I’ve been wanting to write a Passion Planner review for a long time. I first came across this planner right around the time I started college. At the time it was a brand new idea to me that a planner could be something more than just a diary.
For those of you not in the know. The Passion Planner is a diary combined with an instructional guide which helps you set out long term goals and break them down into smaller tasks. The diary part of the planner then regularly asks you to check in with those goals. Ensuring you are completing those smaller tasks, in turn achieving the bigger goals.
I’ve been using a PDF version of the Passion Planner for quite a few years now. As you will come to learn, my review of the Passion Planner isn’t all positive. But one of the things I like about this company is how accessible they make the planner to people who couldn’t normally afford one.
I’ve never really found a reason to buy a Passion Planner before now. Especially when I was so in love with my bullet journal. But during the summer of 2019, I got an email about a sale on Passion Planners. I managed to get a 2019 Passion Planner for around $5, yes it did mean it only had six months of useable diary space in it. But I’ve been using those pages at the start of 2020 even though the dates don’t match up.
So here is my review of the Passion Planner. I’m so excited to share this. I’ve been wanting to write this post for such a long time.
About the Passion Planner
The Passion Planner is made up of two parts. The first is a traditional yearly diary. With space to note down events and tasks. The second part is a journal, which asks you to reflect on your goals and helps you break those goals into smaller achievable tasks. I like this format of planner, the goal-setting part has been especially useful to me in the past.
The actual planner is nicely made. They come in two sizes, compact which is the version I bought. There is also an A4 version of the planner known as the classic version.
It has a soft faux-leather cover with rounded corners and a ribbon for marking pages. I think it could have been better with two ribbons to mark the month and week but there we go.
The actual planners have a very simple design. You won’t find any cutesy illustrations in this planner. I love this, I don’t like huge amounts of illustrations in my planners. I find they distract me from using the actual planner.
The actual design of the pages is a little overbearing. It could maybe do with being more minimal. But that might also be the graphic designer in me wanting more white space on the page.
Goal Setting In The Passion Planner
One of the main selling points of the Passion Planner is its goal-setting pages. I know that setting long term goals is something many people don’t like doing. That’s okay, but this planner might not be for you.
The fantastic thing about the Passion Planner is how it helps you to create your goals. It asks you to mind map what you want to achieve in the next three months, then one, three, and five years.
From these big goals, you can then start breaking them down into smaller tasks. These smaller tasks are much easier to achieve, and doing them puts you closer to achieving that big goal.
Take getting into university for example. This was one of my big goals for a long time. But in that, there were a lot of smaller goals. Write a personal statement, create a portfolio, apply to UCAS, visit different university’s. Thinking of my big goal as a series of much smaller tasks made it easier to plan out and do those tasks.
What the Passion Planner does differently is reminding you as you’re using the planner to think about what you’re doing in terms of those bigger goals.
So you have sections in the monthly and weekly spreads where you can set out the most important things you want to do in that month or week. These should be things which work back into those big goals.
At the end of the month, you then have a page which asks you to reflect over the previous month. What you did well and what wasn’t so good. From this reflection, you can continue to make changes going forward.
The monthly spreads are nicely laid out with lots of space for the calendar. Like I mentioned you have space along the left-hand side of the page to write down your top priorities for the month.
Along the bottom part of the page is more space to write down your top tasks you want to accomplish in the month. It’s quite handy that this section has been split into personal and work goal. I like that it makes that distinction.
One of the slightly weird things about the Passion Planner is how the calendar has been laid out. Most months fall in 5 weeks and this is how the calendars have been laid out.
Occasionally a month will fall over six weeks. This isn’t common but still happens. Instead of using a similar calendar layout, or planning for this and designing a calendar which is the same no matter how many weeks a month falls on. The monthly calendar will change on months with 6 weeks. Effectively causing that month to appear smaller compared to others. It is a strange problem to have. I don’t know if this is the best solution, given how the calendars change.
The weekly pages are laid out in vertical columns for each day, these days are then divided into half-hour time slots ranging from 6am to 10:30pm. I have to admit I’m not a massive fan of vertical layouts, I think these layouts are in some way related to the overall goal-setting aim, but I always feel this isn’t the best layout for setting out tasks.
The weekly layout has a large section at the bottom for notes. There are also several templates which you can download from the Passion Planner website to stick in this section. This is handy because it saves you from having to draw it out each week.
Similar to the monthly pages, there is a section for writing down your important tasks for the week, split between personal and work goals. I do quite like that these important tasks aren’t assigned to a specific day. Sometimes things do have to be moved about so it’s handy to have this in its section.
