The Essentials: Planning

One of my 2019 resolution is to stay organized (and sane). I need a planning system that can organize my finance, projects, deadlines and ideas in one place.

I’ve tried multiple ways, such as Trello, Google Calendar, Bullet Journalling, using notebooks in different formats and sticky notes with different colours. After some time, I slowly merge different functions in each one and create my own system. Here are the tools I used to stay organized.

1.Passion Planner

“Passion Planner is the one place for all your thoughts.” The planner comes with a wishlist, roadmap, monthly and weekly layout. This is perfect for scheduling and having a bigger picture when you plan. The problem with using Google Calendar was I couldn’t add things like priorities and things I’m grateful for.

You can download the free PDF version here.  You can print this out and try if you’re happy with it. I use it on the Goodnotes App on my iPad and write with my Apple Pencil.

Image source: Passion Planner


This is a good app because I can divide my notes into categories. It’s similar to having a few notebooks, all in a digital place. If you’re not into digital planning, simply divide a notebook into different tabs to represent different categories such as finance, schedule, project A, family and personal notes.

3.Google Calendar & Google Keep – Notes and Lists

I keep these Apps on the top spots on my phone. They’re awesome to take quick notes (e.g. shopping lists, to-dos) and set important reminders.

4.Cornell note-taking system

Cornell note-taking system. Image from Goodnotes.

I use this system to make notes and organize ideas into actionable plans. Basically, you divide the page into 3 sections: Keywords, Notes and Summary. This makes my life so much easier when I want to look for specific notes and digesting the information. The Summary section is key, you might go to a meeting, spend hours there and still unsure of what the key points are. That’s inefficient.

5.Brain Dump

Brain Dump is a practice where you write down any random thoughts you have, on paper. We tend to have so many ideas and emotions that fly around in our heads everyday. These random thoughts and to-dos keep distracting us from what really matters. Write them down and cage them on paper.

6.Vision Board

I don’t want to share my vision board here because it’s TOO ambitious. You might laugh. I believe in setting a clear direction and going towards it, so I go all out with my vision board.

For example, I want to own a Tesla car one day, so I downloaded a photo of the car, and put it in my vision board. There’re images of UNICEF and other contributions I wish to make on the world too.


  • Daily, weekly, monthly – Passion Planner
  • Occasional – Brain Dump
  • Notetaking – Cornell Method
  • Lifetime – Vision Board

So that’s how I stay organized. Is it a little bit complicated? You can head over to my new Instagram account: @eve_topia to watch videos about these. Click on the highlights called “Planning” and you’ll see me explaining how I use these tools. Have a productive week ahead!

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