Do you get to the end of the day or week and think “What happened? I was non stop busy and still got nothing accomplished!” Yes? Oh good, I’m glad it’s not just me. 😆
Perhaps you did get a lot of things checked off the To-Do List, but spent very little time with your family. Or you just never managed to squeeze in the actions that would put you closer to your dreams and goals.
If any of these scenarios ring true for you, it’s probably time to get more intentional. After all, there are a million things vying for our time, and very few of them are truly satisfying. It’s time to stop running around like chickens with our heads cut off and start living intentionally. Who’s in?🐔😂
Here are some tips I’ve gleaned while working on this myself:
#1 Schedule Your Priorities:
Often we live in survival mode, just trying to get through the basics. If we don’t schedule our priorities, they probably are going to be pushed aside. What daily actions will move you in the direction of the life you want to live? Maybe it’s exercise, working on your novel, time with your kids, or all of the above. Whatever it is, only you can decide and only you can make sure it happens.
Make a list of your personal priorities, and think deeply about why these things need to happen. Get passionate about the life you are creating so that you won’t want anything getting in the way. Then put these Must-Do’s on your daily schedule and work everything else around them.
Is every day going to turn out just as you planned? Of course not. Things will come up and projects will take longer than you planned. But the effort you intentionally put in is still going to add up big time.
#2 Cut Distractions:
Remember when email was new and fun? “You’ve got mail!” 📥 Well, guess what? I have 368 emails asking for my attention right now. It’s not fun anymore! 😱 Plus we’ve got social media and instant messaging, all waiting to hijack our day. If we aren’t vigilant, we can easily lose hours just wading through other people’s agendas.
Remember how I said to get passionate about your priorities? Well now I want you to get really ticked off. I’m not usually going to encourage you to work yourself into a tizzy, but this is an exception. Look, I want you to be livid that all these distractions could get in the way of you living the life you want and deserve. You have special gifts and people who need you to show up with your skills and talents. Therefore you should have a righteous indignation at the thought of giving it all up to watch cats chase laser pointers. 🙀
You may think I am being silly, that no one is giving up their dreams in exchange for YouTube frivolity. The sad thing is that we are. Whether or not cat videos are your vice, every day millions of people say they don’t have time to chase their dreams but they still have time to scroll Facebook. We have to change that. So get ruthless with the distractions. Turn off the notifications, put your phone in another room. Only check your email and social media after your big priority items are done.
Just to clarify, being ruthless about cutting distractions doesn’t mean we are ruthless with people. Learning to set healthy boundaries will serve you well as you learn to live intentionally. Often it’s okay to call or write someone back later, or for your kids to play quietly while you work on something. We need to be there for our people, but not all the time. 😉
#3 Don’t Blow Your Downtime:
If the cat video thing hit you hard, you aren’t alone, friend. I have wasted more than my fair share of time scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. 🤦♀️ By design, these things are addictive, and we are all the more vulnerable when we are exhausted. Sometimes we get so darn tired, there is little more we can do than stare at a screen. What’s a worn out person to do?
Once again, the key lies in being more intentional. We have to intentionally guard our energy, take regular breaks, and incorporate refreshing activities into our schedules. Try taking a brisk 5 minute walk or stretching once an hour. Closing your eyes and doing deep breathing exercises for several minutes can be very rejuvenating as well.
Do you have a stack of books you’d love to finally finish? *guilty* Schedule some time to read every day. You might miss what’s going on in Instagram Land in exchange, but if you’re doing it intentionally, you’re probably okay with that. 😜
Hey, I really do still enjoy catching up on social media, but only after I have my priority items checked off. Whatever you enjoy, find what rejuvenates you and schedule it. When you have those moments of refreshment to look forward to, you’re much less likely to waste precious time.
#4: Design Your Relationships:
Many people exist in a state of constantly reacting to other people’s actions. If your happiness and state of mind is dependent on how someone else acts, you are likely going to spend much of your life in turmoil. What can help? Ding, ding! Of course, it’s being intentional. ☺️
When you are intentional with your state of mind, you own it. You realize that what other people do and what they say has very little to do with you, and everything to do with them. You intentionally choose not to take things personally, but instead focus on the other person. What does this person need? How can I help?
Once you learn to stop reacting and start trying to meet people where they are, you start to build real relationships. This is also involves setting those intentional boundaries we mentioned earlier. We want to help, but we do not have to be pushed and pulled by every request. It’s okay to say no. It’s only right that you make sure your own priorities are taken care of before you say yes to another demand on your time.
Designing your relationships also means intentionally making time for those we love. It means we take time to contemplate what they need from us and how we can best love them. (Check out The Five Love Languages for more on this topic.)
I also love this suggestion from Brendon Burchard’s Achievement Accelerator: He suggests setting 3 key words to remind you of what you would like your relationship to be like with each person in your life. When you see that person, make a practice of thinking of those words to intentionally trigger how you want to act with them. For example, thinking “Loving, Fun, Consistent” when I see my kids reminds me to be the mom I want to be.
No matter how good everything else is going, it’s impossible to be happy when your relationships are in turmoil. You can’t control anyone else, but you can control how you show up and how/if you react. Don’t wait until it’s too late to be intentional with your people. 💗
Man, I could go on and on about being intentional! But I’m going to stop at the 4 ways for now, because I’m tired of writing and you’re tired of hearing me yammer on. 😂 Do you have anything to add? Any new intentional practices you’re going to implement? Give a holler in the comments.
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