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A Complete Guide on how to be Intentional and MAKE TIME for what MATTERS

By 01/11/2021May 29th, 2022Family, Home, and Life25 min read

Being intentional and living life on purpose is an interesting topic, isn’t it?

If you’re ready to start living an intentional life so that you can make time for what truly matters, keep reading.

You’re about to find out how to be intentional and you’ll get 3 massive takeaways that might change your life for the better.

After reading this post you’ll:

  • understand what it truly means to live an intentional life
  • discover the benefits of living life on purpose, and
  • get tips on how to live a purposeful life that you can implement right away

Intentional living is not only good for your general well-being but it also helps you achieve your goals. Living life on purpose empowers you to create more time for what you love and spend more time with people that matter. In essence, being living on purpose helps you become more intentional with your time.

It can even help you be financially confident just by being intentional with your money. Read more about Money Mindfulness here.

Your productivity will soar and you’ll get important things done without feeling drained.

So, get ready to transform your life into a more meaningful and fulfilled one by implementing what you will learn from this post.

DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase using those links. See my full Disclaimer here.

how to be intentional blog image  flower vase and frame

On being intentional

But first, imagine this…

You have everything you need. You have your family, kids and friends, a good day job and you can buy whatever you want (within your means of course).

Aside from that, you also have big dreams. So you have a lot of goals, projects and a long to-do list.

That sounds like a nice lifestyle right? Not the fancy-type one but the simple-and-good-type one.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t. At least for me. I know because that was my life before this blog.

It was good for the most part, but I was often overwhelmed with to-dos. Burnt out and I didn’t even know it. My mind was always running 100 miles per hour.

And so I was often stressed, sleepless, and angry.

Now that I’ve completely embraced intentional living, my life is so much better.

I’m more relaxed, content, and at peace with everything in my life.

My to-do list doesn’t stress me anymore and I’m more productive. I’m getting important things done.

My mindset about productivity is healthier and better too.

And here’s the best part. Now, I have more time for creativity (blogging) and I’ve got more time for my family.

Full disclosure: I’m officially living an intentional lifestyle but it doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It doesn’t mean I get everything figured out nor do I get it all together all the time.

And yes, I may have achieved the lifestyle I wanted when I created this blog but it doesn’t mean the journey has ended.

Instead, a new chapter has begun and that’s what I’m going to share with you from here on in.

I will be forever learning, growing and evolving.

Living an intentional life, what does it truly mean?

Being intentional means image

I strongly believe that things can be done in different ways. There’s always going to be a different approach in everything.

Living a life with intention can look different for everyone because people have different preferences. And I think that’s beautiful.

To make the most of this blog post, I suggest you read it through and pick what resonates and leave the rest. Choose what feels good and what works for you.

Being intentional means:

  • Defining and living within your core values
  • Setting intentional goals
  • Creating plans and making good choices
  • Being in control by knowing your priorities and staying focused
  • Finding your Passion

Let me elaborate….

Being intentional means living by your core values

Living with intention encourages you to decide what’s important. And that starts with knowing your core values. This helps you decide what matters most.

If you need help in identifying your core values, James Clear has a great list.

At the beginning of my journey, I had slightly different core values. They were, Family, Gratitude and Passion. I used these core values on my Intentional Goals Setting 2021.

After 12 months, I evolved so did my core values. I have added 3 more since then. They are Compassion, Growth and Wisdom. These are now the core values where I align my goals moving forward.

Being intentional means setting intentional goals

Setting intentional and meaningful goals is a huge part of living a purposeful life.

When you don’t have a goal or a purpose, it’s like you’re letting life pass you by. And it makes you more reactive rather than proactive. It could also mean that you’re letting people and things around you take control.

But when you start being intentional in what you do, you’re beginning to take control. It’s empowering because you’ll begin to be more aware of your thoughts, then your words and your actions. That’s where the alignment happens. 

When you set meaningful goals that are based on your core values, you increase your confidence and your happiness. Every time you reach a milestone, you know you’re in the right direction because it feels right.

Taking control of achieving your goals gives you confidence because you make progress. And progress gives you confidence no matter how small it is.

From the planning, conceptualising and implementation, it’s all you who can set the parameters and measure. That can be empowering.

Being intentional means you’re living a life on purpose

You’re living a life on purpose when you’re planning your life. And it’s a big deal. 

While you can’t control everything, there are a lot of things you can control.

Planning is one thing you can do to maximise the result of things you can control. 

Planning your life defines your lifestyle over the course of a lifetime.

How you set your goals, make a plan and strategies to execute your plan affects your results and quality of life. 

Even the simple planning on how you go about your days can impact your day, so when we talk about planning life, it doesn’t only relate to huge audacious goals.

