I was browsing through my Facebook this morning (because what else do you do when you procrastinate) when I saw an ad from a motivational speaker that piqued my interest.
(And of course, I can’t remember his name because this brain in the morning is just as fudgy as the piece of brownie I just ate.)
Anyhoo, this person says that people don’t usually achieve what they want because they don’t know what they want.
And I find his statement thought-provoking.
You see, everybody wants to accomplish something – a great job, a scholarship grant, a “This-is-Sparta!” body, a house plant that doesn’t die on them the next day – you know, great stuff.
But if you ask them how they’re going to achieve it, they’re usually confused …and sometimes downright depressed about it.
If I were to ask you right now, “where would you be in 5 years?”, would you be able to answer me without hesitation?
“What are the steps you’re taking to realize it?”
No, really, answer my question.
We usually have a vision of how we want to live our lives …
(or for us with kids, at least for the next seven days)
…but when asked in detail on how we go about to achieving that dream, our brains kinda go haywire and we end up with a shoulder shrug.
“Oh, I don’t know, I’ll see where life takes me..”
“I’m taking it one day at a time.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see”
We can visualize the life want to have. We do know what we want. The real problem really is not knowing exactly how to get it.
If you’re anything like me, you’d probably be doing a lot of things that aren’t necessarily related to your “goals” in hopes to high heavens that you get lucky enough to hit the jackpot somehow.
I’m constantly throwing spaghetti at the wall trying to see if anything sticks, but it’s not giving me anything but a messy kitchen!
I lack one thing: FOCUS.
And it’s exhausting because I end up doing a lot of things that are a complete waste of time, even buying things that are only putting a hole in my wallet.
As my brother would often put it, I’m a jack of all trades but a master of none.
(He just bulls-eyed described my resume right there!)
And I’m writing this post because I know how important it is for every homemaker to have FOCUS.
If we don’t, we overwhelm ourselves and burn out from all the things that need to be done.
We shouldn’t be led to believe that multitasking is the secret to becoming better homemakers.
Sure, washing the dishes while waiting for the laundry to finish in the washing machine is just common sense, but I’m not talking about idle time, but more of the driving while texting kind of thing.
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It’s when our brain is actively making decisions on two things at the same time that makes things complicated for us.
You see, our brains have limited capacity when it comes to our working memory.
Here’s a good analogy:
Before I had any kids, I thought there was no way I was going to use up my phone’s 32GB memory.
Then I had kids.
Between the game apps and the thousands of candid snapshots, it’s suddenly necessary that I upload them to my laptop every night to make space; otherwise, my phone would simply refuse to take any more photos.
Our brains have the same limit when it comes to our working memory. We can only focus on one information at a time if we want to plant it into our long-term memory.
If we try to do things all at once, our brains try to cope by dumping the last information we’ve gotten in order to make room for newer ones.
In other words, we’re not giving enough time for our brain to process the information long enough to remember.
And I don’t want to forget.
I want to appreciate my role as the light of my home. I want to remember every brick of memory that I put into building my family’s home and cherish all the laughter and the struggles that come with it.
I don’t want to rush things and get them done.
I want them fulfilled.
I want them achieved.
I don’t want to be like Adam Sandler in the movie “Click” wherein he fast-forwarded his life away because he couldn’t bear to be present in everyday’s mundane activities.
He was trying to escape what he thought were meaningless episodes of his life.
He didn’t realize early on that it’s these little moments that created his life’s little wonders.
We want to be present in our lives and relish the things we’re able to do while we could still do them, appreciate the people we love while we still have them.
We do have multi-roles to play as homemakers, but we also want to be intentional and purposeful in every role we play.
We want to be mindful homemakers.
We achieve more faster.
Imagine folding your laundry while thinking about what to make for dinner. Now imagine just folding your laundry and being mindful of every turn and fold. The faster you can power through a task, the faster you can get on with the next task.
We save money.
