Back in 1995, I read Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for the first. It has since become a staple of my little library. I could go on for days talking about the profound wisdom and inspiration this book has been to me through all these years. Fact is, if you have not read it, please do yourself a tremendous service and get this book. Dr. Covey’s insights are life altering in their impact.
That aside, I want to talk about daily planners. We all have them, or at least we should. It is a powerful tool. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Really, all you need is 2 parts. First, a small calender, be it monthly or weekly, to keep track of appointments, etc. Second, a small notebook. At the start of the day, write the 5 to 7 things that you want to accomplish that day, and at the end of the day, cross out what you accomplished and carry over the rest to the next day. Life becomes goal driven, it’s as simple as that.
Now, in Dr. Covey’s estimation, there are actually 4 levels of time management. What I just mentioned is really the 1st level. Each level builds on the next. Go get the book, study it and dissect it. I am not going to really get into that, as that would be beyond the scope of this review.
Dr. Covey put together his 7 habits planner as a working planning tool that represented in his mind, the 4th and most synergistic approach to time management. As someone who was into priority lists and delegation, and keeping copious notes of everything, Dr. Covey’s first things first approach to time management just resonated powerfully with me.
Fast forward, Dr. Covey’s group merged with Hyrum Smith’s Franklin group to form FranklinCovey. And basically, the merger took the best of both and created the most comprehensive planning tool on the market.
Yeah, well, sort of…kind of…, actually, its more Franklin than it is Covey. Disappointed in that. I thought Dr. Covey’s 7 Habits planner was really holistic. It looked at planning on big picture level. It was natural. The planner was weekly in layout. Dr. Covey was spot on when he stated that a “week” was complete timeframe with workdays, restdays, and all that.
Franklin planners tended be day by day. It was always about not letting anything fall through the cracks. It seemed myopic. Plus you had the A/B/C – 1/2/3 priority levels, lot of busyness.
So, the new planner, which is an integral part of my life, is geared more towards Franklin’s “nothing through the cracks” approach but the beauty of Dr. Covey’s wisdom is that it’s all grounded in principles. Timeless, unalterable principles. And his principles can be folded so well into the Franklin planners. Actually, with his principles, the actually planner is really irrelevant. You can adapt it to anything, including the pocket Meade planners.
But with FranklinCovey, you do get total, nothing falls through the cracks, wired in planner. With its goal planning and values introspection, it is powerful tool in managing not just your time but your life. It helps you focus and define your mission statement, your personal Constitution to guide you through the gray areas of life. Other planners are just time management tools. FranklinCovey aspires to give you tools to manage your life, that’s fundamentally the huge difference.
And Hyrum Smith founded this planner on Ben Franklin’s little black book and Ben Franklin’s wisdom. Can’t go wrong there. Ben Franklin wrote his list of virtues in his and lived by those virtues, focusing on a different one each week, building his integrity and self-worth steadier over time.
Most FranklinCovey planners are the same. Have same monthly dividers, daily planning pages, values and goal planning, finances, key information tabs, etc. I use 7 Habits version (surprise!). I like having the 7 habits tab with me daily. I like using it to continually refine my mission statement. The pyramid approach to goal planning takes that daily list I mentioned earlier to much higher level. And it reminds that I need to continually renew myself by “sharpening the saw.”
I have not used the other variations other than the originally, many, many years ago. But it looks very interesting. Planners geared toward real estate professionals, golfers, gals, students, so wide range variations targeted to different interest and priorities. FranklinCovey is nothing, if not diverse.
The planner I recommend – pricey – but great investment, because it is a powerful tool that helps you manage your life and your future versus an appointment book. Stop by one of their stores or go online and discern for yourself its value.