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How to be more productive

This tool might not technically be the “last” productivity tool you’ll ever need because it is built for a 13 week sprint. That’s the great part about it though.  Perhaps a better way to say it is the last kind of productivity tool you’ll ever need.  Read on to find out why.

The answer to how to be more productive is largely about organization.  Specifically, organizing your life so that the things that REALLY matter to YOU get done.  

Notice I said the things that really matter to YOU.  That’s important.  It’s very easy to get caught up in doing things that seem urgent and important, but in the big picture are only important to other people.

If you’re an adult, chances are you have multiple responsibilities and things on your plate.  With distractions running rampant at our fingertips, it is ever important to:

  • Have a vision
  • Set long term goals
  • Set short term objectives
  • Prioritize your goals and objectives
  • Schedule time to get them done

The last two bullets are where many people fail.  If you don’t prioritize the things you want to do and schedule time to do them, someone or something else will swallow up that time, every time.

So you need to have a vision, set goals, break them up into smaller chunks, prioritize those chunks, and then schedule time to do them.  Sounds like a lot, right?

Well luckily for you there is one tool that lets you do all of this in one place.  Not only is it one place, but it’s fun to work with and brilliantly designed.  That tool is the SELF Journal by

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

Why you need to be productive

You need to be productive because you don’t have time to waste.  It really is that simple.  Time is your most precious commodity and you must use it wisely to achieve what you want.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day but many of us don’t have a clue how we spend a large portion of those hours.  Many of us spend it reacting to other people’s priorities and putting out fires.

Rare is the adult who spends most of their time on activities directly related to their vision, mission, and goals.  Some people don’t even have a vision and it’s okay if that’s you, we have a free personal vision and mission builder you can Grab Here

But once you know what you want to achieve, you have to be intentional with your time and do things that actually produce results.  Results that are in line with your desired goal.

Busy people are a dime a dozen.  Busy people are everywhere.  You need to be productive though, and that means spending as much time as possible on things that actually matter to you in the long run.

Why you need to be organized

You need to be organized because it’s much easier to be productive when you’re organized.  And in case you forgot, you need to be productive because you don’t have time to waste.

Being organized helps you be productive because it reduces the amount of time you have to spend getting ready to do what you’re going do to.

Although being organized from a physical perspective is essential as well, that’s not really what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about being organized from a time perspective.

If you know you have exactly 30 minutes in a given day to work on a particular task, that really changes how you go about doing it.  It will cause you to be much more focused than just telling yourself you’re going to work on (insert important task) that day.

When you get organized, you can look at the things you want to accomplish and schedule specific time to do them.

People who don’t do this always have a long to do list.  This is because things are constantly getting added to and crossed off the list.  The thing is though, it’s usually the easiest things that can be done the quickest.

What’s left behind are the difficult, but more important tasks that never get done because they don’t commit time to do them.

Bottom line, you need to be organized because you need to be in control of what you do with the time that is truly yours.

Why you need to plan

At this point, I’m going to assume you have at least some goals.  Without any goals there really is no need to plan.

However, if you have goals but don’t have any plans to achieve those goals, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  At the very least, you’re making it much more difficult to achieve success.

Plans help us to figure out what doesn’t work.  They give us a path to achieve what we want.  Even if detours have to be taken along the way, having plans at least forces us into some kind of action.

Without plans, it’s easy to get caught up in the inertia of just thinking.  All of the possibilities seem great but time is passing and nothing is actually happening.  

We become paralyzed by wanting everything to be perfect before we even begin.

It’s like waiting for all of the traffic lights to be green before starting on a trip.  We would never start because all of the lights are never green at any one time.

Having plans forces you (or at least it should) to do something.  Even if that initial something doesn’t produce the result you intended, you will at least have learned.

Why you need to journal

At a very basic level, journaling helps you to keep track of what’s going on inside you.

If I asked you what kind of mood you were in last Wednesday, would you know?  Some people with an extraordinary level of emotional intelligence and memory might just know. 

Otherwise, chances are unless something remarkably positive or negative happened that day, you wouldn’t have a clue.

When you journal, it gives you material to review and you can begin to see patterns.  You begin to become in tune to when you’re naturally most productive and when you just aren’t feelin’ it.

You can begin to schedule your most difficult tasks more effectively.

Journaling also forces you to reflect in the moment.  It forces you to look back on the day or the week and examine what really happened.  Once you do this, the information is permanent and can be reviewed at any time.

What is the SELF Journal?

As describes it, the SELF Journal is:

A tool that will empower you to plan your goals, take consistent action, and make each day count as you walk your own path to your best self.

