How 10 Months of Journaling and Planning Boosted My Productivity

Author - Syed Irfan Ajmal
Published - December 28, 2020

Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve often been too busy putting out fires and helping everyone. 

In fact, one of my daily prayers (yes I do that; I am weird I know), was, literally, to “gain more clarity”. This is since finding what has to be done first was (and still is) hard in a maze of responsibilities, distractions, requests, and expectations. 

I did try a few bullet journals and/or planners but there were 2 problems: 

  • They were too small in size for my taste
  • The prompts in them were either non-existent, irrelevant, or had no foundational basis

 Then I came across the High-Performance Planner by Brendon Burchard (NYT bestselling author and high-performance coach) which I’ve stuck with for the last 10 months, and I am here to share how it has been helpful in boosting my productivity and much more.

What Is the High-Performance Planner?

It would be more apt to call it a journal-planner hybrid. It’s not just a few blank pages with random prompts. Instead, it’s backed by science and will help you attain peak performance. 

The 6 habits that this planner combination helps you develop and strengthen are backed by a 20-years long study of high performance performed by Brendon Burchard and his team. 

Oh, and yes, I do see the contradiction of believing in prayers and yet using a planner that’s backed by science :) 

Lastly, it has no dates, which means you can start it whenever you want.


The Look and Feel of the High-Performance Planner


  1. It comes in a large size (dimensions: 8.44 x 4.13 x 11.75 inches) which makes it easy for anyone with lots of tasks and responsibilities to make sense of the mayhem.

  2. It comes with a hardcover and with high-quality pages.

  3. There’s a lot of extra space o each page which means you have quite a bit of room to jot down random ideas and thoughts.

What’s In the Planner

 It has quite a few useful sections such as: 

  1. An introduction to how the planner was created and how to use it by Brendon Burchard

  2. The Whole Life Assessment section will help you find out where you currently are at in categories like:

    1. Health
    2. Mental/Emotional State
    3. Partner/Love
    4. Family
    5. Friends
    6. Mission
    7. Experiences
    8. Spirit
    9. Finances
    10. Learning

  3. The High-Performance Habits Assessment gauges your performance on the 6 habits which have been found to correlate with high performance such as:

    1. Seek Clarity
    2. Generate Energy
    3. Raise Necessity
    4. Increase Productivity
    5. Develop Influence
    6. Demonstrate Courage

  4. Four types of pages within the planner including:

    1. The Daily Pages (which include morning and evening journaling prompts) and your Daily Habits Scorecard
    2. The Weekly Pages (review the last week; plan for the next week)
    3. The Monthly Pages( review the last month; plan for the next month)

  5. Before you start with the 4 types of pages, you should try the Whole Life Assessment Section and the High-Performance Habits Assessment.

You’ll understand how these sections help when we explain how the planner has helped us in 3 key ways;

Top 3 Ways Journaling and Planning Has Helped Me

 Here are some of the key benefits I’ve gained by journaling and planning over the last 10 months:


 Upon opening the planner, you are greeted with a whole-life assessment page where you can rate how you are doing in your life on a scale of 1-10. They are related to your family, finances, health, and friends.

This helps set the stage in terms of setting the right goals and finding ways to attain better results. But that’s not all.

The planner prompts me to ask myself the right questions day in and day out, which has helped me get better at planning. For instance, I add the bigger top 3 goals of the day each day, and then I think of the tasks which will help me attain each of these 3 goals. This makes prioritization much better and saying NO much easier.


 Being an entrepreneur who has to manage a remote team, it can get hard. Team members, partners, clients all can be in different timezones, and thus managing productivity can get hard.

But since using the High-Performance planner pretty much every day since February 2020, I have been much more productive than ever.

By setting intentions early in the morning, I can focus better during the day and avoid productivity-killers from the get-go.

Plus, I find the evening journal great at helping me analyze what I did right or wrong during the day, what lessons I’ve learned, and what I could have done better. I also use the evening journal section to come up with some tasks I’ve to do the next day. 

Since using the planner, I noticed a major positive change in my mindset which has in turn boosted my productivity. It has made me think about the most important things that I never thought of and made some serious decisions and tailored my choices based on that.



 As Brendon goes on saying, ‘a goal is something that you want to achieve whereas the tasks are the steps you need to achieve the goal or just something that you have to or want to do regardless’.

However, “less than 20% of the people look at their goals every week”. 

Although most of my goals are long-term, I break them down into smaller weekly, monthly, or even sometimes daily goals and set my tasks to achieve those goals for a more productive, inspiring, and winning day.


The series of well-thought-out questions that force me to think on and embrace a positive mindset for the day, in addition to sections where I can identify my most important priorities for the day, are useful features for me. 

Prioritizing my tasks/goals has never been this easy and fun. I prefer the layout that is designed to be used twice a day, making it easier to see my whole day in one look. It is divided into 2 sections, the left side has short reminders to give me a head start towards my day, whereas the right side is dedicated to reflective journaling prompts to wrap up the day. 

Another outstanding feature of the planner is that it is meant to be used alongside other digital or manual calendars. All the important dates are filled out on my Google calendar, and the High-Performance Planner allows me to smartly manage my day ahead.



 With the rapid increase in the number and ways of distractions around us, planning our time, resources and priorities are becoming extremely necessary (especially if you are a business owner and often miss out on important events). 

And hence, if you have heard of the benefits of journaling but have yet to find a good one, I suggest you give this journal-planner hybrid a try. You can find it here: High-Performance Planner


Syed Irfan AjmalAuthor bio:

Syed Irfan Ajmal is a serial entrepreneur, international speaker, podcast host, and avid reader and runner.




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