW!" And, of course, half way through that I would again get side tracked by something else equally Need To. At the end of everyday, nothing was complete and everything felt just as stressful as it had the day before.

Since then, I have discovered the power available to me when I focus on one thing at a time. For example--this blog post. It has my complete attention right now and everything else (but never the kids, they're sledding out back) is being ignored. I mean, those things aren't going anywhere. They will still be waiting for me to either do or worry about doing as soon as I'm done with this--so why not just pretend they don't exist for a few minutes while I concentrate long enough on one of them to make a difference (and reduce my stress by the way.)

For me, when my brain starts to spin from one thing to the next, I find it extremely helpful to just write it all down. Every little thing that my brain is worried I will forget to worry about. Because if I write it down, I can tell my brain, "see, there. Now it won't be forgotten. Every little thing is written in plain sight. so now let's stop worrying about how LONG that list is and let's pick one. No now, I said just ONE thing brain."

And today we picked this post.


  1. LOL! You sound just like me! Maybe that's why I like making lists so much? :) Hopefully life calms down for you! Even though it never does. ;) *hugs* And thanks for the post!

  2. Chantele (BTW, I have always loved that name) I'm a total list lover. I'm such a list dork that I will often write things on my list that I have already done for the day just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off!

  3. You're not-a-kiddin! This is so true & so great! Just the other day, I tweeted about how my brain was smoking because of EVERYTHING I had to think of doing!

    I'm always writing things down too, but after reading this post I realized I haven't been doing it so much lately.

    Ah! What a blessing you are to my brain! Thanks for reminding me of such a vital thing as writing everything down so my brain can rest from worrying & just concentrate on one thing at a time! Thank you, thank you, thank you! My brain forgot and now it is happily rejuvenated. I needed that!

  4. Brenda! What I think is really funny is that I don't even have to really accomplish everything I write down...I only have to know that it exists in the real world and not only in my head. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I am a total list maker too. Love lists. I used to be able to keep everything in my head though. Not sure what happened - nevermind, I know what happened - children, my to do's quadrupled after that! :)