The overall design of these weekly pages isn’t great. There seems to be a lot of elements all trying to get your attention. But I don’t think the Passion Planner is meant to look pretty, it’s supposed to be a functional tool. Despite saying this I do feel it could have been designed just a little better.
The Passion Planner has surprisingly nice paper for writing. It is a smooth bright white paper. All of the gel pens I tried worked very well. The smooth paper makes it a nice writing experience with no problems like bleeding or feathering.
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Even my Mildliners worked well. The colours didn’t come out quite as bright compared to some other papers but that is a small problem. I did try a few brush pens as well, which worked well enough with no bleeding. But none of the pens reacted quite how I would expect with the paper. It was almost like the paper sucked up the ink, causing it to feather ever so slightly on the page.
I think I’m just getting picky here. The pens all worked well enough to be useable, you’re not going to have any problems with ghosting or feathering. It’s just that the ink didn’t come out quite as nicely as I would expect.
Okay, so my opinion of the Passion Planner is obviously influenced by the fact I didn’t pay full price for it. The dated planner costs between $30 and $35. It should be noted this price remains the same no matter what size of planner you choose. The price difference seems to depend on the style of cover.
There is also an undated version of the Passion Planner. If you do decide to buy a Passion Planner I would highly recommend you buy this version instead. Again it costs $35 but you don’t have the problem where you are constrained to using it between specific dates.
The Passion Planners are definitely on the more expensive end of the scale. It’s roughly the same price as a Mossery planner, however, I would choose a Mossery planner over this because I feel its a better designed product.
If you think you could benefit from one and can afford it, by all means, buy one. If you can’t afford the $35 price tag there are other ways of getting the Passion Planner. I’ve said this a few times but this is one of the things I love about this company.
How To Save Money On A Passion Planner
You can get access to the PDF version of the Passion Planner for free. The exact method may have changed slightly, I would recommend visiting the Passion Planner website to learn more. But when I did it all you had to do was tweet about Passion Planner. You would then get a password which gave you access to a part of the site that had downloadable versions of the Passion Planner sheets.
I found this extremely helpful when I started college. Especially the monthly reflection sheets. I would print out the prompts and stick them in my bullet journal. This was actually how I got started with reflective journaling and it found it extremely helpful.
Passion Planner also has a scheme called Get One, Give One. Applications for this are only open at certain times of the year, I would recommend signing up to their newsletter so you will get an email when you can apply.
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For this scheme, you apply for a Passion Planner, as part of the application you have to explain how the Passion Planner will help you. So for example, if you are a student and the Passion Planner will help you stay organised. As part of this scheme, you have to agree that when you have the means to pay for a planner you will do so so that someone else who can’t afford a planner will get one.
I do genuinely really like this system. $35 is a lot for a planner, especially one where the planner doesn’t look all that nice. But the actual goal-setting system is really useful and has helped me a lot over the last few years. I do like that Passion Planner is trying to make their planners accessible to people who can’t afford one. I mean, a planner alone isn’t going to solve all your problems. But it could help.
My Thoughts On The Passion Planner
I think my one main problem with the Passion Planner is that it doesn’t look great. It’s not even like it has a minimal design which you could then add sticker and other things to. The design is very in your face. But I love how it walks you through the process of creating goals and breaking them down.
Maybe it’s just that this works well for me. I like having something which I can work towards. It keeps me motivated knowing I am doing something which feeds into a bigger goal. I find it hard to work if I am doing something just for the sake of it.
But the planner doesn’t look great. Even the cover isn’t the nicest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s well made and I won’t need to worry about it becoming damaged. But the cover is one of the things which has put me off buying a Passion Planner for so long. There are no covers in the range which I like.
If you are interested in the Passion Planner I would highly recommend downloading the PDF version. As I’ve already said, I’ve been using this for years. The whole goal-setting system helped me get a huge amount done in a short space of time. If you are a student I would highly recommend taking a look at the planner.
But maybe don’t pay full price for it. Do something similar to me and wait for a sale, Passion Planner seem to regularly sell off old stock. Or have a look at the pay it forward scheme if you need a physical planner. If you want to stick with the PDF sheets you could even look into having them bound into one document.
And that was my Passion Planner review. Not quite as positive as I expected, considering how much use I’ve gotten out of Passion Planner over the years. The actual goal-setting system is extremely useful. I’ve seen several planners start to integrate this but none are quite as good compared to the Passion Planner.
But the actual construction of the physical planner isn’t that great. I mean yes it has been made well with a really good binding and nice paper. But I feel like it could still look a little nicer. Especially when you think about how expensive this planner is.
If you are a student I would highly recommend checking out the PDF sheets. If you have a lot to do it will certainly keep you motivated. Just maybe don’t pay full price if you want to buy a physical planner.