Planner Quote: July 17, 2017

“Don’t agonize. Organize.”

– Florence Kennedy

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7 Ways to Help Your Kids Transition to Their School Routine

Summer is a great respite for your kids. It gives them an opportunity to do their own thing on their own time frame. But too much freedom can make it difficult to adjust when the new school year begins. Here are some ways you can help your children transition smoothly into their school routine.

1. Stay busy.

Sign your kids up for summer activities—dance lessons, swimming lessons, piano lessons, art class, soccer, or baseball games. Giving your kids fun activities will require them to maintain a schedule. It won’t be as busy as school, but at least they won’t stop activity completely. School activities demand a lot of their time, keeping your kids active during the summer will prepare them to comply with those demands.

2. Assign daily chores.

Daily chores may not be fun for the kids, but it gives them something to do, and helps them learn the value of stewardship. Encourage them to set an alarm so they can get an early start on their chores and have more time to enjoy themselves.

3. Maintain a weekly planning session.

Even though their schedules may be lighter during the summer, maintain a weekly planning session with your kids to address their schedules and the activities they hope to accomplish before school begins. Doing this will encourage and motivate your children to do more with the time that they have.

4. Spend time teaching your kids.

Set aside a time each day to teach your kids something new. Read with them, listen to their reading, give them writing and penmanship assignments, and create math problems for them to complete. Students lose about two months of math computational skills and a significant portion of reading and spelling ability if they are left to do nothing during the summer break. But studies show that when parents take an active role during summer the loss is greatly reduced, if it happens at all.

5. Attend the public library.

Visit the library and check out some new books. Set a goal for the number of books each child will read over the summer. Ask questions as they read to make sure they comprehend the meaning of the stories. Assign a small written report or project about one or two of the books they read. Don’t simply ask them to paraphrase the book, but encourage them to write how they felt while reading the book, how they would change the ending if they could, or have them explain the characteristics they liked most about one of the characters and why.

6. Read a book and compare the movie.

Find a movie that is based on a book and read the book with your children. When you finish reading, watch the movie together and compare the things they discovered in the movie that differ from the book. Have them explain what they like best about the book and what they liked best about the movie.

7. Help them celebrate summer.

Give them an assignment to write a narrative, shoot a video, or create a visual arts project that addresses their favorite part of summer. Give them an opportunity to share their work with the family.

Doing these small activities throughout the summer, and ramping them up as you draw nearer to the start of the school year, will make the transition back into the school routine significantly easier for your kids. Their study habits will be stronger and they will be able to start the school year running.

We hope these suggestions have sparked some ideas of your own. If so, we’d love to see them in the comments below.

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Help Your Child Discover Their Planning Style

Planning is a simple skill with enormous benefits. The sooner a person develops the habit of planning, the better they’ll perform in school and in life. Show your kids how you use your planner. Teach them some basic time-management skills to help them see the importance of taking charge of their choices. Determine together what sort of planning style your children prefer and help them pick out their own planner based on how they plan, schedule homework deadlines, and take notes. Include your children in your personal planning sessions during the summer so they can see how you plan. Help them recognize the benefits you find from planning. During the school year, treat their planning sessions like you would treat their homework. Help them become masters of their own fate.

Click here to view our 2017-2018 Academic Planners.

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Planner Quote: July 10, 2017

“Reach for your dreams and they will reach for you.”

– Hana Rose Zadra

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Planner Quote: July 3, 2017

“I am not afraid…I was born to do this.”

– Joan of Arc

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The Franklin Five: July 2017 Checklist

Welcome July! 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.

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 Pocket Size: PDF

July Checklist Compact Size: PDF

July Checklist Classic Size: PDF

July Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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Planner Quote: June 26, 2017

“Hope comes furnished with light and heat.”

– Don Ward

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Planner Inspiration from Fellow Planners

Sometimes we need a refresher on how to use our planner or could use some new ideas to improve our personal planning systems. Other planner users can provide some of the best inspiration. View this slideshow and see how other’s from Instagram use their FranklinPlanner.

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Planner Quote: June 19, 2017

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Zoe Simulated Zipper Binder

Add a creative spark to your plans with this playful simulated leather binder in violet or coral with navy accents. You’ll love the bold colors, removable navy tassel, and simple message on the cover. Includes two pen loops, secretarial pockets, a large document pocket, and card pockets. Coral binders have silver rings—violet binders come with gold rings. A zipper closure holds it all together in orderly fashion.

Get yours here: http://bit.ly/2s7jeHO

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Planner Quote: June 12, 2017

“Life is in the here and now. Either we meet it, we live it – or we miss it.”

– Vimala Thakar

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4 Ways Your Planner Can Help you Accomplish Your Summer Bucket List

Summer usually means time away from school, and vacations from work—but that time goes by so quickly! It’s easy to wind up at the end of your break with things left undone. You wonder where the time went. When this happens it’s easy to rationalize by saying that you were relaxing, but if that were true, wouldn’t you feel more refreshed?

Instead, you feel a little cheated—like the time gods sneaked down and stole hours, even days from you while your back was turned. So what can you do about it? How can you make your summer break more refreshing and productive?

1. Make a List

The secret to a successful summer is effective planning. Your planner is the ideal place to write your summer bucket list. Write exactly what you’d like to do with your break and refer to that list each time you plan. If relaxing is something you want to do, planning will give structure to your day so you can make time to relax in a meaningful way. You’ll find the time to truly refresh your body and mind.

2. Organize Your Vacation

Your planner is the ideal place to plan vacations. List the places you want to visit, the experiences you hope to have, and the cost of travel. Manage airline tickets, travel dates, arrival times, hotel reservations, gas mileage, and food expenses. Track the reservations and accommodations you’ve made, and take note of what you like about each place in case you decide to take the trip again.

An organized vacation is far more restful that an on-the- fly trip. You’ll return from your visit with a sense of accomplishment—knowing you saw what you had hoped to see, done what you had hoped to do and visited with the people you had hoped to meet.

3. Tackle Summer Activities

Stay on top of summer projects by listing your goals and tracking each step from start to completion. Keep up with family summer activities, baseball and soccer games so you won’t miss any of those big events.

4. Broaden Your Mind

Keep a summer reading list in your planner and make sure you always have a book from that list with you. You can read it in the shade in the back yard, at the beach, and while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store.

People so often squander time it’s hard to grasp how precious it is. But your planner will ensure you make the most of the time you have this summer and throughout the year.

Happy Planning!

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Planner Quote: June 5, 2017

“To be is to do.”

– Immanuel Kant

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The Franklin Five: June 2017 Checklist

June is here! Time to celebrate your dad and summer will officially begin! Be sure you schedule fun time with the people who matter most to you. Whether it’s organizing a swim party, s’mores night, or camping out under the stars, be sure you plan a simple night of fun now, before the summer gets away from you.

June Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

June Checklist Compact Size: PDF

June Checklist Classic Size: PDF

June Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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Planner Quote: May 29, 2017

“Once we know our weaknesses they cease to do us any harm.”

– Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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8 Activities to Make the Most of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is intended as a way to remember our brave neighbors, friends, and family who gave everything they had to ensure our freedoms and to help maintain freedom for others. Because it’s a Federal holiday, many of us have the day off work so we can devote time to celebrating and remembering.

