Storyline Productivity Schedule — The One-Page Key to Increased Productivity


What if problems like writers block and procrastination were less about your shortcomings and more about how you structure your work day? 

The Storyline Productivity Schedule is a system I created that more than doubled my productivity. It has worked wonders for me and I believe it will work for you, too. 


Not many years ago I was stuck. I’d put two books on the New York Times Bestsellers list, but the days of sitting down at a coffee shop and easily firing off words seemed gone. Instead, I’d become a horrible procrastinator. I went from writing a book in six months, to writing a book in a year and then it began to take two years then three years and so on. Writing became a chore rather than a positive work habit. 

I thought for a long time the problem was me, in my inability to write. But in researching writers block and procrastination, I realized the problem was in how I was structuring my day. 

For instance, before creating the Storyline Productivity Schedule my day looked like this: 

Morning: Instead of writing my book, I’d return emails, write blogs, go for walks and wait for creative inspiration to strike. It never did. 

Afternoon: I’d eat lunch and get nappy, then cancel my evening appointments to write. But by then I was too distracted and tired. 

Evening: I’d get a little writing done, but it wasn’t focussed, and the process was a chore. I’d tell myself I could try again tomorrow. 

This pattern continued for years and I failed to produce anything worthy of publication. I was in a jam. Turns out, publishers don’t like it when you take four years to write a book. 


I realized my career was going to fall apart if I didn’t do something, so I ordered every book I could find about the creative process, procrastination, positive work habits and willpower. I think I read nearly twenty in all. Some were better than others but from each I made changes to the way I approach my job. 

Each book referenced untold scientific experiments and studies helping me understand why people procrastinate, what time of day the brain is most productive, and what it really takes to finish a large project. 

What I discovered was the brain worked like a muscle, and the whole time I was fighting my mind to sit down and work, I was wearing down the muscle. I didn’t need to manage my time better, I needed to manage my mental energy better. I needed a new way to structure my day so I was getting the most out of my mind when my mind was the strongest. 


To be more productive, I created a one-page sheet to fill out each morning. Unlike a normal day-planner we might use to manage our time, my schedule managed my mental energy. 

Dr. Henry Cloud says the three keys to extreme productivity are: 

  1. To attend - This means to focus on one thing until serious progress has been made. 
  2. To inhibit - This means there must be a strong ability to inhibit distractions from getting through. 
  3. A working memory - This means we need to be reminded throughout the day of what we are supposed to be working on. 

Here’s what I realized: 

“Along with managing my time, I needed to manage my mental energy.” 

When our work is frazzled, when we say yes to everything and when we fail to focus on what’s important, we get less done. 

Something had to change in the way I did my work and the Storyline Productivity Schedule did the trick. 

Here are some things that make the Storyline schedule different: 

• It forces you to work on your most important projects first. 

• It forces you to only focus on three important projects per day. 

• It kills off the mental bugs that cause procrastination. 

• It reminds you each day of your life theme and so creates a decision filter. 

• It limits the number of appointments you will take. 

• It builds in rest and reward so your mind recharges and is capable of working harder in the long run. 

• It allows open-ended work sessions so the clock works for you rather than you working for the clock. 

Each module in this small, easy-to-use system is designed to overcome some bit of creative struggle and make the creative process fun and productive. 


The result? Within four months I’d finished a new book. No kidding. That’s the fastest I’ve ever written a book. It took me another two months to edit it and the book was off to the printer. My publisher said it might be the best book I’d written, so my new method also meant I wasn’t sacrificing quality. 

Without the Storyline Productivity Schedule, I doubt I’d have been able to take new ground. Gone are the days of being frozen and afraid and back are the days of creating whatever I want, whether it’s a book, a new speech or even a new division of my company. I’m focussed and productive.


The Storyline Productivity Schedule is yours for free. At Storyline, we’re devoted to helping people and brands understand and tell their stories. The Storyline Productivity Schedule plays a significant part in that mission. 

We think it’s a tragedy when brilliant people aren’t able to get their ideas into the world. Whether you’re a painter, a small-business owner, a writer, life coach, marketing executive, a physical trainer or have any kind of job in which you need to consistently create new material, this one-page planner that repeats every day will be of use to you. 

Our hope is you use it to take a massive amount of new ground in your work. 

I’m grateful for what you do, and grateful you’ve allowed us to help. 

Donald Miller 

Founder of Storyline and StoryBrand

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