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Focus: My Word for the Year

Happy New Year! I wasn't planning to blog this week. However, I've seen a few people posting about their word for the year and I realized that I do have one for 2019. Some background: lately I've been feeling distracted and ineffective, like I am constantly pulled in a million directions, few of them by my own choice. [I'm sure that most working mothers feel this way most of the time.] Being a book person, I turned to books for guidance. I read three interesting books recently about time management, essentialism (working hard on one important thing), and deep work. These books gave me some ideas, and I've been making a few changes in my life. Things like:

  • Spending less time on social media (though I did purposely go onto Facebook this week to exchange holiday greetings with far-flung friends and family members). 
  • Deleting social media and news apps from my phone, so that when I find myself with some down time I will read or think, and not automatically turn to the black hole of endless feeds. 
  • Checking email less frequently during the day (both work and personal).
  • Turning off most notifications and haptics on my Apple watch, so that my focus isn't interrupted every time a text comes in. 
  • Setting aside an hour or so in the mornings to work with my phone and computer notifications turned off and my email closed down, so that I can concentrate, uninterrupted, on a single task. This I haven't been able to do over vacation, but I plan to get back to it once my daughter goes back to school. It was Cal Newport's Deep Work that convinced me to start doing this, as well as Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, and I LOVE it. 
  • Meditating every morning for 10-15 minutes. (This I've actually been doing for about six months, after being convinced by yet another book, this one about willpower.)

I've been doing all of these things, and I realize that they can pretty much all be placed under the category of: 


I may find this word of the year frustrating, because it is pretty much impossible to focus when my daughter is awake and in the house. And because I WANT to focus one thing at a time so badly, I am more irritable than ever when I am interrupted. So this is going to be a work in progress. But I do think that in this era of incessant online distractions, attempting to focus my attention on one thing at a time is a worthy goal. 

Wishing you all success in whatever your goals might be for 2019, and the time to appreciate joyful moments along the way. 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage