I love talking about time management, goal setting and productivity. What started as a desperate search for more balance, has become a long-standing fascination with this question: What does it take to do what matters – important, critical, world-changing work – without burning out or procrastinating?

This question has driven me to read hordes of time management and productivity books, purchase dozens of journals and planners, and ultimately, create a time management system and journals of my own: The Great Work Journals!

The Journals Launch on TUESDAY but is available for pre-order now!!! Wooooooohooo!!!!!

To join in the fun, I asked 11 of my most successful entrepreneurial friends to chime in with their best productivity advice.

Every single one of them asked if was SURE I wanted their advice… because every successful person on the planet has grappled with how to set goals and manage their time!

These friends are no different.

Here is what they learned:

Dr. Alyssa Adams: Clinical Psychologist and Intuitive Business Coach

“I love a two-list method for accomplishing all the things that I need to do. This means that I make a big giant list that outlines everything that I want to get done for the week (or two weeks!), and then I go through that list and break the bigger tasks into smaller tasks. Then, all of the final, smaller tasks go into slots on my calendar throughout the week. This ensures that I get things done that I need to do without feeling overwhelmed by ALL the tasks.”

The Great Work Journals integrate with every calendar and to-do list, even Alyssa’s system!  We love anything that keeps overwhelm at bay!

Learn more about Alyssa’s powerful work with Uncommon Therapists here!

Emily Merrell, Founder, Six Degrees Society, and Business Coach

“Do the hardest things first. For me, that’s waking up early and habit stacking my workout/journaling and self-care along with the most important work I need to get done. Everything else can wait.”

The Great Work Journals help you do just that! We love Emily’s commitment to prioritizing! She’s right – everything else can wait…and maybe get left behind. Because doing more of what matters requires that you do much, much less of “the rest of it.”

Learn more about Emily and attend a Six Degrees, here!

Lindsay Lederman, Clinical Director, The Art Therapy Project

“The most important thing is to be KIND to yourself when things don’t get done. I make a list of all my to-dos and when one needs to be moved from today to tomorrow, I’m very understanding. If I wasn’t, the stress would be too much!”

The Great Work Journals help you do exactly this by keeping you focused on setting realistic goals that won’t overwhelm you! Surprisingly, as Lindsay discovered, this is the most efficient and fastest way to accomplish your goals!

Learn More about the Art Therapy Project here!

time management quote

Lloyd Fitzsimmons, Business Development, Mountainside

“My success has been contingent upon my network of collaborators. I know I don’t have to do everything myself! It takes a village!”

I 100% agree with Lloyd! The Great Work Journals were absolutely created in community! This post is proof of that! I know that I wouldn’t get anything done if I tried to do it all myself!

You DON’T have to do this alone.

Learn more about Mountainside here!

Jill Sherer Murray, Author, Big Wild Love: The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go

“I exercise Big Wild Love. And not only when it comes to relationships, career, friendship, and mindset, but when it comes to what I make important and give time and attention in the space of my life.

What is Big Wild Love? It’s a form of self-love paired with intention that, when exercised well, can make you unstoppable.

It’s a way of being that tells you when to focus. And, when to let go—of what isn’t working so you can create time and space for what will. It’s managing your time with your best interests in mind simply because you love yourself and know you deserve good things.”

I couldn’t agree more with Jill. When you spend time on something that doesn’t create “Big Wild Love,” you are stealing from yourself the things that DO create Big Wild Love! Say NO to the good, to say YES to the Great. That’s at the heart of the Great Work Journals.

Read Jill’s Beautiful Book! Click here to learn more!

Nick Werber, Family Constellations and Integrative Coaching

“For me, everything comes back to my ‘why.’ When I don’t know why I’m doing something, when I can’t see and feel the purpose in it, it’s going to take 10x the amount of effort to do anything. That’s how it is for me. When the ‘why’ is big enough, when I am totally connected to the purpose, everything becomes easier.”

The Great Works Journals help you to stay connected to your WHY every 90 days, every week, and every. single. day.

Learn more about Nick’s powerful work healing family trauma, here.

Cheryl Campbell, Founder of the Christmas Gala, and 3Cs of Connecting

“I write everything down, make a plan and then I never stress when I do not complete my list. Making sure I leave time in my day for the things I may not have completed the day before has really kept me more on track than in the past. Life happens and once I accepted that, and learned to adjust my days, I have found that my stress is not so high.”

The Great Work Journals ask you every day whether you did what you said you would do, and then gently asks “what can you learn from this?” The point is NEVER to shame yourself about what you weren’t able to do, but to help you develop expertise about how to set realistic, compassionate, flexible goals.

Cheryl Campbell is a powerhouse entrepreneur as the director of two nonprofits and a successful coaching business on her plate. Learn more and attend a 3Cs event, here!

Gail Robertson, Chief Curiosity Officer

“Taking time away from work is very important. Even in exercise, a rest day is recommended. Stepping away from my desk, going for walk, watching mindless TV, or calling a friend can all be great ways to take a break and actually help you get more done. I don’t always follow this advice and boy do I face repercussions.”

The Great Work Journals encourage you to set three 90 day goals – a Stretch Goal, a Support Goal, and a SANITY Goal. The Sanity Goal serves exactly this purpose! What do you need to do to feel healthy, happy, and balanced? It’s critical to answer that question, or you won’t be able to stretch and do new things that matter.

Learn about the world’s first Chief Curiosity Officer, Keynote Speaker Gail Robertson, here.

Dr. Caitlin Faas, Life Coach for Experts

“When I start to get myself worked up, feeling like I’m straining or pushing towards a goal, I stop and remember the wise words of Lao Tzu – “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” My brain made up that I need to hurry or rush. I can drop that story in an instant and relax. Then I have access to ease and flow. That’s how I accomplish my results hour after hour.”

The Great Work Journals can help you stay relaxed, just like Caitlin! The daily practice keeps you moving forward without ever feeling overwhelmed, ashamed, or behind.

Learn more about Caitlin’s powerful work helping experts get off the hamster wheel, here.

Melissa McGraw, SEO and Google Ads Strategist, The Creative Potential

“Get in the habit of setting time limits. For instance, reading and answering email can consume your whole day if you let it. Instead, set a limit of one hour a day for this task and stick to it.”

The Great Work Journals can help you create goals that create great habits, like time limits. For example, a GREAT Support Goal is to work on containing your administrative tasks. This could involve efforts at minimizing the impact of email, automating your calendaring, and putting processes in place for invoicing. Anything is doable – even conquering email – with the Great Work Journals!

Melissa is the person I trust with my own SEO and google ads! Learn more and sign up to get your website optimized, here.

David Ackerman, General Contractor and Co-Founder Tête Dumbo

“One of the most important things I do in order to be able to take on a lot of tasks is to constantly keep writing and rewriting to-do lists.  I’m a strong believer that if something isn’t written down, it won’t get done. One section of the tasks must be done on that day, some need to happen that week, and others are longer-term and more aspirational goals that I need to keep my eye and focus on.  As the day and the week goes on, I keep crossing out and rewriting, tracking my progress, and making sure that even if I’m not able to accomplish everything I set out to, that I’m moving in the right direction.”

The Great Work Journals integrate with every to-do list and calendar, even David’s system! And, just as David suggests, it’s not about crushing your goals every single day, it’s about moving in the right direction on the things that matter the most.

Learn more about David’s truly gorgeous therapy office suites, Tête Dumbo, here.

time management and organization

My sincere gratitude for my friends giving their invaluable advice.

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.