I'm trying to be more intentional

Here’s the whole story…


After doing my first personal retreat a couple of things that I really appreciated about @mikeschmitz’s Personal Retreat Handbook:

  • The structure it provides for looking at your core values, past, present and future.
  • The way it encourages setting concrete, well defined goals.
  • Setting those goals for a three month period. Much as I love hearing Myke and Grey talk about their yearly themes, that really seems like too long a timespan for this sort of thing,

It’s a great post and I’m in a similar spot, particularly around “games plans” - as I call them.

So this quote resonated with me:
“I’m trying to give more respect to my carefully laid plans. If I care enough to make a plan, I need an excellent reason to upset it (or something needs to be truly on fire).”

The good thing is I get to practice this each day.

I’ve also added the Five Minute Journal to my routine which does seem to provide me with a good reminder to focus!

Love this post @MacSparky. Once my busy season is over, I am planning to do my own personal retreat. I’m saving all these stories as motivation to be INTENTIONAL about doing it and not let life give me an excuse to skip out on a day to figure out what I want the next few months, or years, to look like.

I highly recommend Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism. This passage about tools has me being far more intentional in what I use (like the default apps), not just where my time goes …

When considering personal technology processes, let’s focus in particular on the energy invested in trying to improve the value these processes return in your life, for example, through better selection of tools or the adoption of smarter strategies for using the tools. If you increase the amount of energy you invest into this optimization, you’ll increase the amount of value the process returns. At first, these increases will be large. As the law of diminishing returns tells us, however, eventually these increases will diminish as you approach a natural limit.

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The older I get the more originated and ordered I like things to be. You can’t tell that by looking at my desk right now or my work bench.

It is amazing how liberating it is to be organized. I like taking my down time or slow time at work to get everything organized and ready. Plan for some major events and so forth.

I am trying to put sheets together that are a quick reference for co-workers and sheets to help them steer through odd or infrequent events. To make sure they are handled correctly. I work better when everything is organized. Personally, this approach is paying in dividends and my end product is better. I am happier.

I think you might enjoy reading my draft on Order and Chaos. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t know if it’s just me but I think Cal has a knack for saying things in a more analytical and complex way than it actually is. To your point about using the tools, I find more value in using fewer tools, but using the heck out of them.

I went to Starbucks Sunday afternoon thinking I’ll do my weekly planning and review there. However, it took me half an hour to realize that I wasn’t able to get much work done because of all the noise at the café. I realized it’s far more productive for me to do it at home. Lesson learned.

I am curious about your draft.

I found the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown to be helpful and relates to this topic. (Along with Deep Work by Cal Newport)


Hi. You can read it at https://dazne.net/order/. Let me know if it was helpful.

I find A. E. Housman’s poem "How Clear, How Lovely Bright a wonderful reminder of Intentionality gone wrong:

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

I have found myself really struggling to maintain an organized life in just about every area possible since being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in 1997.

Prior to the accident I was organized to a fault - perhaps even a bit OCD! However the accident seemed to have a profound impact on my life. Not surprisingly, I have ended up with some physical injuries, chronic pain and physical limitations.

However much more surprising to me has been the change of personality this event has brought about. Whether it is the effects of PTSD or something else, to this day, 22 years later I still am extremely apprehensive to drive on a freeway. Even riding in a car driven by another good driver is very anxiety provoking.

However more surprising than that is how I struggle to maintain order in my life. It almost seems as if I have gone from being OCD to now being ADD.

My personal living quarters has become unmanageable and completely unlivable. On December 31st, it was my earnest resolution to get my space organized and livable again in 2019. Yet now approaching Mach 1st, the situation has only gotten worse…as if it was possible.

I found the Focused podcast and am working to try and implement some of the skills and techniques discussed here to help me. After listening to the first podcast, I really enjoyed what the guest had to say and even purchased a few of the books that were recommended, however in my rather scattered frame of mind I am finding even decisions like which book to read first to be a major struggle.

For those of you who are a bit further along in your “Focused journey”, does my situation sound like something I will be able to get a handle on again by being intentional in my choices and actions, or do I perhaps need assistance from a therapist?

I really don’t want to see a therapist, but I have put it off and resisted for 22 difficult years. One way or the other, I really need to get my life back in order. This is both depressing and embarrassing to live like this…not to mention PAINFULLY inefficient!

I would appreciate any tips you may have.

@rh6194 please reconsider your resistance. There is help for your struggles and your pain, emotional and physical. There is nothing to be ashamed of for both feeling the way you do, or fearing that there is no way out. There ARE ways out. You are the only one who can take the first step, as difficult as it is, but just put the voice in your head that you deserve whatever help you need. Speak to your medical advisor if you can. Or a PTSD hotline – there are many in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. You will find caring voices if you look.


I would say you need assistance, not just from a therapist but also from friends and family.

