Planner Quote: March 30, 2015

“The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it.”

– Mack R. Douglas

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Happy Halloween from the FranklinPlanner team

Halloween is a day to bid October farewell and kick up your heels a bit. Celtic tradition says it’s also a time to take stock 62138_lrgcaseof your supplies and plan for winter. So, as you enjoy Halloween activities with friends and family this weekend, start thinking about your holiday checklist. Discuss dates for parties you’ll be hosting and start a holiday gift list. It pays to plan ahead for holiday travel, shop early, and get tickets in advance for cultural events you’d like to attend this coming season.

Happy Halloween from your friends at FranklinPlanner!

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30th Anniversary Story: Tina Pruitt

Read Tina’s story to hear how her Franklin Planner has helped her keep her life organized over the last 30 years.

Just recently I was wondering exactly how long I have used my Franklin planner and realized I adopted the system within the company’s first year!

I remember the classic planner size was the only option for several years. I began using it as a busy young mother with children involved in Photomultiple activities, and myself being a part of several committees with numerous meetings and trips around the USA. I carried it every where I went, and I still do.

My children have always been used to me checking my planner before I made any daily appointments. As they got older, they received their own planners that carried them through high school, college, and employment! My oldest daughter still receives a new filler each year as a Christmas present.

Even though I no longer need to keep track of schedules and trips, I do use it at my current position as a secretary at our high school. I use it to document multiple things that happen each day there!

Thank you FranklinPlanner for helping me stay organized of almost 30 years!

Sincerely,

Tina Pruitt

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Organize your holiday events

Gorgeous holiday events don’t just fall together. They’re planned into perfection. With Halloween on its way and more61242_lrgcase holidays coming, now is the time to plan your season. So, as you pick up candy for the trick-or-treaters, take a look at holiday invitations and schedule dates for upcoming holiday events you’re hosting. Once mid-November swings around, you’ll be glad you did.

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30th Anniversary Story: Barbara Moore

Read Barbara’s story to hear how her Franklin Planner has helped her manage her ADHD.

I have ADHD, and doctors say that medication is really only 10% of the solution, there needs to be behavioral change in order to overcome the challenges of ADHD.

For years I was a struggling, low level employee, not efficient enough at my job to progress. To fill my hours one day, I signed up for a Franklin Covey class offered at my work. I knew the course came with my first Franklin Covey Day Planner, but I did not know it would come with the information to overcome my ADHD challenges!

I was applying the Franklin Covey system a little bit at work. As the skills in my Franklin Covey Planner use improved, so did my efficiency at work. My boss was the first to notice my assignments were progressing on time and I was no longer backtracking and re-doing things I had forgotten to include. The more I used the planner, the more areas of my life I found I could improve with it.

Without going into an entire book of my life, I will say that it’s improved my relationships with my family, friends and coworkers to be more reliable. It’s been several years since my first Franklin Covey Planner, and I have grown professionally and personally with this system.

Sincerely,

Barbara Moore

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Finish your summer tasks

With winter just around the corner, now is is a great time to tackle things you want to have done before it gets cold. Set 63538_lrgcasea goal to tidy up your garden areas and dispose of leaves and debris before the first snowfall. Garden clean up keeps your yard tidy and cuts down on pests. Autumn is also a great time to organize your storage areas (including closets, garages, and attics). With your household in order, you can quickly access holiday items that may otherwise be hard to spot.

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30th Anniversary Story: Mary Ellen Pastorino

Read Mary Ellen’s story to hear how her Franklin Planner helped her and her husband successfully manage their lives.

In 1985, I was excited to start my first professional job out of college— working in human resources. I worked hard and was very busy, so I MPastorinophoto_Jul13thought I was doing well. Imagine my dismay when my first performance review noted that I was poor at time management and not focusing on the important things.

Fortunately, my company brought the Franklin training workshops in-house and I bought my first of many planners. It changed my life so much that I had my husband listen to the tapes and he, too, began using a Franklin planner. In our years together, our planning skills have helped us plan celebrations, holidays, vacations, and job changes while raising two children.

We have accomplished a lot. In 1998, I attended the ASTD international training conference in Dallas, Texas where I had the privilege to be introduced to Hyrum Smith, co-founder of Franklin. Feeling like a groupie, I told him how the Franklin Workshop changed my life. He smiled broadly and admitted he’d heard many people say the same thing.

Happy 30th Anniversary, FranklinPlanner!

Sincerely,

Mary Ellen Pastorino

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30th Anniversary Story: Angelena Soutar

Read Angelena’s story to hear how her Franklin Planner has helped her and her family stay on routine.

I begged my mother to start me on the Franklin planner when I was in junior high before Franklin merged with Covey. I loved using my Franklin planner and decided to, while in college, read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and “First Things First”. It is no surprise that my grades significantly improved when I implemented the principles discussed in those books.

I did not discover I had a learning disability until my senior year in college and I credit part of my success in college to the principles taught in those two specific books. The thing that has made the biggest difference in my life using the planner and all the things taught that go with it was creating a time management system specially catered to my high functioning autistic son. He is my oldest and I have two daughters as well. I struggle with keeping structure in my home and my son thrives on structure. It is when I read a book from the “Love and Logic” series that I realized that structure in the home is what helps children feel safe and secure, (all children not just ones with autism).

In understanding this I became more motivated to get something together for my family to have structure in our home with schedules and regular reviews of each day. The system was designed to teach my kids early about how they can be the most effective by learning how to make time for the “Big Rocks” in their lives and keep “them” a daily priority.

Most of us are visual learners in our family, so pictures are heavily used at first, and the schedule is flexible for events that are not apart of the everyday routine. The implementation of the system was the hardest part, but seeing my son start to do things independently without having to be reminded, or remind me about things if something gets skipped, has been very encouraging; it helps me feel that I am on the right track.

It has been incredibly healing to implement this system into my own daily routine. I am so very grateful to all the men and women that have worked so hard to make this company and companies like it a success. I have a sincere love and admiration for Steven Covey, for his wisdom and understanding that he made a point to share with the whole world. The Franklin planner is not just an organizer to me, it is a system designed to open myself up to constant “paradigm shifts” so that I can continue to improve myself and positively effect the people within my “circle of influence.”

I will never let it go and always glad for the opportunity to share what I have learned too.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Sincerely,

Angelena Soutar

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Go Quote: September 29, 2014

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

-Jim Rohn

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30th Anniversary Story: Colleen Boraca

Read Colleen’s story to hear how her Franklin Planner has helped her become a successful attorney.

During my freshman year of college (19 years ago), I could not keep track of and prioritize all the demands on my time. My brother bought me a PictureFranklin Planner which was one of the best gifts I have ever received.

Since that time, I graduated from undergraduate school and law school, passed the bar exam, served as a prosecutor, worked at a legal aid agency, and am currently a clinical professor at a law school.

Much of this has been done while balancing being married with two small children. This would not have been possible without the organizational help of Franklin Covey.

For this, I am grateful.

Sincerely,

Colleen Boraca

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Organize Your Bag

Most people have three main accumulation spots: the junk drawer, the garage, and the inside of their bag or briefcase. 45261_lrgcaseWhether or not you spent your summer traveling, you probably have quite the collection of things in your bag. Empty your bag in a clear, spacious location and go through all of the contents. Get rid of old receipts, notes, reminders, and expired coupons. It’s a great way to start autumn fresh.

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Go Quote: September 22, 2014

“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”

-Conrad Hilton

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Plan Your Year

Now that autumn is in full swing, it’s time to count down the weeks until the end of the year. Take some time to set goals for the remaining 62759_lrgcasemonths of the year, and write them down in your planner. Whether it’s picking up a new hobby or finishing off your holiday shopping while still wearing sandals, you can accomplish more when you plan in advance.

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Autumnize Your Planner

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Each season brings new details to track, new events to plan for. Autumn is no exception, with preparations to make for one of the busiest times of the year. Here are some pointers on optimizing your planner for autumn:

Review your goals for the year and set specific goals for the next three months. Break these goals down into individual components, and map out what it will take to accomplish them.

• Once you’ve mapped out your goals, mark your planner pages with reminders and deadlines for the tasks needed to accomplish them.

Track upcoming plans, whether it’s for Halloween parties or further of during the winter. Starting a few weeks out gives you time to coordinate schedules and make travel arrangements, or to set up the intricate Halloween display you’ve been considering putting on.

Make a list of the areas you need to winterize in your home or yard. Weekends tend to fill up fairly quickly, so mark tasks that need to be done now before they get crowded out. With forecasters predicting an especially cold fall for most of the country, you’ll want to stay ahead of schedule.

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30th Anniversary Story: Larrissa Geiger

Read Larrissa’s story to hear how her father passed down the gift of organization into her life.

My experience with the Franklin Covey system began with my dad. He worked in outside sales, and always had his “arm” with him. He wrote down EVERYTHING in that planner. Over the years his dedication to recording all of his calls, visits etc. helped us to figure out that he was having some serious health issues and to get him healthy again. Because of his constant example of using his planner, Dad was instrumental in me developing (or begin to develop) my own habit of use.

PhotoWhen I began a new job as office manager, he encouraged me to pick out a planner and the pages that I liked, going so far as to buy a complete system for me for my birthday that year. I have now had that same planner for close to 10 years.

Over the years, I have picked it up and put it back on the shelf. I have been using it steadily for the past five years, and now I find that it helps me more and more to organize the multiple roles in my life….Wife, mom, employee (juggling multiple projects), business owner/partner, volunteer and brainstorming how to start my own business. Over the years, I have discovered and changed the way that I use my planner, but I always find myself at a loss when I’m not actively using it.

Sincerely,

Larrissa Geiger

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Go Quote: September 15, 2014

“First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”

-Aristotle

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10 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining

By Patty Gardner

Having guests for dinner?  Sometimes having guests is more stressful than fun but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are 10 ways you can entertain and have fun at the same time.

1. Choose a simple menu.  When you’re having guests is NOT the time to try new recipes and new techniques.  It only increases your stress level.  Simple menus don’t have to be boring or unimpressive.  There are plenty of simple dishes that will wow your guests.

2. When you’re planning your menu, try to have a variety of foods to choose from in case your guests don’t like something you serve.

3. Don’t clean your house before guests come.  Really.  Don’t do it.  Most people go on a cleaning marathon before they have company and then they’re too exhausted to enjoy their guests.  Tidy the house, sweep the floors, do the dishes, and clean the bathroom.  Let the rest go.

4. Don’t destroy your budget trying to provide a fancy, expensive meal.  I had a friend who always went all out for guests and then she and her husband had to skimp the rest of the week.  Don’t do that.  It’s not necessary.

5. If you’re not experienced at cooking for others, try to plan your dinner party for a time when you have plenty of time to prepare.

6. Do as much ahead as you possibly can.  One of my favorite meals to serve to guests is tacos.  Tacos provide so many options.  A person can eat healthy or not healthy.  If they don’t like something, there are plenty of other choices.  And tacos are really easy to do ahead of time.

7. If your guests ask if they can bring something, and it fits with your menu, let them!  It helps your budget, saves you time and effort and lets them contribute to the meal.

8. And if they want to help you clean up after dinner, let them!
dishes

9. When you invite your guests, you might want to ask them if there’s anything they don’t like or are allergic to.  People are usually more than willing to let you know.

