Intentional Living Can Improve Your Time Management

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 in a week, 730 in a month, and 8,760 in a whole year. Point is, we have a lot of time on our hands. And yet, a common phrase we all hear and say is, "Where did the time go?" Of course, it doesn't go anywhere. When we feel like time is flying by, it's usually our attention span that has abandoned us, not the time. Preoccupied with too much at once, we blindly scramble through our day. Then, when we finally take a second to breathe and be present, it's gone.


This isn't entirely our fault. A study by the Technical University of Denmark showed that with social media and a rapid news cycle, the average attention span is decreasing globally. And when we don't control our focus, we lose control over our time. However, this doesn't have to be our experience. If you feel like you can't get a grip on your schedule, don't despair — through mindful decisions, you can reclaim your time and achieve your priorities.

What intentional living is

Your intention is the conscious reason behind your behavior. It's making choices rather than living on autopilot. Certified life purpose coach Shelley Meche'tte tells PsychCentral that intentional living is "commanding your day." In addition, Meche'tte notes that this means you must take time to reflect on what you want to accomplish. Rather than following the status quo in the U.S. and only making time for work, you think about your unique values and needs.


Your schedule does not have to be limited to your obligations. With intentional living, you block out time so that you can nurture personal goals and self-care. You might think your schedule is too packed and that this would be too stressful for your lifestyle. However, a study published by the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science found that individuals who practiced value-based activities daily had decreased levels of stress and improved quality of overall mental health.

How you can start living intentionally

If at the end of the week you feel exhausted and disappointed that you're not progressing on personal goals, it might be worth it to try intentional living. Before you start thinking about what to add to your day, consider the things you want to remove. You could need to cut out activities that go against your values. For instance, if health is a value of yours and you smoke cigarettes, it might be time to try and quit.


Or maybe you just need to cut out unnecessary distractions in order to make time for the things that matter to you. For example, if you value your mental health and really want to start reaping the psychological benefits of meditation, you could limit mindless scrolling in the mornings to make time for this practice. Once you've reduced the things that distract you from your goals, you'll likely find your schedule has a lot more wiggle room than you expected. With intentional living, you can make sure life does not pass you by without having honored your beliefs and passions.