by Robyn Dexter-Attwood, Design Team Member
Welcome to the world of the Passion Planner! Now my post this week was a suggestion from a member of the team. Many of you will probably know that I have been using a Passion Planner for some time, and some of you will blame me for parting with your money to buy one! It made me laugh hysterically when the wonderful Katie Teage posted in the EllieBeth Designs Facebook group, asking if anyone else had bought a planner because of me! But in all seriousness, there is something about the Passion Planner that really works for me and I know a lot of people have recently found them in the UK. This has been made even better by the arrival of them on Amazon so avoiding the cost and inconvenience of ordering from the USA.
I suppose the best place to start is with the question what is a Passion Planner? To put it simply, it's a goal based hourly planner. It's designed to help you break down goals into manageable chunks across months, weeks and even days. You start with a roadmap. A mind map essentially that is structured with prompts to help you think about what is important to you and what you want to achieve over different periods of time. From here you choose one aspect to focus on or game changer and again mind map it into smaller chunks or steps to help you focus on the coming months. Now this may seem a bit too much for some people but remember, it's your planner you do what you want. I didn’t use this section until my third Passion Planner!
The monthly pages have a focus section for work and personal, prompt boxes and spaces to break down projects with smaller deadlines. Your game changer is supposed to feed into your monthly spread and there is space to record steps of how you will focus on it. Again, you don’t have to use it, I still don't! There is also a very structured monthly review that helps you assess your priorities.
The weeklies are where I really found a spread that works for me. There is a weekly focus section and a space for good bits of the week as well as an inspirational quote. I find this really helps focus on the positive. There are personal and work to do lists which you can prioritise and a blank space to use for whatever you see fit. The best bit is the structure of the day. There is a focus for the day to help you prioritise but the timeline of the day works for me so well. Its broken down into half hourly slots from 6am to 10:30/11:00 pm. This encompasses my entire day. At this point I could write for a long time about time planning but I will direct you back to my post on time planning on the EBDUK Blog in August. I love this planner and I don’t use every feature. I am using more now than I ever have but not all of them and that's ok.
The thing that a lot of people don’t know too much about is the company themselves. They have a huge amount of programmes aimed at donating planners to different groups and to students. They promote different causes by linking charities to specific planner so profits go towards that charity. You can have free access to a range of printable inserts and add ons to get the most out of your planner. And the bright green ribbon is supportive of Mental Health and for me that makes a difference. I think I've taped every single one I’ve had down in the back cover but knowing it's there and what it means, relates to something for me.
So why do I like this planner so much?
I think the thing I like most about this planner, apart from the timelines, is that it helps you focus on you. I know we all have a lot of things going on in our lives that relate to others and its very easy to lose ourselves in all of it. At the EllieBeth Annual Event this year, Rachel spoke about the importance of self care and I think this planner is perfectly designed for that. All the way through there is a sense of balance between work and personal. Your goals, your personal changes and your focus is at the centre of everything. It's helped me find a work life balance (or as close as you can get as a teacher!).
I love seeing the creativity among the community and how they are used. From very rigid time blocks with minimal black and white and all the rulers, to watercolour pieces of art. For a pre-printed planner, I love the freedom of it. And I love that the stickers fit!
Let's face it we’re here for the stickers! My first Passion Planner was a classic sized planner (American letter size for reference). It was undated and I used functional colour blocking and washi only. Then a few functional stickers started creeping in. After 8 months of washi use, the stickers came in. By this time I had bought an undated so I could have the months spread through the planner. It was here that I also started journaling in it as well. The amazing thing about the Classic was that I had room to put work and personal in one place! This was something I had yet to achieve on my planner journey, so to look at the open pages and have EVERYTHING for the week was amazing! Number three was a classic that was far more functional and colour blocking was the order of the day. I wanted something a bit smaller by this time, but the compact was way too small for me. Which brings us to my current Passion Planner lineup. Yes line up meaning more that one!
I now have two pro sized Passion planners on the go. Due to the wonders of GDPR, I have had to separate out my work and personal to some extent. So I have one personal and one work! My personal is based around the timelines, the to do lists and focusing on me. There are some work things in it but that is to do with managing my mental health. I also have one for work which with the wonderful help of Rachel, I have been able to turn into a weekly view teacher planner.
It amazes me that this is such as flexible planner despite being a fairly structured planner. The only thing that I wish was different is that I would like a daily box for recording day specific but not time specific things like bins, recycling or birthdays. But this is only really a work week problem as I can use the hours I am asleep in the morning the rest of the time.
So that's a brief introduction to the Passion Planner. If there are questions, several of the EllieBeth Designs facebook group now use them. I have also set up a UK/Europe Passion Planner Facebook group to share our questions, ideas, spreads and anything else we feel like (and yes a lot of us are using EBDUK stickers!).
One last tip - if it's something you think would like to try, head to the main Passion Planner website and download the free PDFs to try!