Getting Refocused

I’m currently writing this on Labor Day, September second here in North America, and a holiday long weekend. I just finished my regular holidays and actually went back in the office a little bit last Thursday to meet with my associate who has taken off on his own holidays. Then I got ready for Sunday, did the Sunday service, and now it’s a holiday Monday. This week marks really the end of my holiday season in a lot of ways, and admit I’m having a hard time shifting gears. 

I had what I call a reasonable holiday. There was a bit too much driving, more driving than I prefer to do. I’m not quite as holiday’d-out as I like to be after the holidays. September first is the start of hunting for both deer and elk here. It’s also the start of hunting season here, and I’m not out there. I’m here. 

In fact, my associate, Matt booked off this week. He had a wedding to do this week and he’s off for the week so he can indulge in bow hunting. He knew that. Well played young whippersnapper. We’ll see if that happens next year. We may have to arm wrestle over who gets what holidays for hunting. 

Looking back on my holidays, I didn’t get a lot done from a productivity standpoint, which is of course not the purpose of holidays. I often try to sneak in a project, especially tied to my writing and online work, in the holidays somewhere. It didn’t happen and I was feeling kind of down about that a bit, but there are worse things to happen than not being productive on holidays. 

I’m trying to getting refocused and breaking out of the holiday mindset, the holiday brain, the anti-productivity and back to actually getting stuff done. I’ve been spending some time, even last week and now, today in particular, trying to get refocused. A few things I’m doing today to get refocused are as follows. 

Number one. I’m clearing out the clutter, including visible clutter. I have a whiteboard on which I write ideas, projects and tasks and it was getting pretty full. The idea is that I use the whiteboard to quickly capture ideas and then move them into other to do list or other notes somewhere, but the whiteboard is right there in my face. It was filled up to overflowing, so I slowly transfered the things over into my Evernote and erase the whiteboard and have it just a few points on it now. It feels much better. 

Tied to that is my overall workspace. Papers can kind of get cluttered up, especially before holidays when you’re trying to knock off some tasks. So I’m clearing up my physical workspace, scanning papers and throwing them out as needed and just making sure there’s a clean workspace. The point of all of that is to get the clutter out of my head. 

For me, there’s a huge relationship between the visual clutter of my office and what’s going on in my head. If I’ve got a messy desk, it’s probably because of I’ve got a messy, disorganized mind. If I’m in the middle of a task, a messy desk is okay. But if it’s messy when I’m not really working on anything and it’s just messy because it’s messy, that’s a sign that I’m not really that focused. I need to deal with that. So I’ve done that, cleared away some of the visual clutter, which has helped my headspace immensely. 

The other thing I’m doing is reworking my dream week. Dream week is basically a schedule and a structure of your ideal week with what you want to be doing in each piece of the day; the morning, the afternoon, early evening, for each of the seven days. 

Now, that ideal dream week almost never happens and that’s okay. But it’s an ideal that you keep coming back to and it also begins to give some structure and helps you with your planning. For instance, if I say that on Thursday mornings, I’m going to produce a webinar of some kind, that the decision’s already made and it’s just a matter of which webinar am I going to do or bill or produce. So I’m reworking my dream week for this fall season. 

I’ve got my transitional ministry role, which is one hundred and twenty hours a month. I’ve got my transitional leadership role, which is 20 hours a month. And I’ve got my online projects as well. So I’m trying to structure my week around those things as well as maintain some R & R, some balance and yes, sneak out hunting a little bit or at least just to get outside. 

When it comes down to taking action, I try to identify my Quadrant 1 tasks right away. Quadrant 1, you may recall, are those things that are important and urgent. They’re emergencies or urgent in some way that are important, not just noise, but things that need to get done. I want to identify those urgencies, the things I need to get done today and this week, and get them scheduled and done. That’s critically important, because if there’s urgencies that are important that I’m not addressing, there can be serious repercussions in the next few weeks as we move into a fairly heavily scheduled fall. 

Once I’ve got my Quadrant 1 things identified and started taking action on them, I also take a step back and identify my Quadrant 2 tasks. Quadrant 2 tasks, of course, are the things that are not urgent, but they’re important. They’re the things that you can put off forever, but if you do; one month, two months, six months from now, it’ll come back to bite you. That’s why I’m using my whiteboard for right now. Just have a few primary Quadrant 2 tasks on the whiteboard to keep them in my face and keep bringing me back to what’s important, even though it might not be urgent in the different areas of my life. 

So that’s what I’m doing to get refocused. I hope you’ve had an outstanding holiday or may be coming to the end of it. And I hope you have the ability to get refocused for a rich season ministry ahead. 

God bless. Press on. 

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