How we celebrate varies. It’s personal. Some people aren’t comfortable with cemeteries, so they spend time outdoors with their families. That’s a great opportunity to remind your children that the freedom to go where you want and enjoy time together came at a high price.

If you are looking for simple ways to celebrate the holiday and to help instill a stronger sense of patriotism in your family, here are a few ideas that might help.

1. Put a flag in your yard. That simple act serves as a great reminder of the sacrifices that have been paid for our freedom.

2. If your community holds a parade or fireworks, go and enjoy the sights.

3. Hold an outdoor barbeque and invite your neighbors. Make homemade ice cream.

memorial-day-1569293-1279x9274. If you have relatives who are veterans, call them on the phone and say thanks or send them a thank you card.

5. Visit the graves of veterans and other family members with your children.

6. Go on a picnic with your family.

7. Read about a military conflict, study the historical events that lead up to it, and discuss with your family what happened as a result of the war.

8. Find a story about one of your ancestors, veteran or not, and share it with your children. Even if your ancestors didn’t serve in the military, they still sacrificed to provide for their families. Sharing their stories helps us celebrate their challenges and successes with our loved ones.

However you choose to celebrate and enjoy the time away from work, be safe and have fun. With a little planning, the time you spend with your family and friends will be memorable and enjoyable.

Happy Memorial Day!

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Planner Quote: May 22, 2017

“It is futile to judge a kind deed by its motives. Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.”

– Eric Hoffer

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How to Choose Your Big Rocks

It’s a classic object lesson: you can’t fit big rocks into a jar full of sand, but put the big rocks in first, and you can fill up the space around them. Keep this principle in mind as you commit tasks to your planner pages. At this point, you have your Master Task List and Weekly Compass Tasks ready to schedule. Once those are in, you can plan your other important and fulfilling activities to round out your week.

But how do you choose what’s a Big Rock and what matters less? As you plan your week, ask yourself this question:

What is the most important thing I can do in this role this week?

Big Rocks come from:

  • Conscience
  • Mission
  • Goals
  • Key projects

Big Rocks can be:

  • Tasks
  • Appointments
  • Areas of focus

As you develop strong weekly planning sessions, your life will have a new sense of perspective. A good weekly plan helps you see past the daily grind to where life’s milestones await. And that perspective makes all the difference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6m9WnNdpSw

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Planner Quote: May 15, 2017

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

– Confucius

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4 Spring Cleaning Tips – FREE Checklist Download

It’s time to clear the air in your home, remove the dust bunnies, stir up any spider webs, and get the grime off your kitchen cabinets. The trouble is, your life is just as busy as it’s always been. With end-of-year school activities, filing your taxes, a hectic work schedule, and the itch to get out in the yard, making time for deep cleaning is a challenge.

The ideal solution, of course, is right in your hand. Your planner will help ensure you have time for this important annual task. Whether you do your deep cleaning in one or two days, or sort the tasks out and complete them over a matter of weeks, using your planner will help you finish without interruptions.

Download this Spring Cleaning Checklist to help you get started:

Pocket size (3.5″ x 6″)

Compact size (4.25″ x 6.75″)

Classic size (5.5″ x 8.5″)

Monarch size (8.5″ x 11″)

Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you clear the clutter:

1. Motivate yourself with a pen

Write each item you plan to do, no matter how small, in your planner and check them off as you finish. Marking things off your list actually has a positive biological effect. Our brains create chemicals that make us feel good each time we mark an item off our list, and that encourages us to do more. That’s why, when we complete a task that isn’t on our list, we write it in our planners anyway, and immediately cross it off. It feels good and it gets us in the mood to do more.

2. Divide it up

Divide your tasks up by room, closet, or space. This helps ensure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re working in a bedroom, your list could include your chest of drawers, closet, and under the bed as separate items to sort and organize. That way you can finish each task in a short time, cross it off your list, and move ahead. You’d do the same in other rooms: Kitchen sink, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, pantry, and so forth. Doing this can help keep you enthusiastically moving toward your end goal, and before you know it, you’ll realize you’re nearly finished.

 3. Focus

As you work toward your goal of deep cleaning your home, tackle one project at a time. If we flit from task to task without finishing one completely, we run a huge risk of burning out. We need that motivation and satisfaction of completing a task to keep us going. Stick with one task and finish it, so you can cross it off your list and get the boost you need to tackle the next task.

4. Sort and donate

As you go through your closets and set aside items to donate to a non-profit organization or thrift store, note the items in your planner along with their value. Next year, as you file your taxes, you’ll have a complete record of your donations.

Your planner can play such a crucial role in your life if you choose to use it to its fullest potential. This list is just the beginning and is only intended to help spark ideas of your own. If you have some great ways that you use your planner while you deep clean each spring, we’d love to hear them.

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Planner Quote: May 8, 2017

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

– Joseph Campbell

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Meal Planning with Your Planner

Use this helpful step-by-step process to integrate meal planning into your planning system. Make it easier with the Menu Planner and Shopping List forms.

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Planner Quote: May 1, 2017

“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

-Ayn Rand

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The Franklin Five: May 2017 Checklist

Welcome May! Remember to take care of the mother figures in your life and let them know you appreciate them. Now is also the time to get your summer plans in order and prepare for warmer weather. Here are a few more things to add to your list:

May Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

May Checklist Compact Size: PDF

May Checklist Classic Size: PDF

May Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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Planner Quote: April 24, 2017

Never ask yourself, “Can I do this?”
Ask instead, “How can I do this?”

– Dan Zadra

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Planner Quote: April 17, 2017

If you really want something, work hard, take advantage of opportunities, and never, ever give up. You will find a way.

– Jane Goodall

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Compass vs. Clock – Focusing on Top Priorities

Have you noticed how being busy is not equal to being productive? We’ve all had frustrating days when we’ve felt incredibly busy but had nothing to show for it. Equally frustrating are the days when we’re caught up in urgent matters and accomplish a lot, only to realize that we’d spent our day in meaningless pursuits. Urgent does not always equal important.

We all have things we want to accomplish for others, and ourselves—but when we cut out time for work, appointments, and other interruptions, the precious time we have remaining is scarce.

Consider the following two mindsets and how they differ: Ineffective – “I put urgent things first.” Effective – “I put important things first.”

Effectiveness requires the integrity to act on your priorities. If we can manage this, the results are much more validating. True effectiveness leads to increased organization and productivity, fewer crises, a reputation for follow-through, more life balance, and peace of mind.

It sounds like a lot of manage, but here is an analogy that can help you keep the right perspective. Contemplate the difference between a clock and a compass. What are their purposes? The clock represents your appointments, schedule, and activities – how you manage your time. The compass represents your mission, direction, and values – what you feel matters most. Although they are both important tools, the compass must come before the clock, because where you’re headed is more important than how fast you’re getting there.

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Planner Quote: April 10, 2017

“Happiness is good health and a bad memory.”

– Ingrid Bergman

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Planner Quote: April 3, 2017

“Alertness and courage are life’s shield.”

