Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Focusing on the Important

If you had asked me a week ago what I thought was important, I would have rattled off a list of random "projects" I was working on. For example, last Monday my project for the day was to pick out a bed frame and matching lamps and, if I had time, go through my huge stash of fabric to see if I could use any to make curtains for the living room. I obsessed about this all day. Because it was important, right?

Last Tuesday I read an amazing article by Everett Bogue and everything clicked into place. I realized that my entire life was filled with distractions!

It's been coming on for years, this realization. I used to feel great satisfaction after battling a day filled with distractions. Now, I feel good for a while but then I feel empty, like I've wasted my entire day.

Reading that article finally made it clear why I wasn't satisfied with my life anymore. It's because I wasn't actually living my life. I wasn't focusing on what was actually important to me.

I don't know why I was spending so much time and effort focusing on distractions. Maybe distractions are just easier, maybe they're safer. Maybe I've been brainwashed to believe that "busy" equals "satisfied". All I know is that thinking about curtains is not satisfying anymore.

Everett poses a little exercise in his post: Identify the four areas of your life that are most important to you.

I had to dig a little bit to come up with my list...there were lots of distractions to get through. My top four, desert island priorities are: creating, reading, relationships and health.

I'll be exploring each of these as time goes on. Right now I'm working on fighting the distraction impulse, pretty much every minute of every day. It's hard to break habits that are so ingrained.

I've found that thinking "Is this a priority or a distraction?" is usually enough to break the spell. I'm also making an effort to focus on the calm I feel after getting rid of a distraction. It's a slow process but I already feel lighter, calmer and happier.

drive in 5/14/10

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