“Planner peace” is this seemingly elusive state of mind where our planners help us capture all our to-dos and appointments so that we can be ultimately productive in our day and get all the things done we need to. It’s elusive because there are so many gorgeous and highly functional planners on the market and it can be hard to stay focused in one planner long enough without the fear of missing out that another one will help you achieve more. Or maybe you are a DIY’er who likes the flexibility and craze around bullet journals, that you can create from scratch the perfect planner to suit all your needs. But I say, why choose between a planner and a bullet journal when you can do both in a Passion Planner and have the perfect planning solution?
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What is a Bullet Journal?
First of all, we’ll start with the basics. I discovered bullet journaling a few summers ago and it revolutionized the way I organize the chaos of my scatterbrained mind. The theory of bullet journaling started by Ryder Carroll is simple…jot down your ideas quickly and index your pages so you can always find what you need when you need it.
The bullet journal system teaches you:
- how to create simple monthly, weekly, daily and future logs
- how to use signifiers to keep track of to dos, their status (done, in process, migrated, canceled), events and notes to enable rapid logging of your thoughts and ideas
- how to migrate tasks
- how to develop collections/lists
- how to index all your information so you can find it easily
It does not need to be fancy or have a predefined layout unless you want it to. You just go with the flow and what works best for you. Bullet journaling is the ultimate DIY planner, as Ryder says on his blog “all you need is a notebook and a pen” and the rest is up to you.
The bullet journal system works especially well with the principles taught in David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity* because you can keep separate lists or “collections” of your projects big and small and the next actions you need to complete them.
As a list-maker extraordinaire, the bullet journal system of getting my ideas into various collections in one notebook is very appealing. I have collections for the books I want to read, house projects, financial to do’s, tracking progress on my blog courses, places we want to travel to. Seriously, every goal, dream or to do is in a list in my collections.
Now with the bullet journal, you create your own monthly calendars and weekly and/or daily to do lists. I LOVED the simplicity and flexibility of this method. However, the problem I had with that was that it was a lot of handwriting for me to create what I needed my planner to be. With hands that have been damaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis, writing a lot tends to hurt my hands.
So I needed a planner that had the premade monthly and weekly layouts but still had plenty of room for my epic collections of lists…and then I found the Passion Planner.
What is a Passion Planner? And How I Bullet Journal In It
With Passion Roadmaps and Monthly Reflection Pages (that I can do weekly), the Passion Planner is the planner that helped me visualize my biggest goals, stay motivated to accomplish them and has enough space for all my various lists. The Passion Planner has a minimal black and white design and is full of ways to help you stay focused on your goals, celebrate the good things that happened, and balance your personal and work to-do lists. The minimal design allows you to get things done and add your personal, colorful flair to it if you wish to.
Here’s a list of what is included in the Passion Planner and then I’ll walk you through how I set up a bullet journal inside of my Passion Planner.
- Your Passion Roadmap: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Mapping Out Your Goals (one at the beginning of the year and one mid-year)
- Year at a Glance Calendars with Holidays and Space of Infinite Possibility
- Monthly Calendars that include this Month’s Focus, Personal and Work Project Goals and Mindmap section of this month’s GameChanger
- Weekly Layouts that include daily columns broken down in half hour increments from 6am to 10:30pm, weekly focus, good things that happened, personal and work to do lists and a Space of Infinite Possibilty
- Monthly Reflection Pages to analyze what how the month went and how to improve going forward
- End of the Year Reflection Pages
- 20 Blank Notes Pages
- 20 Gridded Notes Pages (perfect for habit trackers!)
- 2 sizes to choose from: Classic A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches) and Compact A5 (5.83 x 8.27 inches)
- 2 weekly start days to choose from: Sunday start or Monday start on select planners
- 2 binding styles to choose from: bound or Eco planner with a refillable yearly insert
I have a dated 2017 Limited Edition Blush Bird and Bees Classic size Passion Planner so pictures are from that version.
I’m giving away an undated Limited Edition Paradise blue Passion Planner at the bottom of this post so keep reading!
You can visit Passion Planner’s website to download free printables of their various pages below. If you decide to purchase, you can use my discount code TANYA10 to get 10% off full-priced items ordered!