– Philippine Proverb

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The Franklin Five: April 2017 Checklist

Welcome April! Spring is in the air and so are taxes. Create a system to keep your papers in order and use your planner to track your expenses. Get the garden ready for a nice harvest or summer blooms! Here are a few things to add to your list:

April Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

April Checklist Compact Size: PDF

April Checklist Classic Size: PDF

April Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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Mason Binder Collection

Here’s a fresh approach to a classic favorite. Mason features rich, genuine pebbled, distressed leather on the cover and interior with contrasting smooth leather on the spine. The two-tone deep gray color with complementing silver rings is a perfect combination for subtle sophistication. The interior is complete with leather pockets and durable vinyl lining, two pen loops, business and credit card slots, and an ID window. A smooth zipper closure keeps it all neatly contained.

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Jordan Wire-bound Cover

Wrap your wire-bound planner in soft, full-grain leather and convenient organization. Jordan fits all of our classic-sized wire-bound planners including our thicker, Dot Grid and Five Choices planners—draping them in a rich, earthy gray. Made of full grain leather inside and out, Jordan offers large document pockets, card pockets, a notebook pocket, and two pen loops to help you move smoothly through your day. Open design.

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Charlotte Binder Collection

Brighten your day with this lively binder. Crafted from quality faux leather, this durable binder can take what your busy life throws its way—and it wipes neatly clean. Its lightly textured exterior feels soft to the touch, and a beautiful die-cut flower embellishes its sturdy snap closure. Inside you’ll find smooth faux leather, silver rings, two pen loops, a large side pocket, secretarial pocket, and a notepad slot. Classic and Compact versions also include a gusseted zipper pocket for loose essentials.

Classic ring size – 1.5″

Compact ring size – 1.25″

Monarch ring size – 1.25″

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Planner Quote: March 27, 2017

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

– J. Pierpont Morgan

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Planner Quote: March 20, 2017

“Most people don’t aim too high and miss, they aim too low and hit.”

– Bob Moawad

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Planner Quote: March 13, 2017

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

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Planner Quote: March 6, 2017

“The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can become.”

– Max DePree

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The Franklin Five: March 2017 Checklist

Welcome March! It’s time to incorporate more green in your life – the healthy stuff and the lucky stuff. Plan your family budget, give service to someone in need, or plan a play date with your kids or grand kids. Here are some more things to add to your list:

March Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

March Checklist Compact Size: PDF

March Checklist Classic Size: PDF

March Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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21-Day Planner Challenge

It takes at least 21 days to form a habit, and this specialized tool makes it easier than ever to develop the habit of planning.

WHAT: The 21-Day Planner Challenge – This planner contains 21 days (3 weeks) of planning pages in both weekly and daily format, a Master Task List, Monthly Index, and a Monthly Calendar—along with explanations of how to use them. Plus, it teaches why and how to use your Prioritized Task List, reveals the secret of the Time Matrix, and gives a brief explanation of the Productivity Pyramid.

HOW: Click here to get yours today! 

WHY: There are lots of reasons to try it out! Here are a few:

  • If you’ve ever said a paper planner is not for you, try it out before you turn it down.
  • Do you have a friend that you think would like using a planner? Give them one!
  • Maybe you’re already an avid planner user, but would like to try a different format – this 21-day planner has 21 days worth of BOTH weekly and daily formats.
  • Perfect your system before you commit to a certain format! Learn the FranklinPlanner system (all the details are included in this 21-Day Planner) and practice it for 21 days!
  • Turn a goal a habit – try it out, track your progress, and hold yourself accountable – 21 days is a good place to start.

THE CHALLENGE: Try it for 21 days, and see how your life begins to change! Once you’ve done that and had an experience you’d like to share, send us a video, pictures, or a simply a story to 21days@franklinplanner.com.

WATCH: COMING SOON! Meet Becca and James! They are two new users that have never tried a FranklinPlanner before. Watch their experience with a planner and check back for updates on their planner journey.

Week 1: Meet Becca and James

Week 2: Using the FranklinPlanner

Week 3: Making a Difference with the FranklinPlanner

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Planner Quote: February 27, 2017

“What is it going to be – reasons or results?”

– Art Turock

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How to Use Your Planner to Prioritize

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How to Assemble Your FranklinPlanner

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing a Personal Mission Statement

So it’s February.

By now, some of your New Year’s resolutions may be trying to flake off. That’s OK; we’re sure you’ve benefited from the effort you’ve made toward them already. But there’s no need to give up on any of your goals—the year is still young. Instead, pick them up, adjust them, and apply a bit more stick-to-it-iveness. You’ve got this!

One way to help your goals stick, is to align them with the things that matter most to you. Weigh your goals against your personal mission statement to ensure they are in line with your core values.

If you don’t have a personal mission statement, now is the perfect time to create one. It sounds complicated, but it’s easier than you might think. All good things start with questions and introspection. The right questions lead to the best solutions. The following six questions will help you create a mission statement that will reflect who you are and who you want to become—a foundation for your goals that will stick.

  1. What are my greatest moments of happiness and fulfillment?
  1. What are the activities of most worth to me in my personal life?
  1. What are the activities of most worth to me in my professional life?
  1. What are my natural gifts, talents, strengths, and abilities?
  1. What am I motivated by, fascinated with, and passionate about?
  1. How can I best contribute to my community?

Take your time with these questions and provide as complete an answer to each as you can. Once you’ve answered the questions, you’ll notice a core list of values, talents, and interests that continue to arise. Circle those and include them in four or five sentences that describe you.

Read your paragraph out loud and adjust it until you feel comfortable with the person your paragraph describes. Then write, “My personal mission is to:” and consider how you might re-arrange the sentences to create a mantra for your life. It’s fine if this process takes more than a day.

If you take the time you need to create your mission statement, you’ll be surprised at how much of what you write today will last throughout your life. Your mission statement will act as a reminder to plan worthwhile activities that bring happiness and fulfillment to your life. It will guide you into the joy of meaningful service, and allow you to improve upon your strengths while helping others around you. Best of all, it will inform your decisions and influence your goals—so you’ll be more likely to see them through to completion.

Take some time now, while the year is still young, and develop your personal mission statement. It may be the perfect dose of stick-to-it-iveness you need to reach your goals.

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Planner Quote: February 20, 2017

“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens in life, I find.”

– John F. Kennedy

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Planner Quote: February 13, 2017

“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.”

– Robert Southey

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How to Accessorize Your Planner

You get out of your planner what you put into it. With the right accessories, you’ll be surprised at what you can get  from your plans. Here are a few examples!

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Planner Quote: February 6, 2017

“Be true to your work and your word.”

– Ben Morrow

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The Franklin Five: February 2017 Checklist

February is here! Do small things all month to stay on top of your New Years goals and plans. Organize your paperwork for tax season, plan your garden, break a habit, and even complete and indoor project. These small things can help keep you on track and feeling accomplished. Here are some more things to add to your list:

February Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

February Checklist Compact Size: PDF

February Checklist Classic Size: PDF

February Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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Planner Quote: January 30, 2017

“Aim so high you’ll never be bored.”

