"Never be so focused on what you're looking forthat you overlook the thing you actually find." - Ann Patchett
I'm not always the most focused person. While dusting I’ll pause to flip through magazines or books; I flit around like a butterfly (but fail to sting like a bee) on The Big Purge for our house. And the beginnings of this blog post were temporarily waylaid by a quick e-mail check followed by a quick perusal of what's new over at Think Geek (Doctor Who-themed bathrobes for one). Some days I am amazed I get anything done at all.
Yeah, I have a few issues. I know, I know – who doesn’t? But as I was thinking about this particular habit, a thought came to me: My flitting around from task to task is most likely tied into another bad habit -- procrastination. And as I gave it a little more thought, I realized the dots connected very easily, because when a deadline is looming, when I have something must be done rightthisverysecond, I can tune out all else until that particular task is done. So, the crazy part of my mind reasons, if everything is put on a deadline then I shall be focused!
It’s a “win-win” situation, right?
Maybe it was in the past, but not lately. More often than not over the last little while, I'm annoyed by the slothfulness of my procrastination. No longer am I happily riding the swell of my frantic productivity. Now I’m rushing through a task with a scowl, thinking about what else I could have finished had I simply focused the current task earlier on. I’m tired of being a big ol’ stress ball of activity, plowing through one job and hoping I’ll have time for the next.
And to think, so much of the associated stress could be avoided if I would focus. If I would slow down, break tasks up into manageable chunks, and keep a steady pace throughout the day (and the week and the month) as opposed to this crazy binge cycle I too often find myself on, I would get a lot more done. Plus, now that I’m 40 and married, I can’t keep the same schedule I did when I was 19, single, and in university. And I don’t think it’s simply because I’m getting “old”, but more a case of seeing the foolishness and the wastefulness of my actions.
As in all things, though, the rub is to find the right balance. I don’t want to become so singularly focused on my “to do” list that I lose sight of God's plans and ideas. When I'm so busy looking for what I think will fix or fulfill me, I lose sight of what God is laying out before me, plain as the nose on my face. Yes, I’m to tend well what He has given me – things such as a nice home, a good job, the ability to write, and so on. But I need to remember, too, this is what God requires of me, this is what is good: I'm to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8).
When I keep that in mind, I am then better equipped to do the things I can today, today. I’m less distracted, and am better able to flow with any changes to schedules and plans. I may even have time to order a geek-tastic bathrobe or two, too. ;-)
Photo Credit: Calsidyrose ©2010 (Flickr via Creative Commons)