Intention Deficit

Intention Deficit

If you feel it’s all just too much information and you don’t experience the stream of information available to you as something great and laid back then you might be suffering from Intention Deficit.

Intention Drives Actions

Normally we intent to do something with something at a specific time and place. Thus we find ourselves in the supermarket with the intention to buy groceries.

Removing intention from the equation is frustrating.

Loss of intention makes your actions meaningless and impossible.

Ever stood up to go to the kitchen only to find yourself thinking; “Why am I here?” That’s loss of intention for you right there…

Intention Deficit Kills Information Joy

If you don’t have a clear intention for each piece of information you expose yourself to soon that information will become a source of distraction and frustration.

You open your feedreader, see “1000+ unread” and think; oh no. Clicking “mark all as read” you sigh, clench your muscles and think “I failed again but this time I’ll stay current and up to date — this time I’ll read it all, all the time”.

From Intent to Read to Intention for Reading


The clearer your intention, the better you feel. “I follow this feed to stay up to date on the news in my industry” sounds like a clear intention but soon you’ll find yourself stressed at somehow staying “up to date”.


Because the question is; why do want to stay up to date? Answering that question for yourself gives you a chance to bring things back to your real life; “I follow this feed to stay up to date in order to learn about code exploits as soon as possible so I can protect the company server”.

If you find yourself storing information or URL’s ask yourself: what do I intent to do with this?

The fact that it is remotely interesting isn’t enough. You have to know for yourself “I save this article because I’m planning to write about the body-space awareness of termites”.

More elsewhere:

  • Horizons of Focus
  • Covey’s idea of Roles (would love to include a link but alas, can’t find a good write-up on it! Know one?)

Do you think clear intention helps — or do you maybe think all this talk about information processing and knowledge work is way overdone?

7 Replies to “Intention Deficit”

  1. Ruud,

    Yes I believe you are on to something here.

    I’m thinking along similar lines and I’ll share two thought fragments from a presentation I was working on this morning…when I decided to reward myself for completing one section by giving myself some Twitter-time, which led me to your post…

    1) ‘info glut’ (a threat) or ‘information abundance’ (a blessing)? I try to live in the latter.
    2) ‘multi-tasking required’ or ‘discipline and focus required’? Again, I try to live in the latter.

    Perspective and the choices that we do have, and make, are everything, as you so nicely highlight in this post.


  2. Ruud, as I was reading this I was thinking about how discouraged I had recently become due to some of the things that I have observed in the blogosphere. (to be continued)
    I had lost some motivation and even thought “hmm..maybe this is not for me”. This feeling did not last long because I began to see things in the light that you speak of. I have gotten a better visual on my goals and intentions. This has increased my awareness in ways that are allowing me to apply some cognitive restructuring. I am seeing things from a “HOW” standpoint now as opposed to a “What or Why” standpoint. This being imperative to progress.

    What is it that I hope to attain? In business. In friendships. and so on.

    Thanks for a great post. (PS: I love your “the person” description.)

  3. @Ray Nice to see you here: good of you to leave a comment, thanks. I like your views, perhaps because we share them!

    @Kevin I appreciate old school comments a lot: thanks .. and thanks for the compliment!

    @Kim I like your “how” idea. Sometimes we forget why we started something — or even that we started something. Thanks for liking the description, by the way.

    @Todd Agreed!

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