I often hear from aspiring writers who say, “I wish I had time to write.” Other people tell me, “I’m too busy to read my Bible.” Still others complain, “I’ve got too much going on to make it to church this week.” They give the same argument when asked to volunteer for a noble cause. Of course, when invited to donate money to a worthy charity, the explanation is often, “I can barely get by as it is” or “I have nothing to spare.”
These are all excuses, a mere pretense. The reality is we place priority on the activities and groups that are important to us. We focus on doing what’s best, saying “no” to what is secondary, and ignoring everything else. Then, what we value receives the attention it deserves.
As a writer, I focus on writing every morning. I have a sign to remind me of that in case I forget and to alert everyone else that something important happens when I sit at my writing desk. With a focus on writing, I crank out 500 to 1,000 words every day. Before long, I’ve finished a book.
Similarly I focus on reading my Bible and going to church. Because of my focus, these activities happen. I have one organization where I regularly volunteer, which is my focus. This frees me to say “no” to other volunteer opportunities – not because they aren’t good, but because they are secondary to my focus. For charity, I have four areas that are important to me. I focus on supporting them, and I say “no” to others, no matter how worthy – because I don’t want to dilute my focus.
Having focus gives me the motivation to do what matters most and the liberty to decline other opportunities. Yes, focus is a discipline, but it also gives freedom.
[This is from the July 2015 issue of Peter DeHaan‘s newsletter. Sign up to receive the complete newsletter each month via email.]