Wrapping up this mini-series on rest, I am going to share with you one last tool and benefit for establishing habits of rest in your lifestyle. Focus, our final topic, allows you to accomplish so much more in life that actually equips you to be less worn out and enjoy more peace and rejuvenation. Yes, stick with me. While accomplishing more, you can experience less stress and more peace-- which results in greater rest.
Focus is a dynamic concept that is defined as “a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding” and “central point, or point of concentration”. With this in mind, think about these two questions, “Do you feel focused?” and “What is your focus?”
So often in our modern world there are so many activities in which to partake, so many places to be, people to see and tasks to be done. All the while, social media and other such things grab our attention and distract us from the task or thought at hand. This is not a focused lifestyle, but rather a scattered and sometimes chaotic one; diluted, rather than rich. Can you relate?
Multi-tasking is one “weed” in our lifestyle that can disguise itself as productivity. However, studies continually confirm that it is an inefficient use of our time and even damaging to our brain and IQ. It takes practice and discipline to focus on one thing at a time (or a few, intentionally defined things) on a daily basis, as well as the big picture of your life purpose.
If you do not feel focused and you aren’t certain what your focus is, here are a couple exercises to help:
Define your Focus--The Big Picture
What would your preferred lifestyle look like 5, 10, and 15 years from now? Think values and purpose. How do you invest your time daily, and what are you accomplishing as a whole? Take time to write these things out.
Evaluate your current lifestyle. How does it compare to your preferred? What are you doing now that is building towards that preferred lifestyle? What are the distractions that pull you in a different direction?
What can you change in the next 1-3 years to redirect yourself, your time and energy toward that preferred lifestyle?
Feel Focused-- The Daily Details
a. Write down and evaluate the “open boxes” in your life. Responsibilities, activities, unfinished projects you are doing or planning to do. What are the things that take your attention and time throughout your day.
b. Once you have identified these things, first label them “essential” (meaning you can’t change this commitment) and “non-essential” (something you can change and let go of if desired.) Then, label them “enriching” or “draining”.
c. Cut things out. If anything gets labeled “non-essential” AND “draining” determine how you can let go of this responsibility. If anything is “non-essential” BUT “enriching,'' still consider if this is a season to let it go so that you can have more time and energy for other things, such as those that are BOTH essential and enriching at this time.
I have found these exercises incredibly beneficial in my life! Trust me, I have struggled with being overcommitted and spread thin with my responsibilities. I didn’t feel focused and I struggled to identify my focus. However, when I took the time to identify vision AND actively cut out things that didn’t need to be in my life (temporarily or permanently), I experienced the benefits of productivity, rest, and peace. And it is certainly something I continually have to come back to, refocus and maintain. I must say, the “art of saying no,” becomes SO much easier and tactful when you have a tangible, clearly defined reason for it.
I hope this series of rest has been enriching to you. I would love to hear how you’ve implemented these tips on rest or some of your own successful ideas to maintain rest in your life! If you would like to learn more about focus in the area of your purpose and long-term vision, look forward to my upcoming articles on Purpose.