10. And finally, remember that it’s not about the food but the fellowship.  You’re having people over to spend time with them not to dazzle them with your cooking skills.  So don’t stress if everything doesn’t turn out perfect.  Just have fun!

 

What do you do to keep yourself from getting stressed out when company’s coming?

1311037-fp-guru-bio-pattygardner

 

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Picking a Planner

Why do we buy planners? Perhaps the biggest reason is because we want more free time, and the best way to find that is to plan out your day.64175_lrgcase

The question is, what planner is best for you? Do you want a daily or weekly variety? The answer to that question is personal. You’ll have to decide what works best for you. Typically, a daily planner is great for people who have hectic daily schedules and need to be sure each hour is scheduled (or protected). Others with less frenetic daily schedules may find that their weeks can get out of control. A planner that allows them to see their week at a glance works better for them. You’ll find several great layouts in each variety that can help you make the most of your time.

Look over the planners to find one that fits your personality and needs. If you’re looking for something especially personal, we’ve recently unveiled the FC Studio Wire-bound Weekly Planner with room for daily events, notes, personal inspiration, and even photos. It’s a creative blend of planner, scrapbook and journal rolled into one beautiful package.

You can customize it before you buy it and add even more embellishments after it arrives at your home. For example, you can personalize the front cover with your name and place a photo on the back cover as you are placing your order. Once you start using it, you can add embellishments like washi tape, enamel dots, photos, and your own creative thoughts. You’ll find room to plan and create all in one very organized book.

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Order Your Midyear Planner Now

There are few things more irritating than opening your planner and finding out that you’re out of pages. Your planner is62953_lrgcase finished, and you have no way to maintain your schedule or take notes. To avoid this dilemma, order your next planner early. The minute you think you have plenty of time to order, someone will schedule a meeting to plan for an event that is still months away. Your planner is vitally important. So take time today to order ahead. If your start date is in July, order now so you can stay organized. We have some great new layouts and designs. Take a look today and be one of the first to try them.

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Go Quote: September 8, 2014

“Achievement – You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.”

-Larry Kersten

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The 5 Senses: Help Your Kids Ease Back Into School Time

By Naomi Cook

Do you remember that commercial for Staples where the Dad is skipping around, gleefully tossing school supplies into a shopping cart, with his sullen kids moving sluggishly behind him, while “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” is playing?  That was aired in mid-July!  Meanwhile, the school year for your children may have ended just a month before!

So what can you do to get your children excited and motivated for the school year that is now upon us?  The simple answer is to keep it fresh and fun!  Here are some elements to focus on now to help get your kids excited about starting the school year…as excited as they can be, that is!

Sight:

  • Color and Pattern – Incorporate your child’s favorite colors and patterns into their binders and accessories.  There are many more fun options these days, versus when I was in school, when primary colors were the primary options!  Or buy the basics, which can be cheaper, and dress them up with colored and patterned duct tape.  If you have more than one child, this will help define which items belong to each of them.
  • Lighting – Make sure that the lighting is bright wherever your child sets up to do their homework.  Also, make sure that their surroundings are as clutter free as possible, to avoid distractions.  Consider keeping a closed bin nearby; to temporarily house those items that may be in the way.

Hearing:  Music can be a motivator depending on the type.  While metal hair bands may not help much aside from giving you a headache (!), some soft ballads and instrumental pieces can be soothing after a stressful day at school, or work for that matter!

Taste:  Work on creating some healthy and delicious lunches and snack ideas that are easy to pull together for that inevitable rushed morning.  Look on Pinterest for ideas and spend some afternoons with your child now, playing chef.  If a child is involved, they may be more willing to try something new.

Smell:   Scents can evoke such feelings as productivity and stress relief.  Try candles, or essential oils, in any of the following scents to help you and your kids face an evening of homework after a long day at school.

  • Lemon promotes concentration and calmness and helps when feeling angry, anxious and run down.
  • Lavender controls emotional stress and can sooth headaches as well as migraines and feelings of nervous tension and depression.
  • Jasmine calms nerves and produces feelings of confidence, optimism and energy.
  • Rosemary improves memory retention and fights exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue.
  • Cinnamon improves concentration and focus and helps fight metal fatigue as well.
  • Peppermint is one of my favorites, especially when writing articles like this!  It helps to boost energy, invigorate the mind, promote concentration and stimulate clear thinking.

Touch:  As part of their back to school clothes shopping, have your kids pick out comfy clothes especially for the afternoon and evening hours.  There is no need for them to be restricted by a uniform or tighter fitting pants and jeans.  A soft throw would be a nice addition too on chillier nights.

By incorporating these 5 senses now, before school starts, hopefully you will be on track to an organized and fun new school year!

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September is Self-Improvement Month

With every school from elementary to college starting at this time of year, it makes sense that September is Self-Improvement Month. Enrolling 60723_lrgcasein a college class is a great way to improve areas of our lives, but it isn’t the only way. Your planner is poised to make your life better right now. Take a minute and focus on something you would like to improve. Write it in your planner. Imagine yourself achieving your goal and set a date when it will be accomplished.

For example: If your goal is to learn to oil paint, set a date when you will have your first painting completed. Work backward from that date to decide what you need to accomplish between now and then.

Your planner is the perfect tool to help you balance your work life with your home life, become more organized, or even arrive earlier to meetings. It’s simply a matter of deciding what you want to focus on, setting goals, and planning the steps into your daily life. Start improving your life today.

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Use Your Planner Well

Your planner is great for everyday use, but it could be even better. With a few tweaks it could become your ultimate62009_lrgcase survival tool. Here are some examples:

  • Use additional forms and tabs to stay on top of your different activities, such as: maintaining your budget, watching your health, and tracking your mileage.
  • Add additional calendars to keep your family’s schedules coordinated.
  • Separate different schedules with Custom Tabs.
  • Use a foldout calendar to schedule out months in advance.
  • Add lined pages and make note taking easier.
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30th Anniversary Story: Donald Yehle

Read Donald’s story to hear how his Franklin Planner has helped him keep his and his family’s life organized.

In our family, our 20-something daughters (and now their respective husbands) have a standing invitation that I will purchase them a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApaper-Franklin Planner of their very own.

Both daughters know that information in Dad’s planner “saved the day” on many occasions—especially on family vacations. Events, critical business and personal notes, along with phone numbers, have long been recorded in my planners.  Eleven years of planner notes are still available on shelves at our home.

Now promoting passenger rail, I look forward to browsing through the binders to see what’s happened over the years. As I travel across America on trains and elsewhere on planes, a classic planner is always over my shoulder, contained in a Ben Franklin cloth carrying case purchased at Williamsburg several years ago.

My goal is to put the power of the Franklin Planner to work in my life and in the lives of my loved ones.

Yehle Family Quote, “The power of the Franklin Planner is at work in your life and mine.”

Sincerely,

Donald Yehle

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FC Studio

The latest trend in planning combines traditional paper planners with scrapbooking elements to turn your daily planning sessions into artistic flights of creation. With that in mind, we’ve created FC Studio, our most customizable planner yet.

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We designed FC Studio with more creative space than our other planners, giving you space to write, doodle, or tape in your memories. This includes more blank pages that serve as a daily canvas for your creativity. And for inspiration, each month features a stylized quote page to add new motivation to your days.

When you add an FC Studio Planner to your shopping cart, the website walks you through all of the different customization options, including several that are bound right into the planner. For example, you can add a personalized cover with your full name on the front and a photo from your computer on the back.

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You can then accessorize your planner with personalized notepads, bound-in address and phone tabs, adhesive pen loops, and a wide variety of scrapbooking embellishments, all designed to coordinate with the bright colors of the planner.

Order your FC Studio Planner today and make the most of your daily experiences.

 

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Autumn Is Now Here

With apples ripening on the trees and children returning to school, it means it’s time to start planning for the coming winter. Autumn is a great time to do projects around the home or yard. It’s also the best time to schedule out holiday events and set your final goals for the year.

Autumn Yard Projects

Cooler weather means it’s more pleasant to work in the yard or clean out the garage. A tidy garden area looks better whether it’s heaped in Fallsnow or mildly frostbitten. But the best benefit of a tidy garden area is that you won’t have as many pests next year. Dead plants are a preferred spot for hibernating insects. Getting rid of leaves and plant debris now means you’ll have fewer pests to worry about next spring. So, get out the rakes and make a day of it! Put a hearty stew on to simmer in the slow cooker and go outside to clean up the garden and enjoy the outdoors in the golden days of autumn.

Home Organization

Now is the time to sort through your belongings and weed out unwanted items. Garages, closets, potting sheds, and other storage areas can become cluttered during the summer months. But with winter coming, you’ll want to have easy access to holiday decorations, winter boots, and other items you have stored away. Sort out unwanted items and donate these items to charity. Organize closets and other storage areas so that you can easily reach holiday items you’ll need in the next few months.

Plan for the Holidays

Autumn is a great time to get your holiday checklist in order and start planning for a beautiful holiday season. Which parties will you host? Will you be traveling? Which cultural events do you want to attend? Who do you want to get together with most this season? It’s a good idea to start scheduling holiday travel well in advance. This is also a good time to get holiday shopping completed, since there is better selection and less crowding. Stores often offer wonderful sales at this time of year.

Determine Your Holiday Priorities

As you arrange travel plans, plan parties, pencil in events, and select performances you’d like to attend, don’t forget to schedule in some time to relax. Go ahead and write it in your planner: November 18th, 8-10 pm: stargazing on the patio with James. All too quickly, your planner can fill up with holiday events and other obligations. Right now is a good time to think about priorities and what matters most to you and your family.

Set End of Year Goals

The time to set end of year goals isn’t mid-December: it’s right now. That way, once the holiday events start piling up, you won’t feel overwhelmed. You’ll have it all in order. A bit of careful planning now makes for a memorable holiday season and a more leisurely and enjoyable winter.

 

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The Lost Productivity Secret

By Carmen Coker

If you could have a conversation with the late Steve Jobs, right here and now, and he offered you the key to productivity and success – would you listen to his advice?

Why wouldn’t you?! Every era has their icon, and one could easily argue that Mr. Jobs was the king of the computer age, and beyond. His ideas revolutionized the world in which we live. Sadly, he was taken before his time, as many of the great ones are. But he was, in fact, generous enough to leave us with his productivity rule of thumb. So…listen up!

The Big Reveal

When asked the reason for Apple’s achievement and innovation, Steve Jobs explained: “It comes from saying ‘no’ to a thousand things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”

Doing too much seems to be part of modern life. Every day offers new chances, friendships, challenges, and ideas. Indeed, the world is a creative, exciting – and busy – place to be.

But are you letting these explorations, if you will, distract you from the most important thing? From making forward progress? From being truly great?

The Ins & Outs

The word “no” is the most powerful weapon in your productivity and time management armory. It’s simple, and it’s free – a true win-win. The problem is that many people find it difficult to say it for many reasons like: maybe you’ll seem rude, maybe the proposition feeds your ego (if you’re honest about it), maybe you feel pressure from others, maybe…the list goes on.

Here are three guidelines to ensure you can say “no, thank you” when you need to most:

1 – Clearly define your vision and priorities.

