10 Tips for Being Intentional Every Single Day
Want to live intentionally? Here are 10 tips for being intentional every single day!
There are so many things I want to accomplish each day. The task list is ever growing, and most days the minute I check one thing off my list, I need to add ten more to it.
As a work-at-home-mom, I have be intentional every single day in order to keep my house and business running. However, I can’t do it all.
Not even close!
What’s surprising is being intentional isn’t as hard as you think!
Living intentionally doesn’t mean you’ll get to do everything you want, nor does it mean you’ll do everything perfectly.
Even though I seek to be intentional every single day, it doesn’t mean I never drop the ball or that my house isn’t ever a wreck.
And I’m okay with that because I will always try again tomorrow.
10 Tips for Being Intentional Every Single Day
1. Get your sleep
Rest is a vital part of being intentional.
It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. ~Psalm 127:2
Too many of us, me included, get into a cycle of burning the candle at both ends.
You need your rest. When you’re rested, you can think more clearly, which means you can get more done.
Being purposeful about getting enough sleep will help you be more intentional every single day.
Related: 4 Things I’ve Learned About Rest
2. Prepare the night before
My days always go more smoothly when I take time to prepare the night before.
Creating (and sticking to) an evening routine makes mornings easier. If I can start the day off on the right foot, the rest of the day has a better chance of following!
Related: 3 Tips for Making Mornings Easier
3. Routine, routine, routine
In order to be intentional every single day, you have to get some key areas of your life on auto pilot!
Creating habits and rhythms to your day will go a long way in making you more productive (and ultimately more intentional!).
I do this my sticking with a simple schedule and routine for my family. We have morning, afternoon, and evening routines that keep our days flowing smoothly (or at least get them back on track!).
Creating routines is essential to being intentional.
Related: A Grace-Filled Approach to Creating Routines that Work for You
4. Make a list
Making a list helps me to prioritize what needs to be completed each day, and then I work really hard to stick to the list.
If it’s not on the list, I’m probably not going to get to it that day.
For example, as I’m writing this, I have three baskets of clean laundry sitting in my bedroom floor. Every time I walk by them they scream at me to put them in their proper places.
However, laundry is not on my list for today. My day is already full of what is most important for today. Laundry will get a turn soon.
Making my list and purposing to stick to my list protects me from following a million rabbit trails throughout the day.
You can use this free to-do list for the intentional woman, or check out my Planning 101 eBook for even more planning tips!
5. Determine your “win”
Let’s be honest, we rarely accomplish everything on our to-do lists. When we do, we can certainly rejoice! But when we don’t, we tend to get disappointed.
I usually set myself up for failure when I first draft my to-do list. Anyone else over zealous in what you think you can realistically accomplish each day?
Therefore, I’ve found that placing a star beside three tasks that if accomplished would make my day a success, helps at the end of the day to know I was intentional with my time.
Being intentional is all about motivation. If you feel like you fail every day, then you’ll give up. So determine your “win” for today and rejoice when you accomplish your top three tasks!
Related: How to Stay Motivated in the Mundane
6. Implement the timer
I’m so competitive with myself. I love to set the timer and see how much I can get done in fifteen minutes!
Implementing the timer keeps you from spending too much time following rabbit trails (see a trend?), and forces you to stay focused because you have to beat the clock.
I’ve also found that my kids stay on task better when I set the timer.
We happen to love this timer. We always set it to turn yellow when you have 5 minutes left. Then, it sounds off and turns red when time is up.
My kids love it and we use it for everything!
Setting clear start and end times helps me set expectations for everyone involved which in turn helps us stay on task and be more intentional.
7. Plan down time
Each day I seek to slow down in the middle of the day and just rest. It’s usually only 10-15 minutes, but it’s just what my body needs to recoup and rejuvenate for the remainder of the day.
I’ll squeeze in some reading or just sit and stare at the wall (true story!).
Taking time to just breathe allows your brain to clear; thus enabling you to stay motivated to finish your day well.
No one likes to be running on fumes when 5 o’clock rolls around!
By the way, the timer method works well here too. I like to set the timer for 20 minutes and call it “Sustained Silent Reading” time. Everyone finds a corner and reads silently and without moving for 20 minutes.
For some reason, giving it a fancy name (which I totally stole from my school days) gets my kids excited about it! I get to rest, and they are doing something worthwhile. It’s win-win!
8. Turn off electronics
We are a super connected society. When we hear the buzz of our phones, we instantly want to check to see what we’re missing.
Turning off electronics and being fully present helps you be more productive and intentional each day.
One thing I do to keep my phone from ruling my life is putting it on silent!
I know this won’t work for everyone, but keeping my phone set to silent means I can check in when I need to. I do not have to respond to any and all notifications right.this.instant. This has significantly cut down on the temptation to be connected at all times.
Being intentional to turn off electronics helps me stay focused on the task at hand to be fully present right where I’m at!
9. Look at the people
It’s easy to get caught up in my to-do list and forget to connect with those around me.
Taking time to look at the people around you helps you to be intentional to stay focused on what matters most – relationships.
- Kiss your husband
- Hug your kids
- Dance in the kitchen
Be sure to connect with those around you each day. Don’t let your to-do list rule your life. You rule your to-do list!