– Linda Biggons

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How to Use Your Planner to Prioritize

One of the hallmarks of the original FranklinPlanner process, the Prioritized Daily Task List (PDTL), compresses the time you spend prioritizing and tracking progress on the things you do each day. Each task gets a priority marker and a follow up symbol, letting you see at a glance where you are and where you’re headed.

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Planner Quote: January 23, 2017

“Growth, in some curious way, I suspect, depends on being always in motion just a little bit, one way or another.”

– Norman Mailer

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The Vintage Aurora Binder

Looking for a showstopper? This exquisite binder has been crafted to exact specifications with attention to every detail. The hand-selected, textured Italian leather was meticulously inspected for a soft touch and rich color. A unique tanning process ensures a stunning, variegated patina that will grow deeper and richer with time and use. Contrasting, horizontal stitching detail, with gold rings, zipper pulls, and rivets add a lush accent and complete the vintage look. This deluxe binder is loaded with intuitive organization, with a full-length exterior pocket, two pen loops, a gusseted zipper pocket, and pockets for documents, cards, and an ID window. Combine all this with a secure, magnetic strap and loop closure, and you’re sure to enjoy its function and timeless fashion for years to come.

The Vintage Aurora Binder is available in Classic and Compact sizes in rich, cognac color.

Classic Measures         7.75” W x 9.5” H x 2.5” D 1.5” Rings

Compact Measures      6.5” W x 7.75” H x 2.5” D 1.375” Rings

1609023-holidayplannertalk-fbpagecover-aurora

Watch the video for more details:

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Planner Quote: January 16, 2017

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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How to Choose the Planner for You

Every FranklinPlanner is designed to help organize your life, but they’re also designed with different personalities and planning styles in mind. To get the most out of your planning sessions, it pays to have the planner best suited for you. So, how do you do that? Consider the following four elements of a planner:

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Planner Quote: January 9, 2017

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

― Winston S. Churchill

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4 Reasons to Review Your 2016 Planner

We can learn a lot from data. From our browsing history to Fitbit stats, we’re recording and analyzing more information than ever before, and using it to shape the future. As you move into 2017, it’s time to review your own data—the information contained in last year’s FranklinPlanner. A quick way to do that is to use your Monthly Index pages.

Your Monthly Index is designed to act as a reference page for your monthly events. If you’re planning a big event, have an important assignment at work, or want to note the day your child took his or her first step, simply list that event in your Monthly Index along with the date. This makes it much easier to find the information you kept regarding that event when you need it later. Looking through each Monthly Index will remind you of how much you accomplished during the year, and prompt you to pick up any tasks that may have slipped. Here are some other ways your 2016 data will be helpful next year:

Scheduling: What weekends worked well for your summer vacation last year? How long has it been since your last dental appointment? Reviewing your appointments and calendar entries from last year can help inform your current plans—ensuring this year’s plans go as well or better than last year’s. A quick review will also remind you when to schedule doctor check-ups, vaccinations, and dental visits.

Brainstorming: We can never flesh out every good idea from a productive meeting. Take the results of last year’s work meetings further. The notes you recorded in your planner can be a valuable source of inspiration for projects in 2017. For convenience, you might consider storing work notes in a separate Storage Case, so that you’re not flipping through weeks’ worth of pages to find the notes you need.

Learning from Failure: It’s natural (and mentally healthy) to move on when you make a mistake. But failures often teach us more than successes do. Take a moment to look back through 2016. If you let one of your goals slip, find the week where it happened and conduct your own analysis. Why did you fall off the wagon? Now that the pain of failure is insulated in the past, you’ll have a valuable resource to help you avoid pitfalls on this year’s goals.

Celebrating Your Success: On the other side of the coin, reviewing your 2016 planner can also help you see how far you’ve come. There’s a psychological phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome brings intense feelings of inadequacy, leading you to feel like you’re bluffing your way through life, that your accomplishments only come by luck, or that you’re taking credit where it isn’t due. If you’re facing Imposter Syndrome, use your planner to review your past processes, struggles, and achievements. Your planner is solid evidence of your contributions to career and family. It’s proof that your efforts have taken you in the right direction, proof that you’ve shaped your own destiny—that you truly are making progress toward your goals.

As you advance through 2017, the valuable insights from your 2016 FranklinPlanner can give you the data you need to succeed.

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Planner Quote: January 2, 2017

“For myself I am an optimist – it dose not seem to be much use being anything else.”

– Winston Churchill

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Look forward to 2017

The New Year is just around the corner. Take a few minutes now to prepare your planner for the coming events. Clean out your binder, sort loose papers, and give yourself a clean slate as you start another year. Planning now will let you start the year with fresh hope and optimism.

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Planner Quote: December 26, 2016

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy

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The Franklin Five: January 2017 Checklist

Welcome January and a brand new year! Write down your goals, make plans to achieve them, and get your new planner ordered if you haven’t already! Here are some more things to add to your list:

January Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

January Checklist Compact Size: PDF

January Checklist Classic Size: PDF

January Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

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Planner Quote: December 19, 2016

“Unless we think of others and do something for them, we miss one of the greatest sources of happiness.”

– Ray Lyman Wilbur

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Simplifying December

img_2847December is filled with our favorite things. The magical glow of Christmas lights lighting the front room—a glint of excitement in your children’s eyes—the aroma of hot chocolate heating on the stove—and the warmth of family.

Sometimes though, you can get through the whole month and wonder where the holiday went. All too often you find yourself acting as your family’s air traffic controller, keeping track of holiday parties, school concerts, classroom treat days, and family traditions.

All of these events are important during this time of year, but it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of orchestrating the chaos, rather than taking in the beauty of it all. The biggest contributor to stress is inadequate preparation. Here are five tips to help you simplify your December and reclaim the peace of the season.

1. Organize Your Holiday Gift List

Helping Santa get the things on everyone’s wish list can be quite a chore. You can simplify this with a basic spreadsheet: list the names of your family members, the gifts they want, where you want to buy them, how much they cost, and a running total on your budget. Then, when you find a great deal in the holiday ads, you’ll have a space to record it, saving you the trouble of bringing the mailers with you on your shopping trip.

2. Track Your Family Events

As your kids bring their school schedules home, take the time to mark their events on your centralized calendar with different colors for each child. Putting events up ahead of time can help you minimize scheduling conflicts. Meet as a family today, and at least weekly throughout the busy season to make sure you have everything scheduled in your planner with time allotted for preparation and travel.

3. Make Room For Traditions

With all the holiday fun going on outside your home, make sure to make time for your own family’s holiday traditions. Whether it’s decorating the house, reading by candlelight, baking pies, dipping chocolate, or watching your family’s favorite holiday movie—don’t let the holiday rush crowd out the small, quiet events that become the traditions your children remember most.

4. Prepare For House Guests

If you’re planning on having family or friends stay with you for the holidays, or even just inviting people over for a party of your own, you will want to present a clean and organized house. If you have any organization projects that you’ve been putting off, it’s better to tackle them well before your guests arrive. You’ll be dealing with travel schedules and other logistics – the last thing you need the day before they arrive is trying to find a home for the boxes in the guest bedroom.

5. Schedule Down Time

Most importantly, as you look at your holiday calendar, make sure to schedule some down time. With many family members to visit, and all of them expecting a visit on the holiday itself, it’s easy for a series of celebrations to feel like a set of errands. Scheduling out visits on days other than the actual holiday can help make your holiday together time more relaxed and enjoyable.