While this may seem like an oh-yeah fact, human beings often lack mindfulness about these very fundamentals when making decisions, and this can quickly cause a loss of focus. [Tip] It’s vital to separate your vision and priorities into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, going from most important to least important. Keep a master list beside your desk, in your planner, or on your mobile for reference at any time.

2 – Use your vision and priorities to strictly screen all opportunities.

In the busyness of life, sometimes the day-to-day overwhelms the big picture. [Tip] Review your vision and priorities daily to keep them top-of-mind, plus constantly utilize them to screen decisions, big or small, about what you purchase, how to use your time, what projects you allow, and more. Weigh each opportunity according to whether or not it supports your primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. If it doesn’t, then mark it off the list.

3 – Have your no-can-do response ready.

When other parties are involved and demanding answers, it’s not uncommon for individuals to be at a loss as to how to send regrets in a genuine and honest way. [Tip] To avoid bumbling and why-did-I-say-that moments, create and memorize a simple script like: “Thank you for thinking of me. I’d love to support you, but I am unable to right now due to other obligations and priorities. Keep me in mind for next time, ok?”

The Bottom Line

Say “yes” to only those experiences that let your vision and priorities shine brightly. A highly productive person knows when and how to respectfully (and authentically) turn down anything that doesn’t sustain his/her values, goals, and dreams.

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

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Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is often the last barbecue of the summer. As you celebrate this extended weekend, use caution around the grill. Be sure to turn 61996_lrgcaseeverything off when you’re finished and clean out your grill before you cover it for the winter. That will make it even easier to fire it up next grilling season.

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Go Quote: September 1, 2014

“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.”

-Edward de Bono

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Eliminate App-Related Overwhelm

If you’re like most people these days, you probably have a computer, a smartphone, or maybe even both. With these tools come apps – sometimes many, many apps. Without question, some of these apps can be very useful. However, it can be very challenging to know which ones to get, and which ones are worth keeping on your device. Maybe a friend told you about a great app that they downloaded, or perhaps you read about an app online and wanted to try it for yourself, and you started downloading new apps. Before you knew it, you had dozens of apps installed, and have forgotten what many of them do!

Many of the clients that I work with tell me that they are suffering from app-related overwhelm – where they’ve downloaded or purchased so many apps, and their devices are so full, that they can no longer easily find or use the apps that they actually need. When this happens to you, your smartphone becomes a lot less smart and in addition to being frustrated, you become a lot less and productive. Let’s look at how we can approach solving this problem:

Delete the duds.

Open your smartphone or the applications folder on your computer. Not sure what each app, program, or tool actually does? Then it’s time to start the process of editing through what you have. Look at it this way – if you’re not actually sure what a given app or tool can do for you, then it’s serving no useful purpose. It’s time to let it go, and by let it go I mean uninstall it or delete it. Also delete any apps that you haven’t ever used, or used one time and didn’t like. This will not only free up space on your computer or your device, it will make it a lot easier for you to find the apps that you actually make use of.

Use what you have. 

So now you’re left with just the apps or programs that you use (or want to use), but do you actually know how they work? Most applications and programs, regardless of how well-designed they are, still typically need you to spend some time learning how to best make use of them. It’s not enough to just have an application on your phone or program installed on your computer – as great as some apps are, they’re not magic – all have a learning curve (some short, some long). You’ll want to spend some time getting to know each app or tool a little bit better and understand its capabilities. That way you can figure out how each one can best fit into your day-to-day life and help improve your productivity.

Add with purpose. 

In some ways, having a smartphone is like having a shopping mall in the palm of your hand. And at this particular shopping mall (your smartphone’s app store), many of the wares are free – so why not get a bunch? The availability of free or trial versions of apps makes it very tempting to just download apps and then see how they work for you later. Sounds good on paper, but this is one of the big culprits when it comes to creating app-related overwhelm. Just because a friend tells you an app is great, or because you read an article online telling you about the latest and greatest app that’s available, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right app for you. As with all things productivity-related, you want to make sure you’re acting with purpose. Don’t download a new app for tool until you’ve decided a) that you need it, and b) that you found the one that is going to solve a problem that you’re currently have or make something you’re currently doing easier.

I know it can be very tempting to go app-crazy and download everything in sight, but let me talk you down from the ledge. Remember, your tools are supposed to be useful – and just like when your closet has so much clutter that you can’t find your favorite outfit, when your phone has so many apps that you have to scroll through a half-dozen screens to find the one you need, what was once useful is now wasting your time.

Excellent organizing advice Josh, thanks for sharing! You can find more pro organizing solutions from Josh at Custom Living Solutions, or see more space-saving organizing solutions from FranklinCovey.

Joshua Zerkel

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Eat Healthy Tip

We all know that it’s important to eat healthy, but it isn’t always easy to do. The best way to eat healthy is to keep healthy food on hand. 39673_lrgcaseNutritious food tends to be more filling than unhealthy food; so healthy snacks help us consume fewer calories. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, we could grab a handful of almonds or a few carrots.

We don’t have to restrict our healthy eating habits to home. If we keep extra snacks in the car, we can resist slipping into the convenience store while we fill up with gas. If we send healthy snacks with our kids, they’ll have energy for their after school activities. This doesn’t mean that they won’t spend money in the candy machine, or slip across the street to McDonalds now and then, but giving our kids a healthy snack can reduce the number of unhealthy calories they consume.

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Go Quote: August 25, 2014

“Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.”

-Anthony Robbins

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30th Anniversary Story: Kristi Kreiner

Read Kristi’s story and see how her Franklin Planner has helped her keep her life organized.

Wow! It’s been nearly 30 years since I started using Franklin Planners in high school. I did not realize that I began my journey with Franklin inBlog Photo their grassroots! At the time, I recall being so excited to catalog and organize all of my activities and homework in one place. I was a very involved teen, and continue to be that way as an adult.

Now, 30 years later, I still use my Franklin Planner every day and take it with me almost everywhere I go. Yes, there is technology (like my smart phone) that can do scheduling, as well, but I just love writing in my Franklin Planner! It has served me well over the years!

My Franklin Planner got me through demanding high school years, all through my college days and through careers in child welfare, childcare, real estate, and personal business ownership. It has also been a vital part of keeping track of my mom duties over the past 17 years.

At one point a couple of years ago, I figured out that I was managing between 34 and 46 comings and goings with my kids every week! And it would change from week to week! I was looking at my Franklin Planner every 10 minutes to see where I needed to be next, or what task I needed to complete before I went for another pick-up.

I have used the prioritizing features of my planner – A, B and C – for years. This habit truly helps me manage my tasks and prevent things from becoming an emergency due to lack of planning. There is peace and ease which comes from completing things in advance and on time. My Franklin Planner has been an integral part of that accomplishment in my life!

I remember one time a couple of years ago when I was working with a bookkeeper to catch up Quickbooks for my husband’s corporation. There were some deposits in his account whose source we did not know. I pulled out my Franklin Planner pages from the past and was able to extract the information the bookkeeper needed about those deposits based on records I had in my planner. I had records of making those deposits (written in my to-do list and checked off the day I did it; this allowed me to verify which deposit was which) and I was able to look at my husband’s speaking engagements and work schedule that I had noted in my planner to decipher the source of the income. My bookkeeper was amazed that I was able to produce that information from 8-12 months prior. Go Franklin Planners!

My kids know that my life is in my planner, as well. They check dates for availability in the future if they are invited to a party or want to attend a special camp in the summer. They know I’ve got it all in there. They are now good at using their own planners for school and life activities.

I am very grateful for the Franklin Planning system, and I am excited to be celebrating 30 years of use of my planner with Franklin this year! Thank you, Franklin Planner, for continuing to be the leader in time management and organization! I’m a Franklin lifer!

Sincerely,

Kristi Kreiner

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Create a Study Area

Distractions can turn a 30-minute project into something that takes hours.

Make study time easier for the kids by creating an area in the house for homework. Make sure it has very few 41716_lrgcasedistractions, and that it’s loaded with extra pencils, paper, sharpeners, highlighters, and room for books. If possible, keep it away from televisions, video games, and cell phones. If your kids claim they study better with music, keep it quiet so it isn’t interfering with their thoughts.

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Go Quote: August 18, 2014

“We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.”

-Sonia Johnson

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Meal Planning Around the School Schedule

We’ve all seen people stopping by the grocery store on their way home from work to purchase the items they’ll need for dinner. There’s nothing wrong with that—we’ve all done that at some point. But you have to admit; last minute shopping gives you even less time to prepare your meal, and less time with the kids. We can make mealtime a bit more relaxing by simply planning ahead.

After all, the few hours of family time you have between the end of your workday and bedtime are crammed. You have sporting events to watch, play practice, dance lessons, piano lessons, and art classes to taxi, and community meetings to attend. We haven’t even mentioned the yard work and house cleaning you hope to finish before you fall into bed. Finding time to prepare a meal among the chaos can be a real challenge. Making healthy meals you and your family will love can be even harder. So what do you do?

Plan to plan. Meal planning is easier said than done. You need to schedule it into your week before it will happen. Designate a time each day to look through the coming week. Take note of after-school events and evening activities on your schedule. Those events will determine the meals you prepare. Busier days might require a simple meal, or something that you could prepare ahead and keep in a slow cooker. The days that are more open might allow you time to get really creative.

Meal plan when you’re hungry. It’s hard to think of food when your stomach is full, so plan meals when you’re feeling a little hungry. That hunger will keep your mind open to several meal options and help you keep variety in your plans. Write down your meals for each day and a list of ingredients you’ll need to buy. Try to think of everything so you can get it all in one trip.

Shop when you’re full. Plan to shop after a meal, for example: Saturday after breakfast, or Thursday after dinner. Shopping on a full stomach helps you resist impulse items and loading up on unhealthy snacks. Get everything you’ll need for the week (or even two), so you aren’t running back and forth to the store. Fewer trips to the store will give you more time with your family.

Don’t forget school lunches. Planning out lunches or snacks at the beginning of the week makes it easier to know what to throw into their lunch sacks.

Use a meal planner to sort out options for the week. Preparing healthy meals every day is a challenge. It can 1405025 GOMenuPrintable_Finalbe tough to provide healthy foods that you know your family will eat. Once you’ve determined meals that fit that bill, try to keep things interesting by avoiding repetition. Our free, printable meal-planning sheet can help you keep your meals interesting, nutritious, and diverse.

Take requests. If you feel like you’re stuck in a meal prep rut, ask your family for suggestions. Sometimes knowing you’re fixing someone’s favorite food is all it takes to keep you excited about dinner.

Create your food budget. If you haven’t already, take some time to assess your finances and decide what you should reasonably spend on food. If you’re really serious about it, you can keep all your receipts from grocery shopping to fast food and determine what you spend each month. Then you can decide if you need to cut back. Often the fastest way to cut down your food expenses is to eat fewer meals that are prepared outside your home. Of course, that makes meal planning even more important.

The best-laid plans are bound to fall apart, evenings will turn crazy, and your amazing kids and grandkids will keep you running from one event to the next. Knowing what’s for dinner can give you a sense of calm in the storm. Of course, even then, you will find days when you simply need to pull out sandwich fixings or grab takeout, but now those days will be an exception rather than the rule.

