Last week I set out to answer two questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”. The tricky part about answering these is that it takes deep reflection – I’ve had an idea in my head for a while. It’s been so hard to put words to it.
Here’s the recap on my progress: I managed to answer the “WHO” question by writing a manifesto. I started to answer the “WHAT” question by painting a picture of the destination. This week, I’ll be hashing out what the vehicle needs to look like to get you there. That vehicle is The Intentional Academy.
Any vehicle is made up of key components – none of them will get you there on their own. But when used together? Well, you know. What are the key components?
- A Mission – not The Intentional Academy’s mission, YOUR mission to reach your destination
- A Community – of those who have gone before and those who are coming behind
- A Collection of Resources – that will enable to you complete your mission
This week I’ll tell you all about the Community and the Resources we’re putting together for you.
I will say this: we’re in the very beginning stages of building the Intentional Academy. Signing up now requires a bit of faith on your part. We want to thank you for your trust: if you join now, you’re automatically an Intentional Academy Founding Member. You’ll have special access, free for life. Sign up now with the form on this page.
This week, my goal is to answer two important questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”
I answered the “Who” question Monday and Tuesday, go take a look. I suppose if you’re still here, then the final answer to the “Who” question is YOU. The Intentional Academy is for you.
I’d like to take the next few days to describe where we are headed. Ultimately, The Intentional Academy will be the vehicle to take you there.
These outcomes can’t be empty promises or unreachable goals. This isn’t some televangelism show trying to sell you a magic cure. But I was a student once. The words to come describe my life, and the lives of some of the people I’ve had the honor of mentoring.
Time: The Intentional Academy is going to take you to a place where you realize that success comes from hard work, but not overwork. You’re going to be hyper aware of the value of each responsibility you allow to enter your life. You’re going to work on the right things, make progress, and have plenty of time left for everything else that you value.
Want to go to that place? Join us, it’s free. Just fill out the form on this page.
Yesterday I shared that we’re in a special time at the Intentional Academy. We’re on a quest to answer two questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”
There’s an educational principle called backward design. As common sense as it sounds, the principle isn’t applied very often. The basic idea is that we start with the intended outcome, and then work backwards to design experiences that cause a learner to grow and achieve it.
That principle applies here: before I can answer WHAT the Intentional Academy is, I need to determine the outcomes it is trying to create. I’ll also need to define WHO I’m guiding towards these outcomes. Then I’ll build the Intentional Academy to serve those people, and get them where they’re headed.
Today let’s answer the WHO question:
Go read The Intentional Learner’s Manifesto (yesterday’s post). After reading it, were you:
- Tempted to argue? Did you rail against the ideas, talking about how the world “should” be? Did words like “fairness” come into your mind? Did you want to find other people who agree with you and start throwing rocks? Then the Intentional Academy isn’t for you. Not yet anyway.
- Slightly angry, but mostly hopeful? Did you have trouble sitting down, feel an uncontrollable urge to DO SOMETHING. Did you want to be the person that the words describe? Did you start to believe that you COULD be that person? Did you want to connect to other people on the same journey so you could help each other grow? Then the sign up form is on this page and we can’t wait to meet you!
I am an Intentional Learner.
I see a gap between what I learn in school and what I need to succeed. I don’t wait for the system to fix itself, I leverage its strengths and overcome its weaknesses.
I believe that my life is my fault. I may have started from a different point than everyone else. My path may be easier or harder than everyone else’s. But I will not let my past dictate my future. I have the power to act and succeed, or to do nothing and fail.
I own my time and my money. I realize that both are finite and I decide how I spend them. I do not allow either to limit my future.
I learn to add incredible value, not to make grades. I add value by meeting people’s needs. My grades are a reflection of my performance, not the reason for it.
I affirm that my ability to breathe does not entitle me to an income. My ability to create something that changes a person’s life leads to payment proportional to the impact. I am not paid by the hour, I am paid by the result.
I may not know my dream yet, but I know where my current path leads. I am not burying my head in the sand, hoping that if I follow the herd good things will happen. I embrace the future I see for myself, but I hold it loosely. I am in the business of opening doors.
I know that I will perform as I practice, so I practice well. I am not waiting for certification. My results are my certification.
This is my time. This is my money. This is my career. I am an Intentional Learner.
Want to be a part of a community of people like this? Join the Intentional Academy using the form on the this page. It’s free!
What comes to your mind when you hear the word, “generosity”? Giving money to a person in need? Maybe a donation to a ministry or a nonprofit? Giving a hungry person some food?
Is there more to generosity than pity, than seeing someone as worse than ourselves?
Does it have to start with me having more than someone else?
I’ve enjoyed a number of successes in my early career. If someone asked me which single, most important character quality led to these successes, I would say “generosity.” Many people obsess over impressing the people around them, adding to their credentials, making above average pay, and making the “right” friends. All too often the mentality is, “what’s in it for me?”
My aspiration is to approach every encounter asking the question, “what does this person really need?”
Every big success in my life started by asking this question and ended with me figuring out how to meet that need. I wasn’t strategizing, I was trying to be generous. I had no idea what good could come of it for myself, but that wasn’t my intention. Somehow, good always did come of it.
If you’d like to join a community of people who aspire to meet needs, you should join the Intentional Academy. We’re talking about getting control of your time, your money, and your career so that you can live an abundant and generous life. It’s free to join, just fill out the form at the top of this page.