Just note that when I say planning your life, I don’t mean scheduling your life activities every single minute and living like a robot. No. It’s about having structure that works for you and being flexible so you’re ready for whatever life throws at you. 

When you’re intentional, you don’t take action based on a knee-jerk reaction. Instead, you think things through and make good choices.

So, being intentional means when you know what you want to achieve, you are mindful of your choices. 

For example, your goal is to save X amount of money by the end of the year for a holiday. Now, you come across a pretty bag. Because you’re intentional, you’ll be able to walk away without that bag.  

Living with a purpose allows you to delay instant gratification and make the right choice for yourself in the long run. Sure, having that bag would have been nice, but reaching your savings goal for a holiday is nicer. 

Being intentional means you’re in control by knowing your priorities and you stay focused.

We are surrounded by too many distractions. That’s why it’s hard to focus.  

Has this ever happened to you?

Did you sit down to pay some bills only to find yourself two hours later watching youtube videos?

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re not in the habit of living with intention. Please don’t feel bad if this is you. 

I think everyone is guilty of this. I’ve done this so many times. Even now, I still get distracted from time to time. 

And here’s the thing. Not all distractions are bad. Some of them are good distractions. 

Here’s what I mean.

Scrolling on social media without intention and just doing it mindlessly is a bad distraction. It sucks your time and energy and you might not get nothing out of it. 

But, household chores, unscheduled chats with a loved one or friends are good distractions. They are distractions because they take your attention away from what you’re working on at that time. They are good distraction because those people matter and those chores are important.

The trick is to slowly make a shift and start being intentional with everything you do so you can manage distractions. Know your purpose and then get things done. It improves your productivity and this often leads to having more time to do things that are more important to you, and do them with intention.

Being intentional means finding your passion

I’ve read the best article about passion. Robert Chen mentioned what ‘passion” originally meant which was from Aspire by Kevin Hall.

“A Willingness to Suffer for What You Love”

My newfound passion is this Blog and My Etsy store. I will be honest,  I made some sacrifices so I can focus on the blog and online shop. I gave up watching Netflix regularly and I gave up going to the malls every weekend. And I am happy with that choice. I still watch Netflix with R and I still go out, but now I do them intentionally.

This conscious decision only came about when I truly embraced living an intentional life.

Being intentional encourages a lot of self-reflection that helps us discover what we’re passionate about. These are things, ideas, and of course people that are most important to us.

As you become intentional with how you spend your time, you’ll discover what activities light you up and what drain you. You may even rediscover an old hobby that you never had time for.

Without intent, we often let other stuff get in the way and we feel that we simply don’t have time to indulge in our favourite hobby. 

When you’re intentional, you will make time for that hobby because you would be comfortable giving up other things to make time for that hobby. 

To put it simply, being intentional means you make time for what gives you joy.

Benefits of living on Purpose

benefits of living on purpose image

Now that you know what it truly means to live life on purpose, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of intentional living.

Knowing these benefits will motivate you to start thinking about the life you want to live. Being confident, content, at peace and being happier are just a few of the benefits of living life with purpose. 

So, keep reading, I’m about to tell you the most impactful benefits that I’ve personally experienced since becoming intentional.

Benefit 1: Less stress 

When you’re living an intentional life, you’re more productive but your stress is less. That’s because being intentional helps you maximise your time and energy. 

Meaning, you are doing the right things at the right time and for the right reasons. 

And this has more to do with planning, setting  your priorities and staying focused. 

Since embracing intentional living, I now know what to do and when to do them. It doesn’t mean I nail things every time. I still mess up. But being intentional helped me become less stressed. That’s because I know where I need to focus my time and energy at a given time.

To illustrate this, let me give you a real-life example. 

If today my intention is to finish this blog post. Then, I am ready to ignore other household chores. I’m prepared to ignore my kids for a few hours and I know that I might not have time to do extra activities. Because my focus is to finish this thing. 

Note on ignoring kids. They know that I need to be focused, and they understand that I’m not available for them for a certain time. But once I finish, they have all my time and attention. This has been beneficial for all of us because it teaches our kids to be independent and self-sufficient. I’m so lucky to have kids and a husband who are supportive of what I do. 

Benefit 2: More confident you

You’re more reflective when you’re intentional so it means it’s easier for you to know what’s important. When you know what’s important it’s easier to set your priorities and focus on them.

Real-life example. In September I decided to set up an online shop. At that time, I had no idea how Shopify or Etsy work. So, I focused on learning about it In September. By end of October I have listed 24 items in the shop. And that’s progress. 

The goal was to have 30 products on Etsy by the end of September. Even though I didn’t reach the target, it still gave me confidence because listing 24 plus products reaffirmed that I am capable. 

