C.C. — It’s all about FOCUS! Plus a Giveaway :)


Recently, on Leslie Zampetti’s blog, Rear in Gear, she posed a question about how to get kids to talk about what they’re reading. As I began typing my comment in response, it got me thinking about what’s at the core of the issue. My thoughts came full circle, ultimately encompassing what’s at the core of many “road blocks,” even for we adults. It’s all about focus and how we go about achieving that. Let’s start with the issue that sparked my thought process:

“How was your day, honey?”


“What did you do in school today?”


“What do you like about the book you’re reading?”

“I don’t know.”

When you ask a child questions like these, the reason you typically get these answers is because the questions are simply too broad. There are too many aspects so it creates a “traffic jam” of possible responses. This makes it too difficult or even impossible to answer so they draw a blank. Children don’t know what to focus on in order to respond. Of course, there’s also the times they just don’t want to be bothered answering :/ 🙂

GettingOrganized_WriterSideUp.com_byDonnaMarieThis same jammed state can pertain to adults as well. This can sometimes happen in conversation, though most of us can pick a subject for a response. (And let’s not deny that we, too, sometimes don’t want to be bothered answering.) Often this gridlock occurs when we are faced with large tasks. There can be an overwhelming amount of pieces and moving parts, thus creating that same “traffic jam” effect. It is common knowledge that one of the best, if not THE best way to tackle this type problem is none other than—yes, you guessed it: organizational lists and charts! I am the queen of lists and charts. Why? Because they work! Of course, you actually have to USE them in order for them to work 🙂

When faced with any large project or issue (it doesn’t matter what that project or issue is), it needs to be broken down into manageable parts. We can compare a project to a recipe, let’s say for, oh, I don’t know—cake 🙂 The “large project” is the completed cake, including frosting, of course. How do you end up with a tasty cake on your plate? First you figure out which ingredients you need, itemizing them as a list. Then figure out the amounts of each to further define your list, it becoming more precise and concrete. (You will not have a tasty cake without narrowing these things down first.) You then need to figure out the method of creating the cake and in which order to perform the steps. You can’t put the pan in the oven before you mix the batter, so this is pretty critical 😉 Once you have these in place, it enables you to focus and gives you the all-essential starting pointchocolate layer cake by Lotushead—that quintessential “first step.” You then tackle the project, step-by-step, through to completion, and wa-la! Next thing you know, you’re digging your fork into a fudge-filled delight! Now, if for some reason it’s not as tasty as you thought it would be, you need to rework it—also step-by-step. That’s the nature of creating any new project or tackling an issue.

Want to get an answer from a child about what they did in school? Break it down. Be specific. Create focus. “So, what did you learn in English class today?” You may get a “nothing” answer, but it’s much more likely you’ll get, “We learned about nouns today.” Either way, you have a better springboard for an actual conversation 🙂

Want to bake a cake, write a novel, organize an event or build a house? You name it, the principle is the same. Sometimes you don’t need a road map, but more often than not, if you’re shooting to reach your destination successfully, getting organized and making a step-by-step “trip” itinerary is the ticket to get you there the most efficient way possible 😀

I’d love to hear about how you go about tackling big projects or issues. Do you procrastinate indefinitely, dive right in without planning, or are you a list maker? Also, do you find success using your method?



And don’t forget—if you leave a pertinent comment before midnight, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, you are eligible to win 3 Bookmarks, including those of you outside the U.S.! You can enter here 😀



The cake image, through freeimages.com, is courtesy of www.pixelpusher.co.za, user: Lotushead.

31 thoughts on “C.C. — It’s all about FOCUS! Plus a Giveaway :)

  1. Donna, Great post! This is an issue I frequently have with my son. Definitely helps to be more specific with questions. The timing too. Pick up at school is usually pure chaos. I find if I hold some of my questions till we’re clear of the pandemonium I have a better chance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lol, thanks, Chris 🙂 Leave it to you to “focus” on the eye. Which, of course, is intentionally a part of my “post” experience for readers 🙂 It’s actually one of my favorites of all the art I did for each page on both blogs. All the artwork is done very small, most within about 1 square inch, done mostly in pencil (some have pastels and touches of black pen for the very dark lines) on smooth bristol paper. This one is all pencil. You actually got me to go downstairs and pull out the artwork to measure it. It appears here about twice the size. The actual dimension of its width, from the tip of the inner eye to the tip of the outer lash is 7/8″ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the details about the drawing… it’s incredible how much detail you can fit into such a small space. Fabulous! And as a matter of focus, it is a paradox of sorts… it is the most effective and elusive “law of the universe” for most people to manage.
        Focused intention and attention leads to traction and manifestation = results. If not kept in check, intense focus can lead to hyper-focus and extremism which can be very unhealthy. The more likely issue or challenge with focus in our fast-paced segmented world is attention deficit (focus deficit) which can be brought upon us from any number of external responsibilities and interruptions, or be self-imposed.
        Either way, you’ve raised is a very intricate topic with which each of us has experience handling as well as mishandling as the case may be! 😀

