Even Professionals Can Have Trouble Focusing On Their Priorities!


It's human to put things off, AND we know our priorities are important. Let's work on them!

What do you do when you're not staying on track but you really want to? What stops you from doing the most important things first? I wonder if you identify with my story. A few years ago, I told good friends I wanted to write a book and that I'd do an essay every day. That shouldn't have taken more than an hour for 200+ words, based on my eight years of experience writing a monthly relationship column for Active Singles Life (which closed in 2008).  I certainly have enough ideas and opinions. And when I did a priorities exercise of 10 goals I had, writing a syndicated column (not yet a done deal) and being on a book tour with my book were two of the top three. What happened? The thing is, even helping professionals can use some Life Coach advice every once in a while.

For what it's worth, I started this article five hours ago, on a Saturday morning. In between then and now have come homemade whole grain pancakes with blueberries and whipped cream (the yogurt was gone—what could I do?), adjustments on my new 19" monitor, reading and sending emails, helping a housemate with her resume, putting up new (antique) lamp shades in the bathroom, dealing with incoming letters, sharing leftover goose and vegetable soup, listening to a taped rendition of Annie Dillard's The Living—set in the Bellingham, WA area—and calling friends about an outing today (postponed till next Saturday).

I also modified my personal ad on www.match.com in response to two men who declined to meet because I didn't seem interested in a committed relationship. I changed "Probably not interested in marriage or living together..." to "Open to marriage or living together as long as I have plenty time to be alone with myself," and added to "Kid at heart—let's play" the phrase "...It will be even more fulfilling if we're in a committed relationship." Now it's up to the Universe. I forwarded the changes to the man whose sense of humor shone through, and hope we may yet meet. I'm meeting a man, 65, a retired marriage counselor, from another site at 6:30 tonight for coffee down at Cutter's, with a view of Puget Sound. I've been meeting men through ads on and off for 25 years. I've been in several relationships and am more inclined than usual to be in one because three of my dear friends are in committed relationships. I got two of the three together and am delighted to see they are following Hendrix's Keeping The Love You Find.

But I have digressed. Why have I only done two essays this week? Why have you not exercised, stopped smoking, finished your project, looked for a new job—whatever that one step is that you know you need to take? I suspect for each of us it might involve a fear of success and/or fear of failure. It may be something as simple as preferring the easy task or looking to distractions when we don't feel like applying ourselves. It might be wanting to feel needed by having important things still ahead of us. Just as likely, getting distracted may be a habit we have gotten into. I know self-discipline is not my strong suit, but I AM able to focus when I have a deadline, or when I set my mind to it.

For more ideas on this, you may want to read this earlier article of mine. A confession: since the third paragraph, I vacuumed out a roomer's uncleaned room—fuming, it is true—so it will be ready, four days late, for a new roomer. I ate baby Snickers and Pecan Delights and an apple, for balance, transferred garbage wrongly put in the recycling can to the garbage can—muttering—took a shower and got dressed to grab the 6:00 bus for my meeting with the dating site guy.

So, what can you and I do to ensure that we tackle the most important things first? Mary Manin Morrissey, in Building Your Field of Dreams, talks about having a Belief Partner who'll hold your goal or dream when it's hard for you to believe in it. Get a friend, a coach (I offer a complimentary 30-minute session) or even a co-worker who'll expect and believe that you can have what you desire, and who will check up and encourage you to fulfill your intention. See if that doesn't make it easier to put your highest priorities FIRST! Want more support? Call me at 206-938-8385 or leave a message for me—moreah@comcast.net.