Cathryn & Allen, BestSelfCo

The journal is designed based on the following success principles:

  1. A 13-week roadmap – so you can break your life goals down into actionable steps.
  2. A zero based calendar – so you waste as little time as possible because all of your time is accounted for.
  3. Three P’s (Prioritized, Proactive, and Productive) – so you can plan your day and prioritize tasks in order to have a more proactive, instead of reactive day.
  4. Flexibility & Freedom – Undated so you can start when you want, take breaks or vacation, then pick back up where you started without any awkward unused pages.
  5. Tracking & Reflection – so you can keep tabs on what you’re already doing or assist you in creating a new habit.  It also directs you to reflect every single day as well as the end of the week.
  6. Begin and end each day with positive psychology – so you can cultivate a habit of gratitude each morning and evening. These are proven positive psychology fundamentals.
  7. Consistency – so you can focus on consistent and long-term personal performance, rather than bursts of performance only when you “feel like it”.

The SELF Journal is a way to make success with your goals essentially inevitable.  I only say “essentially” because the journal can’t stop you from setting unrealistic goals.

If your goals are realistic and S.M.A.R.T, then the SELF Journal can help you achieve them must faster than you could without it.

The creators of the journal, through studying the world’s top performers, discovered there are a number of daily habits and practices they use to help ensure success.

The SELF Journal is a 13-week planner that makes it easy to incorporate these success strategies into your own life.  It was initially created for their own personal use, but after incredible feedback, they decided to release it to the world.

Check out these screen shots of the daily and weekly planning pages below:

Daily Planning
Weekly Planning

What the SELF Journal can do for you

The SELF Journal has really helped me learn how to be productive.  It has helped me realize that success isn’t easy.  It has forced me to come face to face with some realities about what it will take to achieve the things that I want to accomplish. 

Realities such as using my time wisely, focusing intently on my goals, celebrating the smallest of victories, and reflecting on what I can do better.

In addition to the reality that I can do all these things and still not see results immediately.

You may not need the SELF Journal to realize those things, but you do need a tool that actually helps you do those things

Although you will come face to face with the work you will have to put in to succeed, with the SELF Journal you won’t want to quit.  You’ll know what’s working and what isn’t working because you’re being reflective on a consistent basis.

The SELF Journal is a one-stop shop for all of your planning, prioritizing, organizing, reflecting, doodling, note taking, and any other information that is important for you to capture.

What the SELF Journal CANNOT do for you

The SELF Journal is an amazing tool in my opinion.  It has helped me accomplish more in a 13 week period than I previously would have accomplished in six months.

It is, however, just a tool.  As such, it does absolutely nothing on its own.  Just like a hammer and nails don’t build a shed without a person who knows how to build, the SELF Journal won’t build a path to success without a person who consistently uses it.

The consistent part is important.  You have to use the journal on a daily basis over and over again so it becomes a habit.  

If you don’t currently do any kind of planning or journaling, this can be tough.  You have to keep at it though in order for it to be effective.

The SELF Journal can guide you and show you how to be productive but it can be productive for you.

Bottom line, it won’t work unless you do.

Pros and Cons


  • Perfect, compact size at 8.25″ x 5.5″
  • Every page is engineered to lay flat to make the most of every page.
  • It helps you cultivate a habit of daily gratitude.
  • It helps you plan your longer term goals as well as breaking them down into smaller and smaller objectives and tasks.
  • Provides a perfect place to track your habits so you always know how you’re doing.
  • Built in bookmarks to help you be even more organized.


  • You have to use it and you have to refer to it often.  Not really a knock on the product, but it can be intimidating at first.
  • It forces you to handwrite, and many of us don’t want to do that with the ability to capture everything digitally nowadays.
    • Take this with a grain of salt though because scientists have also found strong links between handwriting and better memorization.
  • It’s a quarterly tool (13 weeks) but the planning prior to starting the initial week can take a little time.  If you’re trying to really be on a true quarterly schedule, it can be hard to jump right from one thirteen-week period to another.  Personally, I take a week to prepare for the next 13 weeks so I’m really not on a “true” quarterly schedule.  

Okay, that last bullet point is a stretch but it’s difficult to come up with things I don’t like about this product.  Most others feel the same way.  Out of more than 1,600 reviews, 87% are five out of five stars and 99% are 4/5 or 5/5.

Where can I get it?

You can get this awesome tool right here!

They also have quite an array of other cool products that you might like such as:

  • The SELF Scholar – similar to the SELF Journal, but tailored specifically for students.
  • The Project Action Pad – Designed to help close the gaps on large projects and goals that stretch you.
  • The Weekly Action Pad – An intelligent planning tool that helps you optimize your week and perform at your best.

Sharing is caring folks.  If you liked this article, please share it with others who might appreciate it as well!

Image related to how to be productive.  It shows a calendar, a watch, a planner, a journal as well as arrows pointing upward symbolizing increased productivity

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