I’ve spent a lot of my life just skating along, doing what seemed to make sense at the time and just trying to get by. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the long term, and if I did it didn’t have any action attached to it, there was no plan to reach those goals. Looking back at my life there are a lot of things that just fell into my lap, they weren’t something that I actively sought out.
Over the past few years I’ve tried to change that trend in my life. I’ve tried to live more intentionally, to set goals, make a plan to reach them and then execute on that plan. Here are just a few small ways that I’ve been building the habit of intentionality into my life:
- Deciding ahead of time. With a lot of things, deciding in the moment what course of action you should take is the wrong time. You should try to plan it out ahead of time when you’re not completely mired by the immediate circumstances and emotions. Some examples of this are getting up early, deciding what to eat for lunch (pick the salad ahead of time, not when you’re starring at a delicious burger), and making a plan for the next day (see below).
- Plan for the next day. One of my daily habits is to plan for tomorrow. At the end of the day I sit down for a few minutes and jot down the things that I’d like (or have) to get done the next day. It doesn’t have to be a comprehensive list of items, but the more specific the better. That way when I get up the next morning, groggy and overwhelmed by my inbox, I don’t have to make quick decisions on what to work on, which usually ends in me deciding to see what’s on YouTube instead of working. I have a clear list of objectives planned a head of time I can just start working through.
- Have a Most Important Task (MIT) for the day. From the plan I have for the day, I pick one MIT from that list and make it my top priority. I get up in the morning, make my tea and immediately start working on that one item. I don’t check my email, or Facebook, or work on something different. I just start right in on that one item. Getting that initial burst of productivity on the MIT is the momentum that pushes me through the rest of the list.
I’ve tried to be more intentional about all areas in my life. I’m constantly reminding myself that I have a choice and that I need to use that to live intentionally and with a purpose. Are you living intentionally?