‘You have brains in your head, You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own, And you know what you know, And YOU are the guy who will decide where to go”
At one time in my life, I believed that my success was based on the amount of money I made, how good I was at my job, and how many people liked me. The older I got the more I realized that success for me was actually based around how happy I felt.
I did spend many years caught up in the whirlwind of defining my success by comparing it to how other “successful people” lived their lives. I wasted a lot of energy chasing other peoples’ definition of success.
I never really truly believed I was successful. Many times I felt I was a failure because I believed I was not achieving the levels of success that I perceived people around me were. On the outside I am sure that people considered me to be a success but I never was that happy with myself. I always felt that something was missing and that there was more to life for me.
This Quote Changed My Understanding of Success
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.
Many years ago I read Albert Schweitzer’s quote – his words resonated with me. Maybe I was ready to listen, I don’t know but I did stop and think about how unhappy I was and how unsuccessful I felt. I then tried to work out what I wanted to do that made me happy.
In my heart I always knew that I wanted to live my life writing and teaching, but the thoughts in my head blocked any attempt to acknowledge how much my dream meant to me and there was no way I could tell anyone else either, it was just too scary.So I kept my secret hidden for a long time.
It was also very hard for me to break free from the cycle of success that I aspired to. I was living a life where I believed that money and status would bring me success. I l pursued this definition of success, because, I felt I had to and I was too scared NOT to. When everyone around you works really hard, earns lots of money, has lots of status and all the toys that come with it, you want to have all of that too! You want your kids to have all the things that their friends have and you want to enjoy the comforts of life as well. So you keep working believing that you have no other options and you keep convincing yourself that life is not that bad – but for me over a time it became bad and I started to feel that my life was slipping by.Advertising
Even though I knew what I wanted to do with my life, I did not do anything about it for a long time. There were some feeble attempts but when I got scared I would scurry back to living a life that was familiar and comfortable. I still had to face a few more knock backs before I committed to begin my journey to discovering how to be successful and happy with my life.
“The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.”
-Dalai Lama XIV
I was following the wrong path to success and as a result my chances of feeling that I was successful were zero. Once I started to get clear about what success meant for me and began the journey to living a life where I truly felt successful, then I discovered what it felt like to be happy.
“I want to define success by redefining it. For me it isn’t that solely mythical definition – glamour, allure, power of wealth, and privileged from care. Any definition of success should be personal because it is so transitory. It’s about shaping my own destiny”.
To start the journey to becoming and truly believing that you are successful is hard work and it took me many years to find the courage to step out and begin the journey. If you are wanting success and happiness in your life then you need to really look at the “bad habits” you have created in your life that stop you from achieving the level of success that you desire.
For me there were 10 bad habits I needed to eliminate. By sharing with you how I managed to overcome these bad habits, hopefully this will help you to find your courage to begin your journey to attaining a life of happiness and success.
1. Believing that you have to wait for the right time to begin.
There is no perfect time to start this journey. It will never be perfect and you will always have challenges and obstacles to overcome – it doesn’t really matter – just start NOW. When you choose to be successful then the actions, the decisions and the choices you make today will create your future.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”.
2. Accepting that moderate success is easier to achieve then aiming to achieve your wildest dreams.
It is so much easier to accept being moderately successful than aiming to achieve success beyond your wildest dreams. Dream big and set goals that are beyond the realms of your current reality – go for it ,you may just surprise yourself as to what amazing successes you can achieve.
“If any of you have a desire to be mediocre, you will probably find that you have already achieved your ambition.”
-Hugh B. Brown
3. Believing other peoples’ approval is important to defining your success in life.
You will never start your journey to success if you are waiting for others to give their approval. It is your ego and your fear of being criticised that directs you to seeking their approval. Get over it and move on and do what you have to do to be successful. For me committing to my 12 month plan with practical goals, set tasks and activities was how I overcame this bad habit. I just had to follow the plan and didn’t need anyones approval to do so.
“The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. Believing that your success can only be defined by the success in your professional life.
This bad habit you have to give up immediately because there is no way you can be successful in one part of your life. Your professional and your personal life are interconnected and all aspects of your life need to be balanced.
