This is the High Performance Planner by Brendan Burchard. (I’ve modified the front to hold a small personal motivation book – more on that later.) It’s pretty awesome – not perfect – but still very awesome. More awesome than most planners out there. At least for me. Always gotta add that disclaimer right? I mean – daily planners are very personal things. Especially when you consider that the schedule of any self-employed person/entrepreneur is already ALL OVER THE PLACE – buying off-the-shelf planners can be difficult. They don’t always conform to your life schedule and you probably need a good amount of flexibility.
But you also don’t want to buy a blank notebook with dates or times. A completely blank notebook like a Moleskin is also… overwhelming. All that blank space needs to be filled – but with what? And I don’t have the time (or want) to make my own planner from complete scratch. So obviously I need something in between being completely built and completely blank, but also… easily amended to My life, My business, and My anything else I wanna put in there.
What’s so great about the High Performance Planner? First – the size and weight and thickness. It’s HUGE. This isn’t a little notebook. It’s almost 12 x 8.5 inches. Larger than sheets of notebook paper. But more importantly – the covers are STRONG. Thick hard cardboard that doesn’t bend. Closer to the hardback Moleskin notebooks and not the soft flimsy ones. It can take a beating and any decorative (or utilitarian) modifications you want to throw at it. The size of this thing is a benefit for me – even though for some people it’s a negative quality. This is not the planner you want if you don’t want to carry a LARGE BOOK around with you all day.
But if you don’t mind lugging it around – then it more than makes up for the size inconvenience with how useful it can be. You can stick receipts in this thing or brochures, or cards or other papers between the pages and it’ll generally hold it securely til you get back to your desk. There’s also plenty of room to write notes, or your schedule. However the real strength with the High Performance Planner is that every day there are prompt questions for you to answer.
I know. Before I started using this planner – I thought I didn’t need prompts. Or that these kinds of things found in most ‘journals’ were cheesy platitudes that were designed to get me to ‘be authentic’ with my life. And make the best of bad situations. Or something like that.
But most of the daily questions are prompts to focus and remind us of things we can look forward to, be grateful for, and people we can help/reach out to for comfort or support – or to support those people.
Basically it’s a daily morning focus exercise and then also an evening exercise as well. Some of the questions do feel repetitive after a while, especially if you’re not in the mood – but most of them do a good job of reminding you to be… grateful and thing about things to look forward to in your day.
In the center of each day are the regular daily time breakdowns for appointments and schedules. Since my days are pretty open and don’t adhere to a normal clock – I just use white correction tape over the times and I’m left with journaling or note taking lines in that section. Sure it’s kind of a pain to have to do this throughout the journal – but it ends up being one of those tactile hands-on things that I look forward to doing every few weeks.
Each journal also only covers 2 months worth of dates – so you would need to purchase 6 planners to cover the entire year. But they’re each about half the price of any of the Moleskin notebooks – and you can get them even less when you buy a year’s worth at once. AND since the ‘date’ field is blank – you don’t have to wait til a Monday to start using it. You can also skip days. I KNOW RIGHT? That’s bonkers. But yes – you CAN skip days in your planner without wasting pages. You could not use it on the Saturday/Sunday and then pick it up on Monday and things would still BE OKAY.
Oh – there are also weekly and monthly review pages. This is all part of the specific ‘performance’ system that the author created – but I found it toooooo… High Performance-y for my liking. A little too much in the ‘scoring my life’ side of things. I enjoy and need the whole ‘reflecting’ on my life and planning ahead a bit – but I’m not into the scoring my life and giving it points so I can be better.
And if you ARE that way – cool. This planner will serve you well.
Since the planner is SO BIG – it’s easy to just paste blank pages over the ones you don’t use and convert it into… anything you want really. Drawings, notes, a little bit of scrap booking. The pages are thick enough that they can handle the extra weight and not tear or make the book look weirdly out of shape when you make whatever modifications you want to make.
Ultimately – for the price – I haven’t found another planner this size, with the right prompts, and flexibility that I would buy. You can buy blank notebooks but most of the good ones with covers in the same ballpark as this one – cost twice as much or more. Since I’m getting more and more comfortable modifying this planner, I’ve already got plans on how I’ll add and subtract to my next book. Even pasting new daily questions (or changing them up at least). So what do I really, ultimately, think about the High Performance Planner? Buy It. Use it.
Oh. I also added a pocket in the front cover to hold my tiny ‘motivational notebook’. It’s basically a small notebook to collect/write down things that I want to remember/be reminded of throughout the day or week. You know – those thoughts, quotes, or memories that you want to keep. The theme of my current tiny motivational notebook is ‘Time’. So the quotes and things I’m looking for are generally related to that. But I’m not so strict that if I saw/read/was told something that really struck me – I would definitely write it in there.