I’ve been a huge fan of the Franklin Covey system since it positively and permanently changed my life in 2004. I had just started a new job and during the first 3 months of training, my bosses brought in a Franklin Covey consultant who gave us starter-planners and guided us through an all day seminar on not only how to use them, but why having a more structured way of documenting and accomplishing one’s goals is valuable.After all, committing to putting plans on paper is no small time pledge.
Soooo, long story short, I realized that even though I accomplished lots of things and could systematically reach many goals (finishing my degree, getting a new job, etc), when it came to my personal/social life, I was a mess. I had no way to prioritize my time and activities and consequently allowed my time and energy to be drained away by the first or most demanding person currently in front of me.
Franklin Covey helped me to put my spiritual and social values alongside my professional and educational goals (yeah, I know, they should have been integrated already), and legitimized their prioritization. Suddenly, I lived in a world where my needs for time in prayer, with family, alone, etc., were not only ON my “To-Do” list, but were actually high priority…even (gasp) prioritized over other people’s demands on my time. TOTAL life change.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this system freed me up from a lot of psychic weight. Before, I didn’t have a dependable way to remember something that needed to be done 6, 12, 18, or even 24 months in the future. I can’t tell you how COOL it is to be able to write something down and forget about it, knowing that I will remember it when I need to.
Naturally, I’ve been on a hunt for the “perfect planner” ever since I started using one. My FC consultant flat-out told me that while FC has tons of products, a legal pad for each month, divided into sections for different priorities would work absolutely fine….it’s the principles of organization that are essential. Still, I really like having a dedicated, specially designed planner.
For years I used the original, “classic” planner pages….until I realized that there was too much in them that I didn’t use. I tried the “Design Your Own” pages for a couple of years and really liked them, but hated how much paper they used and how awful I felt if I didn’t use up each day’s space. (I detest tiny planners, so getting a tiny, compact one will never be an option).
In 2008, in an effort to “pare down” and avoid carrying 12 months of planner pages around all the time (I got a bit obsessed), I switched over to the Julie Morgenstern system. The best thing about this system was that it got me to “let go” of my past months’ planning pages, and shred them. It also got me into the habit of recording/backing up necessary info on my computer where I can retrieve it more easily. Other than that, I REALLY didn’t click with the system’s categories and layout.
So, this year I listed all my needs for a planner:
1) Paper (I would love love love) to switch to an electronic system, but can’t stand the tiny screens/power dependence of the current models. However, if I find an affordable phone/planner combo, I may switch over, since I KNOW I’ll keep my phone charged and with me).
2) Purse-portable (so simply having the FC software on my laptop isn’t an option, though I’d love it to use at work).
3) Must have “future planning” areas (for subsequent years, etc).
4) Must have a “month at a glance” view.
6) Can’t be too small b/c then I won’t use it…it annoys me to write in tiny, cramped planners.
7) Must have a place for me to write on each day, but doesn’t have to be extensive. <–OK, this was what opened my eyes to what I really want out of a planner. I realized that I do NOT need 2 planning pages or even 1 full page per day. Why? Even with 2 pages/day, I still run out of room some days and have way too much empty space other days.
My actual habits are to use my planner daily for glancing at “big picture” stuff and writing down future deadlines, and then supplement this with “to do” lists written on medium sized steno pads.
So, I got the FC, Wire bound, 1 year, 2 pages per week…yes WEEK!, month-at-glance, future-planning-pages-included planner. :) It’s quite small: about the height of one-and-a-half of my hands, and the width of a hand length. Definitely not tiny, but not a massive 8.5″ x11″ size. The entire year fits in this one notebook.
Thus far, the transition has been pain-free… :)