What’s the first step you need to take to achieve your biggest goal? If that step takes more than 30 minutes to complete, you might be doing it wrong.
Meet Angelia Trinidad, creator of the Passion Planner. The Passion Planner is a personal organizer which encourages individuals to measure out what they want to achieve.
In less than three months, it became one of the best selling planners on Amazon.
However, before we get to that, it’s worth learning how Angelia got here.
From Pre-Med to Art
Taking a look at her achievements in art, it’s difficult to believe that Angelia began her undergraduate career at UCLA as a pre-med student before switching to art. She was also involved as a member of Chi Delta Theta and as a Zeta little sis. When asked how she did it all, she responds, “I just prioritized–and I didn’t sleep very much.”
As Angelia followed the pre-med path and studied more than she slept, she had a revelation many college students have.
“I studied so much. I studied more than I slept. If I’m gonna lose that much sleep, then it better be for something that I will eventually love.”
“I didn’t see myself becoming a holistic medical practitioner. I just knew that my calling was elsewhere,” she explains. “I was into finding out what people’s core struggles were and addressing that. For me, that was through art.”
However, the art program at UCLA is extremely competitive, which made it difficult for Angelia to transition from life sciences to art. She was rejected the first time she applied for the change in major.
“It made me question if I really wanted to do it and I did.”
She crashed two art classes, and spent much of her time working on projects at the sculpture lab where she ended up getting hired. One of her pieces caught the attention of a faculty member in the art department who was stunned that Angelia wasn’t in the art program.
Angelia was accepted into the program the second time she applied. She picked up a minor in visual and performing arts education along the way.
Life of an Artist
Her interest in art began before college.
“Art was an escape in high school. It was an escape from being serious. It was an escape from being such a perfectionist. I drew all the time. I drew Dragonball Z characters. I drew Sanrio characters. I drew Sailor Moon characters–all by memory.”
In addition to taking two AP art classes, she started her own arts club.
While in college, Angelia also taught art to second and third grade students who were learning English as a second language. “It was amazing because it was really hard for them to communicate [in English] and writing, but art was so easy.”
“Amazing things happen when you leave gates wide open for people. I think It’s very beautiful to give someone that space to just do whatever they want.”
The Key to Doing Good Work
Angelia believes that the key to doing good work is to enjoy the process. “The whole process of coming into a project blind, figuring it out, and then having something at the end that people can react to is something that I enjoy so much.”
In order to stay organized amidst her involvements, projects, and school work, Angelia created her daily schedule and kept track of her time using a combination of post-it notes and iCal.
She wrote her tasks on individual post-it notes and focused on one at a time, keeping track of how much time was spent on each task. Once she completed all her tasks, she put each task into her iCal and note the amount of time spent on each task. Then, she would throw away the post-it. “I like crossing things out and throwing things away. It’s a thing with progress. You see all these post-its and then they’re gone.”
This system allowed her to reflect on each day and take a look at how she was spending her time. Upon reflection, she would optimize her time by increasing or reducing the amount of time spent on each task next time.
Angelia integrated her scheduling tactics into the Passion Planner, and put the planner through multiple real-life usage tests with friends, maximizing its organizational potential.
Intentional Elements of the Passion Planner
She compares using the Passion Planner to the process of publishing a book. When you write the book, you must establish characters, a plot, language, and other details. Once the book is finished, you must find an editor, publisher and PR agent.
Similarly, the Passion Planner encourages you to examine your life as a whole, then declare goals and break them down into smaller, accessible steps, a process Angelia calls “passion planning.” The planner’s layout intentionally breaks down each day into 30 minute increments, allowing you to measure out and understand how you allocate your time.
“People think that they’re so busy, but it’s because they’re so busy doing busy work.”
In addition, a key element of the planner is the separation of personal tasks from that of work-related tasks.
