Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is Focus the Secret to Success?

I’m on vacation this week and if you know me well, you know that it is hard for me to “relax” and “do nothing”. When I have downtime, my mind goes into overdrive and begins listing and categorizing all of the things I should be doing. As frustrating as it is that I don’t seem to have the chill-out gene, time off does provide me with a certain kind of soul searching that often results in realizations that I don’t encounter in normal day to day life.

This week I’ve had success on my mind in a big way. I’ve been thinking about where I’ve been, where I want to go, what I’ve accomplished and what is left on my long list of life to dos. I had a bit of an “aha moment” when thinking back on some of proudest achievements in life thus far. I realized that each of those moments was the product of months and in some cases years of immense and intense focus. Running the Houston Marathon was preceded by nearly 6 months of training and preparation. Graduating with my bachelors took careful and strategic planning over the course of those jam-packed three years.

Those successes didn’t just happen; they were the result of schedule incremental preparations that happened well ahead of the actual accomplishment. Those successes also didn’t happen simultaneously. This part of the realization is important because sometimes I think we as women try to do everything all at once, so much so that studies show we outperform the guys when it comes to multitasking. But this broad approach has the potential to leave us feeling like we aren’t accomplishing anything, just getting by in all aspects of life.

I took it a step farther in my pondering and thought about extreme cases of success in the sports and celebrity world. Think of someone whose success you admire, and most likely they’ve devoted a large amount of time to what they are known for. This seems true for Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps who are known for their athletic ability, but it is also true for sillebrities (not a typo, a word I made of for celebrities that shouldn’t be… silly celebrities) like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. How many hours do you think Paris has spent partying in the LA social scene? That shows her commitment to being a successful paparazzi target.

In all seriousness though, I am taking this realization and applying it to my everyday life. There are a few things I want accomplish this summer and instead of trying to do it all at once, I’m going to set aside a month this summer to focus on each of them. I’m hoping that this strategy helps me when trying to decide where I should spend my time, and also will create a type of deadline before my focus needs to shift to other projects.

My approach may not create a perfectly balanced lifestyle and that really doesn’t worry me. My concern is doing what works for me and a good indicator of what will work in the future is what has worked in the past!

In case you are wondering what my projects are and what my schedule is for the next couple of months here goes:

June: Focusing on making our house a home

July: Focusing on our health and building better habits

August: Focusing on choosing my thesis topic for school

What are you focusing on this summer? Set a goal, focus on it and ”live the life you’ve imagined”!