Intentional Living, the Attention Economy, and Timebanking

TimeKeeper, LLC would like to begin showcasing some of our extraordinary, innovative, and/or noteworthy community leaders. The following is an interview I did with one such individual, Allen Funston, founder of Sentient Future Consulting.

Image of Allen Funston

Allen Funston, Founder of Sentient Future Consulting


These days, we can’t seem to go an hour let alone a day without being inundated with spam from so-called gurus for mindfulness, lifestyle, healthy living, fitness personal training, weight loss and so forth.  Allen Funston wants “to help us live intentionally, feel more fulfilled, and eradicate regret.”

Beberg: What is the Root Cause of the Problem You Are Solving?

Funston: Information is now created at a much faster rate than you can consume it, so your time is increasingly valuable to those that benefit from your attention (nearly everyone). With everyone else competing for our attention, little will be left for us to pursue your own goals and dreams. Welcome to the attention economy, where people take advantage of you not calculating the value of your time. With such low advertising prices, others are basically stealing your time. Take for example a $10 CPM price on a 30-second ad: someone is paying the equivalent of $1.20 to waste an hour of your time and you don’t even get the money! Quoting social media pioneer and best-selling author, Gary Vaynerchuk, marketing is about “attention arbitrage” and, as big brands reroute their budgets from TV ads to our favourite social platforms, competition for your attention will become increasingly more fierce, which will drive up the prices they pay.” As a result, even unrelated small businesses will be squeezed out of the market because all businesses need your attention. Large businesses will need to raise prices to salvage margins, which will collide with society’s growing inability to pay (economic disparity) due to rising unemployment from large business’ economies of scale, small business’ decreased viability, and rapid-onset job automation.

Beberg: What Other Solutions are Being Considered?

  • Universal Basic Income: Mathematically where I believe we’re headed in democratic countries, but it may rob individuals of the sense of purpose they derived from employment.
  • Sustainable Energy Abundance: Inevitable in time but, if rolled out too slowly, may be controlled and metered by the powerful few who invested wealth during roll-out.

Beberg: What is Intentional Living and How Does it Solve These Problems?

Intentional living is the ability to pay attention to the information that is both relevant and actionable in achieving our goals, then acting on it in a disciplined way. It can also be defined as a lifestyle based on an individual or a group’s conscious attempts to live according to one’s values and beliefs.

Seeing the opportunity for intentional living to resolve our attention-scarcity problems, I’ve designed a universal, customizable, and future-proof framework that effectively guarantees fulfilment and eradicates regret in our lives. It’s called the Sentient Worldview and, at a high level, comprises six fundamental life skills (sensing self, sensing context, interpreting with emotion/intuition, interpreting with reason, deciding, acting) and two dimensions (time and space), each with underlying structures. Using these skills like we do every day forces us to learn and adjust. The Sentient Worldview is by definition a growth-oriented and adaptive mindset.

Intentional living, and more specifically the Sentient Worldview, solves the attention scarcity problem by making your attention unavailable and putting you back in control. Think of yourself as a parent resolving your kids’ fight over a toy by taking away the toy. Either you are paying attention to another person’s life, or you are paying attention to your own life. The former is what plagues us; I advocate for the latter. Note that this is actually the opposite from selfishness. The beautiful part of intentional living as a cultural movement is that it not only caters to others’ ever-reliant self-interest, but it actually serves societal interests at the same time.

Imagine a viral cultural shift towards intentional living. What would happen if all of us started filtering out, very quickly, the oversupply of irrelevant information and chose only to focus on finding or executing our own goals and dreams? Our attention would become exclusively ours again and we would be far less patient with that which does not create value for us, our loved ones, or society. Then, by also empathizing with others’ impatience for their time being wasted, our life goals would naturally require that we help others achieve their goals. This future is sustainable because both selfishness and selflessness drive the same behaviours: empathy and the act of giving.

Information overload would simply become information abundance, because we would get to choose when to conduct research, while simultaneously critiquing our findings’ relevance to us. As a final note, the importance behind the ‘virality’ of the cultural shift is that a quick change will disrupt the industries founded upon non-value added distraction before they can react, helping to redistribute power to us as the majority and reverse some of the economic disparity these industries fuel. In short, please live intentionally and encourage those you love to do the same.

Beberg: What qualifies you to be an expert in this field?

Funston: I am qualified in the field of life coaching and consulting, not because I’m an expert in any one field, but because I’m a generalist that understands very many fields and can explain complex ideas in a simple way. Please note that we all have strengths and this is simply an account of how I think I can humbly apply mine to help others.

