10 Ways to Stay More Intentional In Your Life
Staying in control of your life in a hectic world isn't about waiting until things finally slow down, it's about living an intentional life. If you want to enjoy more purpose in your day with time to do everything from chores to hanging out with friends, you need a roadmap to help you stay on course. Here's how to get started.
1. Plan a Purposeful Day
In order to live more with more intention, you need to plan your day with purpose. Although there's nothing wrong with enjoying some downtime and keeping things spontaneous, the majority of your time should be designed intentionally. Grab a daily planner and schedule your usual time for work, commuting, and daily tasks. Next, look for pockets of time to schedule a walk, a chat with a friend, or time to declutter and refresh.
2. Ask Yourself "Why?"
It's normal to get caught up in busy work and start operating on autopilot. If you're trying to break free of the daily grind, slow down and ask yourself, "Why?"
- Why am I spending so much time at night watching TV?
- Why am I eating this when it doesn't make me feel good?
- Why am I spending time so much time with this person who makes me feel negative?
- Why am I running these errands when I could ask for help or order online?
The more you question why you're doing something, the more intentional you become with your choices and how you're spending your time.
3. Make Time to Reflect
It's challenging to live an intentional life without reflecting on how you spend your time. Carve out ten or twenty minutes a day to do nothing but relax and reflect. Think through your day, what you enjoyed about it, what challenged you but made you feel accomplished, and what felt like a total waste of time. There will always be things in your life that need to be taken care of, but the goal is to use your time as meaningfully and intentionally as possible.
4. Practice Meal Prep
Studies show that Americans spend an average of 37-minutes a day preparing, serving food, and cleaning up. However, that doesn't include the time you spend grocery shopping. You can save yourself time and money by meal prepping. There is a learning curve to getting started, but you're simply planning out your meals and snacks in advance and shopping accordingly. You can take it a step further by using Instacart or Shipt to shop for you and then prepare and freeze most of your meals. You'll spend more time upfront on meal prep, but save yourself tons of time and eat healthier by planning out intentional meals.
5. Limit Distractions
There are always distractions to fill up any spare time in your day in a digitally connected world. Schedule 30-minutes to do nothing but zone out on social media and watch YouTube if you need to. Once your time is up, turn off your distractions and check your daily planner to move on to your next task. If you're having trouble getting back into a productive zone, schedule an activity like walking or journaling for your next task.
6. Spend Time Doing Something You Love
Schedule time to have fun with your hobby, take a hike, or teach yourself a new skill you've always wanted to try. Spending time on an enjoyable activity is not an indulgence; it's a part of living intentionally and good self-care. Beyond just enjoying yourself, doing something you love also helps you reduce stress, improve your mood, and even help manage chronic pain and increase your quality of life.
If you feel like you're constantly looking for lost items, you probably are. Studies show that Americans collectively spend 2.5 days a year looking for lost items, and $2.7 billion is spent replacing lost possessions. Clutter can also negatively impact your well-being and lead to depression and stress. Set aside 20-minuets a day to get on top of your clutter and then reduce the time needed to just a few minutes a day. You'll feel calmer and have more time to spend your time intentionally.
8. Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is the cornerstone of good mental and physical health. It's also next to impossible to live intentionally while exhausted and struggling with sleep deprivation. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep; some need more or less. Settle on your optimal amount of sleep and stick to it to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
9. Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
Do you ever feel like you spend your day doing nothing but responding to situations and crises? Put yourself into the driver's seat with a more intentional approach to your day. Schedule out your day, take time to slow down, and work proactively. Instead of waiting until the last minute for the headline, work ahead to give yourself more peace of mind. Try meal prepping instead of scrambling to make dinner and grab a daily planner to stay on top of your bills and appointments.
10. Be Productive
Being productive is about producing results, whether that's about finishing your laundry or launching your business idea. However, being productive does not mean every minute of your day needs to be action-task focused. Use your time intentionally, get more done in your day, and work towards your goals without compromising much-needed downtime and self-care.