‘Tools’ That Help Me Be a Better Me

HPX Planner, Todoist, Clear Habit Journal

I’ve written before about using the GTD method and about using Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner. I’ve also explained that I used an app called Omnifocus for several years to track my projects and “to-dos”. And I’ve warned you that I’m prone to following shiny objects. 

While Omnifocus was vital while I was struggling through depression (I had a lot of difficulty focusing and remembering details), I had frequently scouted out other productivity tools over the years that I used it. I can’t put my finger on what the issue was, I just knew there was one, so I followed a shiny object a few months ago and switched to using Todoist.

Todoist serves the same purpose for me that Omnifocus did, but Todoist has a cleaner look, is easier to use, and is a lot less expensive. For Todoist I pay $36 CDN per year to use the desktop app, iOS app (for my phone and iPad), and the web version, with all of them syncing very smoothly. To get the same access from Omnifocus now costs $135 CDN per year. Thanks to Todoist, I’m saving money, but it’s done nothing to break me of following the shiny objects.

I also used a couple of habit tracking apps over the years, but made a switch to something analogue in May. I really enjoyed James Clear’s book Atomic Habits and receive his brief weekly email so I made the investment and bought his Clear Habits Journal, which I’m also enjoying and it seems very effective for me.

The Clear Habits Journal includes 12 grid pages, complete with a place to indicate the month, a column to write my list of daily habits, and 31 numbered columns for me to check off when I’ve completed each habit. This follows the idea that once you get a streak going, you don’t want to break that chain. Since I started using it, I have completed all of my daily habits 28 days out of 42. Some of my habits, such as meditating and journaling I’ve completed every day.

The Journal isn’t just for tracking your habits (12 pages would be a very short journal). There are another 12 pages, also with a place to indicate the month and numbered from 1 to 31 down one side, for me to do a one line per day journaling habit. This lets me write down the highlights (or lowlights) of my day. If I want to write more, I can do so in one of my larger journals, but one line per day is far less intimidating and helps me keep the habit. 

In between these sections are almost two hundred, dot-gridded, numbered pages to use as I wish. Since this book is good for a whole year it’s a great place to write down my idea-a-day for this blog and the Better Me Podcast. I’m also using this notebook section to write down things that inspire me or my own bits of inspiration for myself. The book has a handy table of contents at the front to help me keep track of what’s on what pages. Finally, there are also two attached ribbons to use as bookmarks.

I recommend both of these products (I get no payment or free access from either company). A word of warning though about the Clear Habits Journal if you’re outside of the U.S. They ship from a company called Baronfig, which sells some beautiful items, but my book came via DHL who tacked on some big brokerage fees (not duties paid to the government) in addition to the shipping fees.

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