I was thumbing through a quote book the other day and came across a line that caught my eye. “There is only so much sand in the hourglass. So who gets it?” You know what I’m talking about. Life’s a tug-of-war and YOU’RE the rope! It’s a rare individual who doesn’t have a lot going on at the same time. Often, we can handle it, sometimes it seems out of control. I once described my life as a lot of helium balloons just floating around. I was constantly trying to grab all the strings and pull them together. I thought this would bring some order to the chaos. What I really needed to do was evaluate the importance of each balloon and decide which ones I could let float away, and which I should keep. Here are the 3 steps I learned that helped make that task easier:
1) Get Focused – We learn about focusing our business, our marketing efforts, our professional and personal goals. Do you take time to focus your life? Focus is power under control. A focused person recognizes and accepts their responsibilities. Focusing brings with it a clearer head to analyze what needs to be accomplished. It separates what you must do yourself, from what others are able to help with.
2) Let Others Help – This is a different spin on the word “delegate”. We all have unique talents and interests. When someone offers to help, it’s probably because they really want to. It might be something they enjoy and would welcome the opportunity to show what they can do. Lately, I’ve had many offers of help to get through some challenging times. At first, I would offer a quick “Thanks, but I’m ok.” I had to learn to graciously accept. And I was always glad I did. Delegating responsibilities and accepting help allows you to focus, and others to contribute.
3) Take (guilt-free) Time Off – I’m sure THAT raised some eyebrows. In the past few months, it’s the best thing I’ve done. It wasn’t easy – I had to be cajoled into it by caring friends, because I was always “too busy.” On my birthday I treated myself to a day at a Spa. This fall, I’ve made it a point to attend almost all of my son’s tennis matches. They may be small things, but they help. It takes a while for the “guilt-free” to kick in, but when it does, you’ll actually turn off the cell phone. I remind myself that “flexibility” of time was a big reason I got into the speaking business in the first place! So why wasn’t I taking advantage of it? Try kicking your shoes off and curling up with a good book (fiction) for just ½ an hour.
This is a good time to be thankful for having a life to focus on, wonderful people around you willing to help and a business that allows you to enjoy your time.

About Elaine Dumler

Through interviews with over 3200 military families, Elaine Dumler garnered family connection ideas and websites and compiled the best ones into two deployment resource books; “I’m Already Home” and “I’m Already Home…Again”. Her 3rd book, “The Road Home – Smoothing the transition back from deployment” soon followed. Her work as an “active civilian” has been featured in over 100 publications, including 6 in foreign languages, and national media including MSNBC, FOXNews and Montel. She established the “Free Flat Daddy®” project, and she has been presented with 22 challenge coins, including President George Bush’s Commander in Chief coin.

Elaine has one goal for her work: to make sure that every American deployed or on temporary assignment has the means available to be in the closest contact possible with their loved ones left behind.

Elaine is writing a new series of 25 articles, with information addressing the challenges facing military families. They are free for reprint in all FRG newsletters. To get these directly as they are released, do a “newsletter signup” at

One Response to “Focus…Delegate…Relax!”

  1. BethV June 18, 2012 8:34 am

    Great advice . . if only we all would do it, right?? We always seem to think that we have to “do it all” or people will think we are weak or something. Or we want to prove to ourselves that, “I’m ok — I can do this”. The first one that loses out on this battle is ourselves, and our loved ones who see that it is hurting us in the long run. I really needed this article today. Thanks.