This page presents a lot of different components separately, but Intend isn't just another GTD task management system.
This page is mostly intended as a reference for users on the different components and how to use them effectively.
If you haven't already tried using the Intend system, you'll probably get a better understanding of the whole system by Intend Philosophy instead.
Tasks or to-dos are external things to be managed. Intentions are what you want to do.
Of the things you didn't do yesterday, what do you intend to do today, & what'll you let go of?
The classic: 25 minutes working, 5 breaking. Custom settings. Assign tomatos to actions.
Weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly—seamlessly connected to help you be strategic & notice patterns.
Get that blast-from-the-past feeling not just with photos but with steps towards goals.
Share what you're working on with a cofounder, spouse, or friendly internet stranger.
Integration: break down large projects into nested lists, then choose what to work on today.
A goal is a recognizable, desired state in the future, that causes you to act differently in the present in order to realize it.
You don't need a deadline or a specific number, but intentional progress involves having at least some sense of what you're making progress towards. So where other systems put tasks first, Intend puts goals first.
For each goal, there's probably a lot of stuff that you could do towards it, but usually there's one thing that's way more important than the rest. That's your "Top Priority". There's only one for each goal, because only one priority can be top!
The priority has an optional check-in date, which could be a deadline or just a date to reflect. You can also optionally write a detailed description of the priority.
Your top priorities are visible as you're planning your day, to help keep what's most important on your radar and simplifying decision-making for what to focus on.
When you're done with a priority, either because you completed it or because you realized it's no longer top priority, you get a chance to reflect on what you learned. After that, it shows up on your timeline as a milestone.
Above you can see each goal's top priority at the bottom of the goal. When planning your day, the priorities show up like this:
Anything you do, you do today. Whenever you do it, it's today. Planning can be useful, but ultimately doing something at least plausibly relevant is better than having a theoretically amazing plan that you're not executing at all. Intend bridges from your big picture goals to your day-to-day actions.
So the core of the Intend workflow happens on the Today Page. It's your home base, your headquarters of intentionality. If you interact with it throughout the day, it's pretty unlikely that you'll reach the end of the day wondering where all your time went.
Many of the components listed below (intentions, outcomes, timers) are elements of the Today Page.
The Today Page keeps your day fresh, but what about when you need even more freshness? What if even the plans you made this morning are feeling stale?
That's where the Now Page comes in. It's the Today Page of the Today Page. It always starts blank, even if you’ve already set intentions for the day, and just asks “What now?” You choose something to work on, by typing in an intention or picking one from various lists, and then it shows you that.
At first glance, this may strike you as essentially equivalent to the Next Action view or the New Tab Page extension. There’s one key difference from those though: when you mark your Now intention complete (or “not now/today”) it doesn’t automatically show you the next item on the list. It goes back to the expansive, open-ended “What now?”
If you just want to grab the next item from your list though, that’s easy to do, just ctrl+click on the list icon and you’ll automatically get the next item from the list. If you ctrl+shift+click, you’ll get a random item from the list! You can do this with the existing intentions list, or the notdones list, and potentially other future lists.
If you're not intentional about how you spend your days, it's hard to get anywhere except by accident.
Intentions in Intend are kind of like "tasks" or "todos", but they feel different. Unlike a task management system where you've got a bunch of tasks, that are out there (*gestures vaguely*) somewhere and you're trying to keep track of them, an intention only exists when you actually intend to do it today! Intending is internal & embodied.
Since you may want to track intentions that aren't towards a specific goal, you can do that using some other symbol, conventionally an ampersand (&) or a tilde (~) but you can be creative and use symbols like $ or ♫ or ♥ or 🎁—basically any code except numbers and letters is miscellaneous.
If you have intentions that connect to an inactive goal, you can enter them using the inactive goal's 2-letter code, e.g.
TP) file documents related to completed project
You can also indicate that an intention goes towards multiple goals by separating their numbers by commas, e.g. 1,2) hike with Kate might go toward both a fitness and a relationships goal.
One of the core parts of the Intend workflow is completing your outcomes at the end of the day (or the next morning, for some people). Where your intentions capture what you intend to do each day, your outcomes are a chance to reflect on what you ultimately accomplished, and how that looks in relation to your overall goal.
For each goal, Intend asks: is this enough?
This is the accountability aspect of Intend. It's soft accountability: there's no punishment if you don't complete your intentions. Instead, it's being accountable for looking at that list, not just letting them slip by.
For some goals, you may have numerical metrics for assessing whether or not a given day was enough. For others, it might be totally by feel: am I satisfied with how today went?
If you're not sure, consider: if the next hundred days go like this one, am I on track towards my goal? You may find you want to distinguish, too, between days that you intended to do a lot towards a given goal versus days that were focused on some other area of your life.