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Merry Christmas from the FranklinPlanner Team!

The holiday season is a time to slow down and enjoy the people you love. The season gives us an opportunity to serve those less fortunate and to reflect on the good in our lives. As Christmas approaches, we wish you the joy of the season, and hope you will find ways to keep that joyful spirit with you throughout the coming year. Take time now to plan how you will make the most of this precious time.

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Planner Quote: December 12, 2016

“One’s outlook is a part of his virtue.”

– Amos Bronson Alcott

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What to look for when purchasing your 2017 Planner

The best way to ensure you realize your dreams and reach your goals has always been to plan for them. And the best way to plan is with a pen and paper. Writing your goals in your planner ensures you see them regularly—motivating you to make them happen. Even with our amazing electronic devices, more and more people are returning to their tried and true planners to keep their personal dreams on track.

So what should you look for to ensure you have the best planner for you? Each person is different, so we’ve produced a beautiful Gift Guide with suggestions that could fit a number of different people, from the artist in your life to the traveler.

You can decide if you need a daily or weekly planner—whether you want it structured for tasks, notes and goals, or open and freeform—or if you want a planner designed for embellishments and creative personalization. The best planner for you is the planner you enjoy using—the planner that helps you focus on what matters most.

So visit our Gift Guide and discover your ideal planer along with some great tools for writing, travel, and together time. With just a few minutes you’ll not only find great solutions for yourself, but also quality gifts for those you love.

Check out our online Gift Guide here.

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Add a Tab for Holiday Lists

The holidays include several complicated decisions: what meals to prepare, what gifts to make or purchase, who will receive your gifts, and where you plan to give community service. These decisions result in several lists, that sometimes end up floating around your home. Add a tab to your planner for all of your holiday lists—wish lists, grocery lists for special occasions, gift lists, and shipping information. When the holidays are wrapped up, put these lists in their own storage case, so you can see what you’ve bought from year to year—making it even easier to plan for the upcoming years!

 

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3 Ways to Improve Your Plans with Your Master Task List

If you’re like most of us, you have a list of things you hope to get to someday. Perhaps your list includes a dream vacation, learning to play the guitar, spending one-on-one time with your children, or finally cleaning out and organizing your garage. These things are important to you, but for some reason they keep getting crowded out by higher-priority events, or you simply don’t plan ahead enough to make them happen.

Your Franklin Planner has always had the perfect solution to this problem, but many planner users don’t realize what it is or how to use it. Your Planner has several wonderful tools built in to the design that people often overlook as “extra paper.” One of those is your Master Task List, and you’ll find it in your planner at the beginning of each month.

This simple sheet is the ideal place to forecast what you hope to accomplish each month. Once you’ve written a goal or a task on paper where you can see it often, it’s much more difficult to put it off. Sometimes we need to let our goals nag at us, and the Master Task List is the ideal place to let them do just that. Here are a few ways your Master Task List can improve your plans:

Stop Putting Things Off

Look through your daily or weekly planning pages and see if there are any tasks that keep getting forwarded, skipped, or forgotten. Write these tasks on your monthly Master Task List (Some of our planners simply call it a Monthly To Do List). Once your list is complete decide if your task is time-specific or if it is time-flexible. Note time-specific goals and tasks on your monthly calendar tabs and schedule them on your daily task list so you can be sure you don’t miss an important deadline.

When it comes to putting things off, your time-flexible tasks tend to be a bigger problem. Because they only have ‘someday’ as a due date, these tasks are easily ignored until tomorrow. But what if your ‘someday’ tasks include saving for retirement or creating an emergency 72-hour kit? Eventually someday will arrive, and you may find yourself woefully unprepared.

Reviewing your Master Task List each week and re-writing it each month is the prefect reminder to schedule your tasks that aren’t time-specific. Set a date when you will meet with your financial planner, organize a 72-hour kit, or focus on a corner of your garage. During each weekly planning session, review your monthly Master Task list to ensure you’re including those things that you would otherwise put off.

Add Direction to Your Goals

Review your list of long-term goals and determine which steps you can work on each month. Write those steps on your Master Task List. Review your list each week as you plan and schedule the steps on your daily pages. Keeping a running, active list of your goals and the progress you’re making toward them is one of the most powerful ways to ensure you realize them.

Improve Relationships

Your Master Task list is a great place to focus on your relationships. If you hope to have monthly one-on-one time with your children, you can write their names here and list activities they enjoy. This will make it easy to plan a fun activity and schedule it in your planner. Now that wish to be with your kids is no longer a wish, but an actual scheduled event!

It works great for planning a breakfast getaway with your neighbor, a special date with your spouse, or planning a special anniversary event for your parents. Because you started planning it at the first of the month and took time to consider specifics, this together time will be more tailored to the people you are with.

The next time you plan, spend a few minutes with your Master Task List and start forecasting the events that will make the coming month even better. Good luck, and happy planning.

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Planner Quote: December 5, 2016

“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Create a Gift List in your Planner

Print out our Holiday Gift List printable and keep it in your planner. We have one in each of the four standard planner sizes—pocket, compact, classic, and monarch. This enables you to track your gift giving in one place.

Take note of each person you plan to give gifts to this holiday season. You can include your family members, extended family members, your neighbors, and professionals who serve you, such as your letter carrier and hairstylist. When you’ve listed everyone, write the dollar amount that you want to spend on each person. Tally up these figures to find your total holiday budget, and commit to stay within it.

Decide which gifts are appropriate for each person, learn where you can find the gifts, and write this information in your planner. Plan your shopping trips in your planner by location so you can get everything you need at each place. If you plan to shop online, take note of shipping costs and deadlines. Keep your planner with you as you shop and note the gifts you order, when they arrive at your door, and where you choose to hide them until that special day.

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December 2016 To-Do Checklist

Welcome December! Make plans with your family, write a thank you card, and let more holiday festivities begin! Here are some more things to add to your list:

December Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

December Checklist Compact Size: PDF

December Checklist Classic Size: PDF

December Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

December 2016

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Planner Quote: November 28, 2016

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they’re great because of their passion.”

– Martha Graham

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The 3 Planning Perspectives

It doesn’t take long for any of us to think of projects we’d like to finish, new skills we’d like to try, or talents we’d like to increase. Living a fulfilling life is all about creating new and meaningful experiences. These things require planning—they won’t just happen on their own. But sometimes we’re so buried in the stress of today that we can’t see tomorrow. Sometimes we get caught in the survival rut struggling to tread water, and although we often imagine and dream about forward progress, we can’t seem to get around to doing it.

Our vision is off—our perspective is skewed, and all we can see is the task at hand.

This happens to all of us at various times in our lives. First-time parents often talk about losing a piece of their identity when their children are born because they don’t have the time to enjoy the things they used to do before the baby came. New managers find themselves staying later at work finishing projects and reports or planning for tomorrow—things they hadn’t had to do before—leaving them with less time with their families. Sometimes our perspective needs to narrow so we can hone in on what matters most, but we can’t make that a habit at the expense of our other priorities. That’s why we need to plan from three vantage points.

