How to Determine What to Focus On in Your Life

by Lance Ekum on · 13 comments

Casey Slide is a mother, wife, Chris­t­ian, and engi­neer liv­ing in the Atlanta area. In addi­tion to jug­gling many pas­sions in her life, she shares her tips and insights for lifestyle and finan­cial top­ics on the Money Crash­ers per­sonal finance blog.

Like many peo­ple, I can never seem to find enough time to do every­thing that I need and want to do. With only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, there is no way to squeeze it all into my life.

On a daily basis, I find myself strug­gling as to what aspect of my life I should focus my atten­tion: prepar­ing healthy foods, edu­cat­ing my son, learn­ing how to save money and make money, enrich­ing my prayer life, exer­cis­ing, spend­ing time with friends and fam­ily, and prac­tic­ing my var­i­ous hob­bies. All of these are impor­tant, but by attempt­ing to focus on all of them, I spread myself too thin.

So how do you deter­mine what to focus on in life? To find an answer, you must first answer a series of other questions.

Ques­tions to Ask Yourself

1. Am I Expe­ri­enc­ing Any­thing That Is Life-threatening?

Obvi­ously, if you are in imme­di­ate dan­ger, you’ll be attend­ing to that issue, but this ques­tion goes much deeper than that. Is there any­thing that is going on in your life that is going to harm you if you don’t deal with it? For exam­ple, do you have a seri­ous med­ical con­di­tion that requires attention?

Con­sider your eat­ing and exer­cis­ing habits, as well as your men­tal and over­all health by going to your physi­cian for a pre­ven­ta­tive care check-up. Your doc­tor will be able to tell you if  you are at risk for any poten­tial health prob­lems and what you should focus on now to pre­vent them. If your doc­tor tells you that you are over­weight and have high blood pres­sure and cho­les­terol mak­ing you at risk for heart dis­ease and dia­betes, you need to focus on mak­ing lifestyle changes now in order pre­vent these life-threatening conditions.

2. Are My Rela­tion­ships Strained?

You may be expe­ri­enc­ing var­i­ous forms of stress in your life, but if you do not have some­one whom you trust and who you know will stand by your side, you will be a lot less capa­ble to take on the chal­lenges of daily life. As com­mu­nal beings we need each other for moral and phys­i­cal sup­port. With­out a sup­port sys­tem, we often become unmo­ti­vated and depressed.

If you find your­self say­ing “yes” to this ques­tion, aim your focus at repair­ing tense or bro­ken rela­tion­ships, espe­cially with your spouse. This can be par­tic­u­larly uncom­fort­able if you are deal­ing with finan­cial infi­delity in your mar­riage, but be the big­ger per­son by mak­ing the first move.

3. Are My Finances Suffering?

Once you know you are phys­i­cally healthy and that your rela­tion­ships are healthy, ask your­self if your finances are healthy. You can do this by exam­in­ing the following:

  • Do you have a bud­get you follow?
  • Does your income exceed your expenses?
  • Are you sav­ing for retirement?
  • Are you debt-free?

If you answered “yes” to these ques­tions, fan­tas­tic. If not, then it’s time to get to work on a per­sonal bud­get. You may also want to con­sider ways to make extra money in order to pay down debt, build up your sav­ings, or pre­pare and plan for retire­ment.

Once you have a han­dle on your finances, you can then switch your focus to thriv­ing finan­cially. Per­haps you may even want to start think­ing about how to become a mil­lion­aire!

4. Is There Some­thing I Could Learn That Would Enrich My Life?

I love to learn new things, and there is often so much on my “to-learn” list that I don’t know where to start. So not only is there a ques­tion of if I should focus on learn­ing some­thing, there is also the ques­tion of what I should focus on learning.

The best way to approach this is to first con­sider learn­ing about any­thing that will enrich your qual­ity of life. Per­haps you can learn some­thing to help you save money, such as coupon­ing, cook­ing more nutri­tious foods, or start­ing your own veg­etable garden.

Also con­sider learn­ing things that could enrich your spir­i­tual or prayer life; this will bring you peace and may even be another way to dis­cern where to direct your focus.

5. Where Do I Want to Be in Five Years?

Really, the ques­tion is, what do you want to do with your life? Is there a new career that you would like to pur­sue? If the pro­fes­sion requires school­ing, train­ing, or expe­ri­ence, you will need to devote some of your focus to get­ting that process started.

Is there a goal that you would like to reach? One of my goals is to run a full marathon at some point in my life. When the time is right for me to achieve that goal, I’ll need to make the train­ing my focus.

For some, going back to school is the only option, since it pro­vides the edu­ca­tion needed to pur­sue a dif­fer­ent career. For exam­ple, if you wish to advance in your cur­rent career, you might require a master’s degree.

6. What Are My Passions?

We only live one life, so don’t waste your time on things that do not mat­ter to you. Does it really mat­ter that you watch that TV show? Do you really need to spend an hour on Face­book check­ing the sta­tuses of your for­mer high school friends?

No, you don’t. You need to get up, get out, and start liv­ing. Fig­ure out what really mat­ters to you and make those things your focus. Don’t waste your time and energy on things that you will regret.

Maybe you work in the health care field and you want to advance your career because help­ing oth­ers is your pas­sion. If this is how you feel, con­sider earn­ing a master’s degree in health­care. With this degree, you can make a major impact in the lives of many peo­ple, since you will have the exper­tise needed to shape poli­cies and advance change within the industry.

Final Thoughts

It can be over­whelm­ing to think about all the ways you can spend liv­ing your life, but the key is to focus on the most impor­tant things while let­ting the rest fall into place.

Once you have a han­dle on areas of your life, such as your health, your rela­tion­ships, and your finances, expand your focus to include goals and pas­sions. Don’t over­whelm your­self by tak­ing on too much, and know that each poten­tial focus has its time and place.

What are you focus­ing on in your life?

Lance writes sto­ries from his heart, aim­ing to inspire and moti­vate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he’s not here, you can find him hang­ing out with his fam­ily, rid­ing a bike, or just gen­er­ally act­ing goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Tree­house newslet­ter and get addi­tional inspi­ra­tion in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
View all posts by Lance Ekum

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