Focus on Intention in 2017

With only two weeks left in December we will soon be closing the door on 2016 and welcoming 2017. If you’re anything like me, you will be reflecting on how this past year went and what you can change for the better in the New Year. So, for 2017, I suggest we invite a new exercise into our lives that will put us on the path of productivity, efficiency, and free up more time to do the things we value most.

The basic practice works like this:

  1. Identify your values and objectives.
  2. Identify the activities that occupy your time over the next week or two.
  3. Compare your actions to your values and objectives.
  4. Eliminate the activities that don’t fulfill your values or bring you closer to your objectives. Double down on the activities that do.

The goal of this exercise is to bring intention to your routine. Your time and energy should be intentionally invested in things that you value or in the activities that bring you closer to achieving your objectives.

We have all fallen into what I call the ‘busy trap’. Too often we find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through our twitter feed or spending hours sorting our inbox. These activities make us feel accomplished without actually producing anything to show for it. We get caught up in trying to do everything that presents itself to us, but we forget to ask if what we’re doing is worthwhile.

It’s important to take time throughout the day to ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing useful?” If the answer is “no” we should reconsider how that time is invested. If we take control of our routine, and start acting with intention, we will find ourself more productive and create more time for the activities we value.

“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you will have more time, and more tranquillity.” — Marcus Aurelius