I’m a list maker. I have lists for my lists. I think any mom will understand the need for them when you have kids’ schedules, work schedules, and social schedules to work around. Still, things slip through. Lately, my social media agency business has picked up and I’ve really had to step up my organizational game. I’ve got a team of people working with me but it’s still easy to get in over your head if you’re not careful. This is one more time where living with intention is necessary, using daily planners to get things done without sacrificing family time.
How do you go about living with intention? Planning to succeed. Planning to enjoy life. Planning to get it done without stress. And planning to get it all done.
When you get busy, you stop doing some things in order to get others done, it’s just how life is. Lately, my gym visits are what have been sacrificed. I’ve worked through lunches instead of going and while it’s hot, I spend the early morning hours working rather than going for a run. After seeing some new photos of me on social this weekend, nope, no more of that. One of things I’m going to fit back into my schedule on a regular basis is gym visits and physical activity.
What are other ways to live with intention?
Create daily goals. Look at where you are compared with where you want to be. Plan a course of action that gets you from one to another. For me, this was wanting to be fully self-employed with more flexibility. It’s also really dropping those 20 pounds so my closet full of pretty clothes fit like they should….and so I don’t cringe when I see my photos.
Write stuff down. Studies have shown that people are more likely to follow-through with tasks when they are on a list. Or, take it one step further and write it in a planner. I keep my obligations and appointments on a Google calendar, one my husband has access to as well so there’s less confusion, but I also use a written planner. It’s a bit old school for some, but it’s a pretty cool planner nonetheless. Typically $30, I got it on sale at Michael’s on Black Friday last year for $9.99. It’s got month at a glance as well as weekly, with big daily sections, so you have plenty of space to make notes. I use the month at a glance more than daily, but I use the daily sections for my blog/business requirements. What’s due, what photos I need to process, who to invoice…it’s an all-in-one-place way to operate, and with our busy season coming up, a lifesaver. Better yet, find a favorite place to sit while you do it. I love to sit on my balcony, outside my home office, with a cup of coffee or tea, mountains in the distance.
If you’re interested in the planner but don’t want to wait until Black Friday to see if you can get one, I did find an 18-month version on Amazon. Here’s my affiliate link: Recollections 18-Month Planner.
Tell people what you’re doing. If I tell someone I’m going to the gym, and I don’t go, then I’m an obvious non-gym-goer. It’s a mind game, but it can work. The support can also be fantastic. My friends are awesome at being cheerleaders and showing interest, along with my husband and kids. Using daily planners is great but the accountability for putting it out there can help you avoid a slump.
Work on your goals daily. Each day, take a step towards what you where you want to be. One day, write a business plan, however abbreviated, so you have a road map of goals. Listen to a relevant podcast. Get your business license. Finish another section of a certification course. Read another chapter of a book about your field. Squeeze in a yoga practice. Try a new healthy food recipe. Research the craft you want to learn. Buy one more piece of equipment or materials you need. No matter what it is, do one thing, big or small. I write my monthly goals on the big calendar page for each month so they’re easily there as a refresher.
Drop the negative and seek the supportive. We all need support, so focus on the give and take relationships that make you smile, and consider leaving the ones with self-centered people who leave you drained. Seek out the people who are there when you have a bad day and congratulate you when you have a good day. Maybe find some groups, even if it’s just on Facebook, of like-minded people who can answer questions you may have or just can relate to your current situation; sometimes, giving support to others is more satisfying than receiving it, uplifting you as much as the receiver. (Just don’t set a precedent where you’re always the one listening to the same problems over and over. Enabling an attention-seeker helps no one and will burn you out eventually.) Put appointments with positive people and things that uplift you on your calendar. Plan to spend time with them even on busy days — even if it’s an online hangout — so you can get a much-needed mood boost.
Track your progress and celebrate the wins, no matter how big. Finish a certification level? Cheers! Lose five pounds? Buy yourself a treat, be it a book, a pair of earrings or a new shirt. Finish a long project? Get outside and pick up a favorite treat! Put stickers in your planner as bright reminders of your accomplishments or highlight the big days so they pop out!
Feeling organized can give you the mental lift you need to get things done. Living intentional can help you maximize every moment of your life, even if you’re hanging out on the couch watching a long-awaited Netflix movie. Build in intentional relax time to recharge. Not every minute of life needs to be pushing towards a goal — we all need intentional down time. I try to make Sundays my down time, but sometimes I’m exhausted and it’s only Tuesday, so I turn on Lifetime, grab a glass of wine and close the laptop. Using daily planners helps me stay on target and removes the stress of having to remember where I’m at and what I still need to do.
How will you live with intention today?