Serious Journaling Has Always Been on My To-Do List

But, what does that even mean?

I’ve started and stopped too many times, no self-discipline.

None of the journals seemed to fit. I could never make it a habit.

So, in 2016, I decided to create my own and I was totally focused on making a productivity journal, one that worked for me and hopefully others.

My journal would include a companion how-to-use guide and some online training. A series of videos would be more explanatory and more effective at building a community.

Plus, different people have different learning styles and a lot of people prefer video vs reading a boring guide.

This productivity journal and training would be my new gig.

In the past few years, I had already attempted several solopreneur ventures and failed. Well, “failed” may be too harsh, “abandoned” might be more precise.

Hindsight is NOT Always 20/20

If a project isn’t succeeding after 4 months of effort and you bail out — is that a failure or abandonment? Was I giving up too early or wisely cutting my losses.

There’s no way to know.

Our next idea is that Shiny Object that always seems better. The allure even has it’s own name: The Shiny Object Syndrome.  The bane of self-discipline.

My productivity journal idea was critical, not only from a financial perspective, but from a “belief in myself” perspective. A belief that I could actually create a viable solopreneur online business.

My journal would focus on setting priorities, tracking time, etc. All the so-called left-brain stuff. Productivity on steroids.

I was intentionally omitting the emotional/intuitive aspects that many journals include — all the “touchy-feely” stuff, how do I get in touch with my inner conflicts and become more self-aware.  Not in my journal. No way. Mine was all business.

My journal would leverage all the best practices I had acquired over decades of working in a variety of environments: corporate small biz, solo . . .

All of my old tricks and new — boiled down into one essential journal.

I defined the content and format, got feedback from early prospects and tweaked the product for months. I was using the product myself and it was great and became a daily habit.

It was time to start producing the official guide book and videos, ultimately leading to a course.

There Was Just One Little Problem

A lot of days I just stared at the pages of my journal and couldn’t get started. The term brain-dead zombie comes to mind.

I needed to start work and spend several weeks producing all the content for the course — and my tank was empty. I was already burned out.

Déjà vu all over again.

What good is my ultimate productivity journal when can’t get myself motivated to do my best work, or any work for that matter?

In times like this, I find stream-of-consciousness journaling to be a great way to get to the root of an issue. It slows down the brain, shoves the emotional garbage to the curb and shines some light on the real issues. It creates self-awareness.

So, I journaled — and it helped.

I got some clarity on the issues I was hiding below the surface. Such as . . .

  • A fear that this project would crash and burn like all the others
  • A fear that the product would be crap
  • A fear that prospects will bail out when they don’t see a PhD behind my name
  • A fear that it will be a joke in social media
  • A fear that my friends and family would think it’s stupid
  • Too many fears to list them all.

I actually had enough of a self-disciple habit to journal each day before I jumped into the tasks defined in my “other” journal — the productivity journal.

Then the Light Bulb Came ON

I can’t be the only person on earth that has trouble getting the shit in their head cleaned up before they start their day job.

My journal needed two parts, a “get your head straight part” followed by a “get the work done part”

Combining the two into a single product would make the journal physically impractical, a big-city phonebook.

I decided to create a companion to the original journal and call the new one The Clarity Journal and the original one The Productivity Journal.

I went through another process of trial and error, tweaking the journal, starting over and tweaking again, until I got it right.

Did I overcomplicate the process? Hell, Yes. That’s my superpower.

Now, I use The Clarity Journal for 5–10 minutes each morning before I get down to the actual work of the day. It clears my head, and creates self-awareness.

The journal gets me past the days when I’m tempted to chuck it all due to the ever present stress, anxiety, and overwhelming nature of life.

It’s my new habit. It’s my #1 self-discipline tip.

It’s the preface for motivation and productivity. It helps me make sense of what seems like the insanity of everything.

The Clarity Journal is going to be my initial product.

It’s logical, you need clarity before you can be productive.

This clarity approach may not appeal to the masses, but surely to at least the 1,000 true fans Kevin Kelly talks about.

If you’re interested in learning more about starting your day with clarity, check out my YouTube channel. The videos are a preview of the course.

I’ve also written more about the allure of the Shiny Object Syndrome.