In the last few weeks I’ve saved snippets from articles I’ve come across, hoping that somehow I can better piece together a game plan for how to live with intention. It sounds great in theory, but how is it actually put into practice? (And googling that was too overwhelming, so somehow it seemed much easier to just copy and paste things as they captured my attention or resonated with my goals.)
A friend sent me this article about living too small a few days ago, and it brought more than one “a-ha!” moment. It especially reaffirmed my decision to focus on intentional living, particularly after spending a year daring myself.
I’m guilty of nearly all five of the points listed in the article. In particular, I’m really great at focusing on the little things instead of pouring my energy into the big things in life (#3). A day where I can check 10 things off my to-do list seems more productive and fulfilling (on paper, anyway) than a day focused on one big goal or even something I value (like reading). And it should be no surprise that I typically plan more than I produce (#5).
Hopefully half the battle is recognizing that I’m more apt to limit myself in those ways. Being intentional, at least for me, means being more conscious about breaking those limiting behaviors so that I can have more gusto in life. How can I live my life in such a way that I have a healthy social life, get more connected to the community and feel as though I’m making a difference?
And really, I got that concept from another article (one that gave me further incentive to read “Man’s Search for Meaning”).
Frankl’s thoughts inspired me to begin to structuring my life differently. I woke up every day and identified a few projects that needed my attention and made a to-do list for each. I quickly began to realize we weren’t meant to sit around and wait for life to happen. We were meant to chase a worthy pursuit.
I also began to pay more attention to my relationships. I stopped looking to “join a community” and created one of my own. I walked away from unhealthy relationships and started spending more time with people who were non-judgmental, kind, supportive and loving.
The first part of that quote was reiterated in another blog post from Jeff Goins that caught my attention a few days later. In fact, within minutes I sent it to my co-worker and said we should incorporate some of the suggestions about being proactive rather than reactive.
A simple way for you to stop being busy doing so many things and start focusing on the most important things is for you to regain control of your schedule. The fruit of such a decision can be nothing short of life-changing.
When you start making your schedule work for you instead of the other way around, you begin to focus on what matters most. And you leave the rest in the “someday” category. It can feel pretty liberating.
So let’s go back to my days at the nonprofit and how I regained control of my day-to-day. There were a few things I did, but in a nutshell, I stopped reacting to my day and instead starting attacking it with intention.
I’m guilty of being a creature of habit. I often live by my outlook calendar at work, my googledoc schedule and to-do lists. Within those activities, am I best utilizing my time, skills and energy? Do I run my day or does my day run me? And does it allow me room to explore and focus on the larger goals I have for myself?
To get started with intentional living, one of my goals for the month is to take a closer look at my schedule and start answering those questions. I’ll also be using my nifty journal to track my should statements and general thoughts that might come out of that. I’m not sure if it will produce anything useful, but like I said, I’m hoping that half the battle is just recognizing it and taking a deeper at how I’m living.
Let’s hope I can attack this Monday morning with intention instead of habit!