Hi there! Thanks for checking in today with Flawed yet Functional! After last week’s confession of over-committing, I’m following up this week with another process that keeps my responsibilities in line and my life moving forward. Creating a focused life through goal setting is a fairly new process for me (my very first time was January 2018), but it has greatly impacted my satisfaction with my daily life! Check it out!
There’s No Time Like Today
It’s October folks, not January. Why in the world am I pushing so hard at setting goals, weeding out unnecessary roles, and focusing on productivity? Well for me, fall is a more practical time of renewal than January.
Since I have kids in school, life starts again in September more so than January. Fall sports begin, school starts, Bible study resumes, all of the things start up again in September. It’s a perfect time for me to re-evaluate my goals and tasks.
There’s nothing wrong with doing goal setting in January, it’s a great time for most people. In fact, I will probably re-evaluate my long-term goals in January as well. There are certain goals that for some reason are just easier for me to measure annually, like my book reading goal.
The time of year doesn’t really matter, the truth is there’s no time like today to take control of your productivity and future. Let’s begin!
Why Pursue a Focused Life
To be honest, I like my life to be full. However, that doesn’t mean I want it to be full of meaningless things or things that keep me running in circles. I want my life to be full of things that bring glory to God and push me towards who He wants me to be.
I’m a thinker. I think long and hard about the tasks that I do and the purpose behind them. Being efficient with the time that God has given me on this Earth is important. To that end, I want to eliminate anything that does not push me forward towards my long-term goals and hopefully to the purpose God has called me.
A focused life is one that is full of meaningful activities that not only projects you towards your long-term goals but creates a more fulfilling life in the present. When you know the purpose of each activity, it can be enjoyed for its own right now and knowing that the future results of the current project are also beneficial.
A focused and purposeful life each and every day is what I’m working on currently. The starting point of a focused life is knowing where you are headed! If you don’t know your long-term goals, then grab a copy of The Purposeful Day workbook through the link below and get started creating those goals so you can have a focused life!
How to Create a Focused Life
Yes, we all want a focused life but how? The idea and desire are easy to have, but the how-to and making it actually happen is hard work. How do you keep your life focused?
Goal Setting Sessions
The first thing I recommend is to have multiple goal-setting sessions per year. Ideally, one bigger goal setting session at the beginning of your “year” and more frequent ones to re-evaluate those goals as the year goes on.
These goal-setting sessions will allow you uninterrupted time to think about where you’ve been and where you’d like to go. Carve out 30-60 minutes to sit and think, by yourself, about the gifts, talents, and dreams you have for yourself. Then turn those dreams into reality by breaking them down into manageable chunks. Don’t know how to do this? Be sure to grab The Purposeful Day workbook which will walk you through step-by-step.
Review Goals Regularly
Unfortunately, you are a fickle, forgetful creature (and so am I!). Your brain can only hold onto so much information, so it is important for you to think through your goals often so they remain in the forefront of your mind. If you don’t look at them often, you will forget. Your activities each day will shift to focus on the urgent rather than the long-term.
In real life, I do not evaluate my goals every month. Things happen and life gets in the way, but that is the ultimate objective. So even if you don’t evaluate your long-term goals every single month, at least aim to and you will still be further ahead than if you did not try at all.
Review your goals regularly to keep them fresh in your mind.
Live a Focused Life
Ok, so you’re on board with why you should live a focused life and how that comes through goal setting and regularly reviewing those goals, but what about actual everyday life. How do you daily stay focused on that vague, so-far-in-the-future goal?
Staying on Task
First thing first, use some type of task system to keep you on track. If you like to keep everything electronic and accessible on all of your devices, then Trello, Asana, or plain and simple Google Keep are really good options.
But staying on task doesn’t have to be high-tech or complicated. You could just use a pencil and paper! If you like a pre-formatted To-Do list, you can find a printable To-Do list included in The Purposeful Day workbook. Otherwise, grab any old notebook and begin tracking the things you need to do to reach your goals.
For me, I prefer a combination of electronic and hard copy to keep me on track. I use Trello to organize all of my blog content and goals, but I use regular old paper for my daily To-Do’s. There’s just something about physically writing out and crossing off my To-Do list that gives immense satisfaction. And yes, I have been known to add things to my list just for the joy of crossing them off!
So daily tasks are great, but what about when things go wrong? What about the day that you get nothing done on your list? What about when I forget to look at my goals or pursue focus for a week/month? How will that affect your mood and productivity? Was it all a sham? Good for nothing? Why did you go through all that effort to set goals just to not get anything done?
My friend, trust me now that one “failed” day (or week/month, any amount of time) will feel like a monumental failure when it does eventually happen. You might read this now and think I’m over-exaggerating, but I’m not. One failure feels a thousand times worse than it is. So right now, while you’re riding the high of freshly set goals and expectations know this:
You must make mistakes and get back up and try again.
Mistakes are vital to forward movement in your life. The true value in any mistake is evaluating why it happened then making adjustments, and moving on. Did you fail to get anything done on your list because you procrastinated? Did the laundry first? Chose to sit on the couch and read to your sick child?
The “why” is just as important as missing your goals for the day. You may have chosen the better thing for the day: a sick child that needs quality time with their mom. If that’s the case, let it go. You must make the hard decision to put your family first. Pick up your goals tomorrow.
Did you procrastinate with social media because you were afraid to get started? Well, that’s another thing entirely. If the reason for your “failure” is fear, then identify why you are afraid and make an adjustment for tomorrow.
Don’t fail to try again tomorrow because you are crying over your failures today. If you do, then before you know it a day becomes a week becomes a month. You quickly realize you don’t have time to meet your goals. Embrace your mistakes. Assess what went wrong, and try again tomorrow.
After you have created a focused life, you will discover the joy is in the journey. While I still want you to have long-term goals so you can prioritize your daily life, the true growth and fulfillment come from learning from your daily mistakes and working to keep pursuing your best life. I hope you’ll join me for the journey! Click on the link below to get started!