To quote a favorite movie of mine from the 80s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” While I could use this quote to illustrate many points, I want to discuss being intentional.

Life is complex, but being intentional is essential

Life does move fast. It’s complex and can be chaotic. Yet, we can easily carry this frenetic pace and our myriad of thoughts, emotions, and ideas into each day.

I typically wake up 3 hours before my work day begins. A lot happens within those 3 hours. I am in a chapter of my life that has my focus scattered in many directions. I must be intentional and create a space for myself and my mind before I start my work day. If I don’t, I can quickly bring too many distractions into my day without recognizing them.

When we aren’t intentional about our day, many things can happen: 

  • We don’t get what we need 
  • We go along with the most urgent needs of the day while missing out on the critical things we need to attend to 
  • We aren’t fully present in our meetings with our team members, and they know we are distracted 
  • We don’t have the creative space needed to problem-solve or ideate or plan 
  • We feel depleted at the end of the day

Who is in control of your day?

We all have external things pulling at us that we cannot control. From clients’ demands to kids’ emotions and activities to partners’ needs or team members’ questions, to aging parents’ concerns, and society’s important issues, we never lack people asking things of us or demanding something from us. 

The good news is we can control how we approach the day, approach a meeting, or decide what we will focus on in the moment. This requires us to be intentional. 

How do you bring intentionality into your day?

Start the day with a practice of asking some reflection questions: 

  • What is most important for you to do today? 
  • What do you most need today? 
  • Where do you want to focus today? 
  • What is the top priority for you today?
  • How do you need to feel today?
  • What is most important for your success today? 

Being intentional sets the tone for the day but can be equally important to remember throughout the day

Our days are dynamic, and priorities shift and change. The good news is being intentional doesn’t take that long!

Setting your intention for the day, for how you want to show up in a specific meeting, or to focus on what is most important for the day can take as little as 60 seconds!

It isn’t another thing to put on your to-do list. It can be done as your computer is booting up, when you are walking into a meeting, or before you turn your Zoom video on. 

Go ahead and practice it and make it simple.

Before starting your work day, ask yourself: what is most important for me today? Then, see where it goes from there.