Passion Planner: Freelancers, this could change your life
Being a freelancer is hard. Sorry, I correct myself, it’s bl**dy hard. Especially when you work from home. Not only do you have to be good at self-motivation when there are no colleagues around you to bounce ideas off. You also have to be super disciplined and not succumb to distractions (of which there are many when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck). But above all, you have to be super organised with your time. And that’s where Passion Planner comes in.
I had reached a point in my freelancing career around a month ago where I constantly felt like I was chasing my tail, never able to see the end of a to-do list and never reaching Friday feeling like I’d drawn a line under all the things I wanted to achieve.
It may sound strange, but I felt like other people and outside influences were controlling my working day and in charge of my time. If like me, you work in a job where you mostly communicate online, you will probably relate to the feeling that your time is being sapped replying to irrelevant emails and saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way because you don’t want to turn down a potential opportunity. Or you suffer from a serious case of FOMO.
And while you might feel this is all ‘busying’ you up, it’s actually getting you nowhere closer to your career and life goals.
I read many books like Busy by Tony Crabbe to help find a solution. And while the subject of ‘busyness’ is probably a topic for another blog post, this book helped me reach a point where I realised ‘enough was enough.’ It was time to re-evaluate my priorities, take proper control of my time and ask myself the question ‘Where do you want to go with your freelance career?’
I go everywhere with my iphone and use it for inputting notes, important calendar dates and doing voice recordings wherever I go. But I just couldn’t live without the traditional pen and paper. I love doodling, making to-do lists and writing down travel bucket lists and things I want to achieve. There’s something therapeutic about putting pen to paper. BC still laughs at me for having a traditional paper diary.
Passion Planner then, got me very excited. I’d heard about it, through a beauty therapist who I met while reviewing a spa. It was developed by a post-grad student called Angelia Trinidad who found herself in a state of ‘analysis paralysis’. She needed something to help her to find direction in life and the rest, they say, is history. (Read Angelia’s story here).
The lady who recommended it to me, used her Passion Planner for arranging her daily appointments and for scribbling down life goals. The next day I asked the team at Passion Planner if I could give their diaries a go and within a week, a couple of lovely new diaries had been shipped to my house. Cue Day 1 of sorting my life out.
What is a Passion Planner?
There are various types of Passion Planner. You can get them dated and non-dated, in A4 and A5, but they basically all help you do one thing; record your life goals or business goals in one place, in a fun and creative way.
At the front of the Passion Planner you will find ‘Your Passion Roadmap’. This is a step-by-step guide that enables you to write your big life goals. You know the ones that are always lurking in that ‘if pigs might fly’ section of your brain? Like that bucket list dream to go on safari, that day you get 100% in an exam? Or that career daydream of kicking ass as an editor on a magazine? Yep, those ones.
This section gives you permission to scribble all of those lifetime dreams down and then list other ambitions that you’d like to achieve in 3 months, one year and 3 years’ time.
Your Passion Plan
After you’ve got all those short and long-term goals down on paper, it’s time to create Your Passion Plan. This asks you to write down your ‘Game Changer’. This is the one goal that would have the most positive impact on your life right now. That could be to find a new job, to cut yourself free of certain commitments, or to train in a new skill. Then you write down all of the things you could do to help you achieve this.
Track Your Progress
Once this is done, you’re free to get stuck into your passion planner. Each week you fill in what tasks you need to achieve and you can break it down day-by-day, or even down to the exact time. You have a personal to-do list and a work to-do list, which is especially good for me because my personal and professional life all too often blur into each other.
There’s also a ‘space of infinite possibility’ and ‘good things that happened’ section to encourage you to doodle and constantly evaluate your progress.
At the end of each month, there’s a Q&A section that asks you to reflect on the past month. This could be anything from Name three lessons you’ve learnt this month to What or who are you especially grateful for this past month?
As a new month approaches, you set the next stage of goals you want to achieve. And so it goes on…
Would I recommend the Passion Planner?
I think you can already tell, I love the Passion Planner and think it was one of the greatest inventions, especially for freelancers, the self-employed, students, busy parents, entrepreneurs, or anyone who juggles lots of demands at once.
Admittedly, I have some work to do on my time discipline and sticking to my daily plan. I’ll often find myself saying I will spend two hours doing blogging / travel writing / pitching and nothing else, to then find myself being completely thrown off track by an email / tweet / phone call. But hey, no one’s perfect.
I personally think the Passion Planner is a great way to focus your career and life goals, be more reflective and above all, give yourself a pat on the back when you’ve done something well. Because we all need that sometimes.
I’ve been reviewing the A4 Passion Planner which is a great one to have at your desk but is quite big for carrying around. I’ll be looking forward to January 2017 so I can start using my bright turqoise A5 Passion Planner which is very handy for taking with you wherever you go.
Let me know your life hack tools for getting things done and following your life goals. If you are interested in getting your own Passion Planner, visit PassionPlanner.com and follow them on twitter, instagram and Facebook. If you can tell then you saw it here first (if you did) that would be wonderful too.