Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Guest review: Wall Street Journal planner and notebook

Reader Steve S. recently contacted me to ask if I had ever reviewed the Wall Street Journal planner and/ or notebook. I had to admit I hadn't heard of either of these. He very kindly offered to review these products! Here is his review:

"Productivity Planner: Goals & Daily Schedule" and "Productive Meetings: Notes & Actions" are two new planning tools in the Wall St. Journal Collection. These A5 books (8.31 in. x 5.71 in. x 0.77 in., 1.05 lb.) are $30 each. I find them only in WSJ(US) and not in Europe. They are hard-bound, dark blue, "feel like suede," and do not lie flat when open. They are fitted with burgundy ribbon place markers and gray elastic closures. The paper is "off-white," and the printing alternates between "light-charcoal" and "medium-charcoal," which makes them unamenable to reproduction here. WSJ has designed these books to accompany "Extreme Productivity" by Robert Pozen with forewards by that author and bullet points appropriate to each book. The books were printed by brandbook, Frankfurt a/M, Germany.

"Productivity Planner: Goals & Daily Schedules" is intended to apply the principles set forth in "Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours" by Robert Pozen. Pages are unnumbered.

The heart of the book is a 208-page undated calendar. The calendar takes the form of a week on four pages. The first page (verso) has Monday on top and Tuesday at bottom. The 12 lines for each day have three columns for time, name of appointment, and purpose. Page 2 recto is Wednesday-Thursday, page 3 verso is Friday-Saturday, and page 4 recto is Sunday-Carry over to Next Week.

At the beginning of the book are two pages for yearly goals: personal left, professional right; each divided into high-priority top, low-priority bottom. There follow 25 pages of monthly objectives, likewise personal and professional right and left, high and low priority top and bottom.
The second book is "Productive Meetings: Notes & Actions." Pages are numbered I - v, and 1 -244. Index pages are i - v. Meetings are divided into short meetings, one page; and large meetings, a two page spread.

Short meetings pages (1 - 109) have space for date, subject, attendees, MY purpose (my emphasis), issues discussed, decisions made, next steps (when and by whom).

Large meetings pages (112 - 217) are the same, except that "Issues Discussed" and "Decisions Made" have boxes for "By Whom" and "By When" for each.
The paper for the end leaves ("If Found, Return to") is 150 gsm. That for the remaining pages of the books is 100 gsm. Also, the covers of the books are embossed with the titles in bronze, not copper.
Many thanks for this excellent review Steve! Has anyone else ever used either of these books and can comment on them?

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