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Wanna Get Organized? 4 Must-Do Steps

You’ve vowed to finally transform your “clutter mountain” into a “clutter molehill.” Now that your mind is set, how do you successfully negotiate the ins and outs of getting organized?

(1) Have specific goals.

Don’t say: I want to get organized.

Do say: I want to organize my estate.

Speaking in generalities leads to doing in generalities – or no results. Take the time to make specific organizing goals so that you get the fabulous organizing results you deserve.

(2) Calendar it to make it real.

Don’t say: I’ll get to organizing the garage when I have time.

Do say: I need to schedule a day to organize my garage.

If you treat organizing like a regular appointment, you are more likely to take it seriously and follow through on your get-organized goals.

(3) Focus on one thing.

Don’t say: This week, I’m going to overhaul my kitchen, organize my files, get ready for taxes, clean out my closet, update my address book, re-do my schedule…

Do say: This week, I’m going to organize my tax paperwork.

If you try to take on too many organizing projects, you will surely fail. Focus on one task, and one task only, until it is complete. And let that success, as little or big as it may be, propel you onward.

(4) Have a positive attitude.

Don’t say: Organizing my closet? Yikes! I don’t know if I can…

Do say: Organizing my closet? I’m ready! I’ll save so much time getting dressed each morning…

Your thoughts channel real power to help you achieve your organizing milestones – so think positively not only about the process but also the end result, and put those brain waves to good use!

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

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Coordinating Schedules

As the new school year begins, take the time to coordinate everyone’s schedules so you don’t miss any events.

Write each item in your planner so you don’t double schedule your time. You’ll also want to track all of these items on a 60376_lrgcasecentralized Family Calendar.Having a centralized calendar will ensure that schedules stay organized and that your family stays informed.

Back to school means back to busy. Make sure you don’t miss a beat.

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Go Quote: August 11, 2014

“Leader in its most important sense means being the agent of your own life, influencing the things you care about most in the world to make it a richer life. ”

-Stewart Friedman

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Lessons From Mr. Efficient

By Patty Gardner

My husband is the most efficient person I know.  I, on the other hand, have to work at it.  I’m somewhere between a messy and a born organized with ADHD thrown into the mix.

But during the last 30 years of being married to Mr. Efficient, I’m observed some interesting things he does to make life a little bit easier.

1. He cleans as he goes.  When he’s making his breakfast, he throws trash away instead of leaving it on the Lessons From Mr. Efficient for Franklincounter.  While he’s waiting for his oatmeal to cook, he unloads the dishwasher or dumps the trash.   He washes dishes as he finishes with them.  If he runs out of time and can’t wash his dishes, he puts them in the sink instead of on the counter.  When he’s getting things out of the refrigerator, he tosses old stuff that he notices (I do it all in one fell swoop when the refrigerator gets too full).  When he gets home, he immediately empties the trash and dirty dishes out of his lunch box and puts his ice block in the freezer (I do it later when I clean up the kitchen).  He does things NOW instead of LATER.

 

2.  He sticks to a schedule.  He’s a self-employed remodeling contractor and has been for the last 26 years.  Pretty much that whole times he’s kept the same schedule of getting up about 6:30, leaving at 7:30 and getting to work at 8:00.  The only exception is if he needs materials in which case he leaves earlier, picks them up on the way and still gets to work at 8:00.  I think that’s impressive.  If it were me, I’d probably (no, definitely) have a pretty erratic schedule.

 

3. He takes advantage of minutes instead of waiting for big blocks of time.  Since we’ve been married, we’ve purchased several fixer-upper homes and remodeled them.  Most people wait until they have a big block of time to work on a remodeling project – but not him.  When we were working on a project, he worked on it a little bit each day.  You might think it’s a waste of time to get out the paint, paint a little bit, and then have to clean it up and put it away.  But if he had waited for big blocks of time, our projects would have taken forever.  Since he took advantage of those smaller blocks of time, he always got projects wrapped up in record time.

 

4.  He tries to prevent making messes.  During those remodeling projects, he was always really good about doing anything he could to minimize the mess.  It might have meant putting down drop cloths or hanging plastic in a doorway.  Whatever he could do, he did it.  He also cleaned as he went.

 

5.  He doesn’t run unnecessary errands.  He plans his errands so they dovetail with his route.  I’ve run to Wal-mart before for one thing that could have waited until I was out.  He rarely wastes time that way.

 

You might think that living with Mr. Efficient could be stressful for someone like me but it hasn’t been.  He knows I’m not like him and doesn’t expect me to be.  But I have learned some things from watching him and I like to think I’m a little more efficient than I used to be.

 

1311037-fp-guru-bio-pattygardner

 

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30th Anniversary Story: Julie Bailey

Read Julie’s story to hear how her Franklin Planner helped her keep life as a working mother of eight organized.

My story is probably much different than others. I am a mom to eight, and a wife of 32 years. I have used many different types/sizes/styles of planners to keep us all running on smooth tracks, but FC is my favorite. Here’s why: the superior quality of the paper and binders, the versatility of the various inserts and the ease of ordering.  At this point in my life, I am so excited to have a leather planner! For many years it was whatever I could find at Walmart! I use it every day, and find great peace in tracking our lives. I would love to win this contest, and already sing your praises to many folks, including my six lovely daughters pictured here with me.  🙂 Sincerely, Julie Bailey

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Optimize Your Family Calendar

In today’s world, our kids have more options than ever before. Advanced placement classes help them get a jump on college, after-school sports 41986_lrgcaseprovide exercise and excitement, music and instrument lessons enrich their self-expression, and volunteer work teaches them respect for others. Add these all together, however, and it turns into a pretty tall order on your schedule, especially if you have many older kids.

To make it through a modern childhood, you need a well-coordinated family calendar. Here are some ideas for setting up a calendar station in your home:

  • Make it Central: Find a corner of your kitchen or another frequently used family space and put up a dry-erase calendar. Get a different color marker for each family member to write down all of his or her activities. When everything is up, then Mom, Dad, and any teenage drivers can coordinate transportation. The color-coded system also adds a layer of accountability: if an activity isn’t up there in their own color, with confirmed transportation, they can find their own last-minute transportation (or pay for someone else’s inconvenience with money or services).
  • Sync Your Calendars: With the rise of smart phones, several members of your family might have mobile calendars in their pockets. You can encourage your family to add events to their phones as they put them on the calendar, and set up reminders as needed. The physical calendar lets you coordinate your electronics without being face to face, which makes a big difference when your schedules don’t align.
  • Track Your Meals: You can use the wealth of schedule information on your calendar for more than just punctuality. On any given day, you’ll know who to expect for dinner and when, giving you a leg up on meal planning. You can also coordinate any on-the-go meals you’ll need for afternoon or weekend activities, reducing your kids’ need for vending machines or fast food.

 

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Pick the Right Bag

Do your back a favor and get the right bag for your schoolwork load. Cramming a lot of books in a messenger-style bag will pull on one shoulder,49994_lrgcase and can lead to back pain over time. Use a backpack with padded straps if you carry a lot of books. Of course, if you tend to take one book at a time, then a small tote might be a better fit, or if you use e-books for your courses, then sticking your laptop in a messenger might be just the ticket.

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Go Quote: August 4, 2014

“Great leaders inspire. They maintain a hopeful attitude, even in the face of discouraging setbacks, constant criticism, and abundant opposition. People don’t follow discouraged leaders. They follow those who persist with hope…”

-Rick Warren

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Wanna Get Organized? 4 Must-Do Steps

By Carmen Coker

You’ve vowed to finally transform your “clutter mountain” into a “clutter molehill.” Now that your mind is set, how do you successfully negotiate the ins and outs of getting organized?

(1) Have specific goals.

Don’t say: I want to get organized.

Do say: I want to organize my estate.

Speaking in generalities leads to doing in generalities – or no results. Take the time to make specific organizing goals so that you get the fabulous organizing results you deserve.

(2) Calendar it to make it real.

Don’t say: I’ll get to organizing the garage when I have time.

Do say: I need to schedule a day to organize my garage.

If you treat organizing like a regular appointment, you are more likely to take it seriously and follow through on your get-organized goals.

(3) Focus on one thing.

Don’t say: This week, I’m going to overhaul my kitchen, organize my files, get ready for taxes, clean out my closet, update my address book, re-do my schedule…

Do say: This week, I’m going to organize my tax paperwork.

If you try to take on too many organizing projects, you will surely fail. Focus on one task, and one task only, until it is complete. And let that success, as little or big as it may be, propel you onward.

(4) Have a positive attitude.

Don’t say: Organizing my closet? Yikes! I don’t know if I can…

Do say: Organizing my closet? I’m ready! I’ll save so much time getting dressed each morning…

Your thoughts channel real power to help you achieve your organizing milestones – so think positively not only about the process but also the end result, and put those brain waves to good use!

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

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Planners for Each School Grade

Teaching your kids to plan ahead is one of the best ways to ensure a successful future. They’ll learn to make and keep commitments, set goals, and work to reach them one step at a time. But learning this vital skill doesn’t just happen naturally. It takes some gentle guidance along the way.

School provides the ideal environment for setting goals and planning ahead. School gives kids deadlines and makes them commit to certain activities. They learn the consequences of being late and see the benefits of a job done right and on time. A good planner can give your kids an edge as they move through school. Of course, we have several great planners, but we’d like to focus on a few specific solutions today.

Elementary School

The Elementary School Weekly Agenda is a fun, wire-bound booklet that encourages kids to keep track of their school schedules. They can track reading and spelling assignments, test days, and class parties. Playful art on the cover and inside the book helps keep your youngster interested as they learn the process of planning.

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Middle School / Junior High

Middle School or Junior High brings a new set of challenges with lockers, after school activities, and frenetic class schedules. The Middle School Weekly Agenda teaches your children to create their own opportunities by helping them set priorities, achieve goals, and manage their time. This creative weekly planner incorporates The 7 Habits into your children’s daily planning so they can reach their personal goals.

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High School

High School is a community in and of itself—with its own culture, social structure, elected officials, events, and even its own newspaper. Young adults who can manage their schedules thrive in high school. The High School Weekly Agenda takes planning to another level, providing more space for each day of the week, a stronger emphasis on the 7 habits, space for class schedules, and plenty of room to plan for after school activities. The High School Weekly Agenda is an ideal place to keep track of school dance dates, track meet times, dance, theater, or band rehearsals, and even locker combinations.

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College

By the time your kids leave for college, keeping track of their schedules and planning ahead will be almost automatic. As they load up their car with clothes, dorm organizers, tech devices, and their favorite music, they won’t forget to include their planner. The Playlist Planner is perfect for college students. This ring-bound daily planner gives them room for appointments, a to do list, and a whole page for notes. Each spread has a small month-at-a-glance calendar for easy scheduling, plus it’s loaded with entertaining facts and trivia for 12 different music genres. It also includes two-page monthly calendars and two years worth of future planning calendars. Keeping track of class projects and credit hours has never been so fun and easy.

With all the demands school places on kids, it’s interesting to note how little time they spend teaching them how to meet those demands. These planners will help your kids do just that. With the right planner, your students can have a lifetime of guided practice that will teach them the true value of planning and goal setting from elementary school through college.

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Organized for School

With the new school year around the corner, how prepared are you?

