With the new year comes an unending stream of articles on making resolutions, keeping resolutions, breaking resolutions and the “good intentions” of people to improve something about themselves in the next 12 months. While I try to resist this urge to make lofty resolutions that I know will be tested by the third week of January, there is something about doing something different in the new year. It’s inescapable – we seem to be wired to the events of the world around us.
This year, it’s not a resolution that I want to work on. It’s more. It’s an attitude, a behavior. One that affects everything else. Any resolution I intend to make would be hinged upon this new attitude and require new behavior to make it successful. So why not just go to the root of the issue and not play around on the periphery? Change behavior first, which would provide the ability to make other changes.
Resolving to loosen the addictive grip of your smartphone is a good and noble resolution. Making the decision to use your phone deliberately, rather than a method of passing the time will provide the How and the Why. The intention of your action to be deliberate directs your thoughts to using the phone when you need it, rather than reflexively picking it up to check ~ whatever.
The difference I am challenging myself and my office staff is to go about their work and their lives intentionally. Deliberately. We’ve all had enough of time management ideas and apps thrust at us from every direction. Those time management ideas rely on us being passive partakers in our time. I say we’ve had enough of being passive when it comes to time. Unless you learn to become intentional about your time, it will always master you.
The multitasking lie
It’s about resisting the lie of multitasking. Somehow we’ve been encouraged to think that multitasking makes us much more able to handle the multiple demands of a digital age, when in fact, it does the opposite. I have found that simply turning off “distractors” makes us much more efficient workers. For example, turning off email and only checking it on the hour or after accomplishing a major task. That alone can make a large impact in your day.
Making your day intentional, rather than being a passive participant will change your view of the day and your accomplishments. Intentionally making the time to accomplish your to-do list. Intentionally completing a project. Intentionally going about email; intentionally making responses rather than acknowledgements.
Yes, it’s been used, maybe overused. But Thoreau’s sentiment in Walden resounds this with intentional living. Proactively making things happen rather than letting “life” simply happen to you.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Starting with intention
The word intention has many meanings, and I certainly do not mean the word that people use when describing a person of “good intentions.” No, I’m looking more at the dictionary definition of intention: “The resolve or design with which a person does or refrains from doing an act.”
The resolve and the act are unified. It is not just the intent, but intent into action.