I have been trying to find a good system that works for me to achieve better results day in, day out. In this post, I look at the Best Self Journal from the point of view of my character traits – a Rebel personality (according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz).
Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They want to do what they want to do, in their own way and in their own time. If someone asks or tells them to do something, they resist. They don’t even want to tell themselves what to do. They resist internal expectations with the same fervour as those imposed from without.
Personality quizzes have always fascinated me. For example, Myers Briggs now categorises me as an INFP. Looking at both INFP and Rebel personalities, I fit both very well. And as much as INFPs tend to be goal-oriented, on the downside our weaknesses include:
Dislike dealing with data. Mediator personalities are in tune with emotions and morality. So, they may have difficulties when it comes to dealing with facts and data. Impractical. Mediators do not always see practical things as important. They may even forget to eat and drink if they are doing something that excites and motivates them. Always need to have a cause. Mediators may find it difficult to complete tasks which are not linked to one of their goals. For example, routine administrative work.
And, as a business owner, there is an awful lot of tedious admin and my tendencies help me put off the necessary evils of this work. I am more drawn to creative endeavours and I can lose myself in them or prioritise them over the mundane. The end result is a much larger pile of administration requiring me to lock myself away for a couple of days to do it. *sad face*
My quest for ‘knowledge’ is also procrastination from actually doing the work. Is there some undiscovered aspect of myself that will be the ‘magic bullet’ to cure what is my natural state? Actually? No.
Poor sense of timing. Impatient. Over-optimistic with what others can achieve. Distracted. Terrible at getting things finished.
There is, in reality, only one cure for this – get on and do it!
Enter the Best Self Journal
I have looked at systems and technology over the years to help me ‘solve’ the issue of (not) doing stuff. I have burned through several to-do apps, calendars, etc and nothing is a panacea. So, I spent some time researching the Best Self Journal (or BSJ as it’s called).
I ordered one a few weeks ago. I read the guidebook that comes with it to understand the method. For 13 weeks you pick 1-3 goals to focus on and plan your daily routine around these goals to make sure you hit them. The BSJ provides a framework to prevent our natural tendencies from getting in the way of becoming our best selves.
But … it is ONLY a tool. My natural tendencies oppose administrative work. Plus, the book is BIG: It’s about A5 in size, and about an inch thick. It is, after all, a daily planner for 3 months (13 weeks) with one day spread over 2 pages. My briefcase is a haven for all sorts of stuff I shouldn’t be carrying around and I am put off by having more to carry. And I’m writing this blog post when I should be sorting out that pile of admin I have to complete! A true Creator, Rebel and INFP at work!
Getting Down to It
Being an INFP doesn’t mean you exclude the opposites of your personality. There are still aspects of ESTJ in you, so you need to channel these. Easier said than done!
I spent some time thinking about my goals. Most don’t relate to the day-to-day work of running my restaurants, but I need to plan and prioritise my own business. After much thought, I realised that most of my daily work fits within the key goal of growing the business.
No excuses now. I will have to do them when required. Boring things like time-sheets, accounts, pensions, invoices, filing, and scanning. But, this means I will get more time to plan the things I enjoy in the business. Plus free some time for the other goals the BSJ inspired me to look towards.
By random coincidence, I was flicking through the Marie Forleo TV site. She has an ‘oracle’ that picks a piece that thinks is most relevant to you at the time and synchronicity gave me this one: 4 Minutes to Massive Productivity.
Great tip Marie!
I have invested in the Things app on my Mac which has more powerful tools for managing tasks, projects and collections of projects. The two superior elements of Things are tags and proper management of ‘start on’ and ‘due’ dates. For example, you can have a task sitting in a project with a ‘start date’ set for tomorrow (which may have been there for ages) and it automatically pops up in the built-in TODAY list so you can’t forget it. The tags help you filter by whatever other dimensions you choose – for example, priority, type of work, etc – so you can quickly focus on subsets of tasks in your TODAY list.
I used to use Wunderlist but it doesn’t do anything with a ‘start date’ other than adding a badge on the bell icon in the toolbar to notify you. But, once you have read the alert, the badge resets and you forget where the task was. The task only drops in the built-in TODAY list when you get to the due date. Which is a bit late and means you need to spend more time managing and moving tasks around on your own bespoke lists.
I have also been looking at the GTD methodology. This system helps you focus on the to-do items that never seem to get done by asking hard questions about them. BSJ+GTD = Win!
I have not started writing in the BSJ yet as it’s a lump to carry around, but, there is a PDF version you can download. As I am digital-focused, I will look at how to best use this as a more portable alternative to the paper brick (update: I am using my old version of Day One Classic to do the daily logs, plus Things integrates with my calendar). A few Best Self Alliance members commented that the PDF is a good sandpit to play with before you actually put pen to paper.
But, as a Rebel, I don’t *have* to put everything in the BSJ. I can use it just for goals – the high-level stuff – and let the details take care of themselves (via my to-do list). Which also means I don’t need to carry the whole thing around. I can use the PDF to plan the outlines and refer back to it regularly.
The BSJ is a great tool and I would recommend taking a look at it. There is always a way to adopt best practices and go forth and prosper. By coupling the BSJ with a splash of GTD and some free apps, my personality is intact and I can now aim for those goals!
And it is already making a difference. For the last four years, I wanted to learn a new language. With this combination of tools and techniques, I have finally started planning how to do it. Thanks, BSJ!