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

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


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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Making a Decision: an Indecisive Guide

To all the indecisive people out there: you are not alone


I am the queen of indecision. For me, making a choice will have me frantically calling both of my parents, asking all of my friends' advice and postponing all studying until the decision is made. Of course, this is because I do not want to make a choice that I regret – such as the time I decided that starting my job at 6:30 am would be a good idea, or the time when I scared my friends with how hyper I was after drinking both coffee and Boba tea. Yet when I take this caution of making the wrong choice too far, the decision-making process itself ends up being regrettable. So much so that I called my mom approximately seven times this weekend to ask her advice on a decision. So much so that my brother used an example of me not being able to choose what kind of shoe I should wear in his article.

This weekend, I was presented with two amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world this summer and I entered a stage of decision paralysis that I did not know was possible. No matter which angle I looked at each situation from, they both would provide me with a phenomenal experience, and would both require sacrifices. Despite not (as of yet) reaching a concrete decision, I learned a lot about the decision-making process and what to do in the next time I am faced with a difficult choice. So, in the spirit of finding summer jobs, gearing up to register for classes and deciding what on earth we want to do with our futures, here are the tips and tricks that I would follow to make the best decision that you can.

Don't overthink it.


Really, this goes without thinking! Or, unlike most of us, it goes with a LOT of thinking! Seriously though, if you overthink things, they will turn into a pudding mush in your brain until you don't know what you don't know anymore. There is a very fine line between thinking through all your options and overthinking them – and judging by the number of times I called my mom this weekend, definitely crossed it.

Always use the pro-con list


Ah, the Gilmore Girls. Not only did you inspire me to read every single book under the sun or have a witty conversation full of cultural references no one else understands, but you also taught me the beauty of the pro-con list. Choosing what you want can be messy and difficult to find because of the fears you might have. distinguish from the fears. Writing it all down on paper can often illuminate the right decision and show you which path is ultimately better.

Decide on your make-or-break factor


Sometimes even the best pro-and-con lists will not be enough and will leave you in a frantic analysis ("should I go for the decision with 3 cons or 3.5 cons?") When even the Gilmore method fails, fear not! Consider which factors you truly do not want to compromise on and go from there. This can mean that even the worse decision may be the right one for you.

Trust your gut


As much as it is difficult to dig through your feelings to find your true motives behind a decision, your gut can sometimes tell you what you are most passionate about and therefore what decision is best for you to take. As my Emory Reads friends tell me, passion trumps everything. Choosing which decision aligns with your values will often lead you to make the best and most-satisfying decision.

But trust your head as well


But your gut can't always be trusted. It can lie to you, and when you overthink too much, it can change its mind. Your gut feeling may be one that is furthermore borne out of fear of the other option. In that way, I have made many a good decision based on the pure basis of rationality. Using only our heart to make important decisions allows fear to be one of the factors, whereas looking at the decision rationally can help you see the ultimate path.

Ask around


When I am puzzled about making a risky decision, I often consult the people in my life who are on my side and want the best for me. These people can help you gauge what your heart truly desires, bring up factors that you haven't considered and even act as a support network for you while making this decision. When your mind kicks into over-analysis, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to truly make a confident choice. Decisions are hard, people. Don't make them on your own.=

Don't ask everyone


There is such a thing as consulting others to make an important decision, and there is such a thing as relying on them to make your decision. If you ask too many people from too wide a pool, you'll end up having opinions for and against what you are proposing, which means that someone will always be disappointed in your decision. The bottom line is, asking too many people for their opinions is frustrating, no matter what – whether they have contradicting opinions, or they just nod their heads and go "hmmm, tough choice" (thanks, I guess?). In order to avoid frustration, consult the people in your life who know you the best and are dearest to you, rather than the stranger in front of you in line for fries at the DUC.

"Would my dad be proud?"


Or your granddad, or your mom, or your professor, or even a TV character. Whoever you know whose morals you can measure your decision up to will often provide reason and illumination. If the decision you are making is not too wild and you feel that you will have their approval, then it is likely not detrimental.

Stick with your decision!


Resolutely make up your mind and refuse to turn back. Exercise your right as a free individual to make a choice for yourself, and then do not second-guess it. Please don't do what I did and email a company two days later saying you've changed your mind. Please.

There is not always a right decision


Sometimes both decisions you are presented with have different but equally good opportunities. In that case, lucky you! You have two amazing opportunities and therefore cannot mess up. Rather than stressing that you are picking the wrong choice, know that you cannot go wrong in either.

Realize you will grow no matter what


Decision-making should be viewed as a challenge and a privilege rather than a burden. Make big, bold and beautiful decisions. Making up your mind can lead to a phenomenal experience that you will adore or a difficult experience that will only fashion you into a better person. Positive consequences can come out of any decision, even if we land in an upsetting position. Each choice we make can positively contribute to our character, fashioning us into the person we are becoming, day by day.

By the time this article is published, I will know my decision. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know yours. Let's continue to make decisions courageously, following both our heads and our hearts. Let's be determined to grow through our decisions, realizing that we have made the best choice we could, and never looking back.

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