Two weeks ago I listed my writing-related work for the week. It was exhaustive—both to live it and to list it. I ended by saying that I needed to cut some non-essential tasks from my life. Though I have a list of possible items to eliminate, I have yet to make any fundamental corrections.
Another impetus for change occurred this week when I considered the idea of focus. Focus is a counterpoint to self-discipline.
For the most part, I am disciplined in my writing. I write every day, I get things done, and I meet deadlines. I have a focus on each project while I’m working on it. My problem is my focus jumps throughout the day, hopping from one project to the next, to the next, to the next. I need balance. Each one seems critical; each one looms as the imperative task at that moment.
But I lack an overall focus on what’s most important. Instead, I dwell on the urgent while skipping the more critical. Although I know I’m not focusing on what’s the most significant, I can’t say what it is. Everything I do—along with several things I never get to—seems important. But if I focus on everything, that effectively renders nothing as important. I dilute my efforts.
I realize there are two types of focus. There’s focusing on the moment and focusing on the future. I’m good at the first type of focus and lousy at the second. My focus on today keeps me from intentionally moving towards tomorrow. I need to discover what’s essential and focus on that.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.