As I wrap up my prep week, I double check that my four systems are in place that keep me productive, low-stress, and balanced. So far we’ve talked about three of them – my morning routine, my time budget, and my Ideal Week schedule. The last system is the most simple: my todo list.
I’ve been though many iterations of keeping track of all of the things I need to get done. Productivity books talk about complicated systems that sort things my goals and projects and contexts and priority. I’ve tried them all. There are a million and one apps out there. Most of them are pretty pricey. All of them promise to get you into a state of flow. None of this worked for me.
Why? Maintenance. The systems took about an hour a day to keep organized,
and another hour at the end of the week to clean up around the edges. It’s not fun, it takes massive amounts of energy and focus, and the second something changes you’re scrambling to update the system.
Now that I have my time blocked out according to my priorities, my todo list can be pretty simple: a single sheet of white paper with a handwritten list. I use the front of one page to manage everything for the week. The fanciest part of it is that sometimes I group tasks by project or category. Usually not.
When I get to work in the morning, I draw little circles in pencil next to the most important tasks for the day. Then I check my Ideal Week time blocks and get to work.
Depending on what the time block says I should be working on, I scan the list for related tasks and I get them done. I cross out the tasks as I finish them, and I add more when they occur to me.
If you’d like help getting on top of it all, you should come check out the Intentional Academy. I’m creating a community for people who want to manage their time, get control of their money, and launch their dream careers. Right now, it’s free. Scroll to the top of the page and fill out the form to join today!
During prep week I get four systems in place to help me win all semester. We already talked about the first two. My morning routine lets me start each morning with meaning and calm. My time budget gives the right amount of time to each of my areas of responsibility.
Today I’m going to tell you about the third tool, which I call my “Ideal Week.” Here, I schedule blocks of time on my calendar according to my time budget.
Some of these blocks are actual meetings and classes, things that I have to attend at a certain day and time. The rest of these blocks are appointments with myself, micro-commitments to spend the time I budgeted in the way I intended.
The real power of this schedule is that at any moment during the week, I’ve already decided what I should be doing.
When I finish with something, I don’t spend time or energy deciding what to do next. When I reach the end of a block, I stop working and move on to the next thing. The sense of flow that comes from always knowing that I am always doing the most important thing is incredible.
If you’d like to learn about the details making this system work for you, come join the Intentional Academy. I’m building a community to help you manage your time, get control of your money, and launch the career of your dreams. Right now, it’s free. Sign up with the form at the top of this page.
“I didn’t have time.”
“I ran out of time.”
We’ve all heard these complaints. We’ve all made these complaints. The problem with these complaints is the attitude behind them: that we’re victims of a clock, or somehow the responsibility lies outside of ourselves. It’s a lot more comfortable to believe that it’s not our fault. The truth is that your circumstances may be out of your control. But how you respond? That’s a power that no one can take from you. So how do we normally respond when we’re too busy? By getting organized and making lists. By reading a book on productivity. By trying to figure out a way to do more with the same amount of time.
The reason that this will always fall short is that it hinges on the idea that the amount of time you spend on a task is out of your control.
It isn’t. You get to decide how much time to spend. What’s the decision based on? Your values. The importance of the task. The level of quality you hope to achieve. Your own abilities to produce work of a certain caliber in a certain amount of time.
Deciding the time you’ll give a task up front empowers you. When you reach the time you budgeted for a task, stop.
It’s been a while since I felt out of control.
If you’d like to finally feel the clarity that comes from being in charge of your time, you should join the Intentional Academy. I’m building a community to help people like you manage their tim, get control of their money, and launch their careers. Find out more at www.tonyferrar.com
Yesterday I shared about the value of taking time regularly to reflect and set up the systems that will cause you to succeed. I do this twice a year, before the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. These prep weeks are crucial: they give me a chance to think about HOW I do what I do, rather than just trying to GET IT DONE.
One of the systems that is key for me is my morning routine.
I set aside this two-hour block each day just for me. Jon Acuff says to be selfish at the right time of day. For me, that time is 5 am. I can wake up and spend a couple hours on myself before anyone else needs anything from me.
So what do I do each morning? I make a cup of coffee. I have a half hour quiet time of scripture reading and prayer. I read a nonfiction book for 30 minutes, because I am never done growing as a person. I eat a healthy breakfast and get dressed. Finally I create and share something new, such as a bit of writing, an image with an inspiring quote, or even a video.
Two things happen thanks to my morning routine:
First, I leave the house in a state of inspiration and anticipation of the day ahead. I can’t tell you the last time I rushed out, flustered and late. That’s not a thing that happens in my life because I have a two hour buffer. Second, I make small progress toward my spiritual, intellectual, and entrepreneurial goals every day. The rest of the world waits for the stars to align and circumstances to be just right to spend huge blocks of time on their goals. I just put one foot in front of the other, day in and day out.
I am creating the Intentional Academy to help people do the same thing: to help you pick a direction to walk in, and take a step every day. You can join for free by filling out the form above.
Today is my first day back to work as a university professor after a 7 week break. I spent that time on a road trip, visiting friends and family (and doing a little rock climbing). Now I have 1 week until classes start. This week is dedicated to preparation.
Continue reading “Prep Week”