I have done a lot of thinking the past week or so with the desire to readjust and realign my priorities, and to find more balance in work and life. It is always my will to live an intentional and purposeful life and also to be productive and successful in my business, but things can quickly get messy and blurry. I wouldn’t want to ‘wake up’ one day and realize that one or both have been neglected, because I was lazy or even just not strategic and intentional about it all. I increasingly have come to see that balance is needed and I have been trying to find good ways to make that happen in my own case. From all the thinking, I found three keywords that always seem to bring me back to my priorities. INTENTION – PURPOSE – FOCUS.
Well, it is pretty obvious that to live an intentional life you need to be intentional about it and clearly define your priorities. You need to be intentional about everything or you will let invasive and useless things slip in and quickly overpower the actual intentions you had to begin with. Being intentional is both about being proactive for the things that matter to you, and about not being passive with things that take you away from your priorities. In other words, you need to be proactive about relationships, spiritual disciplines, clean eating, or whatever you want to be in priority in your life. But you also need to not just let ‘things happen’ to you or not stop them when they do happen, as letting clients take over your attention during family time, or binge watching TV every night because well that has become the norm. Clear intentions need to be stated and those will become your priorities.
The difference between intention and purpose is the difference between being honest and loyal to yourself about your priorities in life and making sure your day to day activities practically serve said priorities. Let me explain. With your intentions you have defined what you want to dedicate your attention to and with purpose you make sure what you do and the way you plan you life is in line with those priorities. For example if I want to be intentional about spending quality and fully present time with my kids – which is my intention – I need to save a big chunk of my day where I don’t have work scheduled, to be free to cherish and grow my relationship with them. Another one would be if my intention is for my work to be more enjoyable and freeing, I need to be selective with the projects I do choose, or with how much of me I give away to my clients. Everything I do needs to have purpose in light of my intentions. Otherwise my intentions are compromised and I feel like I’m cheating myself, and yes at times that I am wasting my life away – on sleep deprived days especially.
Living intentionally and purposely does take energy, strategy and simply put, work. That’s where the focus comes in. If I am to carve that time in my day away from work and my to do list for my kids but I am on my phone the whole time, I am not focused on them and this special time loses purpose and I leave the door opened for disappointment and guilt. It is basically wasted time. To be focused means to be aware, to be present, to be fully living whether with your personal priorities or your business ones. It needs to be all or nothing in a way. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am quite good at multitasking – almost too good. As a mom business owner it can be a great asset, but it truly robs you of your focus if you abuse it. I have caught myself multiple times at lunch time eating standing up at the kitchen island, working on my computer while feeding my baby and ‘talking’ to my three years old, all at once. Let me tell you, it’s a terrible thing. It creates such a stressful, overstimulating, unproductive atmosphere. Multitasking should be our last resort weapon instead of our default daily routine.
I am so far from mastering all of these above but I am on the path of recovery. I am praying and aiming for a less chaotic and stressful life and choosing to do more things that have value and purpose instead of just accepting the lie that ‘that’s the way it is’ and I can’t do anything about it. The best way I have found to not compromise my priorities is to be intentional about them, to be strategic and purposeful with my daily schedule and to stay focused on each moment I am in – and prayer, lots of prayers.
REVERIE MINGLES: HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR PRIORITIES, PERSONALLY AND IN BUSINESS?