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Have you ever looked back on the week and wondered where the time went? You had lots of great intentions on Monday, but suddenly it’s Friday and you haven’t accomplished any of the things you had planned to at the start of the week. Chances are that you didn’t just sit around all week wasting time, but rather you were busy putting time and energy into other things. Whether or not those things are also important does not detract from the fact that they are distractions from your overall goals.
Not all distractions are bad. Sometimes we need distractions to help us cope with difficult or painful situations. But more often than not, our distractions actually hinder us from accomplishing what we are meant to. The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that each day has a unique purpose that can only be accessed on that day. If we follow the spiritual path, we have to take control of our time and thoughts in order to accomplish our life’s work.
Here are 3 ways to start focusing more on what’s really important:
1. Instead of splitting your attention, concentrate on one thing at a time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to accomplish too many things at once. Our lives are so busy with important things - our family, our work, our personal wellness - that we often split our focus between them. We might eat dinner with our family but think about the work emails we need to send tomorrow. Or we might be in a business meeting but start planning what we are going to make for dinner that night. With so many different areas competing for our time, the problem isn’t always that we don’t devote enough time to them, but that we don’t devote our full attention.
Focus on listening and being present. Wherever you are, be there 100%. Think about the main goal for this moment, for this hour, for this day, and commit to it. You can give time and focus to everything that is important in your life, but not all at once! You may need to rotate priorities throughout the day.
2. Make time for silent reflection. One of the biggest damages of being distracted is that it prevents us from paying enough attention to the great wisdom within us. All of the wisdom and answers we need are already inside. But in order to access them, we have to be silent. The noise and chaos of our daily lives prevent us from really listening to the voice of our souls. To practice focusing is to work on the ability to hear your inner voice more clearly.
When was the last time you took the opportunity to sit with yourself and think about what is important to you? Our lives are so busy, we rarely prioritize this necessary practice. We are better and more creative when we allow ourselves the room to unplug, and it gives us the space to connect with our soul. Whether it is meditation, prayer, or just quiet time with yourself, make time to get in touch with yourself and the amazing wisdom that you hold.
3. Assess where you are spending your time. We’ve all had moments when we grab our phone to look something up, get distracted by a text message, and then somehow we end up spending an hour scrolling through social media, wasting time with something we had not intended to do.
If you were to make a pie chart of the things that are important to you, what percentage of your time do you spend in each area? How much do you spend worried about things that are not really important?
Every morning, ask yourself, “What is important to me?” Just asking the question makes you stop and think about how you will use your time that day. Then at night, evaluate how well you did. How much time did you actually spend on the things you said were important? What did you have to sacrifice or compromise this week?
Life is too short and too important to give time and energy to being distracted. The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that our life’s work is meant to be done with intensity and focus. Without those two elements, we can dance around our work but never accomplish it. Through concentrating on one thing at a time, silent reflection, and self-evaluation, you can train yourself to be more focused, more present, and more intentional. Cut out the distractions, and see the blessings that a focused life can unlock.