Tag Archives: intentional

5 ways to be Intentional

There seems to be an acceptance and even of pride when we are able to describe our day or life as busy.    Busy seems to be a title that we wear with pride.  You can ask anyone “How are you?”.  100% of the time the answer would be “I am good and so busy.”  Is that what we really want to achieve out of this life?  To be busy?  I am sure that none of us want to reach the end of lives and think that all we have accomplished is being busy.

What can we do to change our perspective and transform the way we approach our priorities and time to bring about meaningful and significant outcomes?  The shift in our mindset starts with being intentional.  To be intentional with what we do with our time and energy.  To be intentional with how we align our priorities with time and energy.  To be intentional with completing the important goals and not to be distracted.

What can we do to be intentional?

  • Know what you want to achieve.  The starting block is always having a goal in mind.  Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly goals.  If you are starting from ground zero, start small.  Start with a daily goal.  That’s right, just ONE goal.  For example, to complete a report by end of the day.   Be specific in what you want to achieve.
  • Be intentional in how you plan out the day.  With that goal in mind, set aside the time to complete it.  Move your schedule around if you have to.  There is a need to put structure around achieving the goal.  Protect that time to achieve it.  You might even have to say “NO” to other people which could be the first for you.
  • You are in charge of your schedule.  It might seem like a foreign concept to most of us when our schedules and priorities are determined by others.  However, the truth is that you and I are in control.  If you do not take charge, then you are going to be busy and aimless.  Be intentional in one the part of the day that is for you and only you to complete your goal.  For example, set aside 30 – 60 minutes in your schedule just for you.  It might mean that you have to get up at 6am to get that time, do it.  It is more satisfying to know that you have accomplished something that you have set out than just going through the daily busyness and wondering at the end of the day, what happened?
  • Get use to saying NO.  The ability to say NO is crucial.  One of the first words any child utters would be NO.  To decline to “help” someone might seem so cruel and unhelpful, however, by saying Yes is being cruel to yourself.  Of course, I am not saying don’t ever help, just be selective in what you say Yes to.  By all means, help when you can and are able.  Just bear in mind that you do have a choice.
  • Reflect at the end of the day.  Time of reflection is a great way to build the “Intentional” muscle.  It requires practice and changes as we progress.  Time of reflection gives us opportunities to improve, to be grateful and thankful as well as to motivate us to continue to grow.

To be intentional takes time and effort.  The starting point is to start.  My favourite Yoda saying “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  There is a simple truth in that.  To be intentional requires doing.  Don’t try to be intentional, Be Intentional.

3 common traits of focus and intentional living

In today’s ultra busy world, there are so many things that capture our attention. We are being pulled from every direction and somehow we must cater and adopt them all. None us can walk down a street without something or someone calling for our attention. In the workplace, we are faced with multitude of priorities and goals from every point of contact. Managers will give employees goals, the organisation will have top down strategies and goals, peers will have individual goals and each of us will have our own. When we are at home, there are also expectations to be met. How can anyone manage with all that is demanded.
There are many methods to achieve a balance in our approach to handle the demands. We have prioritisation methods, mindfulness techniques, roles models and sage advice from people who have achieved success. The key question is what would work for you? We can learn from every tips and tricks in the book. The real test is when the rubber hits the road. How are we living it out? How are we balancing all the different demands and priorities?

In my coaching experience, there are few simple questions to get the process going.

 1. The starting block is to ask yourself, “What are the most important things in your life?”.  

 2. List them all down and I mean all.  

 3. Rank them in terms of importance from 1 to n.    

 4. Ask yourself, “Is that how I am spending my time and focus?”.

 5. Based on how your spending your time and focus, what is the ranking on that list?

 6. What would you like to change ?

In most cases, the list that we first come up with is the “ideal” list. The wish list in our minds based on preconceived desired outcome. Reality however will show that there is gap. The biggest gap usually centers around people that we love and the demands of work. How can we bridge that gap? How can we focus on the things that we should ?  

There are 3 common traits :

 1. Focus on the non-negotiable. Hone into the areas of your life that no matter what cannot be set aside. My take is that there should not more than 3 non-negotiables. It is hard to truly focus if we have more than that.

 2. Protect that turf. Set aside time and energy to do them. Protect that time and unless it’s life and death, it should not be interrupted.  

 3. Be present for each activity and contact point. It is how we spend the time that matters. When you are engaging in a conversation, be present and attentive. We have all seen people around the same dinner table but no one is talking to one another. Being present takes focus, attention and it is intentional.

I have witness a number of people who are extremely focus and intentional in how they live out their lives. They have figured out how to focus on the 3 biggest aspects of life : work, family and service. It is not by luck or chance that differentiates them. It is solely by them asking the hard questions, resolving to live out intentionally and focusing on the heart of the matter daily.

Are you living a life that is focus and intentional? Our significance in this life is not measured by how busy we are but by the impact we have. The only sure way of making an impact is to be focus and intentional with our time, energy and people.