Throughout 2019 I worked really hard to start creating better, healthier habits to replace my older bad habits. However, I took it a bit too far sometimes and would attempt to implement any habit I came across on my journey which had me overwhelmed with too many daily tasks in one day. My worst ones came from writing in different journals as anytime I came across a new journaling habit I would immediately start a new journal to begin tracking whatever I was told I should track. I remember at one point I had 5 different journals stacked on top of each other on my desk that were always reminding me that I had a 20-30 minute nightly routine ahead of me of just journaling.
Now in 2020 I have spent a lot of time on a lot of different habits and have identified which ones were the most effective for me and put the rest to the wayside. And condensing down my large stack of daily journals into one super journal was my first task to tackle this year. Now we are a few weeks into 2020 and I have used this journal daily and it has been absolutely amazing for me and I want to share the format I am using with you today in hopes it can reach more people to reap the benefits.
My journal has 7 different sections in it which may seem very overwhelming but they are all very quick, very easy, and bring great benefits and all while spending less than 10 minutes a day filling it out!
This journal has 4 sections to fill out in the morning (approximately 3-4 minutes to fill out), 1 section to be filled throughout the day, and 2 sections to fill out at night before bed (approximately 5 minutes to fill out). Today I will break down the 7 different sections, why I included them, the benefits, and then I will include a picture of what 1 page template looks like for reference.
Now before I begin I just want to state that there are many different ways to plan out your day and keep your thoughts in line, although this may be what is working best for me, it may not be the best for everyone and that is ok and I appreciate you giving my idea a shot!
This section is to be done first thing in the morning before you start your activities for the day.
3 Things You’re Grateful For:
Gratitude is an amazing practice that is held highly by many walks of life as the main way to begin seeing higher levels of happiness and fulfillment in life. Being grateful for what you have and the blessings you hold is an amazing way to start the day off right and a beautiful practice to help overcome society’s pressure to crave what you don’t have now.
Although practicing gratitude is something that is better done with a longer period of time and I think you should make a few extra minutes each day to be grateful, in this journal all you have to write down is 3 things you are grateful for. “I am grateful for ____” is the format that I use and I just write whatever comes to my mind like my dogs, my families health, the roof over my head, the fact that I have a working car, that I have a laptop to write this article or how great the weather is this morning. Whether you want to express gratitude for material objects, family, opportunities that you have, or anything else you can think of doesn’t matter as long as you really feel it when you are writing it down.
Your Motivation Level:
This one is the most interesting because it is a piece of qualitative data that you are quantifying. I picked up this habit as I heard many different high achievers talk about noting their daily motivation level but when I heard one of my idols, Rob Dyrdek talk about it in depth it really gave me clarity on its importance.
When noting your daily motivation level it won’t affect you immediately that day, instead the reason to note this is so that you can look back at this number in the future to days where you were highly motivated or days you were unmotivated and find commonalities in what caused those levels of motivation. Maybe you aren’t feeling very motivated for a few days, well, now you have it written down and can see you aren’t feeling motivated, so now you can go back to the day’s you were highly motivated and search for the motive factor.
Maybe the days you’re highly motivated are the days you go to the gym or play your favorite sport with some friends and that gets you excited in the morning and you notice you haven’t done that recently, so now you can schedule in time to do that and see if it increases your motivation in the following days. You can also see if the reason you’re not feeling motivated is actions from the previous days, like if you spent the day before scrolling social media for 3 hours and then watched tv for another 2 the likelihood doing those tasks is going to motivate you is close to 0 and you can identify that and reduce the time on those activities today and following days.
This is different for everyone and will require you to take a sober look at how you are spending your time/what makes you truly happy, but it is an amazing way to at least give you a shot at identifying and correcting these habits for better days going forward.
Your 5 Main Goals:
This is taken from a combination of Warren Buffett’s 25-5 rule which you can learn more in depth about here as well as a strategy from Grant Cardone’s book “The 10X Rule”. Warren Buffet states you should be focusing on 5 tasks and no more than that, and Grant Cardone states you should take time every morning to physically write down your goals so they are on the forefront of your mind each and every day.
Finding out your main 5 tasks will take some time and effort but once you have identified your main priorities you can begin to allocate your time towards those tasks and spend less time on other less important activities. This portion of the journal is pretty straight forward however very effective at keeping yourself on track and preventing yourself from jumping from different visions for your life everyday.
