Smart Skills Trading Cards: Productivity

GREAT Skills are Smart!

This Trading Card Set features information on Productivity, and includes:

  • David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” (the system)
  • Stephen R Covey, author of “First Things First” and “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” (the focus)
  • Tony Schwartz, author of “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.” (the routine)
  • Kerry Gleason, author of “The Personal Efficiency Program.” (the plan)
  • Vishen Lakhiani, author of “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.” (the goal)

Each of the GREAT Skills Trading Card sets cover skills you might not have learned in school (and probably wish you had). Download this set at to learn about each skill.

There are four important elements of productivity: The System, The Routine, The Focus, and The Plan. The first four authors each contribute to understanding the four elements, and Vishen Lakhiani provides an understanding of End vs Means goals.

For more information about productivity, check out Time Management 101, and learn with the study of productivity, videos and courses. You might also like to see my favorite books about productivity, the Daily PlanIt Productivity Pinterest board, and The Keep It Super Simple System.

An Annual Review

Once a year, it’s good to take a look at how things are going in different areas of your life. This big picture view let’s you evaluate how things are going and plan for what’s next.

Steps for an Annual Review

1. Review the past year. What went well, and what have you learned? What obstacles have you encountered and how have you handled them?

2. Review the results of your weekly and monthly reviews.

What’s that? You haven’t been doing regular reviews? Below are two free printable tools to stay on track with weekly and monthly reviews for the next year. Use the Annual Planner and Annual Review Metrics Chart for a years worth of information that will be invaluable for the next annual review. Choose a day and time for a weekly review that works well for you, and commit to following through.

3. Choose the life areas you want to focus on in the upcoming year. The Life Area Energy Gauge is a tool to see which areas of your life need more attention. This is similar to the Wheel of Life, but the Life Area Energy Gauge is quicker and easier and gives a better overview.

4. Review your goals: Are you still excited about them, or is it time to choose some new ones? (see Goal Plans for ideas)

5. Plan for the coming year. Set time frames and target dates for long range and shorter range goals. Plan the action steps that you need to take. Look for meaningful metrics to track in the life areas you have chosen to focus on. Attempting to track too much can be overwhelming, so choose carefully. Some ideas for metrics and tools for tracking them are below.

6. Review your value statement: does it still pinpoint what you do and why, or does it need to be updated? If you update it, how does that impact your goals?

7. Review your work space and task management system. Do they still work well for you, or are there changes you could make to increase your efficiency? See Time Management 101.

8. Print calendars and any updated lists if desired.

Ideas for metrics to track for an annual review:

  • Physical: weight, body mass index, blood pressure
  • Financial: Income, savings, investments, net worth
  • Career: Work projects completed, time audit of productivity
  • Mental: goals achieved, books read
  • Emotional: Acts of kindness, emotional intelligence score
  • Relationships: activities with family and friends, loving actions for closer relationships
  • Character: volunteer activities, creative work
  • Social: group activities
  • Organizational: Home projects completed
  • Spiritual: frequency of prayer, meditation, gratitude
  • Purpose: time spent in flow or contributing w/talents, Work/Life balance score
  • Recreational: trips taken, new activities tried

Tools for Tracking Metrics

Free Printables:

  • The Weekly & Monthly Review Tracker (see above) is one page with two forms for tracking reviews. Pair the tracker with a free one page printable pdf: Review & Plan has steps for daily, weekly, monthly & annual reviews plus ideas for metrics to track.
  • The Annual Planner from the Daily PlanIt is also still available. It is a free 9 page pdf booklet with forms to capture the results of weekly and monthly reviews for a year. It includes weekly and monthly review action steps & review questions, ideas for metrics, and an annual chart to record progress.
  • The Annual Review Metrics Chart is a free pdf from the Daily PlanIt.
  • time audit chart from the Daily PlanIt.
  • The Annual Calendar from Vertex42 is great for planning and tracking progress.
  • My Reading List from Money Saving Mom. (pdf)


To learn more about setting and acheiving goals, check out the free Daily PlanIt short course on How to Set Goals, and my eBook, “Get Goaling.

See also:

Apps for Happiness and Personal Development

BE MEASURING for more Happiness and Personal Development

When I first wrote the Year of Personal Development series my focus was on free printable tools, but now many apps have been created that could be helpful tools to add happiness habits (and personal development) to your routine. I’ve been seeing a lot about the Happify app, which uses a S.T.A.G.E. framework to build five key happiness skills. However, it is currently only available in iOS, and there is a subscription price. I’m an Android gal and I’m all about free tools whenever possible!

Various frameworks for happiness are outlined at Happiness Based on Science and Positive Psychology. I arranged them in my own way and came up with a framework that happens to spell out BE MEASURING. Ironically, I’m not sure we actually really need to be measuring all of this. Systems that are simple and easy to use are usually best, and often a printable paper option will fill the bill. While it is important to measure what you want to manage, tracking a whole bunch of things can become tedious. However, if you enjoy using apps, many are gathered here that may be useful. As I’ve thought about ways to add more of these key skills into my life, I realized: 1) a simple checklist is probably pretty effective, 2) many of the keys to happiness are activities for personal development, and 3) it would sure be nice to have all of this incorporated into one Android app.

Habit Trackers:I am trying out the Fig app as a wellness habit tracker. It is similar to Lift, but personally I like it better. While designed for social sharing, you can choose not to. Two drawbacks are: it isn’t compatible with my tablet, and it’s not reminding me that much. It is possible that I’m still learning about it. GoalTracker could be another one to try.


