How To Live With Intentionality
Intentionality is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. So often we hear that we need to be ‘intentional’ with our time, but what does that actually mean?
Why is it important?
And what does living intentionally look like in our day to day lives?
Well, they are three very separate (but equally important) questions, and we are going to be diving deep into them today. Ladies, buckle your seat belts, we’re about to start living with purpose!
So firstly… what the heck is intentionality?
My definition goes as follows…
Being intentional with your time is about making choices for your life knowing WHY you’ve made those choices.
When you do go about your daily activities, you know exactly why you are doing them. In your mind you have made a choice to do those things based off of your values and priorities. It’s about making sure that everything you do is led by the things that are most important to you.
There’s a quote that I love by a lady called Annie Dillard that fits so perfectly with this topic, and I have it pinned up on my wall as a daily reminder of why I need to be living with intentionality. It goes like this…
“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”
This quote helps me in a number of different ways. Firstly it reminds me that in those days where I feel bored and fed up of all the mundane, repetitive chores that I have to do, that life is made up of small moments. Yes, we may remember the big things. We may focus on the pillar moments of our life like getting married and having babies and buying a home. But in between all of those big moments, there are the everyday moments. The little insignificant pieces that act as the pages within the chapters of our book. If you think of your life like a timeline, you’ll realise that those big moments take up maybe 10% of your life. The other 90% is made up of the everyday stuff, which means those tiny little details are what makes your life. They are incredibly important, no matter how boring or mundane they may feel.
It’s also a massively convicting quote. If the way we spend our days defines how we spend our life, how often are we wasting those days on unimportant things? How often do you spend hours on end scrolling through social media or watching Netflix? We have such a short time on this Earth, and it could end at any moment, so we need to be making sure that we are not wasting our precious time.
I also recorded this blog post as an audio podcast. Click play below to listen!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so that you don’t miss an episode!
So by now you may be thinking… “Yep, that’s great Becca. I know I need to be living intentionally, I understand why it’s so important, but how the heck do I actually start to implement this into my life?” Have no fear my little cherub! I have four super simple steps that you can start taking today to start living with more intentionality.
STEP 1: DESIGN YOUR IDEAL DAY
I get my students to do this exercise in my program ‘From Frazzled To Fabulous’ and it really is a beautiful exercise. It basically consists of sitting down and thinking about what your ideal day looks like. This is the day that if you were to live it every day for the rest of your life you would never get bored. It’s the day that would occur if everything went right for you, and there were no kids waking up sick, and no unexpected visitors, and no last-minute stresses. The day you would have if everything went exactly to plan.
Think about the following things…
- What do you do when you wake up?
- What do you spend your day doing?
- What specific activities does your ideal day include (for example exercise or sitting at the table as a family to eat breakfast)?
- What sort of food do you eat throughout the day?
- Who do you spend your time with?
- How do you tackle cleaning throughout the day? In one go or spread out?
- How do you wind down at the end of the day?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive. I know this isn’t realistic. We’re always going to have things that throw our day off track. You may get really close to your ideal day, but you’re never going to be in a situation where you are consistently achieving this day every single day. But that’s okay, that’s not the point of this exercise. The point is having an idea of what to strive for.
ACTION STEP: Get out a piece of paper (or print out the PDF that I have created for you below) and write down what your ideal day would look like.
STEP 2: BREAK IT DOWN INTO SMALL ACTIONABLE STEPS
Now we need to start thinking about how we’re going to take that idea of our ideal day, and actually start working towards it. Just as an example, say your ideal day includes exercise. What can you realistically do (emphasis on the word ‘realistically’ here) to incorporate exercise into your day? It needs to be something that you’ll easily be able to do every single day without any major push-back or struggle. Perhaps it means taking the pram out and going for a walk with baby, or doing ten minutes of yoga in the living room to a YouTube video.
There’s no point setting a goal that’s going to be unachievable (I don’t know about you, but going for an hour long jog is not realistic as a mother of a two year old!) Setting achievable, bite-sized steps will mean you’re less likely to come up with excuses and more likely to actually do it.
ACTION STEP: Break down your ideal day into actionable steps, pin it up somewhere that you will be able to see it, and start working through the steps on a daily basis.
STEP 3: EXPRESS GRATITUDE EVERY DAY
It is so important when we’re thinking about living intentionally to constantly remind ourselves of what we have and what we are grateful for. We can express gratitude in a number of ways…
- You could start a gratitude diary and write down all the things you are thankful for
- You could text a friend and thank them for something they have done for you
- You could tell your husband you are grateful for everything he does for your family
And there are so many other ways to express gratitude. Try mixing it up and using a different method each day. It’s a fantastic habit to get into. Personally, I love taking a moment first thing in the morning to remember just how lucky I am to be alive, to be healthy, to have a roof over my head and to have access to education and the internet and opportunities.
STEP 4: TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT HALF WAY THROUGH THE DAY
You may have heard the concept of reviewing your day before you go to bed to reflect upon whether or not it was a successful day, but I say why wait until bedtime? Taking a couple of minutes to stop half way through the day (I like to do this when bubba goes down for her nap) and reflect upon your day so far will give you a massive head start. It will give you the opportunity to notice unproductive behaviour, and to do something about it while you still have a decent portion of the day left.
So, starting today, I want you to pick a time (set a reminder on your phone if needs be) to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down to reflect on your day. Ask yourself the following questions…
- What has gone well today?
- How am I getting on with my to do list?
- Am I on track with what I wanted to accomplish today?
- Have I been making the most of my time today?
If the answer is no to the last two questions, now is not the time to berate yourself and make yourself feel bad. Instead, you need to be thinking about what you can do to change things for the afternoon. Giving yourself this reminder and mental ‘kick up the butt’ will stop you from having that guilty feeling when you go to bed and realise you’ve not got anything done.
ACTION STEP: Sit down with your favourite beverage half way through the day and reflect on how things are going so far. Then make a mental note of any changes you need to make for the afternoon.
So that’s it… super simple right? Think about your ideal day, come up with some realistic action steps that you can take each day to start working towards that ideal day, express gratitude and take a moment to reflect around lunch time. Don’t forget to grab your free intentional living worksheet that’s going to guide you through the process of breaking down your ideal day into those manageable chunks. You can get access to this and loads of other homemaking freebies by singing up right here.