About two weeks ago, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw an ad for “The Five-Minute Journal” by Intelligent Change, Inc. Wanting to institute some sort of daily gratitude practice, this journal intrigued me. Not only did I purchase one for myself, I also ordered one for my son. And during the checkout process, they did some smart marketing and introduced another tool to me called “Productivity Planner.” Always looking for better ways to manage my workload, I took the plunge on this item as well (and ordered one for my spouse). After spending just over $100 (for four journals), I figured I better at least give these tools a fair test to justify my expense. Here is what I am learning from each of these planners/journals.
THE FIVE-MINUTE JOURNAL
Summary: This is a hard-bound journal that literally takes five minutes or less per day to complete. The purpose of the journal is to help you practice gratitude and use positive intentions and affirmations to help create an amazing day.
What I love:
- It forces me to think about all the many things I am grateful for on a daily basis.
- It allows me to document how I will proactively make today great.
- It enables me to write down some positive affirmations that will guide me through my day.
- At the end of the day, I get to review my day and look for amazing things that happened.
- The journal closes with an important question about what I could have done differently to make the day even better. It stretches me to improve.
What I’m learning:
- The amazing things that happened in the day are often exactly correlated to the positive intentions I set at the beginning of the day.
- My affirmations are slowly creating exactly who I want to be.
- I am often grateful for such small things, but they mean so much to me.
- On rare days when I’m cranky, the journal is harder to complete, but probably even more necessary.
- When I feel stumped, I am forced to dig deeper within myself.
THE PRODUCTIVE PLANNER
Summary: This is a planner that focuses on helping you to be more proactive and productive. The purpose is to force you to plan your day, according to your priorities, and gives you a tool to increase focus and decrease procrastination.
What I love:
- It forces you to review your “To Do” list and pick out the top 5 priorities for the day.
- It teaches you to focus first on your most important task of the day before moving on to other tasks.
- It helps you estimate your time by using a tool called the Pomodoro technique, which is essentially 25-minute work periods followed by a 5-minute break.
- It gives you a weekly planner as well, which enables you to pick your top 15 tasks for the week.
- At the end of your day, you can rate your productivity on a scale of 1 to 10. As an achiever, it gives me great satisfaction when I score high.
What I’m Learning:
- With probably over 100 tasks on my “To Do” list, I can get overwhelmed easily. This tool, along with my favorite task management software Wunderlist, is helping me to drill down on what is most important for that day.
- I am actually more focused than I give myself credit for. I don’t really need to use the Pomodoro technique to stay on track.
- I am better than I thought about estimating how long a particular task will take.
- I can still get side-tracked by distractions, primarily client emails. I need to work on that, and this tool is helping.
- I want to get lazy and give up on this tool because it’s stretching me, and I want to revert back to my old ways. I am going to continue to push through.
- I can still procrastinate on things I don’t like to do, but when it’s on my list for the day, I am less likely to avoid it.
- I am blessed to have very little distractions because I work solo, from home. I’m not sure this tool would work for someone that had constant interruptions from staff members, phone calls, or a constantly full calendar of appointments. It would take much stronger boundaries.
- I have been hella (a California Bay Area word) organized and productive since I’ve started using this planner, so something is working.
Overall, I’m thankful I invested in these two tools. I will continue to use them until they are both full, and then decide if I will purchase again. They are both building positive habits – habits that are making me happier and more successful.
What I’m Learning from Two “Intelligent Change” Tools I’m Using
February 28, 2018