With all of the the focus on being productive, it is not surprising that we find ourselves on the cusp of complete and utter burnout! We have apps, roles and goals, lists, habits, more to do better, and frogs to eat. And our complete focus on pushing through and getting things done is killing us.
Enter the opposite. Sure, neglect sounds good and may even work for a short time. Until the laundry piles up, along with the bills, appointments, and … personal hygiene. Avoidance has limited payoff.
What we are really seeking is balance — a balance between running forward at a too-fast pace over the top of everything and sheer neglect.
Here is one solution that has worked around here, and that perhaps you will find helpful, as well.
Change the Focus
When we were still in the midst of homeschooling we frequently took a week “off” to step away from schedules, scopes and sequences, and lesson plans to change our focus. When the focus became what we were getting done, it was helpful to reassess and focus on attitudes, relationships, enthusiasm, interests, and other intangibles that tend to get beaten down in the push to get ‘r done.
To this end, we homeschooled year round and had scheduled one-week-off breaks that could be moved when needed. On our week off, I had a simple spreadsheet that listed the learning areas I wanted to focus on. I made sure real learning was taking place. Meanwhile, I read inspiring-for-me books, and logged those inspiring-for-them things my children were doing. Inevitably, more was accomplished during our “week off” than was typically accomplished in a normal “school” week.
The change in focus helped us to get back on track — refreshed and with purpose.
- We have to stop and smell the roses — for what other reason are they there?
- We have to stop and look into the faces of our children and husbands — who are these blessings in our lives and what are their dreams?
- We have to stop and listen — what does each person in our home need?
In the end, it boils down to less of a focus on self and more of a focus on others. A paring down of MY to-do list and a new list of ways to serve others.
There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who can do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can give…our attention to the opportunity before us.
Mark Van Doren, as quoted in Getting Things Done by David Allen
Here are a few thoughts on changing the focus:
- Invest in the needs of others.
- Put the needs of people over the needs of things.
- Focus on the real and true instead of the unreal or perceived worries of the future.
- Remember that love is spelled t-i-m-e.
- Appreciate the real learning that IS taking place (rather than focusing on the things yet to learn).
- Focus on those right there at arm’s length more than those on social media you don’t even (really) know.
- Praise the efforts of those around you rather than expecting perfection.
- Accept and honor others for who they are.
- Enjoy each moment with those you love.
There is satisfaction and purpose in serving others. It means refocusing. It means reflecting Christ. And it is one very important way to maintain balance!