The Importance of Focusing on the Essentials

The Importance of Focusing on The Essentials |LiveYourOwnAdventure.orgI stood in the shower and let the water drip down my face.

As adults, some mornings are like that.

You stand there tired, overwhelmed, and thinking.

Thinking about what now, what next, what in the world is going on, and where’s my coffee?

I’m not the only one, am I?

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I started working with a coach in April for accountability and support as I grow my content writing business.

When we met for the first time, she asked me, “What do you want your life to look like a year from today?”

People usually ask about your five year goals or what you want to be when you grow up. But do we ever completely know the answer?

We mumble something semi-intelligent and hope it resulted in a good enough answer to avoid diving deeper.

But what about your goals for a year from now? That seems more manageable.

I allowed myself dream as I told her a year from now I’d have a self-sustaining content writing business.

I’d have a couple of large clients feeding most of my income and writers underneath me to help do some of the work. I’d have freedom and flexibility with my time and my location. I’d be consistent with my blog and still going strong.

There were a few other things I mentioned like regular hiking and yoga, making dating a priority, finding the best taco truck in Portland, etc. But as we worked together, we whittled it down to a few choice morsels to focus on over the next year.

Once you know where you’re going it’s easier to work backwards and take steps to get there.


After two months, I discovered a couple of my focuses became distractions. They weren’t as important as I thought to achieve my end goals.

Last week, we whittled it down once again to two main focuses for business (personal life aside):

1) Grow my content writing business with consistent clients

2) Post on my blog each week

Sheesh, only two focuses? It sounds so simple. Too simple.

My coach admitted she struggles convincing her clients to whittle down to a measly 4 or 5 focuses. She was impressed I only have two.

Should she be impressed? I looked at the number thinking, “Am I doing enough?!”

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I stood in the shower feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed last week. Then I was reminded of my two focuses. The two things I hold essential.

Suddenly it all seemed manageable.

If I can do these two things well, I’ll feel successful.

I don’t need to add a third or fourth focus to feel better about myself or impress people with my multi-tasking skills. Personally, I’ve learned I suck at multi-tasking and end up doing many things crappy instead of doing a few things well.

Do you ever struggle with this too? Do you take on more than is necessary and feel overwhelmed?

Take some time to dream about where you want to be in a year. Then work backwards.

Highlight the essentials, and don’t feel bad about focusing on two important things while forgetting the rest.

You don’t have to do it all. Just do a few things really well.


Your focuses don’t have to be business related. They could be about regular exercise each week, becoming the best significant other, or simply improving your life with more tacos.

Before you know it, you’ll look back over the year and discover how much you accomplished by focusing on the essentials.

Now’s it’s getting real, what’s something you’d like to focus on over the next year? What might you need to give up to make it happen?

P.S. Recommended Reading: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I promise you’ll love this book.

 
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  • Great read. I feel like we’re living parallel lives, Jen! I was out for a walk yesterday afternoon. It started to downpour and I just let the Irish rain hit my face. No need to run for cover. Here’s to doing a few things really well. Keep up the good work, lady.
    • Jen
      Thanks Katherine! Crazy, huh? So glad we crossed paths!
      Honestly, a downpour in Ireland sounds amazing! Pretty sure I wouldn’t run for cover either. Cheers to pursuing our dreams one step at a time 🙂
  • It’s so easy to sacrifice excellence for the pursuit of everything else. I know that I forget that saying YES to what’s important to me equals a thousand NOs every day.

    Having two focuses is awesome! Because “priority” is supposed to be a singular word. 😉