March 31, 2022

10 ways to be intentional at work

At some point, you’ve probably said to yourself that you want to grow in your job, develop deeper connections with the people around you, and perhaps even become an empathetic leader who inspires others. Maybe you’ve even put those goals on paper and tried to be mindful of your actions and the steps that would get you where you want to be. 

But the endless distractions of our digital world and the rushed pace we’ve all set for ourselves make it easy to lose sight of what we want to achieve. If you’re reading this, maybe something has shifted, and you’ve begun to question the purpose driving your work. You’re looking for signs that you’re still working toward your goals. 

At the start of 2022, our Co-Founder and President, Sarah Sheehan, sat with Meredith Haberfeld of ThinkHuman and Projjal Ghatak of OnLoop to discuss this topic.

We’ve distilled their conversation into ten valuable tips to help you become intentional at work and help you invest your time and focus in activities, projects, and relationships that support your purpose. 

1. Write down your intentions to refer back to as you drive towards goals.

Setting intentions down on paper instead of just keeping them in the back of your mind or making a note on your phone is proven to help you focus your attention and remember information more easily.

Intention is the compass and goals are the clock… [When you’re] lost at sea, you can find the compass and be redirected to the path.

Meredith Haberfeld, Founder and CEO, ThinkHuman

2. Understand that being intentional doesn’t mean being perfect.

Intentions act as dots on a map, giving you the right direction towards your end goal. So don’t strive for perfection. Instead, work on being honest about what you want to accomplish and hold yourself accountable for your results. 

3. Figure out what drives you and how that translates to your behaviors.

Once you find your “why,” you’ll better understand what matters most to you, what fuels your passion for your work, and why you act the way you do. Keeping the ‘why’ in mind while you set intentions will ensure they’re aligned with your personal values.

4. Cut through the noise to be more present.

Avoiding distractions while at work could be a reality competition show. Nevertheless, things like silencing phone notifications, taking short breaks to declutter your mind, and blocking social media apps are great strategies to be mindful during busy workdays.

Everybody in your organization is living in this incredibly noisy world, and in organizational noise — not just world noise like “this-priority-that-priority-this-priority.” And so, as a leader, make that signal or beacon really strong, so the intention is unwavering and clear and clearing the noise.

Meredith Haberfeld, Founder and CEO, ThinkHuman

5. Lead with kindness in every interaction by constantly seeking to “leave people better.”

To nurture work relationships, you first have to listen intentionally. Then, when it’s your turn to speak, consider if what you’re about to say will benefit the other person or yourself. Simple, kind words have the power to uplift others and can turn around a bad day.

When I interact with people, in particular, people on my team, I always have this intent: that no matter how difficult the conversation might be, that they leave feeling better and that they leave feeling taken care of.

Sarah Sheehan, Co-Founder and President, Bravely

6. Practice more micro-recognition of your colleagues. 

You can think of ‘micro-recognition’ as that quick message you’ve sent to your colleague on Slack to congratulate them for their presentation or thank them for sending you that link you needed. Even if you didn’t think much of it, these informal, synchronous moments of giving praise or showing gratitude boost our intrinsic motivation and make us perform better.

7. Clarity is kindness. Create as much clarity as possible for the person on the other side of the table.

Communicating with clarity in the workspace can prevent misunderstandings that lead to unnecessary conflicts, hurt feelings, and lower productivity. So make sure you tailor your message to your audience and keep it concise. 

8. Be conscious of your own time and energy to respect others’.

Sometimes you unintentionally waste your colleagues’ time and disrupt their workflow by scheduling last-minute meetings or taking too long to give them updates on your progress. When you become more aware of how you use your time and set clear boundaries to help you focus your energy on your most important work, you naturally start valuing others’ time, too.

From a health perspective, a societal perspective, I think it becomes all the more important that we use people’s finite time and finite energy in a way that is productive.

Projjal Ghatak, CEO and Co-Founder, OnLoop

9. Create spaces for building trust with team members.

By prioritizing workplace trust, you create an environment of psychological safety and mutual respect where employees feel comfortable speaking their minds, asking questions, and sharing their ideas. A psychologically-safe environment is one in which belonging and connection can flourish.

A lot of our colleagues are not spending time with each other and there are folks that have never met each other. That makes it that much more important to be intentional about creating that trust and creating those spaces.

Projjal Ghatak, CEO and Co-Founder, OnLoop

10. Treat your intentions as one piece of a bigger puzzle for your organization.

Being intentional at work helps you stay aligned with your goals and work efficiently towards them. But more than that, your personal growth positively impacts those around you and contributes to the organization’s well-being.

If you want to learn more, check out the recording of the candid conversation between these experienced leaders. We hope it helps you to bring more intentionality into your workplace!

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