Big Dreamsetting with the Passion Planner Roadmap
The Roadmap is one of my favorite things about the Passion Planner. It encourages you to think about “if i could be anything, do anything or have anything, what would it be?” That’s the basis of your roadmap and then you start thinking about what you want in 3 months, one year, 3 years and in your lifetime.
My biggest goals and highest priority projects are in this roadmap. Here’s what mine looked like in January when I started using this planner:
The monthly calendar helps you break down how you will achieve your goals. With spaces to track
- personal and work focus
- people to see
- places to go
- not-to-do list
- personal and work projects
- mindmap of this month’s gamechanger
there is a great overall view of your month.
Personally, I wasn’t making good use of the monthly calendar. I keep my appointments and hard deadlines in my Google Calendar on my phone since that’s the one I have with me when running errands. I didn’t feel like it was worth the time to copy those appointments into the monthly calendar and then again onto the day it happens.
Some other possible uses for the monthly calendar that I’ve done before and heard others do:
- Daily gratitude/small victories journal. Write down one good thing about every day.
- Editorial calendar for my blog
- Bill and expenses tracker
- Ideal days tracker (pictured below) for achieving work-life balance
I also cut little post it notes to cover the “people to see”, “places to go” and “not to do list” since I put people and places to go into my weekly layout and I really don’t want to focus on what not to do, but worthwhile things to do instead. I turn them into boxes where I track “books read”, “family movies” we’ve watched and “happy mail sent” since those are worthy goals to me and it’s fun to look back on and see what I’ve done.
For the ideal days tracker, I came up with this to help me develop my ideal routine to achieve the work-life balance I desire. I used to work full-time outside the home and the hardest part was feeling like my life wasn’t balanced. Even though now I want to earn an income working from home, I am not willing to sacrifice the work-life balance I’ve worked hard to achieve.
So I use this tracker to help me stay focused on the routine I created for myself, the one that helps me feel the best. If you need help creating your ideal routine, you can download my Craft Your Ideal Routine and Ideal Days Tracker Workbook here. At the end of each day, I count up how many boxes I checked off out of the total possible for that day and come up with an ideal day score. Then I color in the box underneath it based on the color code (blue are my best days, green are pretty good, yellow is OK and red is downright stinky) so I can see at a glance how my days went and why they were good/bad.
My goal is to then color in these boxes into a Year in Pixels spread on the gridded notes pages in the back of my Passion Planner (like this one from fischrjournals on Instagram).
You can see also in this spread how I start to use a bullet journal technique for tracking my tasks done in both the ideal days tracker and the monthly personal and work goals (marked with an “X”), in process (marked with a “/”) and migrated to the next month (typically marked with an arrow “–>” once I move the task to the next month which I haven’t done yet). I also taped in my Instagram challenges I wanted to complete and taped in a checklist for Flylady cleaning zone tasks. These simple adjustments helped me make better use out of the monthly calendar. And I was loving it in September.
The weekly layout for the Passion Planner is just perfect for me. With spaces to track
- this week’s focus
- good things that happened (a space just for my small victories…yippee!)
- personal and work to-do lists (equal space for each y’all to help me with work-life balance)
- time tracking for 6am to 10:30pm in half hour increments
- space of infinite possibility (I use for my menu plan and nowadays a budget tracker though pictured below I was doing a mini habit tracker)
- inspirational quote and challenge to do
Again, in the to do list section you can see how I use bullet journal signifiers to denote whether a task has been completed (marked with an “X”), in process (marked with a “/”) and migrated to the next week’s (marked with an arrow “–>”). If a task was canceled because I didn’t feel like it needed to be done or it went back onto one of my lists in the back, I would mark it with a “–“.
I also use my weekly layout to track how my time is spent in my 4 main categories of task. In this case, yellow represents home, green is family, blue is my blog, and pink is for self-care. I color in both the tasks and the time blocks spent so I can easily see at a glance how well balanced my life and work was. In the picture above, it was the first week of summer, so we spent time in mom’s summer camp and I tried keeping my 3 boys busy!
