When you spring for an expensive planner, what you’re really paying for is the system and the work that has gone into designing it. The Self Journal, from BestSelf Co., is a system designed with positive psychology and productivity in mind. Its structure is meant to get the user into a peak-performance state specifically to achieve three quarterly goals. Each journal spans 13 weeks, so it costs $124 per year to use this as your main planner. The way the Self Journal helps you break down your goals, find motivation, track habits, and plan your time has clearly been researched, and the ease of use will help you wring the most out of each day.
The book itself is cloth-bound, in blue or gray, with three ribbons for bookmarks. The pages are thick as all get out, meaning you won’t experience any bleed-through from pens or markers. The prep work for the Self Journal involves deciding on up to three “result goals” you are trying to accomplish, then breaking them down into progress goals and actionable steps to meet said progress goals. After filling out those three pages, you set a due date at the end of the quarter, reflect on your motivation by writing about how the goals will improve your life, then you sign and date it. Some people find this step a little superfluous, but making an explicit commitment can really help lodge these priorities in your mind.
After this prep work, you start planning your life one week at a time. There are two-page monthly spreads with plenty of room for notes, and then the journal moves into two-page weekly spreads. These pages start off with a section for three milestones you’d like to achieve by the end of the week. These weekly pages are also very useful for creating and tracking habits that will help you meet your progress goals. Habit tracking is a way to rack up easy wins that will motivate you to stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. You’ll also have space to reflect on your week: successes, happy moments, lessons, and opportunities to plan your next week in a way that builds on what worked. The design of this weekly section is integral to the way the journal can help you stay focused for 13 weeks — even if obstacles pop up that could throw you off your game (as they’re wont to do).