It was one of those ‘busy mind’ days and I was buzzing early. Ideas hitting me as I packed lunches, tied hair into pigtails (mine and my daughters) and scooped towels off the bathroom floor.
I dropped the kids at school and raced to my desk. Ignoring my planner I began diving into a whole lot of stuff, reading, researching and allowing the internet to pull my hyper brain around and around in no particular order.
It was fun for a while, until I realised it was lunch time and I’d zig-zagged down so many rabbit holes, and read so much unrelated information, I wasn’t sure what to do next.
I wasn’t buzzing now!
My attention had splintered in hundreds of directions, and I was an overwhelmed, anxious mess. All made worse by the fact I’d wasted half a day.
You’d think I’d know better! You see, I’ve done this many times before and not only with my work.
Time wasting and ineffectiveness happens when you begin before deciding where you’re heading.
And I do it in many ways….and for many noble reasons.
I agree to things without knowing all the details, just to be nice.
Attend parties, to make up numbers.
Help out and volunteer, simply because no one else will.
It’s not right it’s not wrong, it’s simply ineffective.
Diving into any new project, or replying to any request, without knowing YOUR intention, YOUR ‘were is this taking me’, is a recipe for disaster.
Without intention your time, energy and attention are free to be hijacked by the ‘shiny promises’ and the requests of others.
Inevitably your focus becomes diluted, your time gets split and you spend hours, days even weeks doing things that aren’t important to you.
It’s not only exhausting and ineffective, its unfulfilling and eventually sucks away all the joy and enthusiasm you began with.
A life of intention, on the other hand, is productive.
It bottles your enthusiasm and laser points it toward what matters to you, while buffering you from distractions and energy zapping activities.
When living intentionally you…..say yes because you know how it fills you up, not because you feel guilty.
You help out because it supports your values, not because no one else will.
You read articles because it’s knowledge you want to have, not because you were side tracked by a provocative headline.
You know how what you’re doing aligns with your goals and supports the realisation of your dreams.
Do you ever feel like your time is not your own? Have you committed hours to things that aren’t adding value to your life? Are you the yes person to all the ‘askers’ in your orbit? Are the weeks blending into months while you remain stuck?
Are you working hard and not moving forward?
YES? Then here’s my advice…..Set an intention.
Decide how you want to invest your time, energy and attention today, this week, this month even.
What you want to achieve?
How you want to feel?
What you’d like to learn?
Who you’d like to meet?
How you want to show up and contribute to the world?
Write it all down. Is there a stand out theme?
Are you seeking growth, connection, learning, balance, rest, fun, family time?
Maybe you want to move more, eat healthier or get a grip on your finances?
Do you want to be more adventurous, travel, explore and break free?
Or is it creativity you seek, arts, crafts and the joy of making things by hand?
What do you want this week to be about for you? Start here.
Then each day remind yourself of your intention. Write it out, say it aloud.
Use it as a filter to decide what’s a yes. What’s a no. What you’ll prioritise in your day.
Unrelated ideas can be written in a notebook for later. Emails that don’t support your intention can be deleted unread (trust me its okay), and you can always return and finish that course later.
Give yourself the incredible gift of focussed attention and reclaim your time.
Because if you’re not deciding how your time energy and attention will be spent, someone else will.