Finding Your Way. Focus on the important things in life.
Step by step guide to find your way back when you lose your way.
I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing. Here it is: I’m a “shiny object” person. I’m on my path, getting things done…then some shiny, bright, new idea grabs my attention. Six months later I’m working full-time (or more) on my latest obsession and have completely forgotten my priorities in life.
However, after 15 years of being an adult, I think I’ve finally gotten past that.
I recently thought about starting a new website. In fact, I did start it. Was starting to get involved. Then stopped. I love THIS site. I am THIS person (The Housewife Modern). My PASSION is HERE. The problem wasn’t I had lost interest, the problem was I needed to stay focused.
Maybe you’ve been in the same place. You have a passion in life (mine is writing). It can be anything. Some people are really passionate about accounting. They love helping people. The intricacies of it capture their imagination.
But life gets you down. The grind of bills, work, cooking, laundry, maybe kids wanting you to admire their latest piece of art (which is three lines scribbled on a page when you know very well they can do much better). Six months later, you’re wondering what you’re doing and where you’re at.
It can happen to anyone. What you need is a step by step guide to get back on track and find out how to focus on the important things in life.
1. What is your passion?
First, define your passion.
Seriously, take five minutes to stop and think about it. With today’s fast-track world, five minutes can encompass e-mail, FB, and text messaging. At the same time. But for now…give just five minutes.
It can be anything. Is it your kids? It’s completely okay for it to be. It’s also completely okay to love your kids, want the best for them, but have another passion in life. One of the best things about life is that it’s NOT either/or.
Is it your career? More specifically, a certain job in your career you love? For example, I love writing. I’ve tried my hand at fiction (I’m horrible at it, by the way). Written for magazines and made money. Done copywriting (and made a lot more money).
But the writing that really grabs me? Writing online. But more specifically, writing stuff that touches people, makes a difference. Sometimes that difference is simply a fabulous recipe. I get actual, real pleasure out of hearing that my Reese’s Muddy Buddies were fabulous. Or that my Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread (which I developed myself) is the BEST cornbread they’ve ever eaten. I never got that satisfaction out of designing and writing a brochure for a company.
Sometimes the difference is someone reading something just like this and saying it helped them. My sister-in-law lost her son…but now she blogs about her journey and has helped other grieving parents. Knowing her son Drew is still touching lives means so much to her.
My great-grandma’s passion was quilting. She made quilts for everyone in the family. Upon getting married, you got your quilt. And that quilt is one of my most valued possession.
Your passion is yours. It’s no one else’s. Define it. Own it.
When you focus on the important things in life, others might not agree that they’re important. They just need to be important to you.
2. Accept you’re not on path
Since you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve probably lost your way. You’re not focusing on your passion. Don’t worry. It’s not your fault. Life works that way…it descends into chaos (I won’t get into the theory of entropy).
But it’s your choice to get back on the path.
The harshest piece of advice I ever received was from my husband. [Side note: It hurt so much, I said the worst thing I’ve ever said to him in return (and regret it to this day).]
He said: “You’ve lost your way.“
I rejected it completely. It was hard hearing my daily tasks weren’t important. I was making money. But I didn’t love it. I didn’t really even like it. And my true path- writing- seems destined to failure. Writers don’t make money. Everyone knows about the starving artist. But he was right. I was lost.
But it wasn’t until I accepted he was right that I was willing to sit down and figure out how to get back on track.
3. What is distracting you?
Third step: figure out what is distracting you.
Losing your path is usually a combination of two factors: getting lost in something else and losing focus on the important things in life.
So, what are you lost in?
—If you picked up another project, volunteer job, or committee that takes up time- ask (seriously ask), can you quit it? If so, do it. It’s not contributing to your passion in life. And do you want to look back 20 years from now and ask why you wasted that time?
I once spent a YEAR working more than full-time at a homeless shelter (pro-bono). It might have been good work (though in retrospect I suspect the number of women we helped stayed in the exact lifestyle that got them homeless to begin with). But seriously? A YEAR. And it didn’t make me a good person. It made me short-tempered, lost in details (who really cared that the ladies never put the dishes away). Ironically, it made me less charitable.
—If you got lost in everyday life, stop. Streamline your life. It’s a simple fact that tasks expand to fill the time allotted.
-A working mom gets the house cleaned even though her home hours are significantly smaller. Cram housework into a 2-3 hour marathon, get it done for the week. Or dedicate 20-30 minutes a day to housework and stop. Vacuuming can wait for tomorrow. You might simply have to accept a different level of organization if you want to do other things.
-Sort the mail when it comes through the door instead of allowing it to pile up.
-Make a menu and grocery list for the entire week (or two weeks) and make ONE trip to the store.
-Make the kids clean up their toys. It doesn’t matter it takes them 2 hours the first time wasted in arguing. By the tenth time, if you stick it out, you no longer have a playroom to clean up regularly.
–There are literally a hundred things like this you can do that compress tasks and save you time. And get your out of the “getting lost” routine.
When I first had my baby, two months passed before I finally got back to some semblance of routine. And to working on my website. And it involved a lot of figuring out how to cut out tasks that had seemed important before the baby was born.
4. Break down your passion
Fourth step: figure out exactly what you need to do to pursue your passion.
Since you’ve defined your passion, this step might seem more simple. It’s sometimes not. Your passion often includes multiple different things. For example, I love blogging. But within that: I have to learn food photography, learn about blogging (what works, what doesn’t), SEO, marketing, building an e-mail list, etc.
So break your passion down. Where do you want to go? What precisely do you need to do to get there?
Write it down! Don’t get lost again in the minutia.
If you’re interested, I have a free goal workbook that includes goal-setting worksheets. Ones that actually work. Trust me, people go about goals that wrong way. They start with now and work up to want they want. You should be starting at the final goal, and working your way backwards.
Once you have your quarterly and monthly goals set, it’s easy as pie to decide what to work on this week. And tomorrow.
5. Spend the time
You know what action steps you need to take.
Now, whatever you do, dedicate ONE HOUR A DAY to your passion. What you actually love.
“Reading one hour per day in your chosen field will make you an international expert in 7 years. There’s no short-cut to this. I won’t sugarcoat it and say it’s going to be easy. If you want your passion in life to fill your life, you have to dedicate time to it.
It doesn’t have to be reading about your field of interest…just work on it. I guarantee it. One hour per day for your passion. Don’t let life crowd out what you love. Focusing on the important things makes a life well-lived.
Miscellaneous quick tips
Here are some quick ideas to help keep your passion front and center. How to keep your attention on what’s important.
- Write down your focus and goals. And keep it front and center. I (again) highly recommend my Free Printable Goal Workbook. I keep my filled out sheets in my planner where I see them regularly. The goal worksheets include monthly worksheets. So every single month, I review my long-term worksheet, yearly sheet, and quarterly breakdown. Then I plan the next month.
- Check out my post “Change Your Perspective.” There are two worksheets in there to track your time and see how you’re spending it. Use one (or both) of them a couple times and figure out where your time is going.
- Cut something out or delegate it. For example, I gave in a hired a babysitter to come sit in the house with baby for 5 hours, twice a week. Even though I’m sitting right there. I pay for it out of my website money. And I work on my website while she’s here. Those few hours of uninterrupted work are invaluable.
Focus on the important things in life
Life is short. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. I know when the baby’s having a fussy day, I sometimes feel like the day is endless rocking and praying he’ll stop crying. But then I turn around and 3 months have passed in the blink of an eye.
Keep your passion front and center. Focus on the important things in life.