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The Importance of Intention

If you're anything like me, sometimes the best you can hope for is to just get through the day. Your schedule is blocked off with work, deadlines, meetings, and commitments you know you should follow through on. It can be incredibly demanding, and sometimes that morning cup of coffee needs to be reheated about 1000 times before it is inevitably left forgotten by the sink.

Most of my days used to be like that, but I've since realized the importance of creating an intention for the day.

This may sound like something you'd hear from a yogi...and you are right! That's exactly what you'd hear from a yogi. Setting an intention before a yoga class is incredibly important. It gives you something to focus on - something which you are quite literally breathing live into. It brings your day into focus.

A few days ago I decided to get back into practicing hot yoga a few days a week. Oh god, I am so out of shape! During the last 90 minute session, I found myself in child's pose (i.e. recovery mode) because my hamstrings were so tight. In short - I am not a flexible, graceful yogi who can stand on their head in a pretzel while remaining completely calm and still. I look more like a hot, sweaty mess who is just trying to get through the class without falling on her ass and tipping over her water bottle.

Alright, so what does this have to do with running a business?

A lot!

About a year ago, I took Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Push Challenge. The program (which is still totally free BTW), sends you an email every day with a small task to complete. The goal is to figure out what your goals are for the year, and then breaking them down (or "reverse engineering" them), into small, manageable tasks. Once you know your tasks, you allocate them into a master to-do list, dividing the tasks into 3 categories: Today, This Week, and Soon (or This Quarter).

Review your to-do list every day at the same time, using a smartphone app to organize everything. You'll have a set list of tasks that need to be completed THAT DAY. I can't tell you how motivating it is to cross off a task from your list, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. Progress is progress, and by physically seeing what you are accomplishing each day, you stay motivated and come that much closer to reaching your goal.

I still use Chalene's system every day. I have one to-do list, including personal and professional goals (one life, one list). It is the last thing I check before going to bed, and the first thing I check in the morning.

So, how do you set your intention for the day? It's all about mindfulness. Yeah, I know...more yogi stuff. If you focus on one task at a time, everything becomes easier. Multi-tasking is total bullshit, anyway. Seriously. By creating an intention for your day, you give your day (and yourself) purpose. Each task you complete should push you closer to your goal, whatever that may be.

I like to think about my intentions for the day right before my morning yoga class (or morning coffee on my lazy days). I would have already made my to-do list, and I'm just mentally checking to make sure all my tasks are in line with my goals.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you figure out your daily intentions:

How can I best organize my tasks?

In his book, Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy explains that doing the tasks you least enjoy first helps reduce procrastination and increases your productivity. Being mindful of your own work habits gets shit done.

What is today's main purpose?

What's the ultimate focus of your day? Are you focused on a personal or professional goal? This can fluctuate from day-to-day. You may be focused on a bunch of work deadlines one day, and focused on a romantic relationship the next.

Are these goals true to me?

Do your goals line up with your values? Do they feel "right"? What can you eliminate that would cause you undo stress or anxiety?

Another thing to remember is to not be too hard on yourself. It's not the end of the world if you don't get through everything on your list. Sometimes we overreach or give ourselves unrealistic goals. Just step back and try again tomorrow.

It's all about the practice.

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