Designing a Mindful Life: Using Principles from ‘Designing Your Life’ to Cultivate Intentionality and Well-Being

There’s something magical about the quiet of the morning in the mountains. The air is crisp and fresh, and the only sounds are the rustling of leaves and the occasional bird call. It’s in these moments of stillness that I’ve found a sense of peace that eludes me in the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s in these moments I’m reminded of the importance of being mindful and intentional in my daily life.

For years, I searched for a tool that would help me cultivate a sense of well-being. I often felt overwhelmed, unsure of how to find balance amidst the chaos of professional and personal responsibilities. I began to realize that the key to a mindful routine was simply slowing down and paying attention to the present moment.

It was during a design workshop that I first discovered the principles of “Designing Your Life.”After reading it thoroughly and discussing with others, I understood that these principles could be applied to all areas of life, including one’s quest for mindfulness.

The book “Designing your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans is a classic for people in design. Its emphasis on experimentation and curiosity can resonate if one sees value in taking small steps towards goals and testing different approaches to see what work best.

In my opinion, that’s the beauty of design thinking. It changes one’s approach. By using that changed approach in my daily routine, I feel I am able to break down my goals into manageable tasks and create a roadmap for achieving them:

Starting where you are

The first step in designing a mindful life is to pause to look at my current situation. Identifying my values, strengths, and interests, as well as any constraints that may be holding me back. By understanding where I am, I can begin to make intentional choices that align with my goals.

Building a compass

Once I have a clear understanding of my current situation, it is time to build a compass to guide me in designing a mindful routine. Defining my most powerful purpose or “north star,” and identifying my work view and life view. This helps me prioritize and set my intention.


The next step is to explore different “life prototypes” or potential paths for my life. Using brainstorming, prototyping, and experimenting, all methods to generate and test ideas. It helps me discover what brings my inner world a sense joy and fulfillment, and gives me the confidence to pursue those paths.

Getting unstuck

Fear, self-doubt, and inertia can all be roadblocks to designing a mindful life. To overcome these challenges, I reframe problems, generate multiple solutions, and use feedback to iterate and improve. I remember many times that failure is a necessary part of the design process and can lead to valuable insights for my growth.

Designing a mindful life

I see the beauty in setting goals, creating action plans, and taking small steps towards my desired outcomes. So most of the actions items follow a design thinking approach in my life, and help me to stay in the present.

Being mindful is not just a state of being, it’s a way of living. When we cultivate mindfulness in our daily lives, we become more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and actions. This awareness allows us to respond to life’s challenges with greater wisdom and compassion, and to cultivate a deeper sense of well-being and fulfillment.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that the process of designing a mindful life is never truly finished. Life is constantly changing, and as we grow and evolve, our needs and priorities shift as well. Design thinking has taught me to embrace this sense of fluidity and to approach my life with a sense of curiosity and experimentation.

That’s why designing a mindful life is an ongoing process, but it’s one that’s well worth the effort. By taking the time to reflect on our values, experiment with different approaches, and cultivate a greater sense of mindfulness in our daily lives, we can design a life that brings us joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Author: Archita

Writer. Photographer. Technologist.