#MyJournalStory: Angelia Trinidad of Passion Planner

#MyJournalStory: Angelia Trinidad of Passion Planner

If you're a planning enthusiast, you will likely be familiar with the Passion Planner -- the iconic planner which has arguably become one of the most recognizable products in the planning and stationery communities.

The Passion Planner brand, which has been featured by Glamour, Marie Claire, and Inc. Magazine, is not only praised for its user-focused product line, but is also well-known in the business community, having been named one of the fastest-growing private companies of 2019. 

We wanted to learn about the brand and its focus helping its customers reach their goals, so we chatted with Angelia Trinidad, the founder and CEO of Passion Planner.

Here's our conversation:

How did you discover the planning and journaling community? Would you say that your love for planning led you to discover the wider community of dedicated planners, journal creators and stationery lovers, which is especially vibrant online, or did you discover your own passion for all things planner-related after learning about the community? 

I didn’t actually discover the planning and journaling community until I created my own planner. During college, I was always someone that had an affinity towards paper and planners. I was one of those people that would buy six planners and gift the ones I didn’t like, which spurred me into wanting to design my own planner.

It wasn't until I actually launched Passion Planner on Kickstarter that I really started to see the planner community and be introduced to other people that were like me.

People that also loved paper, the tangibility of it, loved writing and used a planner and paper as a space to express themselves. It was a place to regulate emotions because my planner was a safe space for me to express myself and find consistency in my ever changing and sometimes chaotic life.

Can you give us a short overview of your journey to creating Passion Planner? What inspired you to create the planner, and where did you start? 

I realized that there were a lot of planners on the market that focused on getting things done without really asking why you want to get things done or what are your big overall overarching life goals.

I wanted to create a planner that did both, one that pushes people to take inspired action towards their goals versus just crossing things off to do lists.  There was nothing like that on the market so I decided to create my own.

I moved back to my parents home after graduating college and after three months of spiraling into depression, I took out a piece of paper and started to write down everything that was dancing around in my head. I realized that one of my most important goals was to make a tool that helped people.

I wanted people to look at the big picture of their lives and ask themselves, “If I could be, do, or have anything, what would my life look like?”

I wanted to make a planner that got people to take their dreams, break them down into actionable steps, and incorporate those steps into their daily lives, so that they have a clear plan of action to reach their goals.  

Despite there being many planner companies out there, Passion Planner is undoubtedly an iconic brand in the planning community. How did you build such a recognizable product?  

Honestly, I just wanted to make a product that I would use myself and that worked well with my brain. I wanted a layout that made me feel more at ease after I used it but also more organized and still free enough to make it my own.
I think the versatility of having structure but also space to customize it to your needs has made Passion Planner a very successful product.
Other planners either lack structure or have too much structure and too much prompting that it starts to feel like a chore. Passion Planner has just enough structure, creative space and is easily adoptable.
I also think the accessibility piece of Passion Planner and our brand has been a huge way for us to invite people into the community regardless of their financial ability. The fact that you can go on our website and print out the whole PDF for free has helped so many people essentially change their lives.
We get emails all the time about how people have used our product to help them get through postpartum depression, handle a big life transition, get through a divorce and just get through a time that felt hopeless and this was the thing that gave them hope.
When you help people in that way, without expecting anything in return, the karma just comes back to you in unexpected ways.
Giving without any expectation of getting rich or getting something in return has contributed to our ongoing success. We've given away over half a million planners, donated more than $600,000, and our download count is in the millions for free downloads.
We’ve been able to give a lot to the community and create a space to help people feel more aligned with their goals, regardless of where they are in their life.
We've also leaned into being transparent with our story, even when it's hard. I think our community has appreciated that even though it hasn't been the easiest to fail very publicly. We are constantly trying to make things right regardless of what different holiday seasons throw at us.


As someone who runs a business, can you tell us about the impact of planning on your day-to-day life?

I know that when things are really difficult, it's hard for me to plan but I do have routines and checkpoints in play to keep my momentum going. For example, I know on Mondays, I'm going to have our team huddle. I know on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm going to have a meeting with my CEO. I know that at two every day I'm going to have an hour blocked out for a nap.

So just having this amount of structure lets me plug in one or two really important things to tackle each day. And then ideally at five I'm done with work so I can be a human.

Having just enough structure has been helpful in me finding harmony between my work demands and life. It's not always super clear cut, but it creates some sort of cadence and consistency.

Writing in a planner makes me feel like I've done something because even though I know I do things, it feels different when it's actually written down. It goes from a very ephemeral space of not physical, because time isn't physical, to being a physical thing once it's written on a piece of paper.

This makes me feel accomplished and psychologically it helps me protect my mental health because I feel like every day is a win versus “I have no idea what I did today.”

Even if I just write that I took a shower and a nap and had a conversation with my girlfriend, just filling it out makes me feel like “ahh I like how that day went!” versus I feel bad but that I didn't “accomplish” anything that day.

Passion Planner has released different planners over time, including weekly and daily planners. How do you suggest our readers go about deciding which planner layout is right for them?

Going to the website, downloading a free PDF of the layout you’re interested in and just trying it out at no cost. That's the best way to make sure that when you do invest in the planner, it's something you actually want to use.

When it comes to a weekly or daily planner, either can be used as a goal setting planner, project planner, habit tracker, journal, etc. It really depends on what setup works the best for you.

Our Weekly planners provide a broader overview of how your week will flow, while our Daily planners allow you to get really focused on each individual day. Even if you don't want to spend money or maybe can't afford a planner, you can print out our layouts a month at a time and staple them together in a manila folder.

If you do that for the rest of your life and never spend a dollar on Passion Planner, I'd be super happy because it would hopefully make your life feel a little more structured and more organized – that's a win.

The reason why I continue actively working on Passion Planner with my team is to continue to help people. Passion Planner has and can change the lives of our community, new and old and even those who don’t directly buy our products, which I think is really cool.


Beyond staying organized, can you tell us about the other benefits of planning? (For example, mindfulness, goal-setting, and so forth.)

Definitely goal setting, big picture thinking and feeling like your life is moving in a direction that you want, which I think eventually then leads to momentum and momentum is where magic happens.

I think it's very cathartic, it makes me feel like everything that's jumbled in my brain gets put down somewhere concrete, which makes me happy and I also think it's very creative.

It lets me tap into my own creative energy, whether that's with stickers or markers or different pens or pictures. Every time I get to use my planner it's not only helping me organize my life, but express myself in a creative way.

Using a Passion Planner specifically helps you reflect on your progress and celebrate your wins versus continuously feeling like you have more things to do and more things to accomplish. I think it really helps you shift into a state of gratitude and being proud of yourself for the things you did.

Finally, do you have any tips for readers who may want to inject some additional creativity into their planners? 

There's so many avenues from using markers to pens to stickers to washi tape to pictures to using old clippings from magazines. Just dedicating 5-10 minutes or challenging yourself to take those five minutes to just be creative in your planner and see where that goes.

Don’t be intimidated, because it's not a competition – I think a lot of people are intimidated by the planner space because they look at other people's layouts. But if you make a layout and it makes you feel good because you got to create for the day, I think that that's well worth it.

Thanks to Angelia for sharing the Passion Planner story with us. Be sure to follow Angelia and Passion Planner on Instagram.

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  • Truly inspiring story! As a now, stay at home wife, my son just moved out, journaling is such a life saver for me. ADHD is real and my journal helps keep me on track. Brain dumps, lists (in one place) and a safe place for my feelings has made a huge difference. Your values rock!!

    Colett on
  • Where did you get your stickers? They are lovely.

    Candyce L Fulford on

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