Long-range Perspective

Schedule regular planning sessions throughout the year to focus on your long-range goals. Where do you want to be in five years? What do you want to accomplish by the end of the year—in six months—by the end of this month? Write your goals in your planner along with the steps necessary to reach them. For example: Perhaps you’d like to write, illustrate, and self-publish a children’s book. Set dates when you’ll have the copy written, give yourself a deadline for each image you plan to create, and set a time when you plan to publish your piece. Each of these steps are long-range goals, so break each of these goals into smaller pieces that you can work on regularly, and schedule them in your planner.

Your Monthly Master Task List is an ideal place for goals that don’t yet have a set timeframe. List your long-range goals in this section of your planner so you can refer to them during your weekly planning sessions.

Weekly Perspective

During your weekly planning sessions, look through your Monthly Calendar Tabs and schedule any events you have listed for the week. Then refer to your list of long-range goals on your Master Task List to determine which steps you can accomplish this week. Then schedule those tasks throughout your week and prioritize them to ensure they get the time they need.

Daily Perspective

Spend a few minutes each day looking over your planner. Are there tasks hanging over from yesterday that need to be placed on today’s task list? What appointments do you have today, and how much time will they give you to focus on personal goals? Once you’ve determined these things, jot down any tasks you’d like to complete today. Don’t worry about any order; just get them onto your list.

Once your list is written, prioritize your tasks by urgency and importance A, B, and C. Then order all of your ‘A’ tasks 1, 2, 3. Do the same with your ‘B’ and ‘C’ tasks until they’ve all been prioritized. Work on your ‘A’ tasks first, starting with A1, and see how far you can go. This process takes just a short time, but it will save you time and frustration by ensuring you’re working on the most important things first each day.

You can see that all of these three perspectives are connected. Each one builds on the next. Long-range plans lead to weekly plans, which lead to your daily plans. Often we’re tempted to view our goals from all three perspectives at once, but that can be overwhelming.

Here’s an example: If you hope to start a small in-home business to supplement your income, it’s easy to see the goal from all three perspectives at once and decide it’s too complex. You may ask, “When will I have time in my day to do that? How will I finance my expenses? What do I hope to gain from this experience? How can I be sure I’ll make any money or find any clients? Do I really have the skillset to make this work?”

Asking those questions is a necessary part of establishing your business, but remember that each question will be answered from a different point of view. You may not have all the skills you’ll need today, but you can create a long-range goal to establish those skills. You may not see a way to carve out the time in your day to work on your business right now, but during your weekly planning sessions, you’ll begin to see opportunities you don’t see today. You may not be sure how you’ll find clients, but during your daily planning you’ll realize you have time to create a flier, or work on your website.

With time, your fears and doubts will subside as you separate your goals into pieces that you can view from these three different perspectives. Before long you’ll realize that you’re moving forward and making progress where you once thought you would never find success.

Viewing your plans with a Long-range perspective, a weekly perspective, and a daily perspective is the secret to confidently reaching your goals without overwhelming yourself and those around you.

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Save on Cyber Monday

Happy Cyber Monday! Check out FranklinPlanner.com today and discover some great deals on our time-tested planning tools. This is an ideal time to stock up on the tools that will help you reach your highest aspirations. Go for it!

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Show Gratitude

With the stress of daily life and the events taking place in our nation and throughout the world, it’s easy to focus on our challenges and difficulties. Sometimes it’s natural to see the glass as half-empty, rather than half-full. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to shift our perspective. Take time this week to write down a list of things you are grateful for. Place a tab in your planner titled Gratitude, and keep several lined pages there so you can add to the list throughout the year and refer to it often. As you do this, you’ll begin to see more things each day that bring you joy, and your gratitude will increase.

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Planner Quote: November 21, 2016

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”

– Julia Child

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When Productivity Meets What Matters Most

Have you noticed how being busy is not equal to being productive? We’ve all had frustrating days when we’ve felt incredibly busy but had nothing to show for it. Equally frustrating are the days when we’re caught up in urgent matters and accomplish a lot, only to realize that we’d spent our day in meaningless pursuits. Urgent does not always equal important.

We all have things we want to accomplish for others, and ourselves—but when we cut out time for work, appointments, and other interruptions, the precious time we have remaining is scarce. Valuable.

Time is our most sacred commodity. How we use it determines our destiny. So it’s extremely important that we focus our efforts. Hyrum W. Smith has said, “When we align our choices with what matters most, we significantly increase our productivity and sense of inner peace.” We all want to be productive with our time, and we want that productivity be centered on what’s most important to us. Here are a few ways to do that.

Discover the values that govern your actions.

The things that matter most to you may not be the things that matter most to someone else. Your motivation is derived from deep within. There are things you value that move you to act, and other things that don’t interest you at all. That’s part of what makes each of us unique.

Benjamin Franklin had a list of 13 virtues that he tried to improve throughout his life. Late in his life he noted that he had done quite well with the first 12, but struggled with number 13, Humility. It’s interesting to note that ‘humility’ had been suggested to Ben by a friend after he had read Franklin’s original twelve. Although he understood the importance of humility, that virtue wasn’t rooted in Franklin’s governing values, so it made it difficult to truly aspire to it and work toward it.

What are your governing values? Before you get too far into your plans for the future, take some time to seriously ponder the things that matter most to you—the principles that motivate you to action, and write them in your planner for easy reference. It will change everything.

Determine the Roles that Matter Most to You.

A major part of improving your productivity is to understand the roles you play each day. Your planner is an ideal place to write down your roles—Mother/Father, employee, neighbor, athlete, etc. As you note the various roles you play, consider who is relying on you to act in those roles and what you might do to improve your performance. Incorporate those steps into your daily planning, and you’ll begin to see the growth you’re looking for.

Become familiar with the Time Matrix.

We spend each moment of each day doing something, but all tasks are not created equal. Stephen R. Covey found that our tasks could be categorized in a Time Matrix with two variables: Importance and Urgency. All of our activities fall into one of four quadrants depending on how important and urgent they are.

Quadrant One is Necessity. Because the tasks in this quadrant are both important and urgent, they drive us to complete them. When they’re finally finished we feel a sense of accomplishment, but we also feel anxious, exhausted, and emotionally drained. We want to drive our projects, not be driven by them.

Quadrant Two is Productivity and Balance. The tasks in this quadrant are important but not yet urgent. Working on important projects before they become urgent allows us to develop quality work, build our skill set, and grow confidence. It’s great working when we’re in control.

Quadrant Three is Deception. These tasks feel huge, but they don’t make a lot of difference in our lives. They are unimportant tasks masquerading as meaningful and urgent—but they don’t move us toward our goals. These tasks leave us feeling stressed without any sense of meaningful accomplishment.

Quadrant Four is Waste. It comes in the form of procrastination, searching the web for a prolonged amount of time, social media excursions, or video games. The list goes on forever, right? We all know our weak points. Proper planning can ensure we aren’t missing out on amazing experiences by allowing waste to creep into our day.

For more information about the Time Matrix, click here.

Set and Keep Goals.