        Right now “eye” need to redirect my focus to my business plan! Bye all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great analogy! It is certainly those times I fly by the seat of my pants that my “cake” comes out less-than-glorious. Luckily, I have a certain passion for office supplies. Any chance to use post its, 3 colors of ink, and a label maker gets me focused. I’m also starting to utilize Pinterest for organization. That takes more willpower, though, as it’s so easy to get distracted on there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Katey 🙂 I, too, have a passion for office supplies. The back wall of our garage is my own personal “Staples” lol And I’ve heard of quite a few people using Pinterest in the way you do. Eventually I may try that! And yes, ANYthing online is a “danger for distraction”!


    • Hey, Andrea 🙂 Thanks for reading! And your husband is a wise man. Robin also mentioned the important factor of timing. I’m so glad I asked so what I failed to mention is here in the comments! 😀


  3. When I first get hit with a big project, I usually have that “traffic jam” experience. I feel overwhelmed and powerless to do anything about it. Then I pick myself up off the floor and tell myself that I have to tackle it one step at a time. I’m not usually much of a planner. My personality prefers jumping right in and getting started. My drive usually wanes after half way and then it’s discipline and will power that keeps me going. Tina from Amanda’s Books and More

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tina 🙂 I didn’t know this was your profile! So, it seems you use both approaches. You jump in ’cause you can’t help yourself, but once you’re in it you see you need to plan. Whatever works! Thanks for commenting 🙂


  4. Very interesting post and I agree with your traffic jam analogy. All of us, child and adult, can only handle so much information at any one time and must be fed it piece by piece accordingly. Information and memory retention differ within all individuals. I employ a person centred approach when communicating, tailoring the way I speak and how quickly I feed information, for each individual human being. This was a valuable tool of interaction I learned while working in mental health and special needs, both with adults and children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul, I’m so glad you stopped by and chimed in 🙂 I love learning this about you and it doesn’t surprise me at all that you were in this line of work! Thank you for adding to the discussion with this valuable info 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That makes sense, I hadn’t really considered it, having avoided having kids has helped somewhat with that though. I suppose we all crave simplicity, give us something easy to grasp, a good foundation and then it will all come together, like one of Hannibal’s plans in the A-Team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, Ste J, the post was triggered by the subject of kids and how it’s necessary to be more specific in order for them to give the answers that will become the kind of conversation the adult seeks. But it made me think about how important focus and the “whittling down” is when it comes to accomplishing many tasks. It’s part of “Getting ORGANIZED,” which is why that’s where the link to this post will reside 🙂 I hope to get links and info on ALL my pages, but it’ll take time, for sure. Especially with life’s many demands, right? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to be a great list-maker. Now I tend to lose the lists I make. Sometimes when I find them, I have everything on them done. I am not sure how to get more organized just yet; perhaps your new blog can help! However, I really wanted to comment most upon talking to kids about their school days and reading lists. I totally agree with your “traffic jam” analogy. I would add to it that parents and other beloved adults may appear to not really “know” the child or teen by asking such general, open-ended questions. “What did you do in school today?” is kind of like “How are you?” Those questions show no prior knowledge of the life of the child or teen being questioned. They could be asked of a total stranger. I would use your recommendation of specificity AND tailor the question to the child or teen. For example, I might ask my achievement-focused niece, “How difficult was that Anatomy test compared to the last one you took?” Such a question would get little response from my “in-the-moment, forget-the-past” nephew. I have to talk to him about what he is doing RIGHT NOW. “Who are you playing this video game with? How did you decide to play it with him?” will get more information from him than any questions about earlier in the day! To learn about school, I have to ask questions about a PARTICULAR subject when he actually has a book or notes from that class in his hands and is getting ready to study.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan, thank you so much for such a wonderful response, and I totally agree! The questions do need to be tailored, and you would expect the adult (certainly a parent) to know enough about the child’s activities to ask pertinent questions.

      As far as getting organized, I do hope that, at some point, I can put up more good info. Life just doesn’t allow time for the many things we want to do, right? Thanks again for this great comment, and I hope you entered the little raffle for bookmarks, too 🙂 If not, please do!


  7. Oh my, I would not survive without lists. There is a fun free list program called trello that I use but I do usually end up going to my paper lists – so many throughout the house. 🙂 I usually ask questions like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “What was your least favorite part of the day?” I learn a ton that way, and it always springs into the other details of her day.
    Great post, :Donna Marie!
    ~Cool Mom
    for The Stanley & Katrina Gang

    Liked by 1 person

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