I think the most expensive hobby is the one you don’t stick with. I know this because I’ve bought things before for projects I don’t finish or side hustles that I didn’t see through to the end. I was trying all kinds of things that I thought were fun but didn’t really fully immerse into each activity to find it entertaining.
We put quality into everything we do.
Whenever I’d take orders for customized cakes in my home bakery, I make sure that I only have one cake to do per day so that I can spend more time making it beautiful – a work I can be proud of.
It didn’t use to be this way.
I used to take on several small orders and stress out on trying to finish all.
By doing only one cake a day, I was able to raise my price and work passionately on that cake alone.
This also means that I only get to work with customers who value the quality of my work rather than the cheapness of it. (You don’t want to deal with customers like those unless you like stress, pain, and stuff.)
We simplify our lives.
By choosing to do only one thing at one time, it’s easier to not get sidetracked by anything else. This means less stuff to think about, and less stress to deal with.
We experience the best quality of life.
When we take so much time taking notice of the value of our time, we spend them on activities and things that only add value to our lives.
Instead of buying 10 pieces of bargain T-shirts that rip apart after a couple of washes, we invest in 1 high-quality T-shirt that not only feels good against the skin but also lasts for 10 years or more.
Instead of mindlessly munching on junk food everyday, we can save the money to treat the family to a nice, fancy dinner every end of the week or month.
So how can we put focus into our lives? How can we create actionable steps to achieve our goals? How can we begin to simplify our entire lives?
Define your intention.
What is your goal? What do you hope to accomplish? Figure that out and work backward to create actionable steps. Each of these steps must pass some criteria to ensure that it is worth doing in order to achieve your mission. There should be valuable in what you do for the time you have to spend. Every time you’re doing something, ask yourself if it would make a difference to your goals. This wonderful planner, Simplify, will help you do just that.
Complete One task at a time.
Easier said than done because women are used to multitasking. And I think that’s why most homemakers are so burned out; they’re using too much brain power stressing about their endless to-do-list. It gets harder to focus when you need to decide on too many things for too many people.
So how do are we suppose to do it?
Make fewer decisions.
The fewer decision you have to make every single day, the fewer energy your brain wastes so that you can focus your attention on higher causes.
As a homemaker, I believe clothing and food lay the heaviest in my mind. I would start with creating capsule wardrobes and a system for meal planning so I don’t have to stress about it. For instance, I usually have a hard time creating good quality meals without burning a hole in our budget for groceries. This money saving worksheets helped me cut our expenses using a special system created by a math-nerd homesteader (I hate math; these worksheets do all the work for me!) 🙂
Ignore or minimize distractions
Notice how I didn’t say eliminate? It would be almost impossible with today’s busy lifestyle and technology-driven society!
Experts say that every time we’re distracted, it takes us 10-15 minutes to get back to our mental state prior the distraction. Sometimes it gets so exasperating that we’ve lost our momentum, we tend to give up instead of pushing on.
A good example would be your paper clutter. I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to concentrate when there are papers sprawled all over my work space. It just bugged me until I discovered The Paperless Home.
Create routines/ Form healthy habits
The simplest way to focus is to form healthy habits because it removes some of the decision-making processes for you.
It’s actually quite addictive.
Take me for example.
I am not a morning person! Being half brain-dead in the morning, I can’t function properly without a routine to get through. A routine takes away the decision-making for me. It’s almost like the body kicks in while the brain snoozes.
So that’s everything I suppose. If you’re in the mood for some more reading on productivity and time management, I suggest you take a look into fellow blogger Amy’s book “Tell your time“. I can’t recommend it enough!
We already know that excess stuff will not make us happy. In the same sense, doing a lot of things all at once will not make us any more productive. It only dilutes our effort and output.
Let’s not keep chasing everything while accomplishing nothing. Be clear on what you want so that you can focus and simplify your entire life.
You deserve to achieve great things.