The Fig habit tracker app

A simple checklist for the BE MEASURING framework from the Daily PlanIt:


A printable pdf of BE MEASURING (letter size)



Breathe Deeply (& sleep well)Breathing deeply is a habit with many benefits. It was one of the most helpful things I did during a Year of Personal Development. It is helpful to remember to stretch and take several deep breaths about once every hour. (time: about 5 minutes)

  • Apps: Breath2Relax includes a demonstration, stress rating, and cycles for deep breathing. There is also a very simple instructional app to learn how to breath deeply called the Tactical Breather App. These are from T2health, which makes apps for military veterans. They also have a mood tracker (see below) and some others I’d like to try out like the Virtual Hope Box and Mindfulness Coach. GPS for the Soul is an app from the Huffington Post that is now available on Android as well as iOS. The Living Well app is designed for men who have been sexually abused in childhood, which includes breathing and mindfulness meditations. I am trying To Do Reminder to set reminders. If you have problems with sleeping, White Noise Lite looks good.

Exercise (& eat a healthy diet)-Just a few minutes of exercise a day can release endorphins, but you can gain additional benefits with a longer workout. If you can spend some time outside, that is a mood booster too. See the benefits of exercise infographic from Happify. (time: about 30 minutes)

  • Apps: Myfitnesspal is wonderful for tracking your diet and exercise, but I got tired of entering my info every day. The JEFIT app provides visual examples of weight lifting exercises, and can track your progress. I’m struggling a bit to set up the workout I want, and I don’t really care about tracking this separately.
  • Food Planner is the best app I have found for managing recipes and menu planning. It just takes a bit more time and effort than I want to put into it. If I need inspiration, I usually just flip through index cards with a picture of the main dishes we mostly have.

Meditate (& relax)-There are many benefits to meditation. (time: about 15 minutes)

  • Apps: Take a Break from Stress with the app from Meditation Oasis. Choose between a 7 minute break and a longer 13 minute option. I sometimes use this app during my noon break. Relax Melodies is great (and fun!) for creating a variety of gentle sounds.

Emotional awareness-Empathize with others, and notice your own emotions.

Aspire-Know your purpose and direction, and take action toward meaningful goals. (time: at least 5 minutes a day)

  • Apps: I haven’t found an app for goal setting that I love. In my system, I include steps toward projects in my to-do lists and keep lists of goals and projects in Google Drive. Chaos Control is a GTD Task List that includes defining your goals, which I have not tried out yet. Reach Your Goals may be another one to try. Some possibilities use a stick rather than a carrot as incentive.

Share-Give to causes you believe in by volunteering or financially. Perform random acts of kindness. (time: about 2 minutes)

  • Apps: In Android, there is Pay It Forward and DoGood, both look very tied in to social sharing and I haven’t tried them out yet.

Uplift-yourself with positive music and thoughts, and others with compliments and kind words. Benefits of music infographic.

Relate-Spend time with people you care about, do nice things for them, interact with others.

Increase FlowUse the talents that cause you to lose track of time.

Notice-Look up, be aware and mindful, pay attention, smell the roses, enjoy tastes, savor and appreciate life, etc. Plan activities and anticipate them, remember good times. Benefits of mindfulness and appreciation. How to: 10 Steps to Savoring at Greater Good.

Gratitude-start the day with appreciation, and end it by thinking of a few things you’re thankful for. In between, thank those you are grateful for. (time: a few minutes) Here are the benefits of Gratitude.

Time to cultivate these happy habits

Happiness Habits Add Up =An hour a day
Uplifting: music, thoughts & words Anytime
An act of kindness About 2 minutes
Gratitude About 3 minutes
Breathe deeply About 5 minutes
Take an action toward a goal At least 5 minutes (or more)
Meditation About 15 minutes
Exercise About 30 minutes

(with thanks to

See also Benefits of 11 Happiness Habits in Infographics

Links to more apps:

Have you tried apps for happiness and personal development that you like? Let us know at the Daily PlanIt Facebook page!

See also Benefits of 11 Happiness Habits in Infographics.

Goal Master List

Goal Master List (pdf) that works with the goal charts below, makes it easy to see what will add value in different life areas, which value levels are lowest (and therefore highest priority), and what goals will be most effective to increase value.



Once a goal is selected, choose a Goal Charts (pdf) based on whether the goal is daily, weekly, or monthly. This will help to track your progress and keep your goals SMART and visible and visual.


Types of Goals

Example daily goal: I will drink eight glasses of water every day.

Example weekly goal: I will increase time with family by spending at least 30 minutes each week one-on-one with each person doing an activity of their choice.

Example monthly/yearly goal: I will save $1200/year by making a $100 deposit in my savings account every month and track with a chart to reach the target date of twelve months from today.

Is it a resolution, a habit, or a goal?

The first two examples are resolutions, or habits. There is no end point, they are on-going actions you intend to continue. Once they become a habit, they are easier to maintain.

There are many habit tracker apps to choose from. You can also use a calendar or printable tool to follow Jerry Seinfeld’s Don’t Break the Chain Strategy.

The last example is a goal: it has a clear end point, and you know when it has been accomplished. The Goal Plans are a mixture of goals with an end point, and resolutions or habits.

A 3 x 5 version of the Goal Master List to keep with you. (pdf)

Remember to do a regular review of goals.