How I use an Intention Journal to inspire, motivate and even spiritualise myself again and again.

Have you ever come across a quote, an inspiring saying or a Hadith, that you liked so very much you just had to take a printout and stick it up somewhere that you could see it everyday. Infact you may have a couple of these either around your office desk, or home, maybe in your car. If you havenít done it yourself, you certainly know friends who have this quirky little habit.

I have done this a couple of times in the past too. And sure the first couple of times I read the quote, it does charge me up to either work harder, or be focused or more caring, loving etc. However, after a week or so, if I happen to read the quote, it makes no difference to me. Give it a fortnight, that quote becomes invisible. I donít even look at the side where Iíve got that quote up. Infact even if I did, I would probably see right through it. Thereís a psychological reason that if anything is seen or told at too often, one becomes completely immune to it. The technical term for this is: nagging. So what do you do to get the same impact again and again? So how can you see and read this advice regularly enough that it encourages you but not so often that it stops having an effect on you.

David Allen has this slick web-application called an Intention Journal, to help you do just that. Sadly itís not free and you have to be a member of GTD-Connect to use it. However if you are a Microsoft Outlook user, you can setup your own personal Intention Journal.

7 Easy steps to setup your own personal Intention Journal:

1. Go to the Tasks Module of your Outlook, by clicking on Go->Tasks (or shortcut Crtl+F4)

2. Create a New Task, by clicking Crtl+N
3. Type into the Subject, the topic of the Quote
4. Copy & Paste or Type into the notes Section of the New Task Window, the entire quote

5. Click on Recurrence on the New Task Window. Or press Alt, H, E.
6. Choose how often would you like to see this quote, then click Okay. I generally would like to see my quotes to an obscure number like every 43 or 54 days or so. That makes it really random, thereby giving me the maximum impact each time I see the quote, as I would never be expecting it.

7. Save and Close, and youíre done! Now every so often you will have your selected quote show up as a daily task on your Outlook screen. I look at my daily tasks almost first thing every day, however if you would want it to pop-up, then just put an alarm/reminder too.

Here are a few quotes that I currently have randomly spread across in my Outlook Intention Journal:

On Ascetism:?Asceticism does not mean that you should own nothing. It means nothing should own you. – Imam Ali

On Valuing oneís youth:?”Oh. Soldier. Value your youth and worship God. The pleasure of worship is in your youth. When you get old, your heart will want to worship, but you will not have the health and strength to do so.” – Imam Khomenie

The Illusion:?You Are Nor Veiled From Allah By The Existence Of Something That exists with Him since there is nothing which exists with Him. You are veiled from Him by the illusion that something exists with Him. – Shaykh Abdal Qadir Gilani.

Charity:?Stop giving charity only after you either run out of money or run out of breath.

Desire & Expectation:?Truly, The Thing I Fear Most For My Community Is Illusionary desire and excessive expectation, for desire bars one from the truth and expectation makes one love the world.

Definition of Regret:?”What is regret but that we were not more fully present in a situation, or to be more ‘there’ in a relationship that we have now lost?” – from Tom Butler Bowden’s summary of, Eckhart Tolleís, Power of Now in 50 spiritual classics.

On Work:?’Through work you express your love for those whoever will benefit from it, and satisfy your own need to create. Those who enjoy their work know that it is a secret to fulfillment, that we can be saved through what we do.” Khalil Jibran

If you liked this post, you may further benefit from the post: How I use my Tickler file to remind me of all the important and unimportant things in my life.


  1. Great tips.
    One quote I like:

    “I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun”
    – John D Rockefeller

  2. A suggestion!

    You can even do this with online calendar apps like google/yahoo calendars, I personally use google calendar, its easy to use n the other advantages are that you can access it from anywhere and that you can set it up to send you alerts on your phone via sms, email and a pop up on ny pc u happen to be on as well…

  3. Dan,
    Thanks for sharing the quote. Now we only have to figure out, how to get more of that ability :-)

  4. Thanks Raj! Gosh, that’s a brilliant suggestion. Yes, Google (or Yahoo) Calendar would work perfectly for this. The fact that they have sms and email alerts, that would make it even better suited.

  5. Hi!

    Landed on yr blog from the official GTD site.
    An absolute delight to go thru your blog and very simply written articles!

    I am a recent GTD enthusiast and am just getting introduced to this deceptively simple, yet profoundly impactful system of Getting things done!

    I am a trainer in personal transformation workshops and would someday like to attend Workshop on GTD like your team has done.

    Are their possibilities of these workshops happening in India, Mumbai/Bangalore to be specific in near future. Would love to be a part of the same.

    look forward to more updates on yr blog…..


  6. Hi Shally,

    Thanks so much for your generous comment :-).

    GTD is indeed an amazing system and the learning is life-long. As great as the seminar was, I must say that the my number one resource in learning GTD had been GTD Connect. The Quarterly teleseminars, that David has, include a wealth of information that is not reproduced anywhere. Furthermore if there’s somehow you can land your hands on with 6 CD set “Getting Things Done Fast”, that would complete your arsenal in ploughing through all the nuances of GTD

    Shally the number of GTD enthusiasts in India are growing. I did email David Allen company a couple of times to do a seminar here. No confirmation from them yet. Let’s see, Inshallah soon.

    Warm wishes,

  7. Hi GTD Enthusiast,

    I am once again thrilled to see the post from Ali & Arif Sir’s Blog, I like to comment that GTD with (Arif & Ali Sir ) VHDC is a complete process to experience the added results in todayís daily life / working life / business life etc .

    Ali & Arif Sir’s “GDT seminars / workshops” will prove it if anyoneís lucky to bounce 10 times at the forefront in Getting Things Done Hierarchy & Practice. I am the living example. No doubt that Ali & Arif Sir’s enthusiasm are par better than the western method David Allen company seminars.
    So if anyone as lucky as me specifically you see the results that I experienced in just past few months.

    I thank once again to my Inspiration Arif Sir & Ali Sir & Ramesh my Project Lead Ė VHDC who has given excellent views during GTD workshops for my lucky group.

    sr graphic designer & fan of Arif Sir & Ali Sir

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