To help you get the chance to prepare and stay a bit more organized, we are giving you the chance to win a Putnam Messenger Bag.

This classic, durable, messenger bag will last (almost) forever. The classic, never-dated style and thick, waxed cotton canvas can take years of wear and still look beautiful. The rich leather details, handle, and shoulder pad give it a touch of rustic character. But the beauty goes beyond the bag. United by Blue uses proceeds from every purchase to organize ocean and waterway cleanup projects around the country. So your attractive messenger bag will add to the beauty all around you.

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One winner will be announced on Friday, August 8. To enter simply comment below and tell us, “How do you keep school items organized all year long?”

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Managing Time

Once school starts up again, it’s back to the daily runaround. Between work schedules, homework, and extracurricular activities, there’s a lot of 63827_lrgcasepotential for schedule conflicts. Whether you’re keeping track of a once-a-week appointment or reminding yourself of the doctor’s visit you scheduled back in April, your planner is there to help you.

And to take some pressure off, you can teach your kids the same strategies you use with Premier Agenda Academic Planners. Designed for each grade, these planners help your kids keep track of their assignments and projects (so you don’t have to.)

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Go Quote: July 28, 2014

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

-Steve Jobs

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Organize your Kitchen and Start Cooking this Fall

By Monica Friel 

The fall is a great time for cooking and eating, creating new recipes and bringing back old ones. Having a well organized kitchen is crucial for good meal planning and preparation. Making optimal use of the space in your kitchen is more important when you’re spending extra time asdsdcreating new recipes and making some of fall’s favorite comfort foods. Of course, every kitchen is different. Some are sprawling with plenty of open cabinet space to fit every appliance and gadget on the market. Others are tiny and tight without an inch to spare. However, many of the same rules apply when it comes to organization. Here are a few tips to keep your kitchen in tip top shape.

Maximize every inch of cabinet space. Somehow we always find a way to fill up every inch of cabinet space no matter how big or small our kitchen is. Make use of containers, and organizational items inside your cabinets to make the best possible use of space. Lazy Susan’s, helper shelves and drawer dividers will not only help to keep things organized, they will also help you fit much more.

Shop Wisely. If you have a tiny galley kitchen, you shouldn’t be shopping at Costco. When you live in a smaller space, you have to make frequent trips to the grocery store. Don’t purchase in bulk unless you have somewhere to keep the excess. Often the deal is not worth compromising your space over. If you do purchase extras, consider storing them separately so you don’t have three boxes of the same cereal circulating.

Make use of vertical space. If you have available wall space in your kitchen, add a fruit basket on the wall (see image) or free standing shelving. Also remember to keep frequently used recipes and notes on the inside of cabinet doors.

Consider a Hanging Pot Rack. If you don’t have great space for keeping pots and pans in cabinets or drawers, make use of a hanging pot rack. It makes them easy to access and frees up cabinet space.

Refresh your Fridge. Every time to shop, your fridge should get a once over. A simple weed out of stale food and a wipe down of shelves will make incoming items accessible and more appealing too.

Keep your Freezer Functional. Your freezer is great for storage of items that can be used for meal preparation rather than heading out to the market. Don’t forget to label, date and properly package items in the freezer so you know what you have and when it expires.

Keeping an organized kitchen will help make meal preparation more efficient. It will save you money on purchasing groceries and will help to ensure you enjoy mealtime with your family.

 Monica Friel

 

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August 2014 To-Do Checklist

Have you been enjoying your summer?

There is still time to celebrate summer and enjoy the nice weather. Take some time this month to have a sweet treat 1310022 ToDoList_Classic5outdoors (S’mores are always a treat!), get together with neighbors and friends, and finish any summer or outdoor projects. The new school year is just around the corner, and you’ll want to be sure to enjoy every last bit of summer.

August Checklist Classic Size

August Checklist Compact Size

August Checklist Pocket Size

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Go Quote: July 21, 2014

“Leadership is the ability to establish standards and manage a creative climate where people are self-motivated toward the mastery of long term constructive goals, in a participatory environment of mutual respect, compatible with personal values.”

-Michael Vance

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First Day Mania

By the end of summer break most of us are ready for the steady cadence of school. We’ve improvised long enough. However, we also realize that we’ll miss the relaxed routine where even our scheduled events have room to slip. School and its associated activities have a much tighter grip on our time.

So we look forward to the first day of school with eager anticipation and more than a flicker of anxiety. As we watch them climb onto the bus, 64204_lrgcasewe’re already planning how we’ll use our quiet time at home, yet we realize that school has tightened its grip on us as well. To a large degree, their schedule is our schedule, their homework is our homework, and no matter how good or bad their teachers are, their report cards reflect our effort.

That means that buying more time in the morning and finding pieces of time throughout the day can be the difference between a harried life and an orderly routine. You can do that from day one.

  • Try to reduce the anxiety of the unknown by visiting the school a few days early. Let your kids find their lockers, classrooms, lunchroom, library, and the office so they aren’t stressing about that on the first day.
  • Collect any necessary school forms, make sure you’ve read and signed them, and be sure your students know where they are so they can turn them in on time.
  • School mornings are often rushed. Reduce the hectic pace by packing backpacks the night before, ensuring homework, school projects, and gym clothes arrive at school with your kids.
  • Fill your fridge with lunch foods so that preparing their lunch is quick, easy, and healthy.
  • Pick out an outfit the night before. They have plenty of things to be anxious about already, the last thing they want to do is fret over their clothes. Teach them to reduce that stress by planning ahead.
  • Fill your car with gas. If you drive your kids to school, you don’t want to stop for gas in the morning and make them late. If you’re sending your kids to school for the first time you’ll want enough fuel in your car to follow the school bus and watch your little ones walk through the door. (Don’t tell us you don’t want to.)
  • On that note, be sure your camera and video camera are charged and that you have plenty of room on your memory cards. The first day of school is a great photo opportunity.

Once you’ve made the effort and you’re ready for the big day, all you’ll have to do is stand ready and listen for the drum. You should have no problem staying in step. Welcome back, school routine.

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FC Studio Giveaway

Have you seen our newest and most unique planner?

We are so excited about our new FC Studio Planner, that we have decided to share two designs.

The FC Studio planner combines the creativity of scrapbooking with our time-tested planning features, giving you a beautiful canvas to both organize and record your daily life. Its two-pages-per-week layout gives you space to plan each day of the week, a to-do list, and space for your inspiration and memories. With a new bright design every month, inspirational quotes, and plenty of extra notes pages, you can capture all the details as they happen.

Each FC Studio planner includes the following:

  • Bound-in folder
  • Bound-in plastic zipper pouch*
  • Page finder
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Two pages of event stickers

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The two designs we are giving away are non-personlized Floral and Geometric.

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Two winners will be announced on Friday, July 25. To enter simply tell us, “What is your favorite part of the new FC Studio Planner?”

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Beachy Keen!

By Naomi Cook

Ah…summertime is officially upon us…the warmer weather, the longer days and… the prep for a day at the beach! Do you struggle keeping your beach bag organized? You don’t need to sheepishly hold up your hand. It’s not that hard for it to become a bottomless pit! Most beach bags like mine have some pockets on the outside, but only a few on the inside, leaving most of your belongings in a jumbled state. Read along for some tips on how to organize your beach bag so that you’ll be able to quickly find that money when the ice cream man walks by!

Let’s start by thinking of all of the things you might keep in your beach bag.

You’ll have:

•Your towel.
•Your beach tag.
•Your sunscreen.
•Your drinks and snacks.
•Your book or magazines.
•Your keys and some money.
•Your electronics like your phone or e-reader.
•Your change of clothes for the end of the day.

Now you have a couple of options to organize those items. Go the inexpensive route or invest in some organizers that will help you for years in the future.

For an inexpensive way of organizing, get a variety of sizes of Ziploc bags from small to large. You may have them in your kitchen already. Another option is to use Ziploc containers. Start by putting your beach tag directly onto your beach bag. Fill up smaller bags/containers with your keys, money and phone. Fill up larger size bags/containers with your book or e-reader. Use a Ziploc Big Bag to hold your change of clothes for the end of the day. It can be used to hold your wet bathing suit and towel after you change.

Or you can spend a little more money and buy organizational products that will last you for years. Instead of Ziploc bags, there are waterproof pouches that house your phone, your money and your e-reader. Next, look to travel packing cubes to hold your bigger items like your books and change of clothes. These are designed to help you stay organized while packing your suitcase, so why not your beach bag too!

For magazines, I’ll usually wrap them up in my towel when I go to the beach. By the time the day is over, they may be in rough shape because of the combination of sunscreen, water, and sand, so you can just toss them!

Finally for snacks, consider a soft sided cooler that you can carry like a bag. Think about putting your sunscreen in a Ziploc bag in the cooler so that it will keep you protected and offer some cooling relief at the same time!

Enjoy your day at the beach and have an ice cream sandwich for me!

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30th Anniversary Story: Catherine Krause

Read Catherine’s story and see how her Franklin Planner has helped her keep her life as a working mother organized.

As a young professional in the 90’s, I saw the leaders of the company walking around with their Franklin Covey planners—they looked so cool! I desperately wanted to be one THOSE people. I signed up for a class in early 1999 and counted down the days for it! I got the flu – ugh! But no snow, flu, or 60 mile drive was going to stop me from coming to the class.

Tissues in hand I showed up. It changed me! During the class we walked through roles, values, and priorities. It brought me to tears—and IMG_7260editedchanged my perspective completely. I have never forgotten that class and shared the wisdom with hundreds of folks I have encountered in the years since.

Every few years I sit down and go through the exercise again—what are my roles and what do I want the important people in my life to say about me when I pass away. That single lesson has provided me the vision and direction over the last 15 years! Back then I was a young mom with 2 kids that was excited to “grow up” into planning my day.

Now I am a more mature mom with 6 kids and have a road map for my life thanks to my planner! Life has thrown plenty of curve balls including family deaths, major shifts at work, and my 3 year old nearly losing his battle with cancer. It was enough to feel like I was drowning. Yet through it all, it was the basics of that life changing training in 1999 that helped me keep perspective, remind myself of my roles, and prioritize my values.

It is with a full heart that I say THANK YOU for helping me set the path for my life—I may not be the ultra cool person walking around with a day plan, but I am a working mom and wife who clearly understands her values. I have my planner as my life road-map that helps me navigate the rough waters and helps remind me to cherish the beauty in every day.

Sincerely,

Catherine Krause

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Reorganize Your Office

Summer tends to be a slower time for most businesses. Take advantage of the break to reorganize your office with some smart 41715_lrgcasefurnishings.

Start by recycling old documents that you no longer need, then tackle your tangle of cords. Giving yourself some elbow room will make going back to busy an easy transition.

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How to Keep a Big Project From Stressing You Out!

By Patty Gardner

Have you ever had a big project you needed to do but you were completely overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start?  The solution to that problem is simple – break the project down into smaller steps.   Here are a couple of examples from my life.

 

I have two quilt projects going right now.  I was feeling overwhelmed so I made a couple of charts for my planner that broke each quilt project down into manageable steps.

 

The first chart is just a bunch of boxes.  Each box represents a square of the quilt.  For some reason, I’m more motivated to quilt if I get to check off a box each time I finish a square.  Plus I can see at all times where I am in the project.