That small progress gave me confidence that I can do this. And I want to keep going. So now, I have included Etsy listing in my weekly tasks so I can list at least one product every week.

For you it may be something else. Maybe you want to start a hobby. Whatever it is, you’re more likely to make it happen when you start being intentional. 

Benefit 3: Improves your productivity

The common ideas associated with productivity are “work-life balance”, doing more, and working for longer hours.

However, in my personal experience, looking at productivity this way was not helpful. I credit this realisation from the two of the impactful books that helped me redefine what productivity is. 

The one thing

The Essentialism by Greg Mckeown and One Thing by Gary Keller

Both books transformed my life by helping me identify what’s essential and gave me ideas on how to better focus on my goals. 

Before the blog, my biggest goal was to find balance. Sadly, I never found it. 

Chasing balance only made me feel miserable, stressed, and tired. I felt that life and work were competing against each other. So spending more time on one and less on the other always made me feel guilty.

Now that I’m intentional, productivity is no longer about work-life balance. Instead, it became all about doing the right things at the right time and for the right reasons. It’s about creating harmony in my priorities. 

I’m now work-from- home due to a pandemic which means for 4 days in a week, have a day job, a blog and Etsy and family and household to manage. 

Thanks to intentional living, because  it’s now easy for me to switch from one role to another with less overwhelm. 

When I’m an employee I am focused on being an employee. When I’m a mum or a wife, I’m all in. Same thing with Blog and Etsy. 

I have a daily schedule but my days are never the same. Some days I get everything done and there are days that I only get a few tasks done, and that’s ok. 

I just make sure I keep going, learning, growing and evolving as I go. 

One day, one goal one week at a time. 

Benefit 4: Helps you find your passion

ETSY Shop graphics 2021

One great benefit of being intentional is finding your passion. 

Through intentional living, I’ve discovered that I like creating printables. 

Creating digital products gives me joy.

So in the last two months, I’ve been creating calendars, trackers, journals and wall arts and I felt so good every time I hit that “publish’ button on Etsy.

If you want to check out my listing, visit GratefulheartShopby E.

Benefit 5: Helps you leave a Legacy

When I think about my Mother, I always remember her words about life being so precious. And it’s true, isn’t it? 

Life is precious. 

Most of us don’t like to think about it, but our lives on this earth are finite.

Tomorrow has no promise and no one knows how long we’ll be here.

No matter how long we’ve got, leaving a legacy behind is one of the things we can consider.

I’m not talking about some big corporation or charity (though it’s a nice option). It can be something small yet impactful like raising wonderful kids, (my favourite) love of cooking and an heirloom recipe collection.

Leaving a legacy can be done by being intentional or purposeful. Examine what you do and your relationship with the people you love most. This will help you craft and leave that legacy without even having to think about it.

Tips on how to live an intentional life

Tips on how to be intentional image with frame

By now, you know what being intentional truly means and you’ve also learned the big benefits of living a life with a purpose.

If I’ve convinced you to try intentional living, keep on reading because I will give you 7 Tips on how to live a life on purpose.

But before we dive in please remember a few things:

There’s no magic pill. 

When it comes to living your life with more intent and purpose, there is no magic pill to suddenly make it happen. It takes work and dedication.

Intentional means, “deliberate” or on “purpose”. In essence, what you’re doing is creating new habits. That takes time and energy and I promise it is time and energy well spent.

Intentional living  is a journey and it’s all about you and what feels good for you. 

So, be gracious and have self-compassion. 

Tip 1: Make intentional choices

Creating new habits and getting rid of bad ones is an essential part of creating an intentional living. 

The key to creating a new habit starts with your decision of doing things differently every single day.

You can try this.

Before you start your day, decide what intentional choices you will make for that day. Focus on that intention as you go through the day.

They will become new habits, and as long as you keep doing them, living more intentionally will become effortless before you know it.  

A great book about habits is the Atomic Habits by James Clear. 

I love this book. This is the book that helped me develop a better  Sleeping Habits. 

I used to sleep at 3:00am but since reading the Atomic Habits, I have improved my sleep. 

Tip 2: Remember your “why”

We are talking about how to be intentional so Intention is really the key here. Your why or your reasons are what will set you up for success.

While you’re creating those new routines and habits towards intentional living, it’s important to remind yourself why you’re doing what you do. 

You can write in a journal or use affirmations

An affirmative statement or mantra in the morning before you get started on your busy day is another good option.

Do whatever it takes to remind yourself why you want to change. It will keep you motivated and stay on track. 

Tip 3: Set smart goals and do it anyway

Goals are important as they serve as your roadmap and give your direction.

It’s important to consider being smart with goal setting as any goal that’s not smart can lead you astray.

