Blog · Entrepreneur · Life Learner · Self-Management · Tutorial & Tips

A New Recipe for Focus

Have you ever been asked the question, “What is something you don’t like to do?” I’ve thought about that question quite a bit lately and I have found several things that I really don’t care to do. After coming to peace that is OKAY for me to not like to do somethings, I realize that one of the things I don’t like doing is making cookies.

First, maybe it is the artist in me, but I don’t like following recipes. I would much rather make up a recipe than follow one. Second, the thought of scooping monotonous, tiny, individual pieces of dough is just irritating to me. I don’t mind doing many things repetitively, sometimes I rather enjoy it! So, I really don’t know why making cookies bothers me so much. But, that’s OK – I have kids who like to bake.

In January, I shared a post about discovering things I don’t like to do. Through that thought process, I found some things I don’t like to do. I have been discovering why it is I don’t care for them and that it is OK that I don’t like them. I have also continued to look at my focus and how that affects my prioritization of tasks.

In the blog post “Tips to Find Your Focus“, I suggested a 5-step exercise that I did to help find focus in the New Year. Today, I’d like to revisit that post and apply it to getting organized during a time of change. The fact is, ideas, to-dos, wishful thinking, chores, dreams, and non-negotiable tasks all take up valuable real estate in our bodies and souls. Let’s look at the focus exercise from a different perspective this time:


Get your favorite pen and a piece of blank paper. (I don’t like writing-it is often illegible. But, it is better for this exercise than typing on a computer.)


Give yourself FIVE MINUTES (or more if you need it) to write down all the tasks you can think of. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small business owner, a stay-at-home mom, a freelancer, an educator, a life-learner, a professional or a combination of any of those roles.  You are you in everything you do and they are not distinguishable in this exercise. Do not worry about categorizing or prioritizing. Just write everything that comes to your mind. Go!


Last time during this exercise, I had you read your tasks and we discussed what significance the last item written had. I’m still not sure if there is any validity to the order in which you wrote them. But, I do know that what matters is that your thoughts made it to the list.


During this exercise, I asked you to be ALL of the you’s there are!  Although we have the ability to categorize our roles, we are ONE whole. However, in this world we do need to be able to function in our distinguishable roles, which is why focus is a necessity. Ask yourself, “What are the roles I fill?” Give each of them a name.


For each role, write one name at the top of a new piece of blank paper. You may have two new lists, you may have twelve! For example, if you are home, you may have “mom”, “wife” or “housekeeper” lists. If you are at work, you may have “inventor”, “project manager” or “owner” lists.


Read your original list of tasks. I hope you have a colorful array of things on your plate. Now, to make you more effective in each of the roles you play in life, read your list of tasks again. This time, write each task from the original list onto the new piece of paper with the role is corresponds to. As you re-write your to-do lists, cross out the task written on the original list.

Now, keep these lists handy, I propose in your planner, but take these tasks lists with you where you go. Reverence your lists often and add to them when appropriate.


When I moved to Richmond, I decided I was going to open a gluten-free bakery. I had many tasks running through my head… new recipes, research, ingredients, gluten-free cooking supplies, etc. Although I was baking cakes, muffins, cookies and cake pops, what I wasn’t necessarily thinking about was the fact that I don’t like to bake cookies!

During the process of creating my kitchen, what I fell in love doing was developing my branding, building my website, going to photo sessions, and writing for my new blog. I eventually totally procrastinated — baking! It wasn’t until my first customer order that I realized what my priorities and my interests (1) either truly were not in the right place or (2) what I grew to prefer doing had changed.

I know think fondly of my short-lived bakery. But, I share that with you to remind you that quitting sometimes is only the beginning. And, finding focus is a needed learning process with immense possibilities! Especially when it comes to prioritizing the loads we carry, in the various roles we play on a daily basis, learning what it is we are to do with the talents we’ve been blessed with is the key to being successful in each one of them.

I hope this exercise helps you make a little magic happen in your life! May your days be filled with focus and your nights be filled with sweet dreams!


Sweet! No Wheat photography by Korie Kohout.

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©2020 Darla D Hancock, The Social Market, LLC

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