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.

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.

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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