I think keeping track of how I spend my time is the single most important thing I can do to boost my productivity each week. And it’s so easy to do!
Monthly (or Weekly Reflections)
In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity* , David Allen suggests conducting a weekly review so that you can know how your time was spent, what went well, what went wrong and how to improve upon it next week. And the Passion Planner is the first planner I have seen where we have enough space and are encouraged to do that review. In addition, we are encouraged to think about our best memorable moments and update our Passion Planner Roadmaps for goals we accomplished so we can keep motivated to stay on track.
Now the Passion Planner says to do this monthly, but this post from anadel.plans on Instagram showed how she did the exercise weekly:
I loved that idea, so that’s what I started doing too since it is easier for me to remember how the week went every Sunday then it is to remember how the month went on the 1st of the following month. I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast, let alone what happened earlier in the month I might need to remember. So weekly reflections it is for me…
There is also an End of Year Reflection using this same format.
Now here’s where it gets fun for list lovers like me. These various lists are what bullet journalers consider “collections.” I have a classic size Passion Planner so these are full blank pages where I can write everything down I want to do and keep track of. And of all the planners I’ve had over the years, the Passion Planner gives the most notes pages, 20 blank and 20 gridded. Even with all my crazy lists, I still haven’t filled it up.
Again, in the to do list section you can see how I use bullet journal signifiers to denote whether a task has been completed (marked with an “X”), in process (marked with a “/”) or canceled (marked with a “–“).
Here are some ideas for how I use the notes pages:
- Things to do to make our house a dream home, one of my biggest priorities
- Photo albums I need to create
- Our travel bucket list
- Individual kids lists to help make their dreams come true
- Self care projects I’d like to do
- Productivity books to read
- My planning routine
- Books to read!!! (a list for signed books and ones for my Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge). When I’ve read it, I “X” through the dot next to the item and give it a star rating and year read.
- blog statistics and Elite Blog Academy* course completion tracker
A full size pocket in the back to hold little goodies.
Size: Classic A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches) and Compact A5 (5.83 x 8.27 inches)
Here’s a size comparison from the outside…the blush pink is the Classic size that are all pictured above and the purple Compact is the undated one I have just to keep track of my health and wellness.
To see the size difference, you can print up the different sizes and test them out to see what works for you on Passion Planner’s website.
Format: Dated vs. Undated, Sunday start vs. Monday start
The pictures above are all my dated 2017 Sunday start. The dated versions have their monthly calendar followed by their weekly counterparts. So, for example, all September pages are together. The monthly and weekly views all start on Sunday in my planner. In 2018, they are selling some dated calendars that start on Mondays so your weekends are together.
The planner I’m giving away below is an undated Monday start. In the undated, all the 12 monthly calendars are put together and then all the weekly layouts follow. The undated planner is great ESPECIALLY if you:
- want to start planning in it RIGHT NOW!
- easy to customize if you’re a sporadic planner
- you want to use it for a health and wellness, dream, memory journal or any specialized purpose
And all the monthly and weekly calendars start on Monday and end on Sunday. I like that since it keeps your weekend together and I typically do my planning on Monday morning cause Sunday nights I’m too exhausted!
Now on to the quick GIVEAWAY!
My newsletter subscribers got first news of my giveaway, so it pays to be a subscriber! You can subscribe to my Planning and Productivity newsletter here (and use it to gain extra entries in the giveaway)!
I’m giving away:
- one undated Limited Edition Paradise Blue Passion Planner (Classic Size 8.27 x 11.69 inches)
- one paperback copy of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity* by David Allen
- one pack of Papermate Inkjoy colored gel pens
- and a few other fun, little surprises.
Enter to win here! US addresses, giveaway ends 10/15/17 at 12:00am EST.
Well I hope that takes you through my Passion Planner bullet journal and why I think it’s the perfect planning solution. It has minimal layouts you can easily customize to suit your needs. The classic size has plenty of space to write in and the compact is a little easy to carry powerhouse. And using bullet journal techniques for keeping track of the status of your tasks helps ensure nothing important falls through the cracks.
Remember, you can visit Passion Planner’s website to download free printables of their various layouts. Try it out, you won’t regret it!
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