What would happen if all your working time and energy was focused on one thing?
If you were planning an event, redecorating your living room, or creating a cookbook, do you think you would get more done if you were focused on that one project until it were finished?
What if, during your available working hours, you weren’t pulled in a dozen different directions?
What if your working time was spent completely on the project you wanted to finish?
Not on checking and responding to email.
Not on following your favs on social media.
Not on worrying about the balance in your bank account.
Instead just focused, intentional, purposeful work. For the hours you have allocated to that task.
What would happen? I have a prediction.
That’s what would happen. If we could pick one project or task that we were motivated to get done/excited about doing/determined to put behind us (or any combo of those three) and really focus on the steps and tasks for that project during our work hours, we’d make some magic.
Big picture visions would have room to breathe. The details needed to turn those into visions into real deal life would start to ooze into task and to-do lists.
We’d feel an enormous sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
We would very likely complete more of our projects.
It sounds too good to be true. Like an impossible dream. There are just too many distractions, too much we have to address. Emails that need responses. Dogs that need walking. Other people with their own projects wanting out help.
By the time we take care of any or all of the above, there’s no time left to dedicate to the work we dream about making real progress on. We are spinning and spinning our wheels and feeling like we aren’t moving forward.
What do we do about it?
We put up boundaries like it’s no one else’s business.
We bust out the barbed wire and build fences. Sacred fences. Fences to keep out the distractions and keep in the magic that happens when you give attention to something you care about.
What would that look like for you? Does it mean a declaration that one day a week is your day to work solely on a project you love? The course that will take your business to the next level? The plans for the new building that your staff will be so jazzed to move into?
Do your boundaries need a step-by-step solution? Do you need to identify your projects, list your task, and label the hours in your planner? Do it. Put those hours on any shared calendars too. You are not available for other people during that time.
The colleague or friend or spouse or neighbor who wants your help on their super important project or idea can have some of your time. That’s just good karma. When it’s your turn though, honor the boundaries you have for yourself. Keep your engagements and dates with your own work. Let others know when you’re available outside of your window of time.
Here are some questions for your journal as you consider the boundaries you’ve set for yourself in regards to what you want to accomplish:
When was the last time you felt a great sense of accomplishment? What happened that day to help you feel that way?
Look over your calendar or day planner. How much of your scheduled time is for your most important projects? How much time is being given to other people’s projects?
Did any of your scheduled time get ignored for the sake of someone else’s needs? If this happened, was it a real deal emergency? Or something that could have waited until after you took the time you needed?
It’s the end of May. What is one project or goal that you would be super-psyched to celebrate accomplishing by the end of this year? What boundaries do you need to honor if you want to make that happen?
Sara Marchessault is a writer, publisher, teacher, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. For ideas on how you can get the benefits of journal writing without always keeping a traditional journal, check out Sara’s book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling.