Developing the Focused Attitude
Do what you know to do and the rest will work itself out. The concept seems simple. The execution begins to get a bit trickier – especially when you mix in other people (i.e. husband and kids).
Sunday morning, I got up and tackled my to-do list with laser focus. I did not simply “think I can” but I put my head down and determined to-do. By the end of the day, I had done – quite a lot – but I knew I could do more.
Monday morning, I got up and attacked my to-do list like a woman on a mission – and I guess I was. Nothing could hold me back or slow me down unless I let it. I put on my blinders and refused to give heed to the distractions. My weekly to-do list dwindled even more.
Tuesday morning, I hit the day with fierce determination. I got up and addressed my to-do list with authority. I would wrangle it all into submission, and I almost did. I accomplished less than I had planned only because I made the choice to invest in some learning that was not originally on my list. Still, it was a very good day.
Wednesday morning . . . well, I was slow to get going or at least to keep going. I skipped my morning stretch, I almost skipped cooking the morning meal (the one on the menu) to opt in for cereal, and I wandered through analytics instead of doing something to grow them. I half-heartedly approached my to-do list and halfway accomplished an item or two, but by the mid-day mark, I threw in the towel and succumbed to the distractions.
See, I know I can do what I know to do because I did it. I know I can do what I know to do because I have a written record of the investment and the results. My issues is not in the knowing or even in the doing but in the effort required to DRAG THE FAMILY ALONG!
When I have to invest my energy into waking the teenagers multiple times, or “urging” the husband to get the “show on the road,” it saps at the energy that I need to face my own day. The less energy I have then the harder it is to focus on what I know to do. All at once I am stumbling around, blurry-eyed, dazed, and on the verge of exhaustion.
BUT . . . and this is a tough one to swallow because it puts it all back on me . . . I ALLOW their choices to affect my choice and when I make that choice I give those that are not doing the control over my own walk.
OUCH! Admitting that hurts, but it is necessary if I am going to break the cycle of focused doing fading by the middle of the week. I have to find ways to get a Sunday or Monday attitude for my journey even when others around me are attempting to drain my energy and determination dry (on purpose or not).
Getting and Keeping the “Can Do” Attitude
1. Be an example to others – I read through my praise journal the other day (a notebook of the positive things I have had others say about me or that they have sent me). I read a prayer my son made that I overhead, “Lord, help me to grow up to know you the way my mom knows you.” He was a young boy at the time, and I can only imagine that he was watching me read my Bible, study my Bible, and attend services. In other words, the actions that I had invested in (my doing) were an example for him. I need to focus on being the example I want them to become.
2. Be supportive without nagging – all the great, magic balance point. I read a story about a woman struggling to find her own balance. Her husband was the one that took out the garbage, or he was SUPPOSED to take out the garbage. She would ask and ask and ask and sometimes she would just do it herself – which was usually the time he would walk in and say something about “I thought I was supposed to take out the trash.” She determined to stop nagging and to stop doing it for him. She asked him once to take out the trash. Several days later he walked in the kitchen and stumbled over a full garbage back. “What’s this?” He asked her. “You said you were going to take out the garbage and I knew that you would do it when you had an opportunity.” He took out the garbage and she never had to ask multiple times again.
I confess – I am still looking for this balance with many issues. Some days, I have it down like a pro. Other days I am a dripping roof – nagging and threatening into submission. I have to continue to find the calm that will allow me to request once and trust until it happens. Hopefully, that will not require a kitchen full of garbage.
3. Know your own weaknesses – if I turn on the television for a “quick break” then I know that I am going to look up later and the sun will have set. Netflix has become a weakness of mine – and opportunity to stop doing or an excuse to not do the next thing (especially if I am the only one in the house doing). Knowing it is a massive stumbling block allows me to create a plan around it.
My second weakness is the mid-week slump. By Wednesday, I have cooked nine homemade meals and I have no desire to get up and cook three more. I have to have a mid-week meal plan that goes beyond a menu.
4. Avoid your weaknesses – the Netflix television sits smack in the middle of the house so physically avoiding it can be an impossibility on most days. I have learned that putting on my headphones in the office – with the door closed – helps me to keep my attention where my attention needs to be.
As for meal time, this is where crockpots become my closest friends. If I already have something cooking in the crockpot then adding some sides is less of a challenge. I also volunteered to take some meals to people at the end of the week, which gave me another focus point for staying on the menu track.
I can do it. I can find the will to choose to do it. I may have to adjust or twist a little to get things moving back the way they need to go, but I can get beyond the attitudes of others and find my own focused attitude that will drive me to the place and purpose that I desire.
What snags you or pulls you down? And what are you going to do to get beyond that distraction? Share your tips in the comments below and let’s grow up our motivation and courage together.