The Passion Planner Kickstarter project has been an incredible success. While pen and paper are powerful tools for unleashing creativity, they have limits when it comes to implementing actions for working towards your passion-related goals. This article shows you how you can combine the power of analog passion planning with digital tools.
What Is Passion Planner?
Passion Planner is a paper notebook that works as a goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, calendar, to-do list, and progress log. A personal planner that not only lets you organize your schedule, but also helps you focus on what you want out of life and build that into your daily planning.
When launched in 2013, the original Kickstarter campaign reached more than twice its funding goal. Meanwhile, the 2014 Kickstarter has reached 17 times the backers of 2013, almost 50 times the funding goal, and it’s still running until December 3rd.
If you’re not convinced that an all paper notebook works for you, you can pick up the full 2015 calendar for a $1 investment. If you’re willing to plug Passion Planner to your friends, you can even get it for free. Finally, you can download the weekly PDF template for free from the Passion Planner website.
Why Is Passion Planner Such A Success?
The magic of passion planner is threefold.
First, many of us feel disconnected from our passions in everyday life; some of us don’t even know what our passions are. The promise of not only discovering what we truly love doing, but then having a tool that helps us work towards making our passions a key part of our life is a powerful promise.
Second, pen and paper are fantastic tools for reflection and brainstorming. Paper is Zen for our brains: It comes free of distractions, a medium to be filled with our thoughts only; just remember to turn off your phone and other distractions. Amazingly, paper works offline, and can’t crash or lose your data.
Third, passion planner offers a guiding structure. Questions direct your thoughts, while lists and a calendar help you implement the actions that will lead you towards your passion-based goals on a daily basis. At the same time, there’s enough empty space to let your mind run free and come up with creative ideas.
I wanted people to look at the big picture and ask themselves “If I can have, be, or do anything, what would it be?” and plan their lives according to their answer. I wanted to make a planner that got people to dream big, take their dreams and break them down into actionable steps and incorporate those steps into their daily lives.
Why Is A Paper Planner Not Enough?
Paper has one big drawback: it’s analog and you’ll eventually run out of pages. Your passions, however, will be with you for the rest of your life. A passion planner that expires at the end of the year doesn’t seem like such a great idea if you think about it. Not only is it a huge waste of paper, you also drown brilliant ideas in mundane daily schedules and task lists.
Rather than using a yearly planner, you’ll want to use a timeless notebook to write down your thoughts, take notes on your insights, track overall progress, record milestones, color-code everything with bookmarks, and build a very personal passion development resource you can return to for the rest of your life.
And how will you keep track of task lists or manage your schedule? 21st century style with digital tools of course.
Digital Tools Are A Better Aid In Moving Towards Your Passion Goals
Time is fleeting and while each action will take you one step further towards your goals, in the end each individual action is meaningless; it’s the result that counts. You don’t need a paper record of your To Do lists and daily schedules, but you do need reminders that reach you wherever you are. Which services you use is up to you. What matters is not the specific tool, but the routine you create. And of course we can make recommendations.
Personally, I use Google Calendar because this calendar syncs with every platform, among other smart features. Instead of manually color-coding your calendar, as you’d have to do in your Passion Planner, you can set up individual calendars for different activities, which are then color-coded automatically.
Moreover, Google Calendar can send reminders to your email, you can set it up on your smartphone, and enable offline calendar access on Chrome. Events can reoccur periodically, which is helpful for regularly blocking out time for reflection or reminding you to go back, review your progress, set new goals, and adjust your tasks.
Digital Task List
You could use Google Tasks and take advantage of task integration with Google Calendar and your email. Google Tasks is also available offline. Angela has a whole system set up for how to never forget a task ever again and it involves Google Calendar, Todoist or IFTTT. My tool of choice is Trello, a versatile project management system.
I’m using lists for various categories of tasks: incoming items (sorting), stuff I need to do today, tasks for this & next week, things I’m waiting on, tasks I have to do soon, and finally a list of everything I got done. Labels are used to indicate importance and urgency of tasks, but you can just as well use them to color-code types of projects or passions. Trello just introduced unlimited labels, so I might reconsider my use of them.
I manage all my tasks through Trello and review the lists every day. Trello supports due dates, notes, comments (for collaboration), and you can attach links, images, and documents. Having passion projects sprinkled throughout my regular tasks reliably lifts me up and adds some sparkle to my day.
Apart from offering automatic reminders that plug into your digital routines, these tools have another key advantage: Should you ever need to look something up, you can simply search for keywords. Of course, the handwritten notes you make on paper aren’t searchable, or are they?
How To Digitize Your Handwritten Notes
If you’re wondering why you should use paper at all, let me stress again that pen and paper are important allies in the process of reflection. However, if you’d like to see the best of both words, you can either use a technology like Livescribe, which automatically digitizes your handwriting, or you can scan your notes and use optical character recognition to digitize them. Both approaches will make your notes searchable.
Alternatively, you could use a tablet and stylus and a tool like OneNote to recognize your handwriting.
How To Bring It All Together
My recommendation is to obtain the PDF version of the 2015 passion planner, print or copy the planning aids into your (Livescribe) notebook, use these to figure out your passions and make a plan, transfer tasks to your digital task manager, schedule time for your passions on your digital calendar, set reminders or due dates for both, and regularly schedule time to go back to your paper notebook to do your weekly and monthly reflections.
How Do You Ensure You Work Towards Your Passion Goals?
The hardest part is to make sure you stick to your plan and complete the tasks that will lead you to your goals. Setting up a smart system that works for you is the best way to maximize your productivity and reach your dreams.
Do you know what you’re passionate about? How did you find out? And what systems work for you in getting stuff done?
Image Credits: Bookmarks via Shutterstock