Quilt 1

The second chart is a little more detailed since I was in the beginning stages of the project when I made the chart.  The chart lists the steps required to sew the top together, boxes representing each square, and then a few steps at the end for finishing.  I felt a lot better about this project once I made the chart.  And each time I mark off a step, I feel like I’m making progress and the project doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

 Quilt 2

So it’s your turn.  Take a look at your to do list and see what projects could be broken down into smaller sized pieces.  Then make a list of all the steps required and get started!  You’ll be surprised at how much less overwhelming it feels.

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Go Quote: July 14, 2014

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

-Woodrow Wilson

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Stock Up on Supplies

When it comes to school supplies, you can never have enough….and now is the time to start stocking up! 38439_lrgcase

Start with one set of notebook, pencils, tabs, and folders for each subject, and have replacements on hand. Create a station or area to keep all of your extras so you know where they are when you need to grab one.

The dog might not eat homework, but there’s sure to be another reason that schoolwork gets lost.

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Back to School with Sarah Pinto

Start the school year off right with an Academic Planner from Sarah Pinto.

We are here to help give you the tools to keep you and your family organized for the school year. Our Back to School catalog features school organization products that will keep papers filed and backpacks ready.

Our Sarah Pinto planners are such a great tool for school, we are giving away two of them this week. Use them to plan out activities, due dates, schedules, and more.

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To enter simply comment and tell us how you get ready for the school year. Do you or your family have a routine?

Two winners will be announced on Friday, July 18.

 

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Back to School Checklist: College

Get prepared for the semester now with this College Checklist.

Heading away to college is quite the adventure. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t forget to pack or grab anything you may need for class or for your new dorm room.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (College)-1

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (College)-2

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Back to School Checklist: High School

Get prepared for the school year now with this High School Checklist.

Heading to high school is quite the undertaking. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (High School)

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Back to School Checklist: Middle School

Get prepared for the school year now with this Middle School Checklist.

Heading off to middle school is a big deal. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything on the big day.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (Middle School)

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Back to School Checklist: Elementary

Get prepared for the school year now with this Elementary School Checklist.

Sending them off to elementary school is quite eventful. Use this checklist to make sure you aren’t grabbing things from the store at the last minute.

1402041 Back to School Catalog Checklist FINAL (Elementary)

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30th Anniversary Story: Stefanie Williams

Read Stefanie’s story and see how her Franklin Planner has helped her organize her entire life since 1998.

My Franklin Covey classic-sized planner has been with me since 1998, when I was a junior in high school. I learned to use the 7 Habits 2 pages per day as I read through the book, which was gifted at the same time. The system got me through all of my advanced classes and extracurricular activities.

Since then, it has helped me manage a job, college classes, and two kids all at once. It’s also gotten me through planning my own wedding and a couple of moves—including my out of state move last year.

I manage all aspects of my life with my planner. I am able to coordinate mine and my husband’s work schedules with our kids’ schedules, our personal plans, and all of my work and personal projects. I also keep track of multiple meals and various memories in my planner pages.60578_lrgcase

I have plenty of room for everything to be all on one calendar set. There’s no way I would be able to track everything without it (especially my family’s schedule). My binder (yes, the original binder I received in 1998!) and my two pages per day (in Blooms these days) is crucial to my productivity.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Williams

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Go Quote: July 7, 2014

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

-Vince Lombardi

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5 Easy Closet Organizing Ideas

By Carmen Coker

Where is it?! You shout as you dig deeper. You tear into drawers, look behind doors, and peer under the bed to see if it is hiding among the dust bunnies.

It’s just another typical morning, where you are racing against the clock and searching for the ever-elusive finishing piece that will bring your outfit together – belt, shoes, purse, shirt.

You are not alone! In fact, the average woman spends almost one year of her life rifling through the closet to find the perfect ensemble for work, nights out, vacations, and other activities. If you would like to rewrite this statistic in your life and use that one year for something more important, then here are five easy closet organizing ideas to help you do just that.

 

PROBLEM: Your closet is jam-packed.

EASY CLOSET ORGANIZING IDEA: If you can’t see your favorite little black dress, you won’t wear it. To motivate and inspire you to downsize, adopt a charity – one that benefits from your donations and in which you strongly believe.

 

PROBLEM: You can’t decide what, in your closet, to get rid of.

EASY CLOSET ORGANIZING IDEA: Only 20% of your closet includes go-to items that you wear again and again. To remove the dead weight and give your closet room to breathe, focus on the remaining 80% that you rarely, if ever, wear.

 

PROBLEM: You feel overpowered by the mess in your closet.

EASY CLOSET ORGANIZING IDEA: It’s hard to wrap your head around getting organized when you are staring at a wall of clutter. To remedy the overwhelm and pinpoint a starting point, separate your closet into small blocks, and using a top-down approach, organize one block at a time.

 

PROBLEM: You don’t know how to organize your closet properly.

EASY CLOSET ORGANIZING IDEA: Organizing systems are best defined by your own habits and routines. To determine how to organize, think about how you naturally look for items in your closet or decide what to wear – by color, type, season, or activity – then arrange your closet accordingly.

 

PROBLEM: You’re not confident that you can keep your closet organized for more than a week.

EASY CLOSET ORGANIZING IDEA: Staying organized is about keeping organization top-of-mind. To maintain your get-organized goals, create and stick to a closet mantra like “one thing in, one thing out” or “1-1-1” (donate one bag of clothes on the first day of the first month of the year).

 

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

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Smart Back-to-School Clothes Shopping

If you want to get the best selection on back-to-school clothes, then it’s time to take the kids shopping. Before you head out, take stock of which 49027_lrgcasearticles of clothing you need to replace and list them on your writing pad (e.g. t-shirts, jeans, socks, underwear, etc.) Print out any promotions and check for coupons in your mailbox. While you’re shopping for autumn clothes, watch for any clearance specials on spring or summer clothes, as they often have some of the best discounts.

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Menu Planner

Organizing your meals and shopping lists will allow you to track how much food you are actually buying. Tracking the amount you’re buying versus the amount you’re using will save you time and money in the end.

This Menu Planner is the perfect way to help you plan out your meal for the week and track what you actually need to buy for each meal.

FranklinPlanner Menu Planner

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Car Cleanout!

By Naomi Cook

When was the last time that you took everything out of the trunk and off of the floor of your car and really explored what is hanging out in there?  Maybe you have some store returns to make that happen to be intermixed with escaped french fries, crushed soda cans, and smelly gym shoes…ick, it sounds like a scenario for those Febreze Car Fresheners!

On the next nice day that you can dedicate a few hours to, head out to your car and follow these steps…

1)  Remove EVERYTHING – Yes, I said everything!  Get the bigger items from the floor first and then go through your glove compartment, center console, door pockets and trunk.  Don’t forget to look in all those other nifty hidden compartments in your car as well!  For now, keep these items in neat (or as neat as possible) piles in your garage or patio.

2)  Clean – Clean your interior windows, including the front windshield and the rear window and your gauges.  Next, dust and clean your dash and finally vacuum the floors and seats.  If you haven’t done this process in a while, you may just prefer to head to the car wash and let them take care of it for you.  A good car wash may be something worthwhile as well, to get rid of that pesky pollen!

3)  Trash/Recycle – Get a trash bag and recycling bin handy.  Toss any items that are immediately recognized as trash, i.e. those fries!  Recycle any maps or papers that aren’t in need or are out of date and any soda cans and water bottles.

4)  Sort – Go through the other items that are left and make the decision of where they need to go.

5)  Organize – Keep some of those handled fabric storage bins in your trunk and backseat.  They are inexpensive and can surprisingly hold a lot!  Five bins should do it; you don’t want to fill up your entire car with them.

In the trunk:

* Use one to stash snacks like granola bars and crackers for that on-the-go hunger.

* Use one to hold car cleaning supplies and a first aid kit.

* Use one to hold those miscellaneous items that accumulate daily all over the car!  Bring this bin in once a week and put the items where they belong.

In the backseat:

* Use one lined with a plastic grocery bag as a mini trash bin.

* Use one lined with a plastic grocery bag as a mini recycling bin.

Also consider those seat back car organizers if you have kids.  This will allow them to keep their belongings together, like magazines, books and headphones.

6)  Maintain – Whenever you stop for gas, pop the trash bag out and toss it.  Save the recycling items for home if you don’t see a recycling bin.  Keep some additional plastic grocery bags folded flat at the bottom of each bin once one is used up.

7)  Rejoice! – Look inside your newly cleaned car and get ready for those road trips.  Then, if it still stinks, quickly proceed to the nearest store and buy yourself an air freshener!

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Mid-Year Goal Setting

Time races by. It seems like the year just started yesterday, but it’s already half over. How are your goals coming along? Look back through your 62510_1lrgcaseplanner and find that list of aspirations you jotted down back in January and see how you’re dong. Often you’ll find that you’ve done better than you thought.

Some of your goals will have happened almost without thinking about them, but we’re sure there are others that need a little work. That’s O.K. Look over your list of goals and see if any need to be altered. Think through the rest of the year and decide if you need to create new goals.

A lot can happen in six months. Your career may be heading in a whole new direction by now. Your children may have reached new milestones you hadn’t expected. Find an open space in your planner and write a new list of things you’d like to accomplish before next year. Give yourself deadlines for each goal and mark them in your planner so you have instant reminders along the way.

Good luck and happy planning.

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Go Quote: June 30, 2014

“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

-Jesse Owens

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Get Organized for School Success

The more you advance in school, the more complicated it gets. By the time you reach high school and college, there are due dates to remember, 63983_lrgcaseevents to keep track of, and lectures to attend. Keeping your school life organized is the key to high achievement.

  • Plan Ahead: In college, each course hands out a syllabus at the beginning of the semester, complete with all the due dates, assignment information, and test days. Mark any projects, midterms, and final exams on your wall calendar, and set aside time in your schedule for each assignment.
  • Stay Ahead: By nature, schoolwork should stretch your mind and challenge your ideas. If your workload seems to be getting you down, schedule meetings with your teachers or professors and ask for their advice. You may also need to add extra study time to your routine.
  • Stay Engaged: During class time, avoid the temptation to multitask. Put your phone down and take notes on each small detail of what the professor or teacher is saying. Putting your notes together will give you a second run through of the material, and help solidify it in your mind.
  • Cover the Physical Aspects: If you’re sleepy, hungry, or sick, you’ll find that your attention span suffers. Eat a good meal before any early or late classes you may have to give your brain the energy it needs. Getting enough sleep helps you keep awake during lectures, and also helps keep you from getting sick.

 

 

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FranklinPlanner 30th Anniversary

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FranklinPlanner is celebrating its

30th Anniversary

We are excited to share how FranklinPlanner has helped millions of people accomplish their goals.  We invite you to share how the planner has helped you – maybe you planned a wedding, a vacation, or even a special anniversary event.  Perhaps you used your planner to research and capture that dream job. We want to celebrate your success as part of our year-long anniversary.

Share your story, and if we feature it, you’ll receive a $100 E-Gift Card for our sites.

The FranklinPlanner team will be reviewing stories on a regular basis and will contact you if your story has been picked as a feature winner.

 

First and Last Name
Email Address
How has your planner influenced your life?

Would you like to receive FranklinPlanner emails for announcements and offers?