  • My formal education as a Professional Engineer, MBA, and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt qualifies me in many quantitative fields, including measurement, design, safety, productivity, etc.
  • My work experience, having successfully led, motivated, and served teams of people from a variety of backgrounds qualifies me in many qualitative fields, such as career counseling, conflict management, and change management.
  • Also, my unique work experience modeling and optimizing large, complex, dynamic systems has taught me to think in different physical scales (small, large), to think in different time scales (small, large, as well as forecasting), and to understand human behaviour through historical operating data and incentive structures.
  • My creative pursuits in branding, article writing, and crafts with my kids give me an appreciation for full-time artists’ value, talent, and dedication.
  • My intellectual ability enables me to link disparate concepts together and my athletic success helps me appreciate the potential of the human body when trained with intention.
  • My years of experience tutoring have taught me how to teach.
  • My non-religious, politically balanced upbringing has instilled an acceptance of everyone, a respect of their right to their beliefs, and an understanding that I’ll never stop learning and growing from those around me.
  • Lastly, I have an ethical obligation to know and respect my own limitations. I will happily refer people to other thought leaders’ bodies of work I am out of my element or when doing so is in their best interest.

Funston: I am a quick study and am competent in most fields, yet not a master in any. However, being a true generalist differentiates me from others in that I can understand the contextual nuances of those whom I serve, empathize accordingly, and help them find both technical and non-technical solutions that truly work because of the fit with their personas.

Beberg: I gather from your own words, the breadth of your education, experience, and skillset makes you a true generalist, and thus perfect to guide people from many walks of life.

Funston: Yes, that’s a good way to summarize it.

Beberg: What are your goals?

Funston: Time is our actual currency, not money. My goal is to unlock more time in other people’s lives than I live in mine, so that I may live a net-positive life.

Beberg: How did you come up with this idea?

Funston: After deciding that I wanted to start a business that was in-line with my own values and goals, I brainstormed ideas by exploring the intersection between my passions, my abilities, and others’ needs. Rather than through epiphany, this creative output came from connecting previously disparate ideas in a new way. I then iterated through about 250 mottos before I found the one that best conveyed Sentient Future’s brand message, “Augment Your Intent”. Following that, I spent about 200 hours designing the Sentient Worldview intentional living framework, with unrelenting emphasis on its universality, practicality, and adaptability.

Beberg: How did you hear about our company, TimeKeeper, LLC?

Funston: I found your Timekeeper App through the iOS App Store, while searching for an app to help me record how I spend my time throughout my day. Once I realized its potential to support my mission, I did further research on it by contacting your CEO, Keith Hupp.

Beberg: What attracted you to our TimeKeeper App?

Funston: The TimeKeeper app attracted me because it offered people a stepping stone towards creating an intentional life in which they could support themselves by pursuing their own passions rather than those of others.

Beberg: What do you hope to achieve with this partnership with Timekeeper?

Funston: I think there is some synergy between what I’m trying to do culturally and what your app offers. The TimeKeeper app allows people to serve others, while developing the skills they are passionate about potentially turning it into a career.

Beberg: How does your company plan to use our timebanking mobile app?

Funston: The Sentient Future Timebank community plans to use your timebanking mobile app to help people live more intentionally. Specifically, I’ll offer my typically paid coaching services on your app for “hours” instead of real money, to help people get started if they wish. Then, they can reach out on social networks to individuals and groups also interested in their passions, and introduce their (effectively) free services to help grow awareness, all while earning social capital to aid them in their mission too.

Beberg: What are your goals for Sentient Future right now?

Funston: I’m focusing on creating a lot of content right now and not focusing so much on gaining social media followers. Once I document my body of work in a few formats, I plan to engage more socially on these platforms to grow organically through word of mouth and achieve a sustainable base of support. I think being useful and authentic will become the norm and I hope our partnership will support our mutual growth.

Beberg: What are you going to do differently?

Funston: While building Sentient Future and trying to live intentionally myself, I am going to document and publicise my personal data to transform my accountability to others into a form of self-discipline. Transparently documenting the delivery of real value upfront distinguishes me as a detail-oriented practitioner, leader, and coach instead of an all-too-common self-help strategist selling info products. Yes, the Sentient Worldview is my guide, but primarily as a frame of reference for when I enthusiastically dive deep with the people I serve.

Beberg: Thanks Allen for taking the time to enlighten me and my readers about Sentient Future and the Intentional Living Framework.

Funston: No, thank you for giving this platform.

For those interested in learning more about Intentional Living from Allen Funston, you can visit his Sentient Future website and/or listen to his podcast at radio. You can join the Sentient Future community from anywhere in the world from the communities tab in the TimeKeeper App.

Anitha Beberg 

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