Focus. Forget Everything Else.

A couple months ago I committed to writing 500 words a day for my book. I committed to keeping everyone updated via email with my progress. A couple days into the process, I realized I didn’t have time – and that my heart wasn’t into my commitment.

Last month I committed to writing a post each day thanking something or someone, but a few days in what started as a fun idea turned into a chore I never had time for.

These two things may seem pretty insignificant, but they represent something much bigger and more important.

The worst feeling I think there is in life is the feeling of being overwhelmed. The pressure of having too much on your plate and the worry that there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done.

I’m not talking the kind of pressure that motivates and drives you to an end goal (it’s true that we all CAN thrive under pressure). I’m talking about the constant nagging weight of taking on too much and paying the price for doing so. Waking up each morning and saying, “Where do I begin”?

Last month was an epiphany, and this month (since it’s the first day of the month and all), I’m awake at 5am and have a renewed perspective in hand.

Over the past couple weeks I’ve forced myself to focus on what matters. Really matters.

Yes, writing a book someday matters to me. Yes, this blog matters to me. There are other things in my life that are important – but there’s no way that I can make time for it all AND do everything at my absolute best. I can’t do it all, and neither can you.

I’m done spreading myself thin, so to speak, and instead, am going to laser focus on what matters most in life. For me, three things come to mind:

The rest, as my post title suggests, will be forgotten. Not truly thrown aside, of course. But by focusing on what TRULY matters – I’ll accomplish what’s most important, de-stress, and if time allows and it won’t stress me out or make me feel overwhelmed, I’ll take on other things.

So that’s my message and challenge to you this month, fine people. Focus on what matters. Forget everything else.

The only question left to answer: What will YOU focus on?

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16 Responses
  • Alexis Grant Reply

    Great post, Matt. I’m constantly asking myself this, because it’s so easy to get bogged down in my daily to-do list. And I think a lot of the things we put on our to-do list don’t *really* need to get done. Like your thanks posts. I enjoyed reading them, but would I abandon your blog if you didn’t write them? Of course not! You’re right that it’s so easy to get overwhelmed, and we’ve got to focus on what matters!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      It’s easy to MAKEu00a0commitments, it’s very difficult to stay true to all of them. My problem is making too many – thinking I can handle it all and do it all and quickly realizing that it’s literally impossible – or at least impossible to do EVERYTHING well. My (focus) is to become more lazer-focused and be excellent at those things that really matter, instead of being okay at a lot of things. I’m alsou00a0committedu00a0to taking some things off my plate to de-stress and get a bit of my balance (and swagger) back :) – Thanks for coming by Alexis!

  • James Reply

    Good post,, Matt. And as I’ve recently learned, you can learn the a whole new level of “focus and forget everything else” when you have children.nnThe most useful thing I’ve done is to set a few clear goals for myself (usually three), read them aloud every day, and focus on them *first*. Any remaining time can be used elsewhere. There’s rarely anything like “remaining time”, though.nnNow you can write a brilliant post on “how to decide what matters”.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      How to decide what matters…that’s the most difficult step – Once you’ve got that clearly defined, the rest is smooth sailing. The trick? Only you can define what matters most to you. No amount of advice or wisdom can tell you what you NEED to be focusing on…

  • Kim Reply

    oh my goodness…this post could have been written by me. TODAY. I don’t comment too often on blogs unless something really resonates with me. And yours did. I am in a state of overwhelming anxiety with all things work-related. Thanks for the reminder to stop. Breathe. And focus on what matters. Nice post.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m thrilled to hear this resonated with you, Kim. So often I feel as though I’m writing for my own satisfaction and realization, but the main goal of course is to relate this to others – knowing we’re all going through things like this in our own life and that most importantly, we’re not alone.u00a0nnWhen it comes to being overwhelmed with work – stop and think about WHAT exactly is overwhelming you. Is it TOO much work? Work you shouldn’t be doing? Are you not getting paid enough? Once you define the problem, it’s much easier to come up with a solution.nnThanks for coming by – and thanks for commenting!

  • Tanya Marcy Reply

    Heh, sounds like me. I always tend to make those “little” kind of goals and end up feeling overwhelmed too. And “focus” isn’t really one of my strengths to boot (although maybe this is a false preconception of mine from always doing too much?? Haha). I had a realization similar to yours recently, and I definitely feel like I’m making better progress than before. nnThanks for a great post, Matt!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      You got it, Tanya. Here’s to living more focused and more prioritized moving forward! :)

  • Natalie Sisson Reply

    Well said Matt. Well said. Congrats on saying no to the right things

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks, Natalie. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! :)

  • Eugen Oprea Reply

    I hear you Matt.nnThis is the second day since I left my job to work for myself and I already feel overwhelmed with the stuff I have to do.nnBut I think that it all comes down to the drawing board and start, just as you said, with what matters.u00a0So true!nnEugen

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Yessir. The trick is figuring out WHAT is important. Once you have that down, focusing in is much, much easier.

  • Anonymous Reply

    This was the post I needed to read today – thanks, Matt. Like you, I’ve been struggling to keep up with commitments this year…and have come to the same conclusion you have. I need focus, but more importantly, I have to make non-negotiable time in my schedule for my LIFE. Time with the husband, the dog, and time to run are back on top…and it’s making a positive difference in how I handle the intense weeks in the office.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Exactly. It’s simple, what should-be no-brainer type things like taking time to make dinner at night and getting out for a run in the morning that make a day feel ‘complete’ and, in a strange way, have a big impact on my on-the-job productivity.u00a0

  • Paul Angone - All Groan Up Reply

    u00a0Yep. Right on the money Matt. nnRemember when I said that writing a book was one of the best and worst things I’ve ever done…nnWell yeah, that’s one of the reasons why..

  • Anonymous Reply

    I was thinking about this the other day. I have the same problem. I throw out a crazy task/goal/thing for myself, get hyped about it and then the fire is lost. I getu00a0frustrated, sad and fall big into an icky mood. It’s a pattern I am tired of going through every time I decide to do something “big”u00a0nnI decided to give myself some grace. Life is short but it is also long and there is no way to live it all at the same time. I have been trying my best to prioritize and look at my lifeu00a0realisticallyu00a0and see where my heart truly is. Do I really want to do this or do I just think I should? Is my life and business in the place to make this happen? And that is totally why I might do NANOWRIMO and conquer it but not be able to write my own book brick by brick right now.u00a0nnSo, yes! This post truly resonated with the dialog I have been having in my head and this is a great reminder. And focusing on truly important things are way easier than these grand challenges we give ourselves.

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