Focusing on Focus

Waaaaaay back at the beginning of the year, when 2012 was just a babe in arms, someone asked me what my word of the year was. In other words, they wanted to know what word would I choose to try and live up to this year.

Choosing a word of the year, is not something I normally consider doing, however for whatever reason, the moment the question was asked of me, I had an answer – focus.

I knew that I wanted to focus on being focused. It had been obvious to me for quite some time that I had lost complete control over my life. I had no time or energy left at the end of the day to spend on directing what was happening to me, I was simply reacting to events and doing my best to gets through each day.


I was letting life happen to me, instead of the other way around.

Of course, it’s not possible to control every event that occurs in life, sometimes we are felled by lung infections that last for months, or have Big Bad Things happen that we must manage. But these are (hopefully) rare occurrences.

These past few years – last year in particular – have seen me filling up my days with commitments to everyone else but myself and my husband. I am a scattered woman simply trying to get from Point A to Point B each day. If something isn’t written on the calendar, I’ve probably already forgotten about it.

The time has come to reclaim my life. It’s time to stop reacting and time to start being proactive. I sat down a couple of weeks ago and took a hard look at my life. I forced myself to make decisions about the things in my life that I wasn’t happy about – even the things I didn’t want to admit weren’t working. And you know what? Though some of my decisions were difficult ones to make, once I made them, I immediately started to feel better about Life.


Eliminating the stuff that was (and sometimes still is) holding me back has not always been easy or pleasant, but knowing that I have freed up time to focus on what is truly important to me more than makes up for it. There’s a lightness and a joy that comes from cutting loose dead weight. And there’s an excitement too.

Being less committed to everyone else means I have more time to move forward on projects that I’ve been meaning to tackle for months (years even). I was spinning my wheels trying to do everything. It’s so fantastic to learn that by taking back some of my time for me, I’m actually getting more done overall.

How about you? Do you find yourself over-committed? How do you manage to do it all?


  1. Rachel says

    This post made me happy. I love hearing that other women have decided to stop the crazy-must-do-it-all and just focus in on our bigger goals and loves.

    Doing less, but more of what is really important to me, has been a challenge since becoming a parent. In the last year I feel like I’ve really embraced that my family, and I, work best on a relaxed schedule without lots of commitments. Deciding to have fewer commitments has left us more time for projects we’re really passionate about and more time for spontaneous fun.

    One of the things I gave up: regimented housekeeping. I’ve lowered the bar and just give myself a few time windows during the week to hang laundry and do some general cleaning. If the kitchen floor doesn’t get done that week I do it the next. No big deal. I also decided to give up on craft projects with my toddler. He gets craft time at daycare a few times a week. We do things we both like: swimming (he is loving it!), time at the park and a fun music and movement class.

    So I don’t “do it all” or even try to. I’m much more content this way.
    Rachel´s last blog post ..How to Avoid Duplicates

  2. Amanda says

    I’m glad that weight has been lifted for you! I’m spinning my wheels a lot lately, too, but mostly it’s stuff I can’t get out of (work, having a sieve-like brain due to pregnancy, and looking for a new home). I know that this is just a phase, though, and things are going to get less crazy soon (well, until the new baby arrives, that is).
    Amanda´s last blog post ..Minor Quirks and Tragic Flaws

  3. Nicole says

    I have definitely cut down on committments and said “no” a lot lately. There is an idea that SAHM’s have all the time in the world to volunteer for things, commit to things, etc., etc., and when it comes down to it, all these things add up and take up tons of energy. Good for you to get focused! Spreading oneself too thin is never a good idea!
    Nicole´s last blog post ..The book fair is over. Where’s my corkscrew?

  4. Mama in the City says

    Great topic for discussion Marilyn! I find myself in this rut from time to time…like quite frequently! When the flow is good and I feel on top of it all, I look around and realize it is because I had realistic expectations and not a lot of extras on my plate. I used to do A LOT of meet ups with friends, and I loved them but they did take a lot of my time away from my family. So, for now, I’ve cut down on that and changed things to accommodate what I need for right now.
    Mama in the City´s last blog post ..I Was That Mother. The Mother You Would Judge

  5. Loukia says

    FOCUS – yes. Great word.I need to figure things out myself, and learn how to manage my time better… I’m up till 1 a.m. most nights, which means I’m not getting a lot of sleep because I’m waking up at 6 a.m .

  6. Leanne says

    I must be over-committed because by the time I got to the bottom of the comment section, I forgot what your question was! I am reviewing each of my commitments to evaluate how I can modify them so that I can get more me time. I am learning my limits and my endurance. Looking forward to summer since for some reason I feel I can breath more, have more time (for whatever), and do not feel closed in! May be it is the endless fields of green instead of mounds of snow that makes a difference! My word for the year is content.

  7. Tarable says

    I am ALWAYS looking for ways to simplify and cut away the excess. The simpler I keep things, the easier it is to feel accomplished and in control. But it’s very easy slide into that trap of trying to do too much or committing to too much. I’m unpopular with several people because I say no a lot. Just, no. Sorry, no.

    No we don’t want that. No we can’t do that. Sorry, no, we can’t make it to that.
    Tarable´s last blog post ..Granny