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Put the intention back into your to-do list

Updated: Mar 20, 2023


Yes yes we all know "if it's on my list I obviously intend to do it.". Before you start with that let me explain more of what I'm really trying to say. So often when making our to-do lists in your daily planner, schedule or agenda there's a lack of prioritization. The reason for doing things is as important if not more important than doing the thing itself. Ask yourself "why do I need to do this thing tomorrow?". Sometimes this answer is simple like going to work to pay your bills and provide for yourself and your family. Other activities when faced with resistance of a long day, bad traffic or mistakes at work become much less important.


Bite The Lemon and reap the rewards


It's now time to hit the gym after/before work and there's many voices in your head telling you to put it off. They're saying that you're tired anyways, you've already done X,Y,Z this week and it's okay to skip this step. This is why YOU NEED to put the INTENT back into your to do list. Write down your WHY in a small note beside the task, or a short message to your future self the night before. When you wake up the next day, the awareness of your why is closer to the front of your brain. One thing is for certain and it's that there are going to be obstacles in between you and your goals. Even if your goal is to get through all of your responsibilities today, there is meaning in the way you confront them. When I'm facing resistance remembering my why helps me bite the lemon. Biting the lemon is the simple choice upward towards your goals, like taking the left turn towards the grocery store post work, instead of heading home to DoorDash pizza. These decisions take form in many ways in life. You are the sum of your choices large and small, when you put intent back into the task, you feel the reward of choosing your goals over your faults.


How to put it into practice.


One way I like to attach intent to my plans is by using a system to rank their importance. Some of my tasks fall into things I'm obligated to while others are growth-oriented choices. These two types of tasks are most important to me, but for two different reasons. Tasks that are meant to get me closer to my goals that aren't required are what make me feel best about myself and life. Add some small self talk to a section of your planner or agenda, there's great apps and widgets for your phones home screen to write reminders as well. When tomorrow comes and you look back into your planner, those small reminders connect you to the mindset you had when setting these goals. These tips should help you put the intent back into your to-do list, thus helping you accomplish more.


My favorite ranking system


My personal favorite planner for intent-based planning is the N.O.W Daily Planner from https://www.nextmovesnow.com/ planner is designed through the N.O.W acronym. Meaning you group tasks based on their importance. Each day is divided into a need to do, ought to do and want to do section to help you prioritize your important goals while making time for the ones you ought to do. This and the free space at the bottom allow me the area to write myself reminders, small nudges towards my goals and notes to self. If you're looking for your own check out the link above to purchase your own N.O.W Daily Planner


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