looking back on 2015: a year of passion planning

So I’m a huge nerd about planners.

This should come as a shock to approximately nobody who knows me, and even less of a shock to anyone who knows my mother. Guys, my mom is a planner champion. Growing up, my sister and I knew that my mom never went anywhere for more than a few hours without her “book”, otherwise known as the planner binder that contained her schedule, our schedules, vague attention to my dad’s schedule, family addresses and phone numbers (this was before cell phones), family birthdays (this was after birthdays)–this book was the household bible, and we were well aware that if that book ever got lost, the entire family was screwed.

Needless to say, some of that got internalized, and I may or may not have grown totally obsessed over the years with finding the perfect planner. Since high school, I’ve gone through a series of planners of just about every size, shape, and orientation imaginable, but always found myself supplementing with extra notebooks, binders, or just straight-up to-do lists.


Grad school is awful.

So, when a friend of mine shared the Passion Planner Kickstarter with me last year, I just about lost my mind. A planner that doubles as a notebook, a sketchbook, a goal planner, a to-do list, a doodle pad, an inspirational journal, and a self-care tool? SIGN ME THE HELL UP, TEAM.

I was a little late to the game to buy a Passion Planner last year, but the creator of Passion Planner, Angelia Trinidad is a truly wonderful lady who decided to make multiple PDF versions of the Passion Planner available online for free so that people could print individual weekly layouts or even an entire planner at their local store (or even at home, if you’ve got the technology!). Talk about a woman who puts her product right into the hands of the people who need it. I downloaded a full 2015 planner, and marched my tushie right to Staples to print it.

I won’t lie, it took me a little while to get used to this planner style. Part of me was a little daunted by the gorgeous, beautifully decorated planners I saw online, but I was also just a little nervous about getting into the fully integrated method of using this system, but after awhile, I got really into it, I’m not gonna lie.


I did not, however, get better at taking pictures.

Once I got into the planner properly, though, I got really into it. I made my weekly goals. I set my daily focuses. I tracked my to-do lists and paid attention to the different and assignments we were given each week. I didn’t always complete the assignment, but at the very least, I tried to focus on it and take it to heart.

I even started adding in my own doodling and quotes!

(Always giving credit to the folks at @passionplanner, obvs.)

One of the best parts of the Passion Planner system was that it provided monthly reflections to help users look back at each month to determine what was learned, who was helpful, how you got closer to your goals, if you were happy with how you spent your time, and what you hoped to do differently in the coming month. I wasn’t as diligent about doing these as I maybe should have been (full disclosure: I still haven’t done my December 2015 reflection) but it was absolutely wonderful to be able to look back at each month and see how I grew and whether I was happy with what I did.

I know that a lot of people are really into the whole digital planner thing, and that there are probably billions of apps and calendars that do all the things that the Passion Planner does. But in all honesty, and maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, having a paper planner is something that really makes me connect to what I’m doing. Maybe because it reminds me of learning the art of organization from my mom, maybe because I’m a packrat who loves memories and keepsakes, but I just can’t connect to a digital planner the way I do with a paper-and-ink one. And at the end of the year, something about looking at this just fills me with warmth and gooey happiness.

2016 marks my second year using a Passion Planner, and in a lot of ways I’m in a similar place as I was last year–filled with a lot of uncertainties and looking ahead to a lot of transitions and changes. But if my mom taught me anything, it’s that as long as you’ve got your trusty planner by your side, you can handle just about anything the world throws at you. So here we go, 2016. Let’s do this thing.


3 thoughts on “looking back on 2015: a year of passion planning

  1. Pingback: 2016 resolutions (happiness project, part 4) | Human Living Human[e]ly

  2. Pingback: embracing vulnerability (happiness project, part 5) | Human Living Human[e]ly

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