Have you said these words and then realized another hour or two went by before you were actually done? You see the disappointed faces of your family, order take-out dinner again, and miss yet another yoga class. Instead of spending time on our family and relationship, we find our time is spent with a laptop in our hands as we “quickly” finish this one thing.

Yet, all along we feel we are not doing enough—that we are not getting to our goal fast enough, that it takes too long, or perhaps that we will never get there at all. We wonder how long it will take to reach our success. We think if we had more time now to finish our work, then we will have so much more time for them when we’re done. Then.

Can you relate? Does this sound like something you have experienced? The first time I paid attention to this was when I was at a conference listening to marketer, Tyler Garns. Tyler said there was a point when he was working so much that he felt his family was in the way of his career. That was his wake-up call.

Hearing him saying so was mine.

I had to take a good hard look at what I was doing—and I didn’t like myself too much for what I saw. And that made me think…

What drives us so hard into a job, a career, or a project that we shut everything else out? Here is what I came up with:

First, let’s differentiate between a career or job and a passion project. A career may be what you do as your profession, but it also may be “just a job.” This doesn’t mean you aren’t great at what you do. It just means you might not have a strong personal attachment to the work.

But for creatives, I believe most of us are in this field because of a passion for it, and it is much easier to become deeply engaged in passion projects. There are some people, myself included, who wholly immerse themselves in their projects. If this describes you too, the lines of where your job starts and ends can often become blurred. It’s easy to become so absorbed in your work that you spend more time than necessary doing what needs to be accomplished, just because you’re having fun. Of c

Of course, that’s time taken away from other important parts of your life.

If we are running ourselves into the ground, we are no good to anyone and we often end up miserable and stressed out. That leads to two questions:

  1. What makes it so hard to stop?
  2. What can we do to find a better balance today and not let our work take over our entire lives?

If you have momentum towards your goal then you should run with it because you should know by now it won’t last forever. But even when you are 100% submerged in your Main Focus, there are other vital aspects of your life that need to be aligned so you can function: a good diet and exercise, rest and relaxation, family time, relationship time, and ME time.

Did you know there is a tool that can help you balance all the demands on your time? You probably have one at home and lots of businesses are giving them away this time of year. Yes, I’m talking about a simple calendar!

The key to enjoying your Main Focus is to diligently map out what is important to you, and then schedule all your professional and personal appointments into one calendar. Fill it in together with your family week by week and include everyone’s schedules, appointments, work times, and play times. Make sure the needs of every family member are equally considered. Most importantly, if you put it in the calendar, you commit to doing it.

Using this method, you ensure all the things that are important to you get the attention they deserve. Instead of “finishing this real quick,” you’ll learn to abide by your schedule and avoid disappointing the ones you’re working so hard for.

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