The best way to be productive and happy is to regularly plan and reflect on your day. Journal planners are the latest trend in productivity tools, and the great thing about them is that they're fully customizable to suit your needs. Here's how to get started:
1. Find a notebook that inspires you
We recommend finding one with a combination of blank, lined, and dotted pages, but you can choose whichever style you like. There are also many pre-printed journal planners on the market that have dedicated sections for your schedule, goals, and daily reflection (take a look at our own Daily Goal Setter planner). Look for a design that inspires you to get into the habit of regular use, and select a size that's easy for you to carry around — we'll explain why in a moment.
2. Divide the notebook into sections
Journal planning is all about pairing your daily to-dos and calendar with your goals and habits. Write out your daily tasks, then list the relevant goals on the opposing page. Leave room to reflect on your daily accomplishments — what went well, what didn't. Many people find it helpful to include a section where they can record what they were grateful for that day, whether it's personal accomplishments, people, or new opportunities. Studies show that daily gratitude tracking is an important mindfulness exercise that can boost happiness. You might also consider leaving room to doodle as a mindfulness exercise.
3. Use your journal planner regularly
You should write in your journal planner every day. With regular use, it should prove to be a great source of motivation for your goals as well as the things you must do each day. It also provides a convenient place to track that habit you've been working on developing. You may want to reserve a section of your book for overall goal-setting. Use page markers to easily access important pages in your journal planner.
Journal planning is easy to do and can be life-changing. Your productivity and motivation should increase, while your stress should decrease. You'll also be able to practice mindfulness and cultivate gratitude by regularly reflecting on your daily life, dreams, and goals.