Focused on the Right Things? 2 Tools to Help You Find Out

Sep 29, 2023

Focused on the Right Things? 2 Tools to Help You Find Out

by | Sep 29, 2023

You don’t need more time. You need more focus. Before you zoom in on what you should be focusing on today or even right now, it helps to take some time to get clear on the big picture. You were meant to make an impact, but if you aren’t clear on your impact and purpose, it’s easy to do things that don’t move you in the right direction. 

When you take time for visioning, so that you get clear on the life you want to live. That means thinking about your business and the rest of your life. I come back to the following exercises, again and again, to recenter myself on what matters to me and make sure I’m focusing on the right things. 

These activities are excerpted from  Focused: Reclaim Your Time, Ditch Overwhelm, and Do Less Better, Part I: You Don't Need More Time, You Need More Focus – Why Focus Is Important

Build the House You Want to Live in

A few years ago, a close friend and I were talking about the intersections of our businesses and lives as we planned for the new year. She said a simple statement that had such a profound impact on me that I have repeated it a hundred times to myself and my clients.

“I want to make sure I’m building a house I want to live in.” 


Sometimes, as we are building our businesses, it's easy to get mired in completing tasks and making lists that you forget to ask, “Where am I?” or “Where am I going?” or maybe most importantly, “Do I still want to head in this direction?”

The first place to start (or revisit) when you are thinking about how you are spending your time is to (re)define the house you want to live in. 

It's like planning a road trip: We need to know our destination. We might not know the exact route or all the stops along the way, but knowing our end destination makes all the planning possible. Knowing where we're headed also acts as a filter for all the things we should pack or do along the way. Should we pack our ski parka for a trip to Florida? Probably not, nor do we need our snorkeling gear for a trip to Kansas. 

When we are not clear on our destination, we can bog ourselves down with unnecessary items. “Maybe I should buy this webinar course” or “I better join this program in case I want to teach that one day” or “I should dance on TikTok, because someone else is doing it successfully” or “I have to go to this networking event, in case someone there wants to hire me.”

Without knowing where we are heading, we can get caught doing a lot of “shoulds.” When we know our destination, we can make decisions that get us there more efficiently. We spend our time, money, and energy building a house we want to live in. 

Our road trip destination is our overall purpose, tied to our desired impact. It can act as a filter to make sure we are building the house we want to live in. 

Ideal Future State

Your life is so much bigger than your business. While your business’s desired impact might be a very important part of the house you want to live in, step back and look at your whole life and ask: “What IS the house I want to live in?” 

To answer these questions, I suggest the Ideal Future State exercise. This is a visioning exercise that transports you from where you are now to a spot in the future, 3, 5 or even 10 years out — whatever feels like the right amount of time to look into the future. 

Give yourself some time and space for this exercise. Close your door and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Picture yourself in a specific spot at that specific moment in the future. 

Look around in your mind's eye: What do you see? Where are you? Who is with you? What are you doing in this space in time? Don’t take any notes yet; simply look around your “space” and notice what is included in this ideal future state.

Below are a few more prompts to think about while you vision this spot in the future:

  • Where are you?
  • Where are you living?
  • What does the room you are in look like?
  • Who is with you? In the room, in your house, in your life …?
  • What have you received accolades for?
  • How are you making money?
  • How much are you making?
  • Who are your clients?
  • What problem are you solving?
  • Who are you working with as your team or collaborators?
  • What are you selling?
  • Where do you work?
  • What does your workspace look like?
  • When do you work each week? 
  • What months do you work? 
  • What are your work hours? 
  • What does time off look like?
  • How does your day start?
  • What do you do at the end of the work day?
  • How do you feel at the end of the day?

If you’d like to listen to an audio prompt of this exercise, head to for a downloadable audio file.

Once you are done with the visualization, open your eyes, let the images sink in, and then take some time to journal what you remember. Don’t try to answer every question. Instead, notice: What were the big ideas and themes that came up? What stuck with you? Jot down your “ahas” and realizations. 

Then think about what came up: Did anything surprise you? How different was your Ideal Future State from where you are today? What was the same? 

Going through this exercise is a great way to start to craft the image and the plan for the house you want to live in. This is the first step in knowing where you are headed and what you want to focus on. 

What if instead of hustling harder, we focused more? 

That’s what my book  Focused: Reclaim Your Time, Ditch Overwhelm, and Do Less Better is all about. You’ll say hello to Focus Culture and learn what to focus on, how to find time for focus, and how to actually focus — even when things are too much. I’ll be sharing excerpts of the book all month. Get your copy of Focused here.


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