It’s so easy for me to scurry.
The kind of thing that happens late at night when I want to clear off the kitchen countertops so they’ll be clean first thing in the morning. And I spend some time doing that.
Then I notice that the cat needs to be fed and the dog needs water. So, I do that too.
Then when I get to the bathroom, I noticed the towels that you meant to fold earlier in the evening are still waiting there in a heap. Might as well fold them and take the basket to the laundry room.
And while I’m doing that I notice the last of the load of laundry is still in the washer, so I toss it in the dryer.
It’s like “when you give a mouse a cookie” only it’s “when you give a mom a basket of laundry.”
What I really need to do is get to bed, but somehow I’ve spent 45 minutes…scurrying.
So that brings up the question: how do I keep the main thing the main thing?
It’s my word for 2018.
Choosing a word isn’t a resolution or unrealistic promise to myself (something that I inevitably end up ditching). Choosing a word means deciding on a guiding principle to consider throughout the year.
But on what?
It’s impossible to focus on everything all at once, so I’ve got to choose.
What’s the main thing to focus on?
When I take pictures, if I’m going for a shot of the cardinal in the foreground, then the trees in the background will blur out. If I’m taking a picture of the moonrise on the horizon, then the flowers in the foreground are what will turn blurry.
Now, once I choose a main thing — the trick is to keep it the main thing. Otherwise, everything is blurry.
When it’s bedtime, the main thing — the thing to focus on — is “getting to bed.” And by the same token, if cleaning up the kitchen or putting away the laundry is really that important it needs to be the focus of a time early in the evening.
Last year, my word was Clear. I worked all year to clear clutter and chaos. Closets and cupboards were cleaned and cleared. The shrub that I hated mowing around got moved someplace more convenient. Things that hadn’t been used were donated to various charities. The house feels lighter, and it’s easier to take care of.
Clear, clear, clear.
And through all the clearing, my word for 2018 revealed itself. There was no way to clear everything at once. I had to choose — to focus — on one thing at a time.
My guiding thought for this year.
Focus: because there’s no way to do everything all at the same time.
Focus: because it gives me permission to let certain things face into the background in order to concentrate on other things.
Focus: because it requires making conscious decisions.
Focus: because it’s important to think ahead and figure out what’s important.
Focus: because it helps me make hard decisions when two or three or more things vie for your attention.
Focus means being in touch with my core values, so to make sure I’m keeping the main thing — the things I value most — the main thing.