How much of your day is intentionally focused on your present task at that moment? BE HONEST! How efficient are we with our time? BE HONEST! How much of your time is wasted being distracted by things outside your control? BE HONEST! I listen to clients every week seem overwhelmed by life, work, kids, marriage, conflict, grief, and addiction. I am constantly amazed at how much time we lose every day to life circumstances outside of our control and robbing us of any forward momentum. So much of our life dysfunction is due to our life being out of focus. I was recently overwhelmed by a family member’s surgery, daycare duties, house maintenance, publishing a book, preparing to teach a graduate course with 3 weeks notice, and a dog who decided it was a good idea to roll around in poop that morning. Sounds like the start to a no good, very bad day, but it wasn’t. I have learned to be aware of my anger and frustration cues in order to ask myself one question: What is really important right now?
Our priorities should reflect what is important to us. When was the last time you made a priority list? What would your priority list look like if you created the list ranked by the amount of time and energy you devote to those activities? Would that list reflect your supposed “true” priorities? My priorities are as follows:
- Self-Care (physical, mental, spiritual)
You might be surprised to see self-care ranked so high, but the truth is I learned the importance of self-care early in my career. I can’t take care of anyone else if I don’t take care of myself first. The example of putting on your oxygen mask first on the airplane is a very true analogy. That does not make me a selfish person. It makes me healthy enough to serve many people in my life and perform quality therapeutic care.
How would your life look different if you only focused on fulfilling your “ideal” priority list? How would your stress level change if you met your needs before meeting others? How would your conflicts change if you were right with God before revisiting the conflict?
Life becomes dysfunctional when we lose focus of your priorities that reflect what is important to you. Take a step in the right direction and make an intentional effort to be present in situations in order to live out your priorities the majority of each day. Imagine how fulfilling your life can become with that degree of focus.