For most of my life I have chained my identity to what I do -- it has been a major distraction (to say the least) from finding my way. Identity is a tricky thing to decipher and when it is connected to something so egotistical, it leaves you feeling quite empty. So at the beginning of this year I made it a goal to get focused and let the distractions fall away, in order to help find myself and discover more about my identity and purpose!
The task to focus is hard for me. I love distractions and I have discovered since making this goal, that I really hinder myself using distractions to escape, procrastinate, numb some insecurities and more. While I have always been open and honest about my struggles, I figured it was time to go deeper and really face these distractions at the core.
Naturally I will always be spinning plates, being a mum, a wife and a business owner. But this is a journey towards figuring out what distracts me from both being genuine and present plus from the things that really matter. It is order and focus despite schedules, roles and the rest of it. I think understanding my seasons and always listening to my heart will be key in this journey. But in a practical sense I know I desperately need to stop spinning plates when it comes to my work (what I 'do'). An earlier post explains this more, but basically I feel an urgency to minimise, identify purpose and focus my energy in this area.
I think part of the problem is I haven't fully understood my entrepreneur nature, therefore not known how to manage myself well in this area. When you are an entrepreneur you struggle sometimes to transform the many ideas buzzing around in your head, into a clear, precise business plan and then execute it without going back to the many ideas still loudly buzzing.
Going hand-in-hand with the confusing idea whirl-pool has been a fear of failure. I have preferred to ride the casual wave of having a hand in everything but never really pouring my all into one thing because what if that one thing completely failed? This also gave me an explanation when something did fail... "Oh I never had the time to make it work". I lacked a belief in my own ideas and was always scared of missing out. I thought that each idea had to live a life and have a chance or at least be a fallback plan. But I have realised that the power is in letting go of the 99 ideas to focus on the 1 that counts and taking that risk. I read a great article recently that articulates this wonderfully! Read it here.
Another issue I have unearthed by becoming more aware of these distractions is the art of comparison via social media. It is way too easy for me to troll through Instagram and think to myself oh I should try that, do this, change that, add that, be this, and so on. I need to focus on who I am and why I do what I do, not what other's are doing. Nothing will gel well and be truly fulfilling if it comes from a place of misguided competition.
So this year I am focusing my 'doing' on one thing -- more on this later! While I focus I will un-package more about why I lean on those distractions and how I can avoid that, understand it, manage it and be authentic through it all. I have also tried some mindfulness exercises that have been hugely helpful (will elaborate on this too). The other thing I started getting serious about is being practical, which is something that doesn't come so naturally to me.
One practical thing I introduced into my routine is a planner. The STARTUP CREATIVE planner pictured above gives me a look at my week in a very easy to break-down visual, with each day having a block of space to fill in with tasks for that day. There is also a priority list for the whole week. So you know exactly what you need to get done as a priority and the rest can wait if need be. This has already helped me keep my focus in a big way, and that is saying something as I have never been good with planners or lists.
Another little ritual that I can already see benefits from is journalling. I think this will become a crucial part of my journey this year.
I am really excited about this year, and I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
P.s. Anyone else out there have some tips on staying focused? Would love to hear from you!