Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: Passion Planner

During the fall of 2014, Jamie saw a really cool Kickstarter project for a new type of planner. The young woman with the idea, Angelia Trinidad, had found herself in a place where she was thinking about next steps for her life, and the outflow of this experience led her to develop a planner that could help herself and others make the most of their time, and begin to plan forward.

Jamie loved her Passion Planner so much that last summer, I went online and decided I would order her a new one for a Christmas present. I also decided that I would order myself one, and grab a couple of extras for gifts for a few friends. The Passion Planner had evolved to be in two sizes by the time I was placing my order, so I grabbed a couple of each size to give Jamie and myself “freedom of choice.”

While I was perusing the website, I noticed there was a special program for qualifying nonprofits to apply for free Passion Planners, so I decided to spend a little extra time on the website and apply on behalf of Nuru. I was thoroughly excited when Nuru International qualified and received a FREE Passion Planner for every one of our staff members. As many of you know, the majority of our staff work remotely, but we do strive to all spend at least a week together once per year to celebrate wins and set plans for the upcoming year. This past January, I was so excited to hand each member of our small team a Passion Planner and tell them the story of how generous the company was and how much of a value add Jamie and I were already finding our own.

As I write this post, I’ve personally had more than six months to work with my Passion Planner. I absolutely love this high quality and affordable tool! Here’s a few reasons why.

1)   Analog tool. In our increasingly digital world, it is refreshing to have a planner and calendar that you actually write in, as it pushes us away from online distractions (which are many and increasing).
2)   Simple overview/best practices. This planner has a very short explanatory guide in its beginning that allows the user to learn how to best optimize all of the planner’s feature. It is fairly simple and straightforward, and does not try to make planning complex. When I look at many planners and organization systems, I get overwhelmed with the complexity of the tool, and get anxious about whether I’ll be able to use it adequately. Passion Planner keeps it simple and straightforward.
3)   Passion Roadmap. This tool is a mini brainstorming and goal setting tool. At first I thought this was a bit hokey but then I gave it a try, and it has helped me tremendously to write down and build a path toward goals of varying timespans.
4)   Weekly layout. The weekly and monthly layouts of this calendar (and the yearly) are all extremely helpful. This planner has real time slots for a very full 18 hour day, and to me this is PERFECT. I use it to manage time, and because I have been trying to spend more time offline this year, the format is helpful for taking a look at the previous week and week ahead without logging into a calendar app.
5)   Weekly and monthly review questions. One of my favorite characteristics of this calendar is that there are a series of weekly and monthly review questions to assess how I am progressing toward goals. I appreciate that this tool gives me space to reflect—a skill much needed in the world today too!
6)   Mid-year review. To me this was incredibly helpful. At the end of June, I was able to take a look back over the last six months and some of my goals for the year to know how I was tracking. I believe the planner was an instrumental tool to keep me on target so I could celebrate at mid-year!
7)   To do lists. Every week, aside from daily calendar time slots, there are two to do lists. One is work related, and the other is personal. Having these lines and a way to prioritize has helped me to ensure things get done each week in both work and life.
8)   Blank space. On each monthly calendar and weekly calendar, there is a “Space of Infinite Possibility” that I have found to be incredibly helpful. This is a place where I can do brainstorming during the week, take notes during calls, and add details around deliverables that need more support. In addition, the back of the planner has several pages of graphed and blank pages for drawing, writing, and note taking.
9)   Simple design. The Passion Planner does not have a crazy or busy design. The binding and the individual pages are simple, professional, and elegant, and I appreciate that the designers did not fill it with flare—the flare comes from the individual user.
10) Daily Focus. Every day has a small space for a daily focus. I start many of my days with my Passion Planner, and having this space allows me to set an intention or priority for the day.

While I have not used all of these beneficial tools within the Passion Planner to their fullest extent, I have found that the more often I use them, the better job I do staying on task, focused, and moving forward in my personal and professional goals. If you are looking for a tool to move forward your dreams, I highly recommend you pick up a Passion Planner for yourself. I anticipate they will be a part of Team Williams annual purchases for many years to come.

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