A goal is only a wish until it’s written down and scheduled for completion. One of the greatest strengths of your planner is the power it gives you to list your goals and schedule them throughout your year. Once written, they’re always in front of you reminding you of the desire that drove you to set the goals in the first place, and encouraging you to move further toward your dreams than ever before. If you haven’t recently, set aside some time to consider where you’d like to be next month, next year, and five years from now, and create a list of goals you can schedule in your planner. It’s time to assign some deadlines to your dreams.

Prioritize Your Tasks.

Most of our planners include a Prioritized Daily or Weekly Task List. This powerful tool makes it easy to determine what you need to accomplish first each day. It’s the secret to keeping your most important matters at the center of your life.

Each day, simply write every task that you’d like to accomplish on your list, then read through your list and sort your tasks by urgency and importance with A, B, or C. Then sort all of your ‘A’ tasks by priority—1, 2, 3 etc. Do the same with your lists of B and C tasks. This powerful activity will help ensure you’re working on the tasks most closely related to your values and goals, and help you keep things in proper perspective.

Even if your planner isn’t designed with a Prioritized Daily Task List, you can incorporate the practice into your planning sessions with any of our planners by creating your own list of tasks and assigning them a priority for completion.

These steps sound simple and basic, but few people actually do them. It’s the little things consistently completed that make all the difference. Take a few minutes to seriously consider the values that govern your actions, the roles you play each day, and the importance and urgency of the tasks you perform. Then set goals that will move you to where you want to be and schedule your daily tasks to ensure you get there.

These small details can be easily overlooked each day, but they’re the secret to meaningful productivity. We feel most productive and fulfilled when we are involved in, significant, intentional activities, and not simply checking unimportant things off a list. Why not start incorporating the things that matter most to you into more of your daily activities—starting now?

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Holiday 2016 Gift List

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Whether you have or not, give yourself some peace of mind by having your gift giving organized and in one place. Download this Holiday Gift List and track who you’re giving the gift to, what it is, how much it cost, and its wrapping status!

holiday-2016-gift-list

Holiday 2016 Gift List – Classic

Holiday 2016 Gift List – Compact

Holiday 2016 Gift List – Monarch

Holiday 2016 Gift List – Pocket

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Discover Parker

Get a good grip on your plans with our new Parker Leather Binder. Parker features a two-tone design, with soft, pebbled top grain leather covers and a contrasting smooth vegetable-tanned leather spine stitched together with a sporty flair. The leather continues on the inside, where you’ll find a secretarial pocket with card slots and an ID window, two pen loops, and a back pocket for holding a notepad. Parker’s open design shows off its silver rings, while its smooth leather spine makes it fun to carry.

The striking black and tan Parker binder is available in Classic size.

Measures 7.75” W x 9.5” H x 2.75” D, Ring Size 1.25”

parker

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Planner Quote: November 14, 2016

“Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”

– William Wordsworth

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How to Integrate Roles into Your Tasks

artistAn old Gaelic phrase often attributed to William Shakespeare states, “What e’er thou art, act well thy part.” It’s good advice—to do your best in all your endeavors. But in order to fully follow this sage advice, you must first know what you are.

You are much more than what you do. If you’re an accountant, you are a financial manager—but you’re more than that. You may also be an athlete, a musician, an outdoor enthusiast, a son or daughter, a husband or wife, a father or mother, a friend, a teacher, a gardener, a caretaker, or an aspiring artist. In fact, you likely play many of those roles and more each day.

Most of us aren’t perfect actors in any of the roles we play—even the areas where we feel strong have room for improvement. None of us would dare say we’ve mastered the roles that are most important to us. There is no perfect communicator, no perfect friend, no perfect artist, and certainly no perfect parent. Yet, we can act well by simply pressing forward and doing all we can within our abilities.

Now and then we all have a day where things seem to click for us. We have a productive day at work, we connect with our parents, we send a sibling a thoughtful card, we help prepare a wonderful meal, and have a meaningful talk with our teenager. Those are the days when we fall into bed tired and satisfied. We may still have a few dishes in the sink, but we can rest easily knowing that we had a meaningful impact on the things that mattered most to us. Those are good days. You can create more of those good days by simply focusing on the roles that matter most to you.

Make a List

Take some time today and write down all the roles you play. You’ll be surprised at how long your list will become. Keep that list in your planner so you can add to it and refer to it often.

Determine Which Roles are Most Important

Read through your list and decide which of those roles matter the very most to you. Mark these roles with an asterisk, a star, or even with an ‘A.’ You’ll find that those ‘A’ roles make up the core of who and what you are.

Include Your Roles in Your Planning

As you plan each week, consider the roles you play and add tasks to your Prioritized Daily Task Lists that allow you to act well within those roles. Over time, you’ll define not only your roles, but also your part within each of them.

Use a Weekly Compass® Card

Your Starter Pack includes a set of Weekly Compass® Cards that fit perfectly inside your Pouch Pagefinder. You’ll notice that these cards include a place for you to note the roles you wish to focus on each week with room to write goals and tasks associated with each. This powerful tool allows you to focus on what you are and enables you to act your parts well, even while the world around you is crazy and hectic.

None of us are perfect, even with the best tools. But taking time regularly to focus on the roles you play will help keep you moving in the right direction. You’ll have a much better idea as to who and what you are, and you’ll sharpen your focus on those things. After all, the joy you feel today will have little to do with the circumstances you face, and everything to do with the focus you give to the things that matter most to you.

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Time Management During the Holidays

There’s nothing like the holidays to shake you out of your daily rut. Here are some tips to make sure that you can stick with your plans during the festivities:

  • Spend Time with Family: With all of your holiday appointments, be sure to plan some unstructured time with your family. The quiet moments are often when relationships develop and deepen, leading to some of the most memorable holiday experiences.
  • Sleep Well: When visiting relatives or catching up with friends, it can be tempting to make late night plans. Getting enough sleep each night gives you the right frame of mind to enjoy the holidays.
  • Keep Up with Exercise: Don’t skimp out on your personal wellness routines. Like getting enough sleep, physical activity helps keep your mind clear, and a clear mind is essential to making the countless decisions that make up a successful holiday season.
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3 Ways to Use Your Planner for Holiday Budgeting

bella holiday spread

The holidays are coming, and you’re probably starting to look forward to celebrating with family and friends. You’re probably not looking forward to paying for these celebrations, however. It’s hard enough to make it through Halloween in the (orange and) black, and then the biggest gift-giving season ramps up. Here are three ways your FranklinPlanner can help keep your budget healthy:

Individualized Gift Budget Tracker

Take a moment today and write out a list of everyone you plan on giving gifts to this holiday season. You can include your family members, extended family members, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, caregivers, and others who serve you, such as your letter carrier and hairstylist. When you’ve listed everyone, write the dollar amount that you want to spend on each person. Tally up these figures to find your total holiday budget.

As you shop holiday sales and buy gifts at a discount, deduct the retail price of your gifts from your gift budget rather than the sale price. Your loved ones will still get all the value you planned on giving, and you won’t be as tempted to buy extra gifts to meet your original limit. You can also use some of the extra budget to buy small gifts, like tins of cocoa or boxes of chocolate. Then when someone unexpected gives you a surprise gift, you’ll have a gift on hand to reciprocate.

