The other day, a friend texted me a question. It wasn’t Dolly Parton, if that’s what you’re thinking. It was a different friend.

Dolly Parton and I don’t even text that much because she doesn’t have my number and we only met that one time, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to manifest Dolly Parton into being my best friend.

My friend, who was not Dolly Parton, texted me this:

“I have a weird question for you – what have you found that helps you be more intentional?”

I liked that question and I thought you might have it, too. So, because you, much like Dolly Parton do not have my number, below is how I answered him. I didn’t edit it at all, just straight from my phone to your face.

That’s not weird. Here are a few things that are helpful for me:

1. I make lists.

Putting things down on paper helps me see that I only have 10 things to do not 100 even though it feels like 100 in my head.

2. I am learning to do less.

I tend to overestimate what I can get done in a period of time. Scientists call this “planning fallacy.”

3. I need a story.

For instance, this summer, I am going to try to work from 8-1PM and then call it a day. I’ll use the afternoons to exercise, play with my kids, kayak with my wife, etc. Having a theme helps, so I’m thinking of June and July as “The Long, Slow Summer.” The truth is I think doing this will teach me I don’t have to work as much as I think, that I might be addicted to chaos, that I might be the cause of the chaos, and that I should live this way the rest of the entire year.

 4. I need boundaries.

I’m like a goldfish, I grow to the size of my bowl. If you give me 3 hours to do something, that’s how long it takes. If you give me 1 hour, that’s how long it takes. So, I need limits like 8-1PM or I don’t get much done.

The crazy thing about that text message is that I didn’t use a single exclamation point. My texts are usually littered with dozens of exclamation points. I think I’m afraid that unless I use lots of !!! in texts my friends will think I’m not excited about what they just said.

I am excited, especially if the text is from Dolly Parton, which it’s not. Yet.


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