As for your resolution to get your living quarters up to scratch: have you heard of the KonMari method? Essentially it’s about going through the things in your life by category and keeping only those you love or that do helpful work for you (it’s translated as "what brings you joy, but something like a screwdriver may not do that, yet is still necessary). If you can then getting someone to help you group things into categories so you can process them and get rid of things will be useful. I don’t know what limitations you have (considering you mentioned chronic pain I am assuming you may struggle with some of these tasks), but even just spending 5 minutes a day doing something towards your goal is much better than doing nothing at all, and if you have great days when you can spend an hour or more doing this then wonderful! But make sure you get help, and try to do something :slight_smile:

I would echo others here in the forum. You need to get help wherever it is appropriate, and definitely include your friends and family. That support can really make the difference.

Two bits of further advice I’d give:

  1. Find some small area of life where can successfully get things reigned in and focus there. Success breeds success.

  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We’re all fellow travelers and figuring out the right balance of this stuff is never easy (or complete in my experience).

We’re definitely here for you in the forum but make sure you get a team of friends, family, and any professionals you need surrounding you.

Good luck friend!


I can’t improve any on David’s thoughts. You can’t look at this as whole picture deal. Small steps.

When a person sets out to build a house. They don’t start out saying they’re build a house. Once they have the lot, and the plans. They dig a hole for a foundation. Then they pour footings and walls. Next the lumber shows up. Subfloor and walls go up. Then you build a roof. Eventually there is a house. It is not a one day deal.

If you start off focusing on the big picture you become overwhelmed. If you take it one step at a time and stay persistent you end up with a finished product that is livable.

There is nothing wrong with seeking help from a licensed professional. I am glad to see the tide change on mental health. It is good to see the stigma go away.

I don’t really have a problem with the idea of seeing a therapist for help.

I actually did so in my twenties when it wasn’t as socially accepted as it is today. However at that time I was struggling with pretty severe depression and the therapist was able to help me.

The difference now is that my biggest struggle is trying to keep my focus mentally. I often feel confused and sometimes even a bit disoriented.

I am extremely forgetful! Whenever I share the experience of walking from one room to another and totally having no idea why I am there, I find that many people can identify with that problem.

So in my case, I don’t know that the experience of forgetfulness is the real problem. The bigger issue is the FREQUENCY of these episodes. They are happening several times each day. Forgetting important things I needed to say mid-conversation is becoming nearly as frequent.

I am trying to write everything down since my mind feels so scattered. Technology has really helped me with apps like calendar, notes and reminders. I don’t object to a good ‘ole pen and paper…but then I have to keep track of the note. With these apps everything is in my devices in a central location…and I usually at least have my phone with me if nothing else.

So anyway, my reluctance to therapy is not social embarrassment. Rather it is the thought that it won’t help me with my scattered thoughts.

I appreciate those who have suggested approaching my home disorganization in small pieces that I can succeed at.

I recently purchased the Things 3 app and am trying to break this whole thing down into a project with a number of smaller tasks or projects that need to be accomplished along the way.

I have been surprised at just how overwhelming the process of trying to identify all of the various tasks that need to be accomplished has been.

For those who have suggested that I involved my family and friends, it’s a little tough to do that. I have a very small family and the only remaining relative who isn’t very elderly and ill is my brother…but for whatever reason, he has never been close to anyone in our family.

The previously mentioned car accident forced me to retire in 2008 and over the last decade I have just lost touch with people.

However, fortunately, in the midst of all of that I have been blessed with an absolutely amazing wife. We have a fabulous marriage and are very happy together.

I don’t have a big support group, but the one person I have right now is amazing. However we both want to reach out and make some new friends too. We had some developing relationships in our former church, but we moved five years ago and haven’t found a new church we liked since our move.

The idea of trying to develop an online mastermind group with other like-minded individuals sounds like it could be a good venue for meeting new people that could potentially become friends.

It’s just not the same making new friends when we are pushing sixty as it was when we were in school. People are so busy and have so many obligations, the last thing that most people want is another friendship to tend to. They just want to relax and try to keep their own head above water!

Anyway, when families pass away and friends drift away, it definitely presents some new dynamics in life. But I am not particularly sad about my social life. It just is what it is and life goes on. I DO HOPE that someday my brother will decide he’d like to spend more time with me, but after almost 50 years I am resigned to accepting it probably isn’t going to happen.

I think others in the forum have shared good feedback with you. Here’s my two cents on this.

  1. If you’re not sure which book to read, I suggest picking up Hal Elrod’s book, titled The Miracle Morning first.

  2. Pick one habit/change that would make the most impact this month (if you’re not sure, pick something, anything). Maybe you’ll find my draft on Thirty Days helpful; please look it up on the Archive page.

  3. Evaluate the way you talk to yourself. How you talk to yourself greatly determines the actions you take. Read my draft titled, Words.