 

If your story is picked, we will contact you via the email provided to gather additional information about you and your story. Your story will be used for marketing purposes, and may be featured in a catalog, email, banner, social media, etc.
















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July 2014 To-Do Checklist

Now that your summer is in full swing, it is time to remember the few things you wanted to get done before the warmth is over. 1310022 ToDoList_Classic5

Make sure you plan out a time to finish updating your yard, cleaning out your garage, or taking that vacation you have wanted. It is also important to remember to schedule some down time for yourself. Summer is the perfect time to relax before the busy holiday season starts, so take some time for yourself and for your family and friends.

July Checklist Classic Size

July Checklist Compact Size

July Checklist Pocket Size

 

 

 

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30th Anniversary Story: Annette Wilder

Read Annette’s story and see how her Franklin Planner allows her to help hundreds of students.

My Franklin Covey Planner has helped me keep and be successful at my dream job. I work with outreach programs for low income youth called Talent Search (Trio program) at Morehead State University. The program I work for requires that all the staff be excellent at multitasking, which is just the nature of the job. Monday is the only day I am in my office, the other 4 days I work at different schools and I work with gradesAnnette Wilder 6th – 12th.  As you can see just by my work schedule, I have different schools and grades to plan around and that doesn’t even include the needs of my 300 students. 

This is why my Franklin Planner comes in handy.

I was so overwhelmed when I began, I had to do lots of paperwork, prepare and do presentations, work on academic year and summer programs and plan the next year, go to committee meetings, go to community meetings, and keep regularly scheduled hours for students. I was getting behind on my planning and just barely managing crisis as they came up. Overwhelming didn’t cover how I felt; I was drowning.  I loved working with students, but keeping up with everything else was hindering my success and my ability to plan ahead to help my students.  One of the questions that they asked me during the interview was how long I thought I would be working with the program, I didn’t understand at the time why they asked me that.  I found out later that most of the 8 counselors, were new and most didn’t’ stay past 2 years.  Now I understood why the majority of the staff had only been on the job for less than 2 years.

I wanted to stay, I loved the job, and it gave me purpose to get up every morning. One of my co workers, who was one of only 2 staff members that had been with the program for 10 years, mentioned the Franklin Planners and 7 Habits of Highly Successful People during a meeting. She discussed a training that she went to where they showed you how to use the planner to become more successful. She talked about how she used the planner to set goals and manage daily tasks. Listening to her helped me make up my mind about what I needed to do. Immediately, I bought a Franklin Planner and the 7 Habits book.

In the beginning it was somewhat of an adjustment and it took me a while to learn to utilize all the tools that the planner provides. Now my ring bound classic academic year planner provides balance not only at work but for my home life as well. People are always asking me how I can do so many projects, work in different communities, stay healthy, take care of my family and I tell them I could not do it all without my Franklin Planner.

Sincerely,

Annette Wilder

 

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5 Ways to use your Smartphone to Get Organized

By Monica Friel 

If you have a Smartphone, get to know it well so you can make use the
terrific functions it can perform. Here are a few ways you can use Siri (or
Android voice command) to get organized:

With Siri, hold down the home key and talk. Here are some things you can
say:

1. “Set timer for 15 minutes”. As soon as you say it, the timer is set—use
that time to clear your desk or dig into an organizing project.

2. “Locate the nearest office supply store” Do you need labels for your
organizing project? Ask Siri where the nearest store is, and it will give turn
by turn directions from your current location.

3. “When I’m at The Container Store remind me to pick up Acrylic
Drawer Organizers” You can tell Siri to remind you to get exactly what you
need when your at a particular location.

4. “Play Song xxx” Ask Siri to play any song on your device and turn up the
tunes while you organize!

5. “Schedule an appointment with Chaos To Order next Wednesday at
10am” Create any appointment instantly by speaking into your phone.

Getting to know the technology you own will help you to be more efficient
and organized in many ways.

Monica Friel

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Tasks On The Go

Heading into a situation where you can’t take your paper planner? 49066_3lrgcaseWe have a solution for you:

The new FC Tasks App for your iPhone or Android phone can help you connect with your task list, wherever you go. The app allows you to easily sync your tasks from your paper planner. It is a free app that offers your a quick and easy way to stay more organized. If you need even more features, the app allows you to upgrade to a more advanced version.

Sync up your schedule in the morning, and you’ll have a constant reminder of your day’s most important tasks and events.

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Go Quote: June 23, 2014

“Learn from the past, prepare for the future, and perform in the moment.”

-Mike Van Hoozer

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Check Your Resolutions

We’re getting close to half way through 2014. How are your resolutions faring? Take the time to evaluate your performance with your goals, and 60586_lrgcaseadjust your life for a better chance of success:

  1. Reanalyze Your Priorities: Sit down and ponder on the person you are now. Are your resolutions still important to you now? Examine the reasons you kept or ignored your resolutions, and decide whether you’re going to give it up, or if it’s just an issue of timing. A resolution that was crowded out in January might have more success in May.
  2. Focus Deeply on Fewer Goals: By now, you’ve probably noticed that you’ve made some progress in a couple of your resolutions. For those of you who didn’t make a lengthy list, you may have checked most of them off by now. Tackle your remaining resolutions one goal at a time.
  3. Plan Ahead to Avoid Setbacks: If one of your goals is weight loss or fitness related, and you know a birthday party is coming up, be sure to go prepared. Making decisions ahead of trouble spots can reduce the temptation to abandon your goals.
  4. Set Milestones in Your Planner: building habits takes time. Whether you’re trying again or moving on to your next goal, mark out milestones on your planner pages. It’s easier to keep with your goal when you have momentum behind you, and small victories tend to add up to big motivation.

There’s still a lot of 2014 left. Get out there and go for it!

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5 Ways to Keep From Losing Your Car in a Parking Lot

By Patty Gardner

There’s nothing worse than standing in a parking lot filled with cars and having no clue where your car is parked.  I’ve had that happen a couple of times and it was so awful that I’ve tried very hard never to let it happen again.  So if you hate that feeling, too, here are 5 ways to prevent it:

1. Park in the same spot every time.  I tend to shop at the same places all the time and I try to always park in the same section.  For example, my Target store has an entrance near the grocery section and an entrance near the dollar section.  I almost always park near the dollar section.  Once in a while I see a great space I can’t pass up in the grocery section and I park there.  And I always regret it because when I leave, I come out the dollar section which is a long ways away.  So now, even if I see a great space in the grocery section, I pass it up!  It’s not worth the panic I feel when I come out of the store and can’t remember where I parked.

2. Take a photo.  If you’re in a really large parking lot, like at a stadium or convention center, use your camera phone to take a picture of the parking lot section number.  I always think I’ll remember the number but I never do.  You can also take a picture of the building you’re going into from where your car is parked.  That will give you perspective.  And if you have to park in an auxiliary lot, you can take a picture of the street sign, the lot name or whatever else will help you find your way back.

3. Park away from other cars.  We tend to look for the closest space we can get, and that’s valid, especially if we’re hauling small kids.  But if it’s just you and you feel like getting some exercise, park way back at the back all by yourself.  When you walk out of the store, you’ll have no trouble seeing your car.  It’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

4. Mark your car.  Some people have a flower on their antenna.  Some have a cool spare tire cover.  If you can, something like that will help your car stand out.

5. Get a car finder device.  It can be an actual electronic device or an app for your smart phone.  I don’t have one of these but it could come in very handy!

So if you want to avoid losing your car, try one of these strategies.  They work!

How do you remember where you parked?  Have you ever lost your car?

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Productive Vacation Planning

Are you planning a summer vacation? When it comes to vacations, planning ahead opens up so many more options than taking an impromptu 60946_lrgcasetrip.

Taking the time now to book your lodging and travel arrangements can save you money, and makes sure that there’s a place for you. You can also research activities near your lodging place to make sure that your plans don’t involve an inordinate amount of on-vacation commuting.

Do your research now to save you time and money later.

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Go Quote: June 16, 2014

 “Leadership is a posture and a choice, not a role that must be bestowed on you. Step up and be a leader when no one is watching or expecting you to do so.”

-John Izzo

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Liza and Lucca Giveaway

A planner isn’t complete without a binder that shows a person’s sense of style and personality.

After announcing and highlighting some of our new and bright binders, we decided to share two of our favorites with two lucky people. The Lucca Binder and the Liza Binder are two covers that add sophistication and style to any planner.

Two lucky people will have the chance to win one of these two binders.

Lucca Ring-Bound Binder

Classic Size

This beautiful cover protects your plans from the elements and adds a trendy touch to your everyday style.  Made out of stamped PVC from Italy that looks like dyed denim with a metallic sheen, these creative covers will keep you impeccably organized with a pop of color.

43992_lrgcase43992_1lrgcaseLiza Wire-Bound Binder

Classic Size

The cover’s intricate crocodile pattern outside and the beautiful paisley interior add an upscale touch. The interior organization will keep you ahead of your day, with pockets for cards, ID, a notepad, and more while the zipper closure keeps it all intact.

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The two winners will be announced Friday, June 20 in the afternoon. To enter simply comment on this blog post and share which planner style you prefer. Whether it’s Monticello, Playlist, or Retropop, these binders will compliment them all.

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30th Anniversary Story: Summer Perkins

Read Summer’s story and see how her Franklin Planner helped change her education and future.

In nineteen-eighty-never-mind, I was an eighth grader with ADHD. Summer Perkins

I was nearly failing out of school when my dad bought me monarch-sized Franklin Planner pages for my Trapper Keeper, and an audiotape of the workshop. Learning to identify my values, set goals, and plan my priorities not only got me through high school on time, but also helped me manage my attention problems at work and in college.

Today, with so many things competing for my attention, I use my planner as a way to decide what I’m NOT going to do, and “First Things First” is a mantra that keeps the daily minutiae from overwhelming my real priorities.

Sincerely,

Summer Perkins

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5 Easy Steps to Let Go of Clutter & Reclaim Your Life

By Carmen Coker

Have you tried to get organized before, either on your own or perhaps with the help of a book, magazine, or course, but with no luck?

This is a common outcome because, most of the time, organizing tools are about de-cluttering your space. While this is an important part of the get-organized equation and should not be ignored, it is only a single, small component of your large, full life.

You see, organizing is more than just organizing the stuff around you. It is organizing you – all parts of you and your environment – so that you feel balanced, fulfilled, and happy. Transitioning from traditional to holistic organizing mindsets and techniques is one small change that can make all the difference not only in your efforts to get organized, but also in your overall health and wellness.

In this same spirit, here are five powerful-yet-easy steps to let go of clutter and reclaim your life:

1) Think beyond the space around you.

[PROBLEM] When picturing the clutter in your life, it is normal to think about the piles and stacks – the “stuff” in your space. However, there are actually six types of clutter that influence your general well-being: physical, virtual, behavioral, emotional, mental, and temporal (of time).

[FIX] Brainstorm a list of what you are tolerating in your life, which is often helpful in identifying which types of clutter are adversely impacting you. Select a single toleration from this list each week, and take steps toward either positively changing it or eliminating it altogether.

2) Visualize your path to becoming an organizing superstar.

