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7 Unique Ways to Be More Productive in 2017

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7 Unique Ways to Be More Productive in 2017

There is nothing better than feeling a sense of fulfillment—may it be in your business, career, school, or everyday life. Achievement truly boosts our confidence, and motivates us to continue doing what we do. It encourages us to work harder because we see that our hard work has paid off. In most cases, we experience a sense of fulfillment when we deem ourselves as productive.

A common misconception of the word “productive” is that it means doing more work in less time. However, it actually means achieving a significant result; not just in quantity, but also in quality.

For instance, if you were a shoemaker and you were given an order to make 10 pairs of shoes, and you were able to create all of these pairs in a short amount of time, but with very poor quality, it would not be considered productive since your customers would most likely ask you to redo most of the work, which of course would take more time. Or worse, your efforts might not even bring any additional sales to your business at all.

Real productivity is when you create something of high quality in the least amount of time possible.

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Now, you may be wondering how to achieve productivity in general. Sure, there are hundreds of ways to be more productive, but let us take a look at the most unique and effective steps.

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a person’s ability to be fully present and to live in the moment. While it is true that each one of us has this natural ability, not all of us know how to use it. Oftentimes, the word “mindful” is just understood as minding your own business, but it truly goes beyond that.

To practice mindfulness in your work means focusing on what you are working on, and only on that. Do not let your mind wander. Daniel Law, a Sydney marketing consultant, is well-known in his industry for being laser-focused when it comes to getting his clients results. This, in turn, has earned him a positive reputation.

When you are engaged in important work, it is imperative that you do not find yourself thinking about your last lover, or your next meal, but instead remain focused on the task at hand. Research has shown, again and again, that practicing mindfulness leads to making better decisions and thus, becoming more productive.

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2. Outsource work

If you find that your assigned work is not within your capability, then do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help will allow you to save more time. So, rather than incorrectly doing the job by yourself, outsource the work. Ask someone else who is an expert in what you are trying to do; ask them for advice and tips that can help you work accurately and more efficiently.

3. Make a list

If you truly want to be more productive, make a list of the things you want to achieve. Plan ahead of time and get yourself ready. A lot of people choose to not think ahead about the things they want to attain because of the fear of failure, but when you actually write down your goals and create a checklist when making plans, the things you have to do become real and don’t remain in the back of your mind.

4. Know when to say “No

As mentioned previously, most people think of productivity as being able to do 100 tasks in 1 hour, which is completely wrong. We already know that true productivity means completing a good amount of work with the right quality, so knowing when you have enough work to do is a major contributor to productivity.

When a person keeps saying “yes” to everything, chances are that person will go out of their mind trying to get so many things done at once. Additionally, that person may also accept tasks that are beyond his/her skills. This will compromise the quality of work, and may possibly lead to wasting time.

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As long as you know your limits, you will be productive. Do not go overboard, make sure you know when and what is enough, and learn to tell others and yourself, “No.”

5. Avoid multi-tasking

Contrary to the famously advised art of multitasking, one should not do too many different things at once. Ryan O’Connor developed a massively successful brand in One Tribe Apparel by giving important priorities “undivided attention before moving on to other tasks.” Psychologists maintain that multi-tasking for more productivity is a myth that does not do you any good. It only causes the brain to engage and disengage, again and again, when you shift between different tasks—obviously, this is not what we want if we aim to be productive.

Engaging and disengaging between tasks will take up a lot of time, and will compromise the quality of your work as the brain adjusts to the new task and re-adjusts back to the old one.

6. Develop habits you can associate with good performance

It might sound silly, but it works. The notion “mind over matter” is actually effective when it comes to productivity. When your mind connects habits that are practiced simultaneously with tasks that produce positive or good outcomes, it will make it easier for you to perform and achieve the results you desire.

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An example of a ritual may be eating chocolates while writing essays. If this is continuously done successfully, it is possible that eating chocolates will be what it takes for your brain to activate its essay-writing mode. With that, productivity is around the corner.

7. Be courageous enough to decide

Do not spend too much time deciding whether or not do something. Make a decision and challenge yourself. Shaun Ling, founder and executive chairman of iPRIMA Media, built a successful branding company by being decisive and leading his team of associates courageously. Taking too long to decide will only lead to delay in work. Of course, decision-making also involves having the courage to take up challenges—and accept both positive and unfavorable outcomes alike.

