I have been a faithful follower of intentional living for over 2 years now. I had to make multiple changes to my life in order to live intentionally. Honestly, it isn’t always easy and I had to make some hard choices on the way. In today’s blog post I want to share 3 things that I am doing to make my intentional journey more fruitful.
If you are here for the first time and you need some background on what intentional living is and how do you get started, consider reading these two articles –
Intentional living is basically all about making intentional choices and your intentions are what makes your soul happy in a long view. Making some decisions and setting some principles will encourage you to stay on track with intentional choices. Here are 3 things that are helping me in my journey.
#1 Conscious Priority Check
Admit it or not, each one of us has a priority list that helps us make quicker decisions. Even if you don’t have a ‘written down’ list, you have one in your mind. If you are invited to a karaoke session right when you have a date with the love of your life, your subconscious mind will do a quick priority check and cancel on the low priority plan.
Now the thing with such spontaneous priority checks is that your mind considers temporary priorities. For example, if you have to choose between studying and watching one episode of your favourite show a week before exams, you will probably choose watching the show. This is because your brain thinks that you have plenty of time to study and 30 minutes wont do any harm. It is also fueled by the shining reward of instant gratification. In such moments, you need to do a conscious priority check.
Doing a conscious priority check means asking yourself if this decision is right in a broader view. I have been tempted with a cookie every now and then and at first I think that one cookie won’t make a big difference. But when I do a conscious priority check and realize that my fitness goals are more important, I put the cookie down.
Doing such priority checks can be challenging at first because half the times you will end up forgetting about it. But practice is the key here and you will eventually get used to doing conscious priority checks and doing things that are actually right.
#2 Time Scheduling
Time scheduling is one of the top productivity tips that self-help gurus teach us. I implemented it to increase my productivity and realized it also encouraged intentional choices. Time scheduling or time blocking is basically pre-deciding what you are going to do at what time in advance. You have to plan for each hour of your day. Some crucial tips to get better results from time blocking are –
- Time block the next day on previous day
- Keep buffer time for each activity
- Schedule in time for distractions such as social media, TV, videos, etc.
- Keep your mind open for emergencies
I love using my Google calendar for time blocking my entire day. The color coding, reminders and easy access make life a lot easy. How does it help intentional living, you ask? Here is how –
- Schedule your time based on your intentions and priorities
- Pre-planning helps you avoid poor decisions
- Having plans written down help you say no to others
Every night, I plan out the next day. But here is the truth – things don’t always go according to the plan. Sometimes one task takes longer than you anticipated and sometimes something unexpected shows up. My only advice for you on this is to not stress out. Even if you are able to stick to 60% of the schedule, pat yourself on the back because you did a great job!
#3 No Shopping in Sales
This one thing right here, has been the hardest to follow and has given me some serious heartache (not literally!). I am a marketing student and I know why companies put up sales. Do you think they have sales because they want to serve you? Probably not! Stores have sales to reduce their stock and make the most money out of it. My problem with sales is that you will always get things that no-one would take at the original price. Also, these sales are super tactical. ‘Shop for $300 to get 30% OFF’ So basically what if you only like items worth $200? You will end up buying a $100 thing that you don’t like so much so that you save $90.
It is not that I do not shop at sales even if I have to buy something that is on sale. I have 2 simple rules when shopping for anything –
- Shop in sales only if it is on your shopping list
- Would you buy it if it wasn’t on sale? If not, don’t buy it.
This principle is one of the best decisions I have made for managing my money intentionally. This decision takes up a lot of will power but has more advantages than any.
- You avoid regret of buying things that you don’t like later
- Saves money in a longer run because it is always better to spend $100 on just the things you need rather than spending $200 on things you need and other impulse purchases
- Less impulse shopping leads to better space management in your home
This tip will not only make you more intentional with your money but also with your things and emotions.
These were the top 3 things that I am doing to live an intentional life. These actions or principles mostly come out of past mistakes and regrets. I encourage you to keep on adding new principles to your list that originate from your own experience. Also, feel free to share your principles in the comments section. As I grow in life and when I come up with more such principles, I will keep you updated.