Press enter while in the "say more..." box, and it automatically jumps you down to the next goal's buttons. From there, it's an easy shift-tab to get to the plus button, or just press the += key on the keyboard, to create a new item.
But also, when you have the buttons selected, you can deploy the letter keys to answer the "Is this enough?" question:
When you select one of these buttons (by any means, including space or the mouse) it automatically focuses the "say more..." field. This means that you can rapidly progress through the form by hitting y, enter, n, enter, y, enter... etc.
You can also reorganize items in the list by using alt+ shift+ ↑/↓
Most todo lists very quickly become stale, ie full of old tasks:
Intend avoids this by having you make a fresh list each day. If you don't do something, it doesn't just stick around forever. It goes on the list of "things I was intending to do yesterday but didn't". Which is fine! You don't need to do everything every day.
To make it a bit easier to recover intentions that are truly important though, Intend now has a feature that shows you not-done actions from the last 3 days and lets you grab them for today's intentions. This makes the recovery of said actions be a conscious act, rather than an unconscious default state. You have to consciously think, "no, this is really important."
(Protip: Intend inserts extra )s on intentions that have been left undone in the past, as a subtle visual cue that something is getting stuck.)
It's easy to remove notdones, and if you don't do something multiple days in a row, you get a message like this:
Have actions you want to take every day? Or maybe just habits you want to track, like "get up before noon" or "drink at least 20 cups of water?" This button next to the intentions box has got you covered!
Press the pencil to edit them, and press the main button to add them to your list of intentions for the day. You can also press the sun while holding ⇧ shift to add them to the top of your list, instead of the bottom.
In order to not swamp you with these items, they don't automatically get added to your list every day. To add them, and then you can edit them if certain ones don't make sense that day.
You can put an extra ( before the number, which is an informal way to make the daily intentions look less punchy and more remindery. It doesn’t get parsed as anything special at the moment, but it can help you visually distinguish things!
Some users also like using ~ for miscellaneous in dailies, instead of &. It’s smaller and seems more like a structure than a specific thing I have to do. See the examples below.
Include something about getting up on time. If you set your intentions the night before, add something like (~) get up without snoozing my alarm. Or, preventatively, (~) turn off my computer at 11pm.
Want to practice a new style of working? Add something like (~) use pomodoros or (~) no email before noon.
Want to encourage yourself to do a starred item first thing every morning? Start your dailies with a line that just says *) (and then blank) and you'll have to write something there before you can set your intentions.
Here's how it works: pick something to work on.
Work for 25 minutes
If anything tries to interrupt you, don't let it. Write it down if it's a thing you need to do later. If you let something distract you, you have to reset the timer. Focused work is important.
Take a break for 5 minutes
Actually take a break! Even if you're right in the middle of something! Being in the middle means it's exciting to come back, unlike if you break when you're stuck, and then it's tough to come back.
When the break timer ends, start another 25 minute work timer. Repeat. Every 4 or so, maybe, take a 20 minute break.
“This is the only thing I have found so far that keeps me even moderately productive in very unstructured work situations.”
This isn't just a built-in timer though. It connects very closely with your list of intentions for the day. Once you've completed a pomodoro, a little tomato will appear next to the timer: . Drag it onto on of your intentions to say "I did a pomodoro of work towards this" (or use the triple dot menu (⋮) on mobile)
Want more flexibility than the pomodoro timer?
The pomodoro technique is based on tomato-shaped kitchen timers that are impossible to pause at a particular time. But with an hourglass, you can easily turn it on its side and the sand will stay put:
Add or remove sand at any time! You can adjust the time remaining at any time (even while the timer is running) by clicking on the displayed time (or use the y hotkey).
And then after you've worked for a period of time, you'll get a little pile of sand that you can assign to one of your intentions, to track your progress.
Unlike the pomodoro timer, where you have to reach the end, if you stop the hourglass timer midway, you still get credit for the time you did work.
(You can also create sandpiles from scratch if you want to track time retrospectively without running the timer. Press this hotkey: ctrl+alt+shift+h)
The hourglass timer also allows you to rate how focused you were while it was running. Here's what a sandpile looks like if you were 40%-focused for an hour:
Be social and intentional at the same time!
“Joining this room is probably the literal best thing that happened to me this decade. Thank you to the people who made this place exist.”
Increase the odds of completing something in four steps:
"Challenge Accepted!" is, by the way, how we hope you feel when you hit the button. This isn't about forcing yourself to do something—you're still fundamentally free to not do it, and just pay some money. This isn't about feeling bad or scared, or punishing yourself. This is about the satisfaction of accepting a clear challenge and achieving it. The financial consequence is just part of making that challenge crystal clear.