Your 5 Critical Tasks For The Day:
This is arguably the most important section of this journal and the one that has changed my life drastically since I started implementing it back in 2018. This concept is taken from Andy Frisella’s Powerlist which you can learn about here, or read my previous article talking about its benefits. Andy’s advice and his supplement company have completely changed the course of my life for the better and I 1000% believe that this is something that will benefit anyone who commits to it and follows through.
The power list, or in other words your 5 daily critical tasks is exactly what it sounds like, the 5 tasks you are going to do that day that will push you closer towards your goals. These goals are dependent on the individual but to give an example I will put in my power list for myself today.
- Listen and take notes on 2 episodes of the Kwik Brain podcast
- Write the rough draft for my journal article (the one you’re reading)
- Finish weekly reading from my NASM textbook
- Study NASM notes and flashcards
- Food prep for this weeks meals
These tasks are very simple yet all of them push me closer towards one of the 5 goals that I wrote for myself as stated previously. Task 1 pushes me closer towards my goal of learning how to better retain information I learn and speed reading, tasks 2-3 push me closer towards my goal of building a career in the physical/mental health field, and task 5 pushes me closer to my goal of hitting less than 10% body fat. You don’t have to have 1 task for each of your 5 goals each day, unless you feel that’s what’s best for you. However, in my opinion some days you need to focus more time on one goal and other days for other goals and then some days you work on all of them if you can. If you can tell today is a study day for me and one that will be mainly focused around becoming a certified personal trainer and while today I may be neglecting 2 of my goals on my list of 5, I still have 6 other days in the week to allocate time to those tasks and make sure I am giving 100% to those goals when it’s time to.
This section is to be completed once you have finished your work day. I fill this out about an hour before I head to bed but whenever is best for you works.
This section is exactly what you think it is, a place for you to dump your thoughts about the day, what you did, how you felt, some ups, some down, something funny you saw, dumping you emotions on paper, or whatever you feel you wish to journal for that day. There are no length requirements so some days you may fill up the whole section and some days only a few sentences will do. I recommend journaling as much in this section as you can so that you can come back to any previous days in the future and have a little paragraph or two talking about your day for you to relive. I love journaling and at the end of 2020 I went through my journal and turned to random pages and read about the day I had and I was able to reminisce about some great times that had left my mind but are forever engraved into these pages.
Highlight Of The Day:
This is a section I thought of kind of last minute when formatting my journal for this year, I noticed I had a large section of the page untouched and wanted something that really gave me a highlight of that day. At first I considered getting one of those tiny printers that would allow me to print photos from my phone to have a visual of something great that day, but then dropped the idea after seeing it would be a $300 dollar investment in the printer + a years worth of printer sheets. I really enjoyed that idea so I tried to think of a replacement and I figured why not add a section to go in depth about the best part of my day. Not only will this be something I can go back on and easily find, but it will also help me realize the good in the days that may seem bad. So far I have been loving this part of the journal and having a part of my day where I go through my day and think about what was the best part to go in depth about.
Now sure you could just add this to the journal section, but that section can be used to write about anything going on in your day and some days you just need to dump your emotions, or talk about other topics. With both sections you have a place to put all your thoughts and room to go in depth and really put your heart into it.
The Notes Section
This is just a small section to jot down things as they happen throughout the day. Usually what goes in the note section is what I write about in my journal or the highlight of my day but this is just a place to put it in the heat of the moment to write down a few words so you don’t risk forgetting that information throughout your busy day and then going in depth on it later in the other sections. Anything can go here, how long you went on a walk, someone you met, good or bad events, how you found 5 bucks on the ground, a book/movie you started or finished, etc. I stated I usually use these notes as a guide line for my journaling section but not all the notes are worth journaling about yet still worth noting like something funny my dogs did, a cool song I heard, a quote I like etc. This again is all up to the individual and what they deem worthy of remembering.
Thank you so much for reading today’s article! I hope this was able to bring you value and provide you with a format to keep your day tidy, your mood right, and a way to forever cement each day in 10 minutes or less! I hope you have an amazing day and an amazing life, if you enjoyed please consider following my Instagram @MichaelFladungFitness!