I’m so excited for today’s blog post! I don’t usually publish on Saturdays, but I wanted to share an additional post this week to showcase how I use my planner and to announce that I am officially a Passion Planner* Ambassador (!!!). For those of you who are new around here, I lovvveee planners, dreaming big, list-making, color-coordinating—all that good stuff. While a planner might seem kind of unnecessary these days due to so many events being cancelled, I would argue that a planner is even more essential now, as lots of us continue to stay home or are starting online classes. Afterall, keeping a planner can help you stay on task, stay motivated, and make the most of those long days at home. Keep reading to see how I use my Passion Planner, to learn about all its cool features, and to use my discount code for 10% off your purchase!
I’ve raved about the Passion Planner and all of its amazing features before on the blog (in last year’s Back to School series), so I’m super excited to be working with them as an ambassador. Not only is the Passion Planner my absolute favorite daytimer—and I’ve tried a lot over the years—but I also love the company as a whole, with their commitment to doing social good and their “get one, give one” initiative. You can read more about the company here!
This will be my third year using a Passion Planner, after my first professor in college required use to purchase one for our freshman seminar class. This year I bought the Academic Planner in GeoTurquoise (Monday start), which is a gorgeous turquoise color with a fun design on the front. As an academic planner, my planner starts in August and ends in July, but Jan-Dec 2021 planners will go on sale in a few weeks.
You can buy my exact GeoTurquoise planner here or browse other colors, and be sure to use my code “GRACEG1” at checkout for 10% off your order!
And now onto how I use my planner! Like most college students, I’m extremely busy, balancing a full course-load of classes, a part-time job, my blogging side hustle, etc. It’s a lot to keep track of, so I’m thankful to have a planner to keep all my notes and tasks in one place. In the past, I haven’t taken full advantage of the Passion Planner and all it has to offer, but this year I’m really excited to make the absolute most of all its amazing features.
My top priority for this year’s planner is to make it prettier and treat it as a one-stop-shop for all my planning, journaling, list-making, etc. The Passion Planner is designed to be a journal and planner in one, but in the past I’ve only used it as the latter. Below is a pic of this week’s layout as an example! (With some portions blurred out, as a planner’s contents can be pretty personal.)
While I love the look of bullet journaling, pretty doodles, stickers, and washi tape, I’m not willing to devote that kind of time or money into my planner. All I have are my trusty Paper Mate pens (the same ones from high school) and a tiny ruler. So yes, while my weekly layouts aren’t quite as glamorous as some people’s, I’m really happy with how mine have been looking! My pages have much more color than in previous years, and I’ve been practicing various fonts.
Here’s how I set up my weekly layouts:
- The first thing I do each week is pencil in all of my meetings, classes, or other pre-determined time commitments, using different colored pens for different categories. Since school hasn’t started yet, I don’t have a ton of strictly timed meetings or events. But even if your classes will be online this fall, I highly recommend “penciling in” time to do your schoolwork. This will keep you much more accountable! (The same goes for penciling in specific time to workout, or even time to relax.) See this post to read more tips about online learning.
- The second thing I do is fill in the “Personal” and “Work” to-do lists in the bottom left. I keep everything pertaining to my job, classes, and the blog on the “Work” side, and everything else (chores, goal-setting, etc.) goes on the left “Personal” side. These lists are prioritized as well!
- Next, I spend some time thinking about what I want the week’s focus to be (upper left corner). This week, I’ve been timing how long I spend working on the blog. Some other examples of my weekly focuses include accomplishing a big school project, sending in an application, working X number of hours, etc.
- After that, I just plan day-by-day, starting with identifying a focus to put in the “Today’s Focus” at the top of each column. I really love this feature, as it helps me narrow in on just one task that I have to complete each day in order for the day to feel successful. Some days I like to block out very specific schedules for myself, and I’m usually most productive on those days (you can see I did this for part of the day on Monday). I’ve also been loving putting daily to-do lists in the columns. I used to divide the space in the bottom right into seven sections and put daily to-do lists there, but I like putting them in each day’s column much better. Then, if there’s any space left over, I’ll do a little journaling within the column as well!
- The space in the bottom right can be used for whatever you want—more lists, doodles, fun stickers, etc. Each weekly layout includes a quote and an action item, and this week’s action item was making a list of your strengths and weaknesses and reflecting on them. That’s how I chose to use this week’s blank space!
As you can imagine, there are a million and one ways to use and decorate these weekly layouts. I felt very overwhelmed when I received my first Passion Planner and wasn’t sure how to best utilize all the space. It takes a lot of trial and error to find something that works for you! And I continue to test new methods constantly. You can check out my Passion Planner Pinterest board for more inspiration (and way prettier designs), or you can head to the Passion Planner website for tips, videos, etc. The Passion Planner community is huge, so there are infinite resources out there on how to use your planner!
On top of lots of places and prompts to journal, the Passion Planner also comes with several blank pages and bullet journaling pages in the back of the planner. I’ve never used these pages in past years, but I decided to embrace just a hint of the bullet journaling craze in my planner this year! To start, how CUTE is this birthday tracker? I copied the general idea from this photo (and obviously I still need to fill in all the birthdays). I also finally decided to try a mood tracker. It’s been really interesting to see how my mood changes day-to-day, especially now with so much general stress and angst about the pandemic and what-not. I’m surprised there aren’t more red squares in my tracker, ha!
One of my big bucket list items is to visit every U.S. state, and I’ve been coloring in this exact map for years. It always used to stay on the cork board in my bedroom, but I figured, it would go perfectly in my Passion Planner! I also decided to make lists for books, TV shows, and movies that I’ve read/watched this year.
In addition to the spacious weekly and monthly layouts, the blank pages, and the several journaling prompts, there is so much you can do with a Passion Planner! Their website even offers tons of free printables to cater your planner to your exact needs, like a finance tracker, school to-do list, class contacts page, and more. But I am by no means a pro at planning. I unfortunately waste a lot of time, so I’ve been working hard to use my planner to keep me focused and on task. There’s still so much to learn though! And so many lists to make, pages to fill, etc.
Regardless of whether or not I’ll have a lot of “events” this fall once I head back to school, I know I’m still going to get SO much use out of my planner. But what about you—do you have a physical planner? And if so, what are your favorite tools or tips for planning? I’d love to hear!
I hope you found this post helpful and inspiring to pursue all your grandest goals. I love this planner so much because it is constantly reminding me to dream big and take action to make those dreams a reality. While I am now a Passion Planner Ambassador, this post was not sponsored or required in any way—I just truly love the Passion Planner brand that much!
Have a wonderful Saturday and rest of your weekend.
Miles of smiles,
Use code “GRACEG1” at checkout for 10% off your Passion Planner order.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase. All thoughts and opinions are my own.