“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
5. Using other peoples’ definition of success to define who you are and what success looks like for you.
This was one of my really bad habits, in that I constantly compared other people’s successes to how I wanted success to be for me in my life. I now know that success comes from within and once I achieved true happiness living the life I love, then success was guaranteed. Using other peoples success, as a benchmark for my success in life would not bring me happiness – that was something only I could do, nobody else could do that for me.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”
6. Believing that money and wealth is the only measurement to defining how successful you are
I don’t know why so many of us believe that money and wealth defines how successful we are. If I wanted success in my life I had to be earning lots of money – the happiness would come later! Well that didn’t work out for me – even with money I didn’t feel successful! I knew in my heart that money wasn’t going to bring me happiness and for me to feel that I was successful I had to overcome my belief that, my success would be measured by how much money I could make. Once I got that bad habit out of the way, then I was free to embrace on my terms success and happiness in my life.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing,and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you”
7. Constantly focusing on all the reasons why you don’t deserve success in your life
This bad habit reflects a lack of self-confidence and belief in you! I had to work really hard to overcome this bad habit. For a long time I would rationalise in my head all the reasons why I felt I wasn’t as successful as my peers, colleagues, and friends. I would look back at all the bad choices I had made in my life and wish I could have been a different person. I spent a lot of time wishing I could be the same as everybody else, because then I would be successful! I didn’t deserve success because I didn’t have the qualities that successful people have. Now I reflect back and I shake my head – what was I thinking??
“In the School of Life events, situations, and the people you have attracted to be part of your personal experiences is synchronized perfectly in order to teach you the lessons that need to be learned. They show you exactly what is needed to be successful in your Life.”
8. You don’t know what you want or what success means for you so you just don’t do anything.
Achieving success in your life is not complicated but you can make it as complicated and as hard as you want. Success requires hard work, perseverance, clarity and focus. If you look at any successful person those elements will feature somewhere in their journey to having a successful life.
To aspire to be successful in your life you have to know what a successful life means for you. Success comes from the way you act, the way you think, your attitude toward life – success is a habit and you work on it everyday of your life. If you don’t know what success means to you then it is really hard to start the journey.
Knowing what you want and setting out a plan with practical goals increases your chances of success. The plan gives you the clarity and focus you need to start the journey – without a plan and not knowing what you want, you will never begin the journey.
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
9. You have a limiting belief that to be successful you have to pay a price at the expense of others.
This belief has come about as a result of society promoting that to be successful, you have to be tough and prepared to make sacrifices. It is people that will pay a price for your success – mainly because successful people will do what ever it takes to get what they want. This is rubbish and if you believe this to be true then you will not experiences the great joy and happiness success can bring to your life.
Your success in life is not determined by how many people you have to step over or push aside to get what you want. You, your actions, your thoughts and how well you serve others are what contribute to you having success in your life.
10. The fear of failing and making mistakes is a huge block to you making the changes you need to make in your life.
For me, clinging on to this bad habit stopped me from making the changes I needed to make for me to be happy and have a successful life doing what I love to do – writing, speaking and coaching. If you want to be happy and successful you are going to have to accept that failures are necessary on the path to success. It is a given.
I recently read a great book by Tim Harford called Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure.
This book gave me great tools and strategies to effectively manage my fear of failure. Tim Hartford talks about the wrong way we react to failure and that our egos take control and as a result we try to “bury the failure – not a good thing. He suggests that we should adapt the way we think and react to failure by adopting a “trial and error approach”. What this means is that we cant really predict how things are going to turn out and so we test it, adapt and adjust along the way. Failure according to Tim is the opportunity we need to figure out how we can succeed.
If you desire success in your life, you have to be prepared to change. The first step to change, is for you to face those “bad habits” that prevent you from achieving the success and happiness you desire in your life. Once you have overcome your bad habits, you will be unstoppable, and your life will be full of happiness and success.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
Last Updated on September 9, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Tools to Boost Your Productivity
- 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone
- 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools
- 50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time
- How to Bullet Journal to Skyrocket Your Productivity: 17 Tips to Get Started
Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com