Angelia explains, “I put personal first because I feel people put themselves on the backburner. It’s very important to be balanced. Work should only be a fraction of your life–unless it’s your passion. Once these two lists start to merge, that’s when you know your life is going in the right way.”
Directionless Floating of a Post Grad
The idea of finding direction and purpose in life was Angelia’s number one stress point after graduating in the spring of 2012. At the beginning of 2013, like many college graduates, Angelia began to suffer from post-grad symptoms of uncertainty, fear, and stress, a state she refers to as “directionless floating.”
This might sound familiar. “I felt like I had done everything right, graduated from one of the best universities on the planet, made proper career choices, and followed my passions.”
However, she realized that she was stuck and scared and had no idea which way to go next. “I realized that this feeling of emptiness and directionless runs rampant in us when fear is the primary motivating force that drives our actions.”
When an idea comes to us, “we think, we think, we think… and think some more but fail to act.”
Angelia wanted to turn that paradigm “on its head.”
“I wanted to make love, gratitude, and self-motivation the primary force that propelled action. I wanted to help people pursue their passions; to pursue that thing that makes them excited to get up every day because when you follow your passion, you never have to work a day in your life.”
“I feel like my life purpose is to pursue my passion of helping others pursue theirs.”
Haters Be Trippin’
In a month and a half, Angelia pushed the planner from idea to prototype, to manufacturing, and shipping. “It was like, what did I just do?”
“People would ask if I would have wanted more time. I tell them no. It was insane and it was amazing and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It was so much fun!”
“It’s very interesting being able to do something that other people think you can’t. So many people doubted me when I set my Kickstarter goal at $19,000. They would say, ‘There’s no way.’”
However, Angelia reached her fundraising goal in nine days and received funds for 25 days, raising a total of $48,030.
There were naysayers at every step. “There’s always gonna be people telling you that you’re doing it wrong. At least I’m doing it.”
Those people expected Angelia to fail.
“For me I don’t care about failure very much. [laughs]. I know that a new project’s just gonna come up. As long as I’m not dead that’s cool.”
“You will always have haters and you will always have people that think you’re too idealistic. For me, being called an idealist is actually a compliment. The idealists are the people that are making the world better.
Perhaps the naysayers were scared of failure themselves and projected those fears onto Angelia. People often discourage others by doing this.
However, she wasn’t always so excited about failure. Angelia recalls a moment in the second grade when she answered a question incorrectly. “I cried! I was that much of a perfectionist. I didn’t want to be wrong. I didn’t want to be embarrassed.”
Now that her work is out in front of thousands of people. “A bad review on the Passion Planner is in front of thousands of people. It’s like, I got the answer wrong in front of a thousand people instead of 30 second graders.”
“I’m a lot easier on myself. I have a lot more ice cream. I just tell myself to enjoy the process and embrace the victories.”
“The planner is not perfect,” she admits. “But that’s the beauty of it. It’s a work in progress and something I’m invested in for the rest of my life.”
Angelia wants you to stop the biggest dream killer.
“Perfection is a dream killer.”
“Treat projects as a series of stepping stones. You can’t expect to make each stone beautiful. You may want to take your time and polish the first stone to make it as beautiful as possible, but you eventually have to put it down, step on it, and move forward.
“A hundred stones down the road, you won’t even remember that first one. It might’ve been the ugliest stone ever but who cares? If you want to spend 100 years making that first stone perfect, you’re gonna die and nothing’s ever gonna happen.”
“Our culture is so afraid of failing and afraid of making wrong decisions that we don’t make any decisions and it screws us over. Failure isn’t the enemy. You’re defeated when you accept failure and you decide that that’s going to be your reality.”
“Action cures fear. It’s so simple and so beautiful because it addresses the idea that you’re not doing what you want to do because you’re scared. That’s it.”
Anything that you do, if it’s learning language, if it’s starting a business, if its writing a blog, if it’s creating a planner to improve people’s lives, action cures fear. Take the first step.
“Action cures fear. You just gotta do it.”
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