Focus. Focus. Focus.
The word has been floating around in my head for a week now. When I was going through my regular new year tasks such as goal making, organizing, and planning, I couldn’t keep focus off my mind.
Being a photographer and having “focus” as your word seems a little cliche, I admit. And yet, it applies to so many areas of life. I am fortunate that I play many roles. I’m a wife, a mother, a photographer. All of these roles require my time, my dedication, my commitments. It is a juggling act, a struggle for balance, a little give and take. All of these roles constantly pulling my focus. At the end of last year I found myself constantly multi-tasking. By the end of Winter Break I reached a near breaking point where I was unable to focus on anything. My brain was so bogged down with my to-do lists that it couldn’t hold onto whatever task I was trying to do.
The other day I took my kids to swim lessons and it was so windy outside that you could barely stand. You know that feeling? Where the wind is so strong you can hardly press forward, you aren’t moving anywhere, forward or backward. Maybe the wind blows you around a little bit, but no progress is made? I took a photograph of my daughter standing there laughing with the wind blowing in her face. “Mama, it’s so windy!” she exclaims. I literally had to carry her to the car the wind was so strong.
That same feeling can be felt without focus. All of those tasks and needs and roles, swirling around pushing against me waiting for me to pick something. Trying to grab hold of everything at one time would be pointless. But with a little focus, I can begin to move forward.
So this year I aim to focus. Focus on one thing at a time. That’s not to say that my plate won’t be full (that’s how I like it) or that I won’t be juggling multiple things at one time, but I’m going to tackle them one at a time. Focus on one thing at a time. I should repeat that again to make sure my brain receives the message…Focus on one thing at a time.
I know that it means slowing down, lowering expectations (I have three young kids, a spotless house is not realistic) in some areas, while growing in other areas, such as in my photography.
Last year I tackled a 365 Personal Photo Project. Every day for a year, I just had to take one photo. While I did give myself a couple of guidelines (work for other families does not count, and no iPhone photos), I aimed to merely complete the task. And I did it! I loved it so very much that I decided to try it again this year. However, I’m adding things to focus on for my 2017 365 Photo Project. For one, I want to get into the picture more often this year. I also want to push myself with the lenses I use outside and where I choose to photograph (that dreaded messy playroom with awful light but is where my kids love to play will push me this year most definitely). And as crazy as this may sound, I want to let go of perfect focus a little bit and experiment with free lensing. I’m excited to see where adding areas of what to photograph and how to photograph will help me grow even more as an artist.
So this year I will focus. When I am with the kids, I will focus on them. When it is time to do work for the business, I will focus on that (and not the messy living room). It means allowing for give and take, and understanding that balancing these roles does not mean perfection in each role every day.
I am eager and excited to see what this year holds for me, for my family, and for my business.
What is your word for 2017? Share in the comments, I would love to hear.