Saturday, December 29, 2018

Your Portable Life-Coach: Getting Things Done with the BDJ Focus Planner

With January up ahead, ‘tis the season for plans and resolutions. However, as anyone who has made a New Year’s Resolution will tell you, chances you’ll actually manage to fulfill those resolutions are, well…

Even without the numerous psychological studies backing the fact up, we know implicitly that it’s a lot easier to make life changes--big or small--if you are not doing it alone. That’s why self-help programs, fitness clubs, and life-coaches exist: “accountability partners,” with their regular check-ins, tips, and words of encouragement, help keep you going, but most of all, they help keep you focused.

Most of us don’t have the money, the time, or frankly the big and critical goals to justify investing in a life-coach or a program. At best, we can probably count on our friends, who, while supportive, will also have struggles of their own. This means that, for at least fifty percent of the time, on our quest for self-improvement, we’re on our own, responsible for practicing the consistency and focus needed to achieve our goals.

If that sounds daunting, don’t fret: there are tools that can help make navigating the journey to fulfilling your new year’s resolutions--or any goals at all--a little easier. One of them is the Focus Journal (P498) by Belle de Jour Power Planner.

Planners as productivity tools are nothing new, and the Focus Journal by itself isn’t some magical, mind-blowing evolution on the concept. Rather, it’s a simple, relatively no-frills planner and self-improvement workbook hybrid that allows you to take charge of your daily and weekly tasks, while also keeping you in check with your long-term goals.

The Focus Journal is the “minimalist” planner for those who don’t like minimalist planners, combining a no-frills layout with structured sections that guide the user on how to plan their day.  The weekly layouts in particular, are constructed to keep major priorities in mind, meaning that as you plan your week, you are constantly reminded about the “big rocks” to focus on, ideally to inform your daily planning process.  It’s one of the many handy features about the Focus Journal that help make it both a productivity tool and a productivity coach, empowering you to check in on yourself as you attempt to build habits and accomplish long-term goals and objectives.

Aside from the savvy weekly layouts, the Focus Journal also features monthly worksheets that act as checkpoints and suggestions for how to maintain your momentum. Each worksheet has a different theme, and while they are structured in a chronological monthly format, it isn’t too difficult to browse and backtrack on certain sections as you need them. In this way, your planner also acts as a reference for mindful evaluation of where you are and where you are headed: another important discipline that you usually pick up from working with a life coach or self-help program.

But what makes the Focus Journal most helpful is that, for all its seriousness of intention, it’s actually enjoyable to work through. From the typography-inspired layout to the fun --if thought-provoking-- monthly checkpoint questions, the Focus Journal proves that working towards your goals doesn’t have to be serious or solitary.  Instead of a teacher, instructing you on what to do, the tone of the Focus Journal is one of a friend, which makes it all the more compelling as a goal-setting device: its simple and systematic nature and approachable tone break down your big and often intimidating resolutions into bite-sized, achievable action steps, making accomplishing them actually seem possible.

While this planner isn’t a magic bullet to changing your life, and you are probably still going to have to exercise quite a bit of willpower to get anywhere, if you’re looking for a tool to help keep you motivated and moving forward this year, maybe give the Focus Journal a try. At the very least, you’ll have a beautiful record of the year to look back on next December.

Get your Focus Journal at all leading bookstores nationwide or at

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