Indeed, the journey towards productivity is quite challenging, but with these productivity hacks, there is no doubt that it is attainable.

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Sara Jane Adkins

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Last Updated on September 9, 2021

10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

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10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

Productivity planners and journals are tools of a trade. There’s an art to productivity. Just like art is very personal to the artist, productivity is very personal to the person. What works for you may not work for me. This is an important distinction if you really want get more done in less time.

Too many of us dabble in productivity hacks only to move on to the next tool or trend when it didn’t workout for us, missing the lesson of what worked and didn’t work about that tool or trend.

We put the tool on a pedestal and miss the art. It’s worshipping the paint brush rather than the process and act of painting. We miss the art of our own productivity when the tool overshadows the treasure.

As an artist, you have many brushes to choose from. You’re looking for a brush that feels best in your hand. You want a brush that doesn’t distract you from your art but partners with you to create the many things you see in your mind to create. Finding a brush like this may take some experimenting, but when you understand that the role of the brush is to bring life to your vision, it’s easier to find the right brush.

Planners are the same way. You want a productivity journal that supports you in the creation of your vision, not one that bogs you down or steals your energy.

Let’s dive into the 10 best productivity planners and journals to help you get more done in less time.

1. The One Thing Planner

The NY Times best selling book, The One Thing, just released their new planner. If you loved this book, you’ll love this planner.

As the founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, has mastered the art of focus. The One Thing planner has its roots in industry changing productivity. If you’re out to put a dent in the universe, this may be the planner for you.

Get the planner here!

2. The Full Life Planner

The Full Life Planner is Lifehacks’ ultimate planning system to get results across all your core life aspects including work, health and relationships. This smart planner is 15 years of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas by top performers.

With the Full Life Planner, you can align your actions to long term milestones every day, week, and month consistently. This will help you to get more done and achieve your goals.

Get the planner here!

3. The Freedom Journal

Creator of one of the most prolific podcasts ever, Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas released his productivity journal in 2016. This hard-cover journal focuses on accomplishing SMART goals in 100 days.

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From their site:

“The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.”

Get the planner here!

4. Full Focus Planner

Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and host of the podcast “This is Your Life”, also has his own planner called the Full Focus Planner.

From the site:

“Built for a 90-day achievement cycle, the Full Focus Planner® gives you a quarter of a year’s content so you aren’t overwhelmed by planning (and tracking) 12 months at a time.”

This productivity planner includes a place for annual goals, a monthly calendar, quarterly planning, the ideal week, daily pages, a place for rituals, weekly preview and quarterly previews. It also comes with a Quickstart lessons to help you master the use of the planner.

Get the planner here!

5. Passion Planner

They call themselves the #pashfam and think of their planner as a “paper life coach”. Their formats include dated, academic and undated in hardbound journals with assorted colors. With over 600,000 users they have a track record for effective planners.

From the site:

“An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log & personal and work to-do lists all in one notebook.”

They have a get-one give-one program. For every Passion Planner that is bought they will donate one to a student or someone in need.

They also provide free PDF downloads of their planners. This is a great way to test drive if their planner is right for you.

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Get the planner here!

6. Desire Map Planners

If you’re looking for a more spiritually oriented planner, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, created the Desire Map Planners. With Daily planners, Weekly planners and Undated planners you can find the right fit for you.

Behind this planner is the Desire Map Planner Program including 3 workbooks that not only support you in using the planners but guide you in your thought process about your life and intentions you’re using the planner to help you fulfill.

Get the planner here!

7. Franklin Covey Planners

The grandfather of all planners, Franklin Covey, has the most options when it comes to layouts, binders, and accessories. With over 30 years in the productivity planner business, they not only provide a ton of planner layouts, they also have been teaching productivity and planning from the beginning.

From the site:

“Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.”

Get the planner here!

8. Productivity Planner

From the makers of the best selling journal backed by Tim Ferriss, “The Five Minute Journal”, comes the Productivity Planner.

Combining the Ivy Lee method which made Charles Schwab millions with the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused in the moment, the Productivity Planner is both intelligent and effective.

