intentional focusHave you ever thought about how amazing your peripheral vision is?

If you stare straight ahead of you, and focus on just one object, everything else around you, almost at 90 degrees to your left and right and everything in between, is still there, but slightly out of focus.

A simple shift of your focus, left or right, and then fixing on that new position, what was a moment ago a bit fuzzy, has now become lazer sharp in your focus.

That is what being clear about your intention for the people in your various life roles can be like.

At work especially, it’s so easy just to fall into habitually going through your day… unintentionally unfocused on anything but what you’re doing at that time. And while that sounds like it’s exactly what you should be doing, here’s a little practical positive psychology experiment for you… and I do hope you try it.

Set a timer/alarm to go off on your smart phone for every 60 minutes (but don’t start it on an ‘oclock’ eg., start your 60 minutes at say 20 minutes past the hour). Every time your alarm sounds, stop and simply ask yourself these questions…

Who am I currently impacting by doing what I’m doing, and what’s my intention for each of these people I’m impacting? (what do I want, wish or hope for these people who I am impacting by doing what I’m doing?).

This simple activity, will help you tick every one of the 5 boxes that Martin Seligman’s research (the founder of positive psychology) has found are essential elements of human flourishing. First of all, this exercise has a focus of positivity – it helps you look at what your doing in a positive light… beyond just what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it. It also helps you engage at a deeper level in the work you’re doing. It helps you focus on the relationships you have with the people you impact through your various roles and activities. It helps you seek and work on something more meaningful than just your own work, and why you’re really doing what you’re doing, and finally, this focus adding all the other four elements (positivity, engagement, relationships and meaning) will help you achieve at what you’re doing.

These are what Seligman refers to in his model for human flourishing as PERMA (Positive emotions, Engagement in what you do, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.

It’s a simple exercise, it’s a practical exercise… try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how this 1 or 2 minute activity every hour on the hour through your day, will help get you more mindfully in more moments more often… help you to break out of any rut you might be in, any habitually working you might have fallen into, and get you focused on the good that you do, the value that you bring to others, and not just the value you get for yourself in doing what you do.

Intention matters – it’s not just philosophy, it’s practical and very workable and will reap you great results.