I don’t put much stock in New Year’s resolutions, but I love the concept of choosing one word for the year.
I first read about it on the blog InspiredRD, where Alysa Bajenaru links to a site called One Word 365 that encourages people to choose a word they can focus on every day, all year long. According the site, the word should sum up “who you want to be or how you want to live. It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.”
I’m tired of beating myself up at the end of the day over mommy-guilt. I’m weary of negative self-talk. I can’t spend another minute second-guessing every decision I’ve ever made…This is the year I am determined to accept the gift I have already been given.
Danielle Omar of Food Confidence chooses three words each year. This year she chose “ALIGN”, “SIMPLIFY”, and “PARTNER”. She writes:
I post the words on my computer and by seeing and reading them each day they become a part of my life. I can begin projects, create tasks, and write to-do lists around my words. Or I can just use them as guiding principles. At the end of the year I am able to look back and see how my words helped to shape the past year. (Read Danielle’s whole post here.)
I’m choosing a word this year too: FOCUS
I want to focus on this blog and work projects that excite me. I want to focus on my kids and my husband, giving them my full attention when they need it. I want to focus on being good to myself, carving out time to exercise, read books, and be with friends.
But for too long, I’ve felt like my day is a race against the clock, ending with a to-do list scrolling through my brain as I’m lying in bed. I began to realize that lousy time management may be partly to blame. So I’ve been reading a lot about “Batching“, a method of dedicating blocks of time to specific tasks–and tuning out all other distractions. It’s centered around the notion that multi-tasking is a myth, that frantically doing five things at once creates a stressful, unhealthy life that feels productive but isn’t. Been there.
- Avoid checking emails or social media until my kids are dropped off at school so I can focus on the morning routine and be present.
- Create a schedule for my workdays that groups tasks together in chunks of time, so I can focus better on those tasks. Take breaks between them and try very hard not to chase a text message or Facebook comment down a rabbit hole of distraction. I downloaded a free app called Focus Booster to track those time blocks.
- Check email only at certain times, not all day long.
- Stay way from my phone or computer between 6:00-8:30 pm so I can focus on family time.
My hope is that by focusing this way, I’ll not only be more productive, but I’ll also FEEL more productive–which will free me up, mentally, to do things I put on the back burner too often, like sitting down for a proper lunch away from my desk and exercising. I also hope I’ll feel less day-to-day stress and find time to breathe. Deeply.
I don’t expect it to be easy. I know the tug of distraction will be hard to resist. Luckily, I have a whole year to work on it.
If YOU were to choose one word for the year, what would it be?