Project Planning Guest Blog: 'Planning Your Passions' by Norman Viss

To-Do lists and New Year’s resolutions have much in common. We realize that something needs to be done, we resolve to do it (really, this time!) and we write it down. Somewhere.

You already know how this story ends, don’t you?
By January 31 you are running around muttering to yourself and to everyone who can hear you that you have so much to do and are always running behind. New Year’s resolutions are just Bah! Humbug! anyway.
You don’t find the words “planning” and “passion” in the same sentence very often. Could that be a reason our plans often fade into history with the month in which they are made?
What if you planned your passions? Or impassioned your planning?
To-Do lists and action plans should reflect the fundamental passions and drives of your life. Why do you get up in the morning? What do you live for? Love, making an important discovery, helping people with good health or relationships, raising children well, pursuing a hobby or sport  – all of these and more can be values that motivate us and inform our action plans.
Various tools can help unearth the underlying themes and priorities of your life. Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than setting some time aside to think about them, and write them down. It can be helpful to identify the most important relationships in your life, look carefully at where you spend your time and money, or ask someone else to reflect back to you on what ‘makes you tick’.
A coach can help you (re)discover the fundamental passions and drives that To-Do lists and disciplined resolutions are really about. The next step is to integrate those passions with the disciplines needed for daily tasks and responsibilities. You could call this process ‘planning your passions’.
A calendar that allows you to use swatches of colour to identify the passions, priorities and drives of your life can help you visualize the relationship between your passion and your action plans. Here’s a sample planner to show you how it works (this one is an online planner, but you could use a regular calendar with colored markers just as well). The first step is to identify the passions and drives of your life. I have identified four passions, and given them a place in a two-week period.

Once you have identified your life passions (and this may be the hardest part or the easiest part!), you can start to fill in specifics about how you will integrate them with your daily schedule (or To-Do list or New Year’s resolutions). You could do that as a note right within the swatches of colour. Like this:
Now I know exactly why I am going to make sure I eat dinner at home and go out one night in the week – because I love my partner. One glance at the project planner underlines that and energizes me to get home by 6:30 at night!
Your ‘Passion Planner’ can get even more detailed: you can add your to-do list, deadlines, meetings, or whatever you want in your planner, and integrate visually what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. For example:
With one glance at the planner you can see what you need to do, and why you want to do it. Your ‘to-do’ list and the passions of your life cooperate with each other, and become a source of inspiration and motivation! I love to see people get passionate about their passions – and their To-Do lists! Why not take some time to identify your passions and connect them to your to-do lists?
“Nobody can be successful unless he loves his work." said David Sarnoff, famous for his contribution to the early development of radio and television broadcasting (founder of NBC and CEO of the Radio Corporation of America).
I would add this comment to that quote: Loving your work is success.
Here’s wishing you every success!
About the author
Norman Viss is a partner at Isolated Internationals, a coaching service that provides Global Citizens with tools to help them break out of isolation. You can find him at (edit: page is not available anymore).

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