It allows for six months of planning, 5-day daily pages, weekly planning and weekly review, a prioritized task list, Pomodoro time tracking, and extra space for notes.

From the site:

“Do you often find yourself busy, while more important tasks get procrastinated on? The Productivity Planner helps you prioritize and accomplish the vital few tasks that make your day satisfying. Quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, the Productivity Planner assists you to get better work done in less time.”

Get the planner here!

9. Self Journal

Endorsed by Daymond John of Shark Tank, the Self Journal takes a 13 week approach and combines Monthly, Weekly and Daily planning to help you stay focused on the things that really matter.

Self Journal includes additional tools to help you produce with their Weekly Action Pad, Project Action Pad, the Sidekick pocket journal to capture your ideas on the go and their SmartMarks bookmarks that act as a notepad while you’re reading.

Get the planner here!

10. Google Calendar

You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can use it as a productivity planner.

Productivity assumes we have time to do the work we intend to do. So blocking time on your Google Calendar and designating it as “busy” will prevent others from filling up those spaces on your calendar. Actually using those blocks of time as you intended is up to you.

If you use a booking tool like Schedule Once or Calendly, you can integrate it with your Google Calendar. For maximum productivity and rhythm, I recommend creating a consistent “available” block of time each day for these kinds of appointments.

Google Calendar is free, web based and to the point. If you’re a bottom line person and easily hold your priorities in your head, this may be a good solution for you.

Get the planner here!

Bonus Advice: Integrate the 4 Building Blocks of Productivity

Just as important to productivity planners as the tool are the principles that we create inside of. There are 4 building blocks of productivity, that when embraced, accelerate your energy and results.

The four building blocks of productivity are desire, strategy, focus and rhythm. When you get these right, having a productivity planner or journal provides the structure to keep you on track.

Block #1: Desire

Somehow in the pursuit of all our goals, we accumulate ideas and To-Do’s we’re not actually passionate about and don’t really want to pursue. They sneak their way in and steal our focus from the things that really matter.

Underneath powerful productivity is desire. Not many little desires, but the overarching mother of desires. The desire you feel in your gut, the desire that comes from your soul, not your logic, is what you need to tap into if you want to level up your productivity.

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A productivity planner is just a distraction if you’re not clear on what it’s all for. With desire, however, your productivity planner provides the guide rails to accomplish your intentions.

Block #2: Strategy

Once you’re clear on your overarching desire, you need to organize your steps to get there. Let’s call this “strategy”. Strategy is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You must first turn over all the pieces to see patterns, colors, connections and find borders.

In business and life, we often start trying to put our “puzzle” together without turning over all the pieces. We put many items on our To-Do lists and clog our planners with things that aren’t important to the bigger picture of our puzzle.

Strategy is about taking the time to brain dump all the things in your head related to your goal and then looking for patterns and priorities. As you turn over these puzzle pieces, you’ll begin to see the more important tasks that take care of the less important tasks or make the less important tasks irrelevant.

In the best selling book, The One Thing, the focusing question they teach is:

“What’s the One thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?”

This is the heart of strategy and organizing what hits your planner and what doesn’t.

Block #3: Focus

With your priorities identified, now you can focus on the One Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. This is where your productivity planners and journals help you hold the line.

Because you’ve already turned over the puzzle pieces, you aren’t distracted by new shiny objects. If new ideas come along, and they will, you will better see how and where they fit in the big picture of your desire and strategy, allowing you to go back and focus on your One Thing.

Block #4: Rhythm

The final building block of productivity is rhythm. There is a rhythm in life and work that works best for you. When you find this rhythm, time stands still, productivity is easy and your experience of work is joyful.

Some call this flow. As you hone your self-awareness about your ideal rhythm you will find yourself riding flow more often and owning your productivity.

Without these four building blocks of productivity, you’re like a painter with a paintbrush and no idea how to use it to create what’s in your heart to create. But harness these four building blocks and find yourself getting more done in less time.

The Bottom Line

Your life is your art. Everyday you have a chance to create something amazing. By understanding and using the four building blocks of productivity, you will set yourself up for success no matter which planner, or “paintbrush”, you choose to use.

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As you experiment with different planners you will narrow which one is best for you and accelerate your path to putting a dent in the universe.

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Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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