Focusing on the Most Important “Thing”

Day-to-day we run into a multitude of decisions and tasks.  We’ve got so much we have to do and so little time.  At least that’s what we’re made to think.  Along with my work duties, I’ve got my family duties and I’m responsible to my friends.  Then I’m hooked on checking social media sites for information and updates.  And I want to make sure I meditate, visualize, workout, etc.

That’s a lot of “stuff”.  It’s hard to focus on the most important “thing” when your day can be cluttered with all of the stuff.  I’m taking some time to sift through all of the stuff and start focusing on the most important “thing” (no clever words for it, just a thing).

Right now my most important thing is to improve as a father and husband.  As long as I keep that as my focus, I can determine what stuff is not needed.  By determining what’s not needed, I can make quick decisions on commitments and my priorities throughout the day.  I can structure my day to make sure I’m meeting my commitment to the most important thing.  Here are a few examples:

Leaving Work by 4:30

I’m committed to leaving work by 4:30.  This allows me to stop by the grocery store, pick up my daughter and have dinner on the table by 6:30.  My focus on leaving allows me to provide a quality meal for my family (instead of fast food) and for my wife to be able to play with the kids.  She’s great with playing with the kids, while I’m working to be better at it.  I’m great at cooking nutrient rich meals for the family, while she’s still working to be better at it.  We play to our strengths in this case.

By staying focused on the most important thing, my family is fed by 7, I can work with my daughter on homework and then get in a workout on a regular basis.  I’ve just added value to my day and have gotten better.

Cutting Back on Social Media

This is a big one.  How can you stay focused on the most important thing when you’ve got a mobile device chirping notifications at you?  Instant access is a blessing and a curse.  If you don’t control it, it will control you.  I found myself more focused on twitter than my wife and kids.  “Hold on, let me read this.”

To help wean myself from this “addiction”, I turned off the push notifications and deleted the icons from my android screen.  I have to search for the programs in the background now.  Without the constant notifications and the icon staring at me, I stopped looking at Twitter and Instagram constantly.

This again allowed me to be present with my friends and family and focused on the most important thing.

Focused on Continual Improvement 

Kaizen is the practice of continual improvement.  I learned the term in a Six Sigma Green Belt course for manufacturing.  It actually started me down the path I’m on today.  Focusing on Kaizen keeps me focused on the most important thing.

At work, I know that we will improve from our mistakes.  My company has a culture and commitment to Kaizen.  Mistakes do not linger, they are learning experiences.  Instead of being angry and stressed about work and carrying it home, it’s left behind.  We’ll get better.

I’ve begun to take the same approach at home.  Instead of being upset over a bad grade, I support my daughter’s continual improvement and preach that to her.  When my wife struggles to keep commitments to place and time (this is a personal peeve), I keep it in perspective because I know she is trying her best.  When my son comes home with a bad report from daycare, we go over the issue, how to correct it and I know he will improve from the experience.

Knowing that we’re all improving keeps me level headed.  I’m a bit of a hot head and have a temper.  That’s something I know needs improvement to be a better father and husband.  I’m focusing on the most important thing.

Figure out your most important “thing”.  This will eliminate the “stuff” and everything will fall into place.