When setting goals, be specific as possible and be clear.

You want to set smart goals that are specific, realistic, and have a deadline.

I will talk about Goal Setting in another post, but for now, you may want to think about what you want to achieve. The key is to break it down further until you can’t anymore.

Check out Atomic Habits by James Clear.  I promise you this book will help you a lot.

Once you have your goals set, then take action no matter what. 

When you don’t feel like it – Do It Anyway!

Feeling like you aren’t good at it – Do It Anyway!

Thinking you might make mistakes – Do It Anyway!

Once you get going, any doubts and negative feelings will start to fade away.

Related post

3 Intentional Steps on how to plan your year

Tip 4: Cultivate a healthy mindset

Cultivating a healthy mindset is an important element of intentional living. 

It moulds our perspective or how we view things. 

To cultivate a healthy mindset, consider paying attention to your spiritual and emotional well being. 

You can try practising mindfulness, meditation, and cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Just remember, to decide, then start small and aim to do one habit at a time. You may also look into using trackers to keep you at it.

Related Post:

Bullet Journal Trackers (I will create a follow post about this soon)

Tip 4: Make time for frequent reflection

If the word “reflection” intimidates you because it sounds like it’s something that takes a lot of time and involves some kind of self-confrontation. Keep reading. 

Reflection can be done in as short as one minute and as long as you would like it to be. I do monthly reviews, and it only takes me a few minutes to do it.

You can also read 2021 Year End Reflection

It’s extremely important to do this because things don’t always work the way we expect them to. Life happens. Things go wrong. People don’t turn up. Sometimes we don’t show up for our goals. 

The key is doing a review and doing it frequently.  Be aware of what’s going on within and outside of you. Then making a decision on what to do next. 

Reflection also gives you clarity and ability to measure the elements of your goals. It  helps you become aware of what’s working and what doesn’t. This way you’ll know what to do less and what to do more.

You’ll know when you’re in the right direction. And you can pivot anytime if need be.

If something is working, keep going. But if it’s something that is not working then be curious and find out why.

So make time to reflect, appreciate what you have done so far and be excited about what you will accomplish. If something didn’t work or you made a mistake, let go but keep the lessons it gave you.

Posts to read about Reflection

Tip 5: Surround yourself with like-minded people

To turn your intentions into life-long habits, consider surrounding yourself with like-minded people. 

When you’re surrounded by people who have a common purpose, achieving goals becomes easier. 

Community amplifies the energy of getting things done. 

And it’s more fun too, you’ve got accountability buddies that will be there to lift you when you lose steam. They will be there to support you when you need a little bit of push and will celebrate with you wheneveryou reach a milestone.

Join my email list so you’ll have an instant accountability buddy. I am not active in social media, due to personal choices I made recently but I am very much present via email.

You can sign up by getting one (or all) of the Freebies here.

Tip 6: Be gracious and practise self-compassion

Kindness, including self-compassion, is important in living a life with intentions. 

When I started practising self-compassion things turned around for me for the better. I still have a long way to go when it comes to self-care and all things about well-being but I am slowly getting there.

There will be days when we fall into old habits or doing something completely unproductive. (it’s me). Self-sabotage happens even to the most disciplined people.

So, Do not beat yourself up for making mistakes, for making the wrong decision, for being unproductive or for not showing up for your goals for a day or two. Just come back stronger the next day.

Instead, be gracious and be kind to yourself. 

Tomorrow is another day and you can start again. Vow to do better and move on. However, do not use this as an excuse to get lazy and never accomplish anything, but realise that you are not perfect and that it’s ok to fail sometimes

If you ever find yourself struggling to get anything done. Check out the 7-day beat procrastination Challenge. 

I published a blog post series about this and you can start here


Yay! you made it to the end. Time to wrap things up and let you get to work.  Start crafting the life of your dream.

First, let’s quickly recap what we covered throughout this post. 

We started out by taking a look at why it is important to focus on being intentional. Then went over the different benefits and how they can have a direct impact on your life, that of your family, and even your community.

Next, I shared some of my best tips and strategies for living a more intentional and fulfilling life.

I hope you picked up some ideas and suggestions that you can put into action over the coming weeks and months. 

It’s not always easy to change your habits or your life philosophy, but it is well worth the effort.

Last but not least, I encourage you to come back and reread this post from time to time.

It’s good to review and make sure you’re still on track. 

In addition, there are some things you may have missed or glossed over the first (and second) time you read it. 

You may just come across the tip or suggestion that you need to move forward and keep making progress.

Above all, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and have benefited from it. My wish for you is that you continue to become more and more intentional and live a beautiful life full of purpose that’s happy and fulfilling.

If you still, you don’t know where to start, start doing a brain dum to clear your mind.

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