Ultimately what actually matters is whether you're actually making progress towards the things you care most about. And you generally want your motivation to function by pulling you toward that future, not by fleeing some arbitrary irrelevant consequence such as a payment. But the real consequences of what you're doing may be nebulous or far in the future or always inclined to wait one more day... and sometimes it's time to say "today's the day, however ready I am."
You can write a stake while drafting your intentions, using the format $10@noon or $20@5pm. You'll still need to click it to confirm it after setting the intentions.
If you don't check off the item by the deadline, we charge your credit card within minutes. That's what makes the deadline real—the charge actually happens at that moment. Otherwise it's sort of a fake deadline. If you send a message saying that you in fact did the thing on time but forgot to check it off in time, then we'll refund the money less fees ($1-4).
If you do this often (like more than once or twice a month) then we'll start refunding half or nothing, because unlike Beeminder we're not primarily in the business of managing these commitment contracts, and the whole point is that you're supposed to have to check the item off by the deadline, not just have done it. But as part of getting used to the system, or if you're dealing with internet issues one day, sure.
And obviously if there's a bug in our code that causes you to get billed when you shouldn't've, we'll refund it in full (this should go without saying but sometimes it's good to to say such things anyway).
The holy grail of journalling: synthesizing tiny notes about what's happening each day, up to the scale of weeks, months, seasons & whole years—and back down. All reviews are separated into sections for each goal, to facilitate relevance realization across timescales.
Intend's reviews feature provides a unified space to complete weekly, monthly and quarterly reviews, with notifications when a new review is due, giving you space to reflect on how your goals are going, and to notice changes to your tactics that could be beneficial.
The review feature comes pre-loaded with questions so you can complete a review without having to plan what questions to ask. For those with a particular review system in mind, custom questions can be added for each goal to make the review process as bespoke as you need. You can simply update the questions in the review, and they'll offer to save for the next one.
Weekly reviews are the on-the ground at-a-glance view of what happened towards each goal that week. You see what you did (and what you didn't) and reflect on what you learned and what to do next.
Monthly reviews show a calendar view that gives a sense of your overall activity and allows you to click to view what you did on a given day. Then it prompts you to think about your overall priorities for the next month.
Quarterly reviews are where it gets meta: rather than looking at individual days, they guide you to synthesize the weekly & monthly reviews to notice patterns in what's working and not working. On the scale of a quarter, it's especially important to consider not just "am I taking actions?" but "are those actions having the intended effects?"
Yearly reviews are naturally the most substantial, and provide a space for reflecting on all your goals throughout the year, and anticipating the main obstacles and challenges in the year ahead. There's also a bonus section to help you look at other areas of your life that you don't have goals for.
Here's an example of a quarterly review, showing how it summarizes the past 3 months and allows looking at the weekly reviews from during the quarter as context for reflecting.
The timeline page is essentially a versatile view for your past data — it lets you view everything you did each day, edit outcomes for past dates.
The overview table at the top of the page can give insights on which goals are getting ignored and which ones are getting a lot of attention (by considering rows), or which days are huge wins (by considering columns).
This page is also your gateway to the Search and On-this-day features described below.
You can click on the goal names at the top to filter so it'll only show intentions & outcomes for specific goals.
The timeline feature (see above) also contains a search tool, making the quest for specific information a breeze. This means that specific tasks are easy to track down, allowing you to quickly find the date you had an important call.
For fans of Timehop or the Memories features in other apps, the On This Day page provides a look back at your past entries on the same day of the year.
The feature is designed to offer a blast-from-the-past feeling, giving you a quick perspective on how your strategies or priorities may have evolved, or allowing you to see patterns and connections.
Some research has suggested that simply telling other people about your goals can make you less likely to work hard at them, perhaps because the mere act of telling them feels like progress. The Intend Accountability Partner system is different though, because you're not just telling them—you're making a specific plan, and they're overhearing.
Also because your partner will see within a day if you're not doing what you intended, so you can't exactly rest on your laurels.
“My boyfriend introduced it to me and suggested that we use it to stay updated on each others' lives while we're doing the long distance thing.”
Beeminder is for quantifiable, graphable, usually long-term goals. It focuses on ongoing metrics like time spent working, pages read, words written, or tasks completed. (It's also good for fitness goals like steps, calories, weight, hours of sleep, etc.)
What really makes Beeminder unique though, is adding an explicit commitment device to your Quantified Self data. You literally enter a credit card and agree to get charged money if you don't keep all your datapoints on a Yellow Brick Road to your goal. It's not for everyone but it's life-changing for some, and integrates beautifully with Intend.
Plus, you can get a fancy widget on your Intend today page that allows you to quickly see the status of your beeminder goals and enter new datapoints.
