Whether you have a trusted paper planner to help organize your life or you rely on a mobile app to keep your schedule in check, we bet you never thought about using a planner to actually prioritize your happiness over productivity. This is exactly what Mo Seetubtim, founder of The Happiness Planner, set out to do. We had a chance to speak to Mo about how The Happiness Planner can transform your multitasking, on-the-go lifestyle into one where you still find the time to self-reflect and live mindfully. –Interviewed by Ana Montoya
How did you become interested in focusing your career around self-improvement and purposeful living?
I was always interested in psychology but it all started back in high school. After talking to my friends about their ambitions and aspirations, I realized that most of them weren’t truly passionate about what they wanted to pursue as a career. They just wanted a good job with a decent salary—that’s it. They weren’t really interested in looking deep into their passion and turning it into a career. I felt really frustrated and was determined to one day inspire people to change their mindset about their careers.
I’m also a lifelong learner at heart and believe that people can achieve what they set their mind to achieve, but somehow not everyone believes this. Most people still have a limiting self-belief. So I started off by inspiring my friends and I got a sense of fulfilment out of it. Now I want to inspire people on a global scale.
What sparked your desire to create The Happiness Planner?
My blog has been attracting quite a lot of readers. And when people subscribe to my newsletter, I ask them what I should write about. Most of the answers relate to self-development, positivity, happiness, and emotional intelligence. I’ve written a few blog posts about how to become positive and train your mind to be strong, but reading an article is not the same as practicing something every day. Your mind has muscles and only through practicing something over and over does it remember the patterns and process. It’s the same with positive thinking. At first it’s hard and can be very frustrating to adopt a new mindset and make it a habit. But if one practices it everyday, reminds themselves to live in the moment, and thinks positively even in negative circumstances, they will eventually adopt a new mindset and become positive, mindful, and resilient.
I also see that most people still use paper planners even though there are mobile phones and apps. Especially at work, people still use paper notebooks to take notes and for their to-do lists. So I did a bit more research and realized that there’s nothing like The Happiness Planner in the market at the moment, as most planners focus on productivity and work goals rather than personal happiness and fulfillment. So this is how the idea of The Happiness Planner came about.
How does it differ from your typical planner?
The Happiness Planner is a combination of a happiness journal and a typical planner. With a little self-discovery section in the beginning, people will start this planner thinking about all the things that make them happy and unhappy, who they want to spend more time with, the things that they are grateful for, what they have achieved, and what they want to achieve. The goal is for them to integrate these things into their daily life over the next 100 days in order to maximize their happiness level.
In order to improve ourselves, we need to track progress and self-reflect. This is why The Happiness Planner has 100 days—it’s the perfect length to make change, to track progress, and to see ourselves improve. When you go onto the next planner and answer questions in the first section, you will see how you have developed and grown over the past 100 days.
As our days go by, our interests may change, our priorities may change, and the people in our life may change. Therefore it’s important to set new goals every three months in order to refresh, reflect, and feel thankful for the things we have in life and those who have helped us in any way.
It’s really a unique planner because it focuses on your happiness and self-improvement above all else. It’s definitely a planner for those who want to continuously grow, learn, improve, and feel happier.
Why happiness over productivity?
Because at the end of the day, no matter what we do, no matter what we try to achieve in life, we want to feel joy and be happy. People focus on increasing their productivity because they want to achieve their goals and become successful. However, the end goal of that is also fulfilment and happiness. People want to be productive because somehow they believe the result of what they achieve will make them feel happy and fulfilled. Sometimes we get so caught up in work and in being productive that we forget what truly matters, like relationships, family, hobbies, health, well-being, and our own spiritual self and mind.
How will it help busy women prioritize their often stressful lives?
The Happiness Roadmap section in the beginning of the planner can help remind on-the-go women about what they should prioritize as they plan their days and weeks. The daily and weekly reflection can also help put them into a positive frame of mind and shift their focus back to their health, energy, and feelings above all else.
In this digital age in which we’re constantly glued to our phones, why should someone opt for The Happiness Planner instead of using a mobile app?
There’s something special about writing and carrying a beautiful planner that you can flick through back and forth as you go along and that you can keep on the shelves as a record for yourself.
Your motivational blog, BrandMentalist, spreads positivity with the art of passionate living. Was The Happiness Planner intended to be a physical reminder of why it’s so important to self reflect?
In a way, yes. There should be something that is there to inspire you and remind you everyday to be mindful, think positively, and reflect if you aren’t already doing so. The Happiness Planner is a little bit like a personal life coach and a source of positive inspiration.
Is the planner only available online or is it also available in any shops?
At the moment it is only available online and a couple of stores in Canada and Australia. We hope to expand to US stores soon!
See more from our Summer 2015 issue below!