My new Passion Planner

If you know me personally or ever read my blog, you know that organizational tools are my porn. I use checklists everyday at work, at home, and for social stuff. When I get to school, I have a self-made checklist pad that I use everyday, all day. You would think that entering attendance multiple times a day would just become a habit, or writing the daily schedule on the whiteboard, but somehow those little things can fall through the cracks if I don’t check it off. Earlier in my career, I assumed that those little tasks would become ingrained in me, but after reading Atul Gwande’s The Checklist Manifesto, I learned that even airline pilots and surgeons go through a very important set of checks before they do anything – so now I just consider it an efficiency tool.

It’s a lifelong mission to explore and implement other efficiency tools into my life (because I’m nerdy like that). Back in December, I saw this video:

Within minutes, I had located Passion Planner’s homepage and pre-ordered myself a copy for the new year. I think I speak for many people when I say the idea of Passion Planner is genius, but as to whether it will help me in the long run is yet to be seen.

I have consistently used it for 3 weeks and I like it, but I don’t yet love it because it is a change from how I already schedule my calendar. For basic work scheduling, I use iCalendar on my phone; but for teaching, I need a full teacher planner that is completely separate (but if Passion Planner were to make a teacher version that would pretty much make my brain explode); and at home I use a whiteboard calendar, as well as written checklists. Now that I write it all out there, it sounds a little exhausting, but it’s my system and it works.

Well, most of the time….

Sometimes I’m sitting at my desk thinking, “Am I doing anything this weekend? I can’t remember…” because it’s on the whiteboard in my kitchen. And ever since I updated my iCalendar, the damned thing keeps messing up my dates! I near missed a hair appointment and accidentally double booked myself for a parent meeting and a massage at the same time (guess which one I went to). Thus on a functional level, my Passion Planner is about condensing and coordinating my many roles in life.

What about the PASSION part though? I was surprised to find that the end/beginning of the month review took me over an hour to complete, but ultimately it was time well spent. Since my long term goals are a bit blurry, my short terms are inevitably disconnected – but using the planner has helped me tease out some actionable pieces.

If you’re the kind of person who is good about printing things and keeping track of loose copies, you can print the weekly templates from Passion Planner for FREE, but frankly I would recommend shelling out the $30 because the real thing is fancy and makes you feel important, even if you are like me and only writing things like, “Cat Cafe – 6pm.”

3 thoughts on “My new Passion Planner

  1. I find planners to not be one-size fits all. I too have a bunch of different ways to keep track of my time. (online planner) and I have a scratch pad that I write out my to-do’s on. Then I have our school LMS where I plot out the curriculum for students. At home it is the year calendar on the cabinets in the kitchen. I need to see the whole year. It is important.

    There is a struggle though at school with planners. Kids use them/abuse them/don’t know how to use them. We told kids we weren’t going to buy them anymore and kids freaked. They have 1to1 laptops and could keep all of their planning online. But they want paper. Even then, how to we train kids to plan? Do we force them? Or let them figure out their own style? A little of both. I wish I had the magic formula to make planning matter to my 6-9th graders.

    • I frequently show my students my planners and checklists. I explain how and why I use them, and admit when I screw up because I didn’t write it down, etc. We do our classroom planners together everyday and I’ve got some good buy in, but I also allow freedom that if they want to use technology that’s fine for me. I also lead them through a lot of mini lessons where they have to make their own checklists for the day or week. If I ever skip those mini lessons they get grouchy 🙂

      • I also wanted to work on a Gantt chart with them. Something that allows them to see how many minutes/hours during the week they should plan on working on something. These are great ideas though.

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