Managing Your Best Intentions

In today’s workplace, with so many of us stretched to the limit with tasks, overwhelmed with data, and compelled to provide instant replies and results, it can be a real challenge to find the time or resources to launch our ideas into action or complete a project. That frustration can lead to “intention fatigue,” one step on the road to burnout. But it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if we know how to manage our intentions. 

Developing a Protocol
People handle their intentions in one of two ways. Some operate on the assumption that they can do only one thing at a time. Others see their agenda as a fluid thing, with ideas and tasks hop-scotching and overlapping. Under such circumstances, it’s easy for intentions to pile on and some projects to remain uncompleted. There is so much to do, and never enough time to do it.  

Those of us in the latter group are excellent candidates for professional burnout. But you cannot do everything that comes to mind, so you will have to pick and choose what you devote your attention to. You need to make conscious, deliberate choices about which of your intentions you will focus on and how you will achieve success. In other words, develop a protocol to manage your intentions.

Begin by conducting due diligence. When you first get attracted to an idea, decide what investment is required to turn that thought into an intention and then bring it to completion. What can you actually do? More importantly, what will you do? 

It helps to prepare your inner filing system to keep yourself organized. Consciously evaluate your ideas and choose whether to implement them based upon everything else you have going on. Is there room in your world for another element? 

The Filing System
Scrutinize the investment each intention requires in terms of immediacy, trajectory, resources, personal attention, merit, and time frame. Then sort your intentions into the following task categories:

Toss. Eliminate these immediately. Declare them dead in the water. 

Shelve. Postpone these and schedule a specific review period to reconsider.

Schedule. Prioritize each shelved intention. When will you realistically get around to it? Designate fallback dates or ranges of time should your priorities change.

Integrate. Which intentions are of major scale? Which require major revamping? Which support already established and activated intentions? 

Manage. Schedule working on intentions in bite-sized segments with clearly measurable outcomes.

The above steps will give you a blueprint for taking your thoughts through to completion, leading to both internal organization and better life balance.

Paul O. Radde, Ph.D., is a practicing psychologist and author who speaks on professional presence, burnout prevention, and influencing decision makers. His books, Thrival! and Seating Matters: State of the Art Seating Arrangements, are available at