I Started Using the Passion Planner and Here's What Happened.

I Started Using the Passion Planner and Here's What Happened.

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I guess my journey with the Passion Planner really began on Friday, March 3, 2017 as I logged onto my school account to check my chemistry exam grade.

"Damn," I thought to myself. "I really need to get my life together." I'm not sure what led me to the Passion Planner website, but that following Monday, I decided I would give it a go. Just a quick heads up though, this gorgeous new addiction of mine used 167 of my precious prints at school.

If you are unfamiliar with Passion Planner, here's the run-down: this planner is supposed to be your new best tool to plan short and long-term goals, and actually achieve them. It incorporates challenges as well as reflections on your daily, weekly, and monthly life. There is even a mid-year check-in. This planner was born out of the overwhelming fast-paced lifestyle we all live now.

It's supposed to be the perfect planner — one used to help those who are lost, find their way. Let me just say, as soon as I started on day one, I was entirely hooked. I brought it to the grocery store just to show it off to my friend! I could hear the gods of all micromanagers sing a heavenly choir to me as I started the roadmaps (more on that later). I was actually planning things in my Passion Planner.

Basically, this nifty planner is supposed to help you prioritize your goals and gives you several tools to work towards them daily. And yes, there are constant reminders that you're doing well on your journey (can I get an amen from the anxious folk in the back).

When I first logged on to the Passion Planner website, I was instantly disheartened to see that the planner was thirty dollars, and the ones that were half-off were sold out — bummer. However, there's this tab called "downloads", where you can have PDF format access to not one but all of the planners! For free! "No excuses now," I thought to myself as I fatefully shared the photo on my Instagram page. Within a few moments, I received a confirmation e-mail with the password to unlock the planners, the key to finally getting myself together. I printed, hole-punched, and threw the planner in an old binder. I won't lie, it takes a bit of time to get it all together at first.

When you first begin to set up your planner, there is a page where you set goals for yourself — three months, one year, three years down the road, and even life time goals! This is basically like a five minute free write of all of the things that you wish you could do. If you could do or be anything in this time frame, write it, and don't worry about explaining yourself to other people. I found that not only was it relaxing to plan my day in half-hour increments, but it gave me something to look forward to each day. I challenged myself in Starbucks in the morning to plan out my day even more than I did on Sunday night, and to set my daily focus, i.e., what can I do today to reach my goals and better myself as a person?

In addition to the reflections and the made-easy time management, you are also prompted to make a "roadmap" of how you can achieve your goals. This is basically a mind-map of ideas that you brainstorm and can apply to your everyday life — another free writing session. For example, my lifetime goals are far away but what can I do today to ensure that they come true? In this roadmap, you are also asked to set deadlines. I like this a lot considering that I am still trying daily to better myself as a teammate, which was my New Year's Resolution. I can lay this out in a roadmap of different daily tasks and ideas that will help to ultimately reach this goal I've set for myself, with deadlines for each of them.

I made a list of pros and cons for the planner. Pros are that if you struggle at all with time management, then this is the planner for you. Your day is perfectly laid out from 6 a.m until 10:30 p.m., in half-hour increments. You have space to lay out your life daily, weekly and monthly, with a reflection at the end of each one. This planner lets the micromanager micromanage themselves! The cons though, I found were few and far between. It does take close to what I'd consider an eternity to print this planner, otherwise, you're shelling out $30 for it. It also takes a while to set up the undated planner; you have to write in all of your dates in the monthly and weekly calendars. You also have to know the purpose behind the planner, which means reading the first few pages, for it to work the way it is supposed to work.

After one week with my Passion Planner, I don't think I'm going back anytime soon. Sure, I got made fun of for having to have the perfect Pinterest-worthy planner pages. Sure, my best friend is tired of hearing me say "Oh my gosh! Let me Passion-Plan this!" or, "Let me check my planner!" before we hang out — yes, I block out the times we hang out. All in all though, I didn't realize how much time I actually don't have. Realizing that I have to say no actually compels me to say no now, and that leads me to have a less stressed out life. Knowing the times that I have blocked out for literally everything in my life now leads me to manage my time better, which leads to better study habits, and better living in general.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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12 Ways To Save Money During The Summer When All You Want Is To Spend It

Saving is important year round, but it's most important in the summer

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Over the summer, everyone normally has more free time than during the year, and that means more time to spend more money. Saving money over the summer is important, not only so you can be prepared to pay for things in the future, but also so you can enjoy your summer and no be stressed about how much money you've spent. Saving money is something that should happen year round, but it's especially important to do in the summer.

1. Create a budget

Starting the summer off on the right foot is super important to stay on track throughout the rest of the summer. A budget is something that you should have year round, but it's important to adjust it for your summer plans.

2. And stick to it

Not only do you have to make a budget, but you have to stick to it. If you don't follow your budget, you're wasting time and money, and it's hard to keep on top of finances.

3. Take advantage of student discounts

During the summer, college students find themselves with a lot more free time than in the school year. When you're planning what to do with your extra time, make sure to look if the place offers student discounts or not. Why pay full price when you don't have to?

4. Don't always go out to eat

College students tend to spend time with their friends going out for food or for drinks, and that adds up fast. If you have friends over to cook dinner, it can be healthier and cheaper to do.

5. Sublet

If you have an apartment you're not going to be staying in, or need to stay in Columbus, it's beneficial both ways to sublet. Neither way do you have to pay full price on an apartment, and any discount, no matter how small, saves you money

6. Take day trips

Obviously, no one wants to stay in one place the whole summer, but travel is super expensive. By going on day trips you get to see more of the state or city, but you don't have to pay for lodging overnight. It's a good way to get out without eating into your budget.

7. Walk around

Columbus has great parks and trails that not enough people think about using when they're planning what they want to do. If you walk around outside, you can spend as much time you want there and you don't have to pay anything.

8. Split costs with friend

Do both of you need a Hulu and a Netflix account? Why not share the costs and the passwords with each other, so that you both can save some extra cash in the future. This doesn't just have to be with streaming services, but it can apply to food and parking costs as well.

9. Don't impulsively buy big items

Maybe you've worked a ton recently to start saving for summer, or you have graduation money flowing in. You feel like it doesn't matter how much you spend, but it does. If you hold off on those purchases, and you save your money, you'll be in a better spot financially at the end of the summer.

10. Get a job

The obvious one. If you're doing an unpaid internship or your normal job isn't offering you many hours, then getting a second job where you can work to have a little more money can help you achieve your savings goal.

11. Don't be too hard on yourself

The hardest part of setting goals is when you don't achieve them. Even if you haven't saved exactly as much as you wanted, making even a small change can help your financial wellbeing and can be enough to make small changes in the future.

12. Don't force yourself to make big changes

Everyone's saving tips to Millennials are to stop getting coffee every single day from places like Starbucks. While cutting down on spending in these ways will greatly help you save money, it's not the only thing that will help. There's no reason to make yourself miserable in order to follow the rules of someone else for a small change financially.

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