In the chapter on Intentionality in our book The 12 Week Year, Mike and I argue, that “to realize your potential, you must be mindful about how you spend your time.” This is because everything that you accomplish in life is heavily influenced by the way you allocate time. To be intentional about your results is to first be intentional with your time. The supply of time is inelastic, perishable, and limited, and that’s what makes it the most valuable resource that you possess.
Given the inherent value of time, most people are not as intentional with their time as they could be. How intentional are you with yours? Do you spend a good portion of your time maximizing your short-term comfort, avoiding difficult tasks and risks? Perhaps you react to the opportunities that emerge each day and decide how to spend your time from moment to moment? Or do you consistently allocate your time to your long-term objectives in life?
No matter how you answered those questions, it is likely that you could be better with your time allocation than you are now. No matter your level of success, you can always become more intentional about your time and your results.
Intentionality is the determination to act in a specific way; to act in alignment with a pre-existing purpose.
Intentionality begins with creating a vision for your life and consciously aligning your daily activity with that vision. It continues by staying connected to your motivations. It includes intentionally exposing your mind to thoughts, ideas, and people that support and encourage you. It may also require that you turn off negative and destructive thoughts from media, groups, and even certain acquaintances (you know who they are!). Intentionality is understanding what is important to you, determining the actions that support those things, and then spending your time and energy engaging those actions.
The question is what are you intentional about? Are you intentional about your growth or your comfort? Getting better, or maintaining the status quo, giving it all you’ve got or taking it easy, learning or blaming, success or safety?
Do you act each day with intention, or do you just take the day as it comes? If you want to shape your outcomes – from financial success to better relationships, you will need to consciously choose the activities you engage in.
Resolve to filter your actions through the lens of intention. You will be amazed by the results.