Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On The Journey To A Better Self - A Look At The SELF Journal.

As a writer, I freely admit that I'm terribly undisciplined. I am the quintessential panster; all of my writing projects have come about with little or no formal planning and, in some cases, have been completed on the fly. I develop as I go, create characters and situations as the need arises and tweak the story to accommodate changes - which usually results in my having to perform major surgery in the editing phase later on. 

What am I trying to say with this? 

Well - I'm not happy with my own personal level of productivity. I know I could do a lot better but I haven't been able to find a strategy that will enable me to organize myself, my working day and my writing goals in a way that compels me to do better, to improve my productivity and my output.  

Recently however, I received an email from an acquaintance on Facebook who I've followed for a couple of years - a woman named Cathryn Lavery.

(image credit: Cathryn Lavery).

Cathryn is a creative entrepreneur, a former architect who ditched her day job because she found that the more involved she became in the profession, the less creative she found it to be. In search of something that would inspire her creative side, while using her skills in design, Cathryn launched an enterprise called Calm The Ham and, through a couple of Kickstarter campaigns, turned that enterprise into a highly successful business that achieved a global reach.

(image credit: Calm The Ham).

Not content to sit on her laurels, Cathryn sought to challenge herself with an ever increasing portfolio of entrepreneurial projects, harnessing the power of the internet and collaboration with a variety of skilled individuals to explore new ventures. In all of these ventures, it became apparent to her that a key ingredient to success lay in the strategies people from all walks of life employ to boost their productivity, structure their work day and plan for their goals. In her quest to improve her own productivity, Cathryn began looking at these strategies, teasing out common themes and actions and this has lead her to developing a tool that brings together all those disparate ideas into one structured process. 

In her email to me, Cathryn introduced me to her new entrepreneurial enterprise which she has created in partnership with another creative talent in Allen Brouwer - who has a background in business and marketing. It's called Best Self Co - the central product being the SELF Journal.

In a series of 3 videos, which are accompanied by downloadable PDF supplements, Cathryn and Allen introduce us to a new way of thinking about structuring our daily lives, how we can apply straight forward planning and processes to achieving goals - be they life goals, work goals, creative goals, even health goals. In the pages of the PDFs, they've set out a structured plan for working towards goals, explain the psychology behind that structure and offer additional hints and tips - or productivity hacks - designed to enhance well being and motivation so that you'll *want* to achieve goals. These include things such as dietary tips, meditation, even morning rituals.

At the conclusion of the three video set, Cathryn & Allen introduce the product that draws all the concepts into a central tool - The SELF Journal.

(image credit: the SELF journal)

"Our goal with SELF journal has been simple; to create something that lends itself to making success inevitable - through planning, execution and measurement.

The Self Journal was crafted to support you on affecting your behavior today which is why we focus on hitting your goals 3 months (13 weeks at a time).

Why only 3 months you ask?

So many of us set new years resolutions but don't follow through. Setting yearly goals allows you the time to put things off, nevermind that life can change a lot in a year. Setting yourself a 3 month goal gives you time to accomplish something, but not so much that you'll procrastinate on it. The Self Journal uses proven systems that help you perform at your best every single day through more effective execution.

By applying this system to your life you'll have more focus and a sense of urgency on working on the things that really matter to you."

(image credit: the SELF journal)

The product itself is a custom designed journal that serves as an assistant, allowing you to tailor your goals within the plan set out inside. Unlike a diary, it is not dated so there's no use by date on the physical journal. Manufactured from high quality cloth, acid-free paper and sized to fit comfortably into your work bag or back pack, the SELF journal is designed to compliment your tool set, with a view to becoming central to everything that you do in service to the goal you set. The Kickstarter campaign offers a number of pledge options beginning at $25USD. You can order a single journal or multiple which is an ideal opportunity for organizations looking to adopt a strategy like this into their corporate ethos.

Already, I can see the benefit of the SELF journal for me. Having watched the videos a number of times already and applied a few of the strategies Cathryn and Allen introduce, I have begun planning for a new writing project and have set myself some goals to reach over the next 12 weeks. I have also begun to think differently about my daily routine and the importance of planning for the little things, such as taking time for a walk in the morning and even exploring meditation in bite sized chunks. Even at this early stage, I'm feeling different - just a little more energized and focused.

I'm shedding my panster skin.

Visit The Self Journal Kickstarter here.

Check out the Best Self video series here

Tweet with Cathryn & Allen here.



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