Living with Purpose

7 ways to try living with purpose. By Leo Babauta

The nature of the world is chaos, but what if we could find a more deliberate way of moving through the chaos? Here are some ways you can try living with purpose:

  • Set intentions at the start

At the start of the day, or any meaningful activity, check in with yourself and ask what your intentions are. Be more present. Set an intention and try to hold that intention as you move through the day or your activity.

  • Pick important tasks and make them your focus

Pick one (or a few) of your most important tasks and focus on that first. Put aside everything else (you can come back to all that later!) and create space for what’s meaningful in your life right now.

  • One activity at a time

If you’re going to write, close all other tabs and just write. If you’re going to brush your teeth, just do that. Treat it as if it might be your last act on earth.

  • Use any activity as a meditation

Everything we do can be a practice in breath, in presence, in deep consciousness. Treat each act as sacred, as a practice.

  • Create more space

Instead of filling every minute of your day, make time for rest, solitude and reflection. Resist the urge to reach for your phone when you’ve finished what you were doing and instead take a pause. What would it look like to include space in our lives? Take a pause, take a breath. Move deliberately in that space, don’t rush through it.

  • Be in silence more

Create time each day for being in silence. That could be meditation, a walk in nature, a bath where we don’t read or listen to music, but just experience the water, or just stopping to watch a sunset (without taking photos for Instagram).

  • Create containers for messaging and other chaos

Yes, we need to respond to emails and messages, read the news and catch up on things. But this chaos doesn’t have to fill our entire lives. Create a container for each of these activities: set aside 30 minutes for responding to your emails, another 30 minutes for messages, maybe a few times a day. In each container, do nothing but that activity.

Leo Babauta is the founder of Zen Habits (

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