I have organised the exercises in this section to support a continuous cycle of purposeful development - a monthly cycle of continuous development, (plan, do, check act). This cycle is a core element of the toolbox...
...that starts with planning for the upcoming month,
...followed by daily planning and reflection,
...weekly reflection and planning
...and finally monthly reflection as you prepare for the following month.
Each of these phases has its own subsection containing the exercises and worksheets that cover the three core elements for living a purposeful life:
Task Management, with the exercises and worksheets to manage your tasks and actions on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
Habit Management, with the worksheets to set up, track and monitor habits or routines on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
Learning and Growth, with the worksheets to track your learning, including self-testing
In addition, the month-end reflection subsection includes the life balance review and energy audit exercises that you can use to track your life balance and manage your energy levels.
One of the biggest challenges of the “life” section is how to manage these tasks and events alongside the day-to-day tasks and actions that you may have with your business or employer. To address this I have created three features:
integrations with Google Calendar which allow you to export your tasks and rituals from
into your Google calendar.
a separate calendar view of all the “
” that you can use to navigate the continuous development cycle.
, that you can reset each month, to keep track of your progress.
One of the
for the Life Journal is the monthly cycle which allows you to take advantage of a “Fresh Start” as commended by Katy Milkman in her recent book “how to change”. She writes “
Fresh starts increase your motivation to change because they give you either a real clean slate or the impression of one; they relegate your failures more cleanly to the past; and they boost your optimism about the future. They can also disrupt bad habits and lead you to think bigger picture about your life.”
This idea, monthly cycling, is echoed also in the Bullet Journal concept from Ryder Carroll. He describes the monthly cycles as
“small but significant milestones punctuating the year. Setting them up allows us to regularly check in with ourselves so that we can maintain/regain context, motivation, and focus.”
There is much to like and respect in
including the bullet journal notation system, rapid logging, which I have adapted a little to fit the Purposeful Life concept and will summarise below.
The key to this is that all notes fall into three categories:
· Things you need to do, or tasks;
· Experiences, or events;
· Information you need to remember, notes.
left facing chevron character
There are no rows in this table
The Bullet Journal Method contains several other features similar to the elements of the Purposeful Life Journal, one of which is the concept of “collections”. Collections are described by Ryder Carroll as “
The modular building blocks of BuJo, used to store related content. The core collections are the Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, and Daily Log, but you can create one for anything you want to keep track of.”
In this Toolbox, collections would include pages for habit management, learning and growth, as well as the pages from the Purposeful Life Toolbox regarding goals, objectives, values, strengths, etc.
Stand-alone Daily Planner and reflection template
The daily plan and reflection exercises are tightly integrated with the rest of the toolbox apps, but haing said that, I have created and attached two additional resources for planning offline:
a 2 page PDF document that has stand-alone templates for this exercise (below)
a PDF containing one month of worksheets that you can use and reuse (at the bottom of this exercise page)
In both cases you can print and use the wortksheet as a PDF, or import to a PDF annotator app if you prefer to use it online.
The Life Section is designed to help you live a happy and purposeful life, building on the work you have done in the previous chapters to know your roots and your growth plans.
The exercises in this chapter reflect a balance between daily planning and reflection and monthly reflection and review, in a continuous cycle (plan, do, check, act), following a similar rhythm to that of an “agile” project.
At the start of each month, you...
, reviewing your progress for the previous month;
to check the priority and status of tasks;
to adapt and plan the tasks for this month according to your overall plan from the
in the “grow” section.
At the start of each day, you...
exercise to manage the
for the day and ensure you prioritise your time in a structured, prioritised way.
As the day progresses, you...
use your Google Calendar or the life events calendar in the
to complete the tasks and events of the day.
At the end of each day, you...
exercise to reflect on the day;
check in on your habits or rituals;
capture the learning moments from the interactions you had on each day;
update any delegated tasks etc.
At the end of each month, you...
reflect on your life balance during that month, using the
review your routines performance using the
test your learning with the
to measure your progress and results on the tasks during the month as input to the following month’s planning.
While the exercises in the Life section are developed for use with a computer, tablet or ‘phone device, the Daily Planner and reflection can be completed using paper and pen, with a
of the two-page template available for you to print and use, or even to use the Bullet Journal notation in the planner of your choice.
I strongly recommend the monthly planning (sprint planning) and monthly review (sprint review and retro) and the daily planning (daily scrum or stand-up). Continuing with the “Agile” metaphor, the Objective Planner and Goal planner exercises become your backlog – you review these each month to see which “backlog” tasks or new objectives to bring into your next month’s sprint plan.
In addition to these planning and reflection aspects, the Life section of this toolbox is designed to support your growth journey towards a purposeful life:
tracking progress on daily habits or routines that you may have identified from the Grow chapter.
exercises to help you track your life balance and energy levels on a weekly or monthly basis, following the same 12 dimensions of the life balance wheel from the “Roots” chapter
worksheets to track your learning goals that you may have identified from the “Grow” chapter and to test your learning with questions you have set yourself, to help transfer your learning into long-term memory.
If you have completed the Grow Section exercises you will have objectives and tasks already loaded into your plan, ready to rock and roll., just select the
and review what you have to get started.
If you’re planning to use the Life Section before completing the Grow section, that’s great too. You can add objectives, habits, tasks and learning goals all directly inside the Life section exercises.
, below, contains the monthly, weekly and daily tasks in this continuous improvement cycle. Just select the planning month and the calendar will update automatically. Each entry in this calendar includes a hyperlink/URL to the exercise and worksheets for that exercise. You can adjust this calendar to view for a day, week or month. You can also send reminders for all the “life” events for the month to your Google Calendar, using the buttons on the
The legends for each entry are as follows:
MS - Start of month planning
ME - End of month reflection
W - Weekly planning and reflection
Before you start, use the
worksheet here to select or deselect the individual exercises you plan to use in the life section and then track your progress with each exercise in a similar way to how you tracked the Roots and Grow exercises in earlier sections.
Select your Life exercises
Ready to start the life chapter?
Reset life exercise tracker:
Select new planning month:
Planning and reflection calendar
Purposeful Life Journal - worksheet templates for one month in PDF format