Passion Planner

Source: Kickstarter

Yesterday I shared my belief that pros live and die by a calendaring system. This post tells you mine.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: I’m not getting paid by Passion Planner.

One of my best friends recommended it to me a few weeks ago, and I’ve since adopted its approach.

I love it, so I thought I’d share it with you.

This planner is unique because it goes beyond tracking your time.

In addition to keeping a daily schedule, it recommends that you set a weekly focus, record good things that have happened during the week, and establish personal and work to-do lists. It also has you establish long term goals and conduct monthly reflections.

Now, I can’t afford the actual planner, so I’ve been using Google Keep. Here’s what my weekly intention looks like. I look at this almost every day:

Passion Planner

The bottom link goes to a Google Doc where I record how my week went and relate it back to the monthly goals I established at the beginning of January.

At the end of the month, I will write a monthly check-in, answering the following questions:

  • What was the most memorable part of the month? Describe it.
  • What were the three biggest lessons learned this past month?
  • Review your monthly priorities. Are you happy with how you spent your time? If not, what steps can you take the next month to adjust them? 
  • How are you different between this past month and the month before it?
  • What or who are you especially grateful for this past month? 
  • Name three things you can improve on this upcoming month. 
  • What concrete actions can you take to work toward these improvements?
  • From 1-10, how do you feel overall about this month?

I still have a lot of work to do to get my time management where I want it. It takes constant work to be the best person you can be. (And if you’re doing it right, you’ll always notice room for improvement.)

To ensure proper management of my time, I also follow a nightly routine of laying out my clothes for the next day and setting a to-do list for the next day based on my deadlines over the next week and a half.


Thank you for reading, my friend! If you enjoyed this article, please consider signing up for future posts by clicking the menu button in the top-left corner.

Five days a week you’ll receive messages that inspire you to live your best life. 

Your time and trust are precious. My promise to you: always strive for honesty, empathy, goodness, and usefulness.

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Let’s be real, adulting is tough.

If you’re like me, you struggle to balance all the forces of responsibility.

You’d think that keeping up with friends and family, taking care of your mental and physical health, and continuing to build your career wouldn’t seem so impossible.

But it’s a juggle. We’re all juggling. And, whether our egos will allow us to admit it or not, we’re all underperforming in some ways.

To help with this, the best of the best live and die by a calendar.

Yes, it will probably suck at first. But the alternative is to fail to reach your potential.

Keep at it. In time, you can make it work.

For more tips, consider checking out NPR’s podcast Life Kit.

Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash


Thank you for reading, my friend! If you enjoyed this article, please consider signing up for future posts by clicking the menu button in the top-left corner.

Five days a week you’ll receive messages that inspire you to live your best life.

Your time and trust are precious. My promise to you: always strive for honesty, empathy, goodness, and usefulness.

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If you text someone regularly and you’re always the only one asking questions, that person is displaying that they’re uninterested in understanding you.

If you put in a lot of work to make someone feel welcome or special and your work is complained about, you’re unappreciated.

Stand up for yourself. Command respect.

Self-absorption is, unfortunately, an all too common characteristic today. Here are 15 signs of it.

Selfie culture is vain culture. Don’t fall prey to the desire to please the wrong people.

The right people – good people – are encouraging. They’re generous. They’re thoughtful. They’re caring. They’re merciful. And they attempt to be positive influences.

Your time is the most important thing you can share. The moment you feel like you’re wasting it on someone who isn’t worth it, express your concerns.

And if the situation isn’t remedied, show bravery by walking away.

Photo by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash


Thank you for reading, my friend! If you enjoyed this article, please consider signing up for future posts by clicking the menu button in the top-left corner.

Five days a week you’ll receive messages that inspire you to live your best life. 

Your time and trust are precious. My promise to you: always strive for honesty, empathy, goodness, and usefulness.

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Work.

Simple and obvious, right?

Well, no, not really.

Work is called work for a reason.

Work is stuff you do even when you don’t want to do it because it’s the right thing to do.

The right thing could be the legal thing, the moral thing, or a thing you’ve resolved to do because you know that in the long run it’ll be good for you.

Understanding the last example is what will help you most now.

What’s good for you often isn’t easy. You know that.

It’s why so many of us fail to go back to the gym in March after we did so well in January.

So what can you do to better ensure success? You show up regardless – unrelentingly.

Let’s stick with the gym example.

If you’re feeling tired after a long day of work, but you know that you should go to the gym, walk at an incline on the treadmill.

Just be there. Your subconscious will start to figure out that, notwithstanding your feelings, you’re going, so it’ll start to prepare for it.

The same goes for writing, playing music, painting, cooking – anything.  Sit down, show up, every day, and like magic, you’ll start trying to do stuff that doesn’t suck.

BIG EXCEPTION: You’re not going to be good at everything. Chances are that, in fact, you’re going to suck at a lot of stuff. It’s no big deal. (I quit guitar because I just do not have the talent. And I’m a terrible singer.) Keep going. Experiment until you find stuff you’re decent at and enjoy. Give it, say, two years. If you’ve given it your best shot for that long, you’re probably not getting much better and maybe should move on.

For more guidance on this, check out Seth Godin’s The Dip. Some of this perspective was also taken from Stephen King’s On Writing and Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art. 


Thank you for reading, my friend! If you enjoyed this article, please consider signing up for future posts by clicking the menu in the top-left corner.

Five days a week you’ll receive messages that inspire you to live your best life. 

Your time and trust are precious. My promise to you: always strive for honesty, empathy, goodness, and usefulness.

Also, I’d love to get your feedback. I show up to build a good-natured, connected community. What’s working? What’s not? What’s totally amazing? Leave me a message at kyle@kyleaknott.com.

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Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, used to ask the company’s first interviewees if they would still work at Airbnb knowing they only had one year to live.

He did this because he only wanted people working for the company that loved it, that bought totally into the mission.

He did it because he knew that employees matter – a lot.

As a result, the top 40 or so employees all felt that they were part of the founding team. And when the company faced a crisis, they came together and lived in the office until the storm passed.

Next to the products and services you offer, employees are the most important aspect of your business.

They are the culture. And they are the most critical touchpoints because their conversations with a customer are more likely to be remembered than an intuitive, fresh website.

Nothing can beat rude customer service, or worse, wasting a customer’s time by talking about a party they were at the night before. (This actually happened to me when I called T-Mobile once.)

So strive to get the best.

Check references. And when you do, don’t just ask if the candidate was good to work with, see if they ranked in the top 5%.

While you’re at it, ask yourself if you’re an outstanding performer, too.

It’s never too late to shape up.

HT to Sam Altman.

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This is one of my favorite quotes.

Tonight I was on the phone with a friend, a clearly intelligent person, and I was reminded of it.

It needs no explanation.

I’ll just say this to you: You’re going to be working hard and spending a lot of time pursuing success. It’s easy to let society, your family, or friends define for you what that means. Don’t operate on assumption. Reflect. Think hard about whether, in the end, your definition will be worth the investment.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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People have a tendency to jump to conclusions about others.

It’s easy to navigate on assumptions.

The hard thing to do so is to take a step back and try to empathize.

While there’s a slim possibility that, yes, your coworker is evil and selfish or your supervisor is judgemental and incompetent, it’s more likely that you haven’t taken the time to get to know where they’re coming from.

They’re human, which means they’re complex, and probably see themselves as the good guy (or girl).

Everyone is learning. No one is perfect. And we all could take criticism a little better because we all want to think we’re doing our best.

Give folks the benefit of the doubt. They’re trying their best just like you, after all.