[PROBLEM] Like the proverbial can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees analogy, it becomes difficult to imagine yourself, totally organized, when your life is a disorganized mess. Instead, feelings of overwhelm (Where do I start?), frustration (Why is this so hard?), and guilt (Why can’t I do this?) hijack your heart and mind.

[FIX] Let go of the negative “I can’t” or “it won’t work for me” attitudes for good. Visualize your path to organizing and simplifying success, envision reaching beyond the grasp of chaos and clutter, and take your results to the next level.

3) Tap into your organizing personality.

[PROBLEM] Viewing amazingly organized homes in magazines makes you feel as if that ideal is what you must achieve in order to finally get organized. While there is nothing wrong with trying to be Martha Stewart, it can backfire if the concept does not fit your habits, routines, personality, and lifestyle.

[FIX] Analyze how you operate, day in and day out, and determine where you can improve upon or implement systems to make your life easier. Craft organizing systems that work with you and for you – systems you love – rather than trying to copy those that look good in glossy magazines.

4) Use your core values as a filter.

[PROBLEM] In every moment of your life, you live in choice. While this may seem like an oh-yeah fact, human beings often lack mindfulness about personal space and time when making decisions, and this can let in clutter on many levels.

[FIX] Select your top five core values (such as faith, family, excellence, independence, and love) and constantly utilize them to screen decisions, big or small, about what you purchase, how to use your time, what type of habits you allow, and more.

5) Practice reciprocity with your space and time.

[PROBLEM] Given the busyness of the world, it is not unusual for you to want to have more free time or more space for what is most important. On the flip side, it is also not unusual to complicate your life by doing more and acquiring more than is truly necessary.

[FIX] Be consciously aware of how you treat your space and your time – both resources are gifts, and it is important to treat them as such if you want more of each to open up to you. In the end, if you do not value and honor the time and space you have, neither will value and honor you.

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

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Father’s Day: The Gift of Recognition

Father’s Day is coming up and now is the time to plan for it. No matter what you give for Father’s Day, it’s important to give it with the right 60896_lrgcasepresentation.

Pick up your cards in advance, shop for any necessary gifts or items, and spend time planning out any special meals or family get-togethers for the special day. The men in your life will appreciate it.

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Go Quote: June 9, 2014

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

-Dolly Parton

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Complete Your Plans with a Binder or Cover

Our wide array of striking binders and covers improve your plans dramatically. They add protection with a pop of color and a touch of style. They also add order to other daily events by providing one place for business and credit cards, documents, check books, and pens. Truthfully, your planner is incomplete without its binder or cover, but that cover can take a beating. If you’re considering another wrap for your plans, we have some new styles that are sure to spark your interest.

Louisa Wire-bound Cover

Add excitement to your plans with this brightly colored cover. Its two-toned cover adds a perfect block of color to your wardrobe, and the soft faux leather is comfortable to hold and provides great protection against the elements. This cover features two pen loops, card slots, a space for a notepad, a snap closure, and it comes in two striking color combinations: Aqua and Blue or Orange and Pink.

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Blair Wire-bound Cover

Add some striking contrast to your planning. The Blair Wire-bound Cover wraps your planner in brightly colored coated canvas and gives you space for credit cards, two pens, and a portfolio notepad. Its open design leaves your plans easily accessible. This whimsical little number is available in three different color combinations: Hot Pink and Orange, Navy and Kelly Green, and Sky and Royal Blue.

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Claire Zipper Binder

Stunning quality is easy to spot. Handcrafted in the U.S.A. using the finest top grain leather, the gorgeous Clair three-ring binder adds the ultimate in luxury to your meeting. Perfectly sized for 8.5” x 11” materials, it has retractable handles, a slot for a standard 8.5” x 11” pad, a document pocket, and two business card pockets. This rich binder is available in black or brown.

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The Biggest Sale of the Year is Back

It’s that time of year again—time for Our Biggest Sale of the Year. You may be wondering why we have a giant sale every June. You’re thinking, “Why June, of all months?” The answer is simple. We need to get ready for our busiest time of the year.1404009 BSOY Go Facebook CoverPhoto

Fall is a time when all of us get busier. We send the kids back to school, businesses begin end-of-year sales, and holiday season starts in full swing. We need to prepare for that hectic time with an organized home, organized workspace, and a solid plan. So naturally, we start in June—arming ourselves with a schedule and an orderly space before the craziness begins.

The Biggest Sale of the Year makes it easy to prepare for the biggest season of the year with discounts as deep as 80% off on select items. We want to help you live your life organized, and we want to make that as simple as possible. Besides that, we have to empty our shelves to make room for all the cool stuff we’ve ordered for the autumn and holiday seasons.

So come check out the sale today. You’re sure to find top quality planners, binders, organizers, and bags at a steal of a deal. (Who knows, you may even get a jump on your holiday shopping.)

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Tips to Balance Work and Kids During the Summer

By Monica Friel 

Summer will soon be upon us. If you have school-aged children, you know the havoc that can wreak on working from home or getting projects done around the house. Here are some suggestions to help you navigate between working and enjoying quality time with your kids at home.

 
Get work done early in the morning. Make a plan in the morning for the work that needs to get done and regularly stick to the block of time that you set aside. Work efficiently and let your kids know when your working hours will be.

 
Keep kids busy with age-appropriate chores. If they have a place they want to go, give them a list to complete before departure. A little perk to get the house straightened up while they’re motivated. They may not do it like you, but it’s a great way to teach them.
Share the load. Talk with other parents and see if you can coordinate a regular babysitting co-op. This way, kids will have friends to play with and the parents will share the babysitting load.

 
Stick to a routine. Your kids will get used to the routine if you make sure there’s something fun in it for them at some point in the day. If they can be patient and quiet while you’re on the phone with a client, you can take them to the pool in the afternoon.

 
Forward your calls. Smart phones, tablets and laptops make taking the kids on an adventure without “leaving” the office possible. If you have to talk with clients, allow your child to bring a friend so they can have fun even if you can’t always engage.

 
Of course it all depends on what age your kids are and how independent they can be. Work is important, and so is making fun summer memories for your children.

Monica Friel

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Summer Planning

Early June is a great time to assess your summer plans. The kids will soon be out of school with extra time on their hands. Before you know it 61987_lrgcaseyou’ll be buying new school clothes and sending them back.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes this week to set your goals for the summer. Do you want to get away for a while? Do you have home improvement plans? Are you planning any private lessons over the summer break? Now is a great time to schedule art classes, plan for holiday traditions, and draw out your next landscaping project.

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Go Quote: June 2, 2014

“You have had a dream for so many years. Let today be the day you make a plan for it. Just think about how much more likely you are to hit your target when you finally aim at it.”

-Steve Maraboli

 

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June 2014 To-Do Checklist

Summer is finally here! Are you already enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine? If not, begin by planning fun outdoor activities, family1310022 ToDoList_Classic5vacations, exercise goals, and home repairs. Summer is also a great time to clean out your garage or backyard too. Get your cleaning and organization done in June so you can enjoy the rest of summer stress free.

June Checklist Classic Size

June Checklist Compact Size

June Checklist Pocket Size

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Father’s Day Plans and Recognition

What has your dad done for you?

It’s likely a lengthy list. Show your father exactly what he means to you this year with something more than the 60896_lrgcasetraditional necktie. Write down some of your dad’s attributes and interests, and some of your favorite memories of times you spent together. This will give you a head start on planning out how you’ll recognize him, and in selecting the right gift.

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Go Quote: May 26, 2014

“Your purpose may not always be obvious, but always remember that you do have a purpose.”

-Rodney Williams

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Where Are My Keys???

By Patty Gardner

Have you ever locked your keys in your car?  Or locked yourself out of the house?  That’s a mistake that can be a nuisance and an expense.  I was at the gas station the other day and parked behind a lady in a van who was just finishing up with the locksmith.  You can guess what happened to her!

But there are ways to prevent unnecessary hassle and expense when you lock your keys where they shouldn’t be.   Here are a few ideas:

1. Hide a key somewhere on your automobile.  My husband has a little hide-a-key box on his truck (I won’t tell you where!).  He’s used it several times!

2. Hide a key somewhere outside your house.  But you definitely need to be creative about where you hide it.  Under the mat or in a flower pot on the front porch is probably not a good place.  Think outside the box on this one!

3. Give a house key to a trusted neighbor or nearby family member.  Then if you get locked out you can retrieve the spare or see if they can bring it to you.

4. It’s a good idea to have a spare key for all your cars and doors in a central location.  We have a cabinet where we keep our spare keys.  Those keys have come in handy MANY times!  In fact, just today my daughter was visiting and locked her keys in her car.  Lucky for her I still had her spare key hanging in the cabinet.

Another time I was home alone and a bit jumpy so I locked the door between the kitchen and the garage.  I remember telling myself to unlock that door before I went anywhere.  Unfortunately I forgot and when I returned from the store later that day, I was locked out!!!  Fortunately I eventually remembered there was a key in the cabinet.

5. If you’re unlucky enough to have a car with an expensive key, a spare key for the cabinet might not be practical.  But there are still options.  Sometimes you can have a spare key made that will only open the door but won’t start the engine.  And most of the time all you need that spare key for is to get inside the car where the keys are!

6. Some people keep a spare key in their wallet.  If you happen to lock your keys in the car but not your wallet or purse, you can retrieve the key from your wallet and you’re on your way.

7. If you have a lot of keys and it’s not obvious what they’re for, it might be a good idea to label them.  You can attach a tag, use a sharpie to write directly on the key, use a special key chain, etc.

So don’t get caught without your keys!  Try one or more of these ideas to prevent future hassle and expense from misplaced keys!

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National Memo Day May 21, 2014

Take this down.

Getting into the habit of taking notes can help you remember important details and tasks, especially during long meetings. 38426_lrgcaseHaving a notepad near you also lets you quickly write down flashes of inspiration as they come, before other thoughts and tasks push the finer details from the front of your mind. As you practice writing notes, there’s no need to write verbatim quotes.

Just write the most important parts and expand on them when you review your notes.

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5 Secrets for Waking Up Organized

By Carmen Coker

Scarlet O’Hara famously said in Gone With the Wind, “Fiddly dee, I’ll worry about that tomorrow!” And if you want to have a hectic morning, then you should definitely try to emulate her. But if you want to have a smooth morning routine, a little planning and prep the night before will help you get organized and ready to be on your way…

1) Select your clothes.

Pick out your clothes for the next day. Iron anything that needs it. Don’t forget accessories: jewelry, cuff links, hose, socks, shoes, panties, boxers, scarf, tie, or purse. If you have kids, the same should be done with their outfits.

2) Pack your bags.

Fix your lunch, get your gym bag ready, and make sure all necessary items for the next day are tucked into your briefcase, backpack, or purse. Again, if children are in the picture, then their bags should be prepared as well.

3) Check your planner.

Look over tomorrow’s activities. This will refresh your memory about must-do items or things you need to take with you the next day.

4) Collect your stuff.

Place your keys, cell, wallet, purse, laptop, briefcase, etc. in one spot, preferably close by your door. It’s a good idea to make this staging ground near an electrical outlet, so battery-powered items can recharge overnight.

5) Get your sleep.

Go to bed in time to sleep 8 hours (or whatever your body requires to be rested). Otherwise, you are guaranteed to hit the snooze and sleep later than you should!

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

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