WorkFlowy is an epic infinite-tree organizer, that lets you create bullet lists of bullet lists of bullet lists, and zoom in to any level of the tree. It's a great place to break down goals into projects and projects into tasks, and that's why it pairs so nicely with Intend, which intentionally deprioritizes organizing, and focuses on a fresh list every day.
The basic idea is to put intentions in WorkFlowy, and then tag them with the date that you want them to show up in your intentions drafts.
The API is currently in an alpha stage, but we're working to overhaul it and make a powerful platform that'll allow custom integrations like the WorkFlowy and Beeminder integrations that work with the Intend daily workflow, so if you're interested in creating something (and helping us improve the API) then...
We recommend the desktop Intend experience, but you can use Intend on your phone via the browser when you're on the go!
And you can add Intend to your phone home screen like an app by following these instructions.
Almost all of the data-synchronization features of Intend are set up to work offline (the main exceptions at the moment being the goals page and the settings page). So you can spend hours or even days offline, setting intentions and completing outcomes, running the timer and so on.
By default, however, you still have to load the page while online in the first place. However, there's a Labs feature that makes it work 100% offline (progressive web app style). This system is totally usable and doesn't have any sync issues, but still has a few caching bugs that can cause pages to load with missing styles etc, which is why it's still in labs.
Intend is made to be used at all times of the day, whenever you want to be intentional. But if it's late at night, you might not want to be staring at a bright white screen. Toggle darktheme (or have it automatically enable in the evening) to relax your eyes.
Enable this by clicking the on the today page, then the View tab.
While tracking metrics over time isn't a core part of Intend's philosophy, there is a stats page just in case you want a deeper look at your Intend usage over time. This page offers a snapshot of your activity, displaying single-value statistics such as total outcomes, total days active, and current streak, and graphs displaying trends over time.
One key stat to track is how many hours of each day have any activity on Intend. Intend isn't the sort of app where you'll generally use it for hours on end (except when writing reviews) but you mind find that days where you check in every hour or two tend to be a lot more intentional than days where you only check in a few times.
(note: pomos are indivisible, so you can't pause one halfway through)
(also this hotkey will add a minute to the timer during breaks)
|y||Set timer minutes...|
|shift+ y||Set timer until...|
|alt+ shift+ t||Switch between timer modes ()|
|shift+ t||Start pomo timer with a break|
|p||Assign a completed work block (eg tomato) to selected item|
|shift+ p||Unassign a work block (eg tomato) from an action|
|alt+ p||Destroy an unassigned work block (eg tomato)|
|alt+ shift+ p||Undestroy a work block or generate an extra tomato)|
|alt+ shift+ h||Generate extra sandpile...|
|space||Toggle done-ness of selected action (or next action)|
|c||Select next action (top not-done action)|
|↑/↓ k/j||Select higher/lower|
|⇧+ ↑/↓ or K/J||Move selected item up/down|
|shift+ c||Move selected item so it's the current action|
|alt+ c||Set a random intention as the current action|
|l||(lowercase L) Select the last not-done action|
|shift+ L||Move selected item so it's the last action|
|*||Toggle star on an action|
|%||Toggle "not today" on an action|
|$||Stake money on an action|
|a||Append text to an action|
|shift+ a||Break down intention into smaller steps|
|alt+ a||Split multigoal intention into separate intentions for each goal|
|alt+ shift+ a||Edit goal/prefix for intention|
|w||Set action as whole-day intention|
|?||Show / hide help menu|
|`||Open settings dialog (above tab key on most keyboards)|
|n/m/,||Switch to Do/Choose/Break tab|
|i/o||Intentions/outcomes setting mode|
|shift+ i||Draft intentions for tomorrow|
|alt+ shift+ 0-9||Filter list by the goal with that number|
|v||Show/hide completed actions|
|;||Show/hide partner tab|
|alt+ ;||View other user in partner slot (doesn't affect privacy ofc)|
|f||Toggle distraction free mode|
|shift+ f||Toggle dark theme|
(these don't work on all pages yet)
Press g then the other letter to navigate to the other page. If you press G, ie ⇧ shift+ g, it'll open that page in a new tab.
|g then n||Go to now page|
|g then t||Go to today page|
|g then y||Go to yesterday page|
|g then e||Go to timeline page|
|g then g||Go to goals page|
|g then r||Go to reviews page|
|g then s||Go to settings page|
|0-9||Enter a new intention for the goal with that number|
|#||Seed the intentions input with a #) for each goal|
To submit intentions quickly, press ↹ tab (to shift focus to the submit button) then press ↩ enter (to submit it). You can combine this with the following options (which also work while clicking the button).
If you hold ⇧ shift when submitting intentions, they'll be put as the next task(s), rather than at the bottom.
If you hold ctrl+ ⇧ shift when submitting intentions, they'll be put second from the top, underneath the current next task.