Set an Intention for Every Task.

Creative Strategist & Partner

Every day we are inundated with tasks to complete. The personal and professional responsibilities range from making a family meal to developing a new brand. We often are overwhelmed by the number of undertakings, life’s pace, and the limited time we have to complete them. However, defining authentic intentions for each task focuses our efforts on results that make them less burdensome and more meaningful.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a task as “something hard or unpleasant to be done.” For many, a task is a nuisance. However, assignments can build enthusiasm, achieve better outcomes, and advance a more important goal when connected to meaningful objectives. For example, a school bus driver’s task is to bring students swiftly and safely from home to school and then back again. The job seems simple enough. However, if driving is all the person does, they miss an opportunity to strengthen the school community.  

Most schools share a mission focused on creating a safe place for children to learn and grow together. However, every school community is different; some schools feel safer and have healthier cultures than others. You feel the difference when you step on a campus where the staff and students prioritize developing a positive school culture. The bus driver that brings the students to school has the opportunity with each trip to help contribute to that culture. Bus drivers that establish a clear intention to develop healthy relationships with the students that step on and off their bus further the positive school culture mission. Their ability to remember names and create positive student interactions helps achieve the school’s healthy culture objective.

Establishing meaningful intentions provides several vital benefits. A recent study conducted by a team of Harvard researchers proves that if you feel you have a higher sense of purpose, it can help improve physical and mental health. Anthony L. Burrow, professor of Human Development at Cornell University, states, “Purpose is a forward-looking directionality, an intention to do something in the world. It’s different than a goal, which can be accomplished. Wanting to be a father is a goal because it is achievable. But to be a great father is more of an intention than an achievement. On some days, one might come closer to the ideal than others, but it is never a completed task.” Professor Burrow exemplifies how meaningful intentions shift our perspective towards a more significant outcome that requires consistent dedication and practice as opposed to being one mundane task. This type of focus improves the person’s well-being and strengthens the overall mission that the task helps achieve.

Whether you are developing a new brand or sending out a monthly newsletter, it is essential to establish a clear intention for the job. When you connect the purpose to the underlying brand narrative and core values of the company, you support the value of the business in the eyes of your audience. In addition, you boost the focus and effectiveness of your team working hard to grow your business.  American Mountaineer and documentary filmmaker Jimmy Chin once said, “When you have a group of people that have the intention and the capacity, talent, and intelligence to actualize those intentions, then you have something really powerful.” When everyone sees a meaningful vision, they are more committed to working hard to make it a reality.

Conversely, a task executed without meaningful intentions is white noise that falls on deaf ears. For example, a company that publishes a newsletter or social media content lacking substance connected to its core beliefs can alienate its customers. Clients who do not feel the content is valuable to them will not engage.  The lack of interaction conveys that the material is meaningless and not worth their time.  When the lack of attention is consistent, the company risks losing customers that begin to feel the business does not understand what they value.

I feel fortunate that my work allows me to work in several diverse industries. In addition to my work with Tansley, I make films, deliver talks and training, and launch strategic social initiatives to drive positive change. I always establish clear and genuine intentions for each project.  Business Consultant and Entrepreneur Cindy Gallop says, “The single largest pool of untapped natural resources in this world is human good intentions that are never translated into actions.” Yet, we all have the potential to see the bigger picture in our personal and professional lives. Make it a habit to always clarify your intentions with each task. You will improve your well-being, your businesses, and the clients you serve. The meaning brings purpose to your life and work because everything you do matters.

Please contact Tansley if you are interested in learning more about how Tansley can help you develop intentions for your tasks.