A Question of Focus

A Question of Focus

Crickets. That’s all you’ve been hearing lately from me. The crickets started cricketing last summer and they’ve been buzzing for quite a few months now. (My last post, Great Power and Beauty Await You, was way, way back in July…cricket season!) For me, it’s been a question of focus. A question of focus with my art, life, faith and creativity. I’ve simply been focused on larger projects requiring greater time, energy, faith and focus than ever before. I know many of you will benefit from them, but since many of you have been long and loyal friends to this Art, Life & Faith blog, I am sorry for my silence. It really has been a question of focus… of where I believe God has uniquely made me to make my best contribution. I’m also learning a lot about my limitations. What I can and can’t do. And the reality that I can’t do it all.

Jeff Walker, a favorite author and market strategist I follow, recently wrote about focus in his book Launch. “Your most scarce resource is focus, ” Walker writes… and here’s why!

Walker continues…

The world will conspire to distract you. Your phone, email, text messages, instant messenger, social media, and more will pull you away from what you should be doing.

Many people wake up and instantly look at their phone. They check messages, check email, check various social media. That’s a huge mistake — the only thing that’s waiting in your phone is someone else’s agenda. If you check your phone or your email right away in the morning. you’ve lost control of your agenda.

There will be emails or messages waiting for you to respond, and once you start responding you’ve lost control of your day.

You should start the day by focusing on your highest-value activities before you get caught up in other people’s agendas for you.

What are your highest-value activities? The one’s that are in your genius zone (what only you can do-my note) or a Unique Ability.

Walker writes some pretty challenging words. You and I have only one life to live… hopefully the image people will not remember us by is having our face staring in a cell phone. I know I’ve been guilty many times throughout the day of having my focus lost and distracted by the myriad of information served to me.

Focus has everything to do with your art, your creativity, your relationships and what you will accomplish today. Focus is the key ingredient in the art of cultivating your life. Great art and great relationships come from a highly tuned ability to focus.

Whatever you do today, ask yourself, “What are my highest-value activities??

With your marriage. Your children. Your friends. Your church. Your community. Your work.

What you focus on can make the highest contribution in the lives of those around you.

Or not.

Questions: What are your highest-value activities? How are you living with your most important values in mind?

I’d love to hear from you…and yes, you’ll be hearing from me on a more regular basis. No more crickets.

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  • Rebecca Faubion

    Thanks for this post Joey. It comes at a good time for me! I appreciate that you have modeled putting focus on some of the highest-value projects for you – it reminds me of the focus that’s required to work on a painting or write. Sometimes the most rewarding part of painting or writing for me is that I was able to focus completely on a fulfilling task. Even if the work isn’t a masterpiece, the span of time set aside to think and respond creatively is so fulfilling. Thanks for sharing this!

    • http://www.joeyo.org/ Joey O’Connor

      My pleasure Rebecca! I’m reminded that we need margin for our creativity and unless we make margin, our ability to focus is greatly diminished. Thanks for your thoughtful words!

  • http://www.faithdance.org/ FaithDanceArt

    yep – the danger is there! but thankfully it has been my longtime habit of first thing in the morning spending time with a cup of coffee and the Lord before turning on the computer. the only thing I might check on my phone is the weather. 😉 and depending on what I am working on, I might even postpone checking emails until the afternoon.

    • http://www.joeyo.org/ Joey O’Connor

      Checking emails until the afternoon…a great idea so we don’t all succumb to the tyranny of the “perceived” urgent. Coffee and time alone with God in the quiet is exactly how I like to spend my mornings to! Thanks for your comment!

  • Colleen O’Connor

    Joey, I loved your article! It really was just what I needed to be
    reminded of right now. For the longest time, I’ve been promising myself
    that I’m going to get up earlier and spend some quiet time with God,
    but I haven’t been very good about keeping that promise to myself. I
    loved this quote: “You should start the day by focusing on your
    highest-value activities before you get caught up in other people’s
    agendas for you.” My highest-value activity is spending time with God.
    I need to ignore the latest emails, texts, etc and put my focus on
    what’s much more important to me … time with God. Thanks for helping
    me get back on track!!

    • http://www.joeyo.org/ Joey O’Connor

      Thanks Colleen! From what I’ve learned and am still learning, rhythm is everything. Once you get in a rhythm, everything else tends to follow. Love you!

  • Lauren

    You are right about focus…I find it helpful to rembember Whose we are before I even get out of bed. With our thoughts on Him before we even reach for any type of technology, it helps to be centered.

    • http://www.joeyo.org/ Joey O’Connor

      That’s great input Lauren. I try to spend a few minutes in the morning before I get out of bed and let my thoughts get centered on God. I try listen and let Him be the first one I speak to in the morning. Thank you for posting!