Doug Fleener's

The Day Makes the Year


Closing The Intentions Gap

Oct 06, 2023

When I started my self-employed journey in 2001, I would begin each day with grand ambitions of what I wanted to accomplish. I was going to set the world on fire! I had a long list of brilliant ideas and essential to-dos. But at the end of the day, I'd often have little to nothing to show for it.  

As my bank account dwindled, I started to panic. My business wasn't going anywhere as planned. Maybe I should go get a "real" job. I thought I should at least investigate it. I went to a job interview with a regional manager for Circuit City. I remember it like it was yesterday.  

The guy kept me waiting. He was a blowhard. He was rude. Then he suggested I should consider taking a job that was a far, far lower position than what I had been doing at Bose. I bit my tongue. I thanked him for his time. Then, walking out of the building, I threw all my resumes in a garbage can. I would figure it out and make it happen. I wonder what happened to him after Circuit City closed down. (And I was very grateful I didn't get hired.) 

After I had a heart-to-heart meeting with myself, which is always awkward, it was easy to see the problem. I was stuck in the Daily Intentions Gap. The Daily Intentions Gap refers to the disconnect between what we intend to accomplish each day and what we do. I was in so deep it was going to cost me everything. It was at that moment that I completely changed.   

I was highly effective when I worked in a company, but the gap sucked me in when I was the business owner. I started to reapply many of the things I had learned and have written about in my book The Day Makes the Year (Makes a Life).  

Here are the four things I did and anyone can do to stay clear of the Daily Intentions Gap: 

1. Be clear on your daily outcomes. Understand exactly what you want to achieve each day so you can focus your efforts accordingly. You have to know where you're going if you're going to get there. 

2. Have 1-2 priorities for the day. Identify the most important things you intend to accomplish that day. Other things are important, but working on these priorities is non-negotiable. They are your biggest intentions. 

3. Focus on your effectiveness. Look at the results you're getting from your efforts. If you do not see the outcomes you want, change how you work. Most of the time, you need to adjust your mindset and intentional actions.  

4. Hold yourself accountable. Share your daily goals with others and have check-ins on your progress. A sense of accountability helps motivation and follow-through. Use tools like calendars, reminders, and outcome lists to stay on track. 

So let me ask three questions:  

  1. Did you ever want to punch someone in the nose during an interview? Been punched? 
  2. On a scale of 1 to endless scrolling, how productive is your "social media break"? (Asking for a friend.) 
  3. Do you ever find yourself stuck in The Intentions Gap, and what would be the financial and personal impact if you avoid it?