If you have never done it before – or have only done so occasionally – working from home is not as easy as it sounds, as many of us are finding out in the current coronavirus crisis.
It can be hard to remain as productive as you were in the office, or to maintain a proper schedule. Too often you may find yourself drifting away from the task at hand, or, just as bad, spending far too much time than is good for your mental health sitting at your new 'desk' in your kitchen, living room, or, if you are lucky, makeshift home office.
Productivity planners and journals are tools of the trade for those who regularly work from home, and they can be very helpful for new homeworkers too. 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 someone else. 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.
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.
Here's a look at some of the best of the choices out there and a little more about what they have to offer.
You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can also 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.