10. Spend time with the Lord
This one is obvious, but I want to bring it up.
We must spend time with the Lord each day. It’s hard with little ones, and I often fail miserably at making time with God a priority, but purposing to spend time with the Lord is imperative to living intentionally.
We don’t live intentionally so we can do what we want and be good people who can get a whole lot of tasks accomplished each day.
We seek to be intentional every single day because we want to glorify God!
So be intentional to spend time with the Lord each day, even if it’s just five minutes.
Related: How to Create a Daily Prayer and Bible Routine
Want even more help living intentionally?
Check out the Intentional By Grace Store for more tips and helps on living intentionally every single day.
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I love this. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything life throws at you. I have to remind myself to take a step back and look at what matters. This is a very helpful reminder on how to do that. Thanks!
Your blog is definitely a helper!! I just need to implement it all. I have to be a doer not just a reader. Organization, planning and being intentional are not the easiest things to do for me even though I would really like to. I’m a young mom, 25 years old with an 8 and 6 yr. old so as you can see I had to grow up young before ever figuring myself out. Sometimes my life seems like such a mess because I don’t have any of these things down. I’m overwhelmed 80% of the time. I feel like I have so much on my plate and I just don’t know where to start. Keep doing what you’re doing. I don’t personally know you but you’re awesome. Great job at using where you are at and what God has given you for His Glory.
God bless you abundantly
What an excellent post, Leigh Ann! I love the tip to unwind in the middle of the day and also the tip about starring your top three to-dos that will make the day a “win.” I’m going to try that!
I absolutely love the idea about putting the phone on silent! I have started this. From the moment I get home from work in the afternoon it goes on silent. I check it when *I* need to, not when every ding, tweet, and buzzer goes off. It makes life a “little” less chaotic with 4 kids in the house. Thanks for the post!!
My husband shared with me the “do not disturb” setting. So now I leave it on this setting. He knows, so if he needs me, he knows to call me and then call back again immediately. This will allow his “emergency” call to get through me. ahhh!!! Now I’m really loving this whole silent phone thing. 🙂
This is a keeper Leigh Ann. Very good points. You are a wise young lady. Do you know about Flylady?? Some of what you write reminds me of her points too. She’s a wise lady too.
Thanks for writing this to share!
I don’t follow Flylady, but I’ve heard great things about her! 🙂
I read her book and she is into mystical beliefs,
unless she has changed.
Oh, I so need this. Leigh-Ann, I love your site. You consistently produce thoughtful, helpful, biblical and grace-filled posts that us women really need. Thank you! You make blogging and being part of this blog-world such a joy. I really needed this encouragement and tips. I especially loved the star one because I *always* feel disappointed at the end of the day, like I haven’t accomplished anything even when I’ve ticked five things off. Sigh!
Sarah, your words were so encouraging to me! Thank you! And I agree the star one is super helpful. My to-do list is always far more than I could ever realistically accomplish! It’s sad really …
Thanks for this! This is exactly what I needed to hear! You just described me, and how I feel most Sunday mornings. I’m a foster parent and when taking children to church I can’t expect the kids who have never been in a church to sit still and be quiet, or to interact with all the friendly people. So most of my time is spent in the nursery. So thank you so much for your encouraging words! 🙂
Love this! These are actually the exact steps I’m working on implementing right now. Though of course, here I am reading your blog instead of working. It’s definitely a work in progress!
This is my first time on your blog, but it certainly won’t be my last. Thanks for reaching out to your sisters in Christ! Very edifying!
I’m so glad you found your way here. Welcome! 🙂 It’s nice to “meet you.”
Thank you for this reminder. It is so easy to get caught up in the business of each day and forget to live in and cherish the moments that make life worth living.
So true. I’m glad this was a good reminder. 🙂
I love your idea to turn off electronics BUT what do you do if you have a mom who likes to Blow. Your. Phone. Up every day? I do and she will get super mad if I don’t answer. Even though she knows I don’t like spending time on the phone, she’ll do it.
As for the other 9 tips, I plan to implement them ASAP! Thank you for all the tips and encouragement. You rock!
I would still turn my electronics off and deal with the issue. 🙂
Thank you so much for this post. It reminds me to have a purpose daily and actually try to do it…
Great tips, especially spending time with the Lord and setting a timer!
I have a prayer notebook similar to yours.
I find that if I rush through it I’m not connecting with the Lord.
So I try to be careful to really connect with Him, and pray about the day’s essentials.
With interruptions, this can take all day.
If it’s a good day, an hour…but that doesn’t happen very often.
Many times it’seems noon.
I’m 63 yrs, so the kids are grown, so I can do this…
But I have a lot to do, also.
Important things. And Urgent and Important things.
(Urgent ones are the interruptions !)
I don’t understand how to do my prayer time. Please help.
My friend Mrs. G, what if you decided you weren’t done praying? But leave your prayer notebook on the counter and every time you pass by pray for one or two things. Then you can have a precious dialogue with our Savior all day long. What a blessing for Him and you! Just a suggestion from another woman who cannot pray enough either.
That’s a very VERY good idea ! Thank you !!! <3