What does it mean to “be intentional”?
by Alay Yajnik
Being intentional is an effort. So often in life we simply go through the day dealing with one mini-crisis after another. At the end of the day, exhausted from our labors, we take pride in making it through the day.
Here’s the problem: having a goal of making it through the day is setting the bar pretty low. Granted, some people have to deal with truly overwhelming circumstances, and for them getting through the day may truly be an achievement. But for most of us, most of the time, getting through the day is a given.
The question you should be asking yourself is, “At the end of the day, how much progress did I make in improving my business and my life?”
If you aren’t satisfied with the answer, it could be that you are “stuck on the hamster wheel”: working hard but getting nowhere. You’re not being intentional about how you use your time.
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10 Signs You’re on the Hamster Wheel
- Spend too much time on unimportant emails
- Scroll through social media feeds and lose track of time
- Agonize over every last comma, phrase, and space when writing a routine email
- Do not have at least one objective for the day
- Look at your phone to pass the time
- Watch TV because you’re bored
- Routine chores require extraordinary effort because they become emergencies (for example: emergency detour to the gas station before your car runs out of gas, or needing to do laundry because you don’t have clean clothes)
- Accommodating other people’s schedules and priorities because you don’t want to be rude or say no
- Can never seem to get to the “important, not urgent” things that you know will make a big impact
- You have a daily “To Do” list (or four), but it isn’t prioritized or you don’t use it
Time is Your Most Precious Resource
Time is your most precious resource. It’s more precious than money: time can’t be saved, you can’t earn more time, and you can’t take out a loan for more time.
As Gandalf says to Frodo in Lord of the Rings, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
All too often, people don’t decide. They are not intentional about how the use their time. And so circumstances decide for them. The result is a wasted day, week, year…or tragically, a wasted life.
Do Less to Achieve More
The first step to becoming intentional about time is to do nothing at all. Put away the electronics, close your door, and just think. Think about what you want, think about how you are spending your time, and think about what you should be doing.
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