Sale Date Tracker

From now until the end of the year, most of the gifts on your list will be on sale at one point or another. The challenge comes in weaving limited-time sale opportunities into a busy holiday schedule. Use your planner to make the process more transparent. As you browse through the mailing lists from your favorite retailers, mark down the promotional dates and amounts in your planner. When everything’s down on the page, you can see the big picture, letting you hit the best sales while taking fewer last-minute trips.

Shipping Deadline Reminder

Ben Franklin said it best: “Haste makes waste.” Many sites list holiday shipping deadlines, their recommended ordering date for delivery by December 24. Take a look at these deadlines and mark these dates in your planner. Then you won’t be left hovering over the mailbox, or doubling the price of your gift for overnight shipping.

This is also a good practice if you participate in free shipping programs, such as ShopRunner. Give your orders a head start, and they won’t get caught in the crowd of the procrastinators’ orders.

The biggest key to any budget is mindfulness. With daily and weekly planning sessions, your FranklinPlanner can ensure that you make it through the holiday season with peace of mind as you celebrate what matters most.

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Planner Quote: November 7, 2016

“If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

– Benjamin Franklin

interest

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Plan Out Your Holiday Calendar

From family dinners to company parties to final exams, the holiday season is full of important deadlines. Stay on top of things with the calendar in your planner. Write down new appointment information as it comes in, both on the date page and on your monthly calendar tab. Be sure to use pencil, just in case there’s a change of plans. As your weeks fill up, you can look at your calendar and see at a glance whether a new appointment will add more holiday fun or over burden your week.

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November 2016 To-Do Checklist

November is here! Make plans with your family, write a thank you card, and let more holiday festivities begin! Here are some more things to add to your list:

November Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

November Checklist Compact Size: PDF

November Checklist Classic Size: PDF

November Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

November 2016

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Planner Quote: October 31, 2016

“One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other.”

– Chinese Proverb

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5 Ways to Use Your Planner For Holiday Shopping

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The season of giving is a wonderful time to share with family and friends. It’s a great opportunity to remind others how much they mean to you. Extravagance is not necessary—a thoughtful note, a meaningful card, or a small gift can mean a lot. The trick is finding the right gifts for the right people all while staying within your budget. Your planner is a powerful tool that can take the stress out of your holiday shopping. Here’s how.

Determine your holiday budget.

Look at your finances now and decide what is a reasonable amount to spend on holiday shopping. Create budget segments in your planner for décor, party expenses, meal planning, and gifts, and determine how much you can afford to devote to each. Our Financial Plans Supplement is a complete solution to help you manage your funds, and a great tool for determining a reasonable holiday budget.

Devote a notes page in your planner for shopping lists.

If you’re worried about prying eyes, find an empty notes page in an inconspicuous location—June, for instance. List the items you’re considering for each family member below their name. Research the items and place dollar values next to each item to help determine which gifts you will be able to give. (Make a note on your Monthly Index page to remind you where to find this hidden list.)

Determine where you’ll find each gift.

After you’ve decided what to purchase, decide where you’ll find the best deal on each item. Make lists in your planner by location: Target, FranklinPlanner.com, Amazon, Adorama, etc. List the items you plan to purchase from each location. Take note of free shipping thresholds and other offers that can extend your shopping dollars.

Mark your monthly calendar for important events.

Track sales events in your monthly calendar to ensure you’re getting a good deal for the items you purchase and to ensure you don’t miss a big opportunity to save. For example, our most recent catalog has some great offers that will help your dollar go further—and keep an eye out for our Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming soon.

Set holiday shopping goals.

Your planner is a proven way to ensure you set and reach your goals. Make shopping goals to ensure you are finished with your shopping in plenty of time to enjoy the season stress-free. Mark dates in your planner for ordering online items, plan shopping trips to beat the rush, and schedule your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping now—so you can relax knowing your gifts are in hand.

There is much more to the season than gifts. Plan your thoughtful giving now, so you can peacefully enjoy this special time.

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Happy Halloween from the FranklinPlanner Team

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday with your family and friends. But before you go, be sure to check out our Halloween sale.

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Meet Chelsea

If you’re looking for a classy way to express your style take a look at our new Chelsea Leather Binder. The elegant Chelsea binder delivers quality with soft, top grain leather in timeless, classy colors. A stamped rosette pattern fills the front and back covers, and the interior includes the same beautiful leather with vinyl lining. Inside, you’ll find gold hardware, two pen loops, card slots, a large side pocket, a gusseted zipper pocket, a secretarial pocket, and a deep pocket on the back for a notepad. A leather snap closure secures your important plans.

Chelsea is available in Classic and Compact sizes and comes in two colors: Ebony and Cranberry.

Classic Measures 8.5” W x 10.25” H x 2.75” D, Ring size 1.5”

Compact Measures 6.5” W x 7.75” H x 2.5” D, Ring size 1.25”

chelsea-berry-and-black-15a

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Planner Quote: October 24, 2016

“No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.”

– George Jean Nathan

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How to Pick a Planner for 2017

With two months left to go in 2016, it’s time to order a new planner for 2017. It’s easy to stick with the same planner you used this year, but now and then it’s fun to change things up a bit. At FranklinPlanner.com, we’re always developing new ways to plan, from the free-form Dot Grid Planner to the fun and relaxing Living Color Planner.

Which planning system is right for you? Here are a few things to consider:

Format

Consider your needs when you make your decision. How often do you use your planner? A two-page-per day planner is ideal if you have several meetings and appointments each day. They offer a page for notes, and plenty of room for your daily tasks.

A one-page-per-day planner has the planning features of a two-page-per-day planner, but the layout is smaller, with a half page for notes.

If your schedule revolves around projects and you have fewer tasks to track each day, a weekly planner is the perfect solution. You can see the whole week at a glance and track progress on each of your projects.

Some of our planners have a very structured layout—providing space for your Prioritized Daily Task List, Appointments, Notes, and a Daily Tracker. Other planners are more open, allowing you to decide what you want to focus on each day. While browsing your planner options, consider how much structure you require to be effective each day and choose a planner that fits your lifestyle.

If you let your personality, your planning habits, and your schedule influence your decision, you’ll end up with the ideal planner format.

Size

We’ve written several posts regarding the appropriate size of your planner. If you are wondering which size is best for you, just consider: 1) how portable you would like your planner to be, and 2) the amount of space you will need for writing.

  • Pocket-sized planners are our most portable planners, measuring 3.5” x 6”. While lightweight and convenient, they don’t have as much writing space as our other planners.
  • Compact-sized planners come in many different designs, and coordinate with some of our most luxurious binders. Compact planners measure 4.25” W x 6.75” H.
  • Classic-sized planners come in our full range of designs, including favorites like
    5 Choices and Flora. Classic planners measure 5.5” W x 8.5” H.
  • Monarch-sized planners are our largest format, measuring 8.5” W x 11” H. Available in several of our long-time favorite designs, they’re great for those who like to write large and require a lot of space.

Wire-bound or Ring-bound

Your planner’s binding makes a difference. Ring-bound planners require a binder and wire-bound planners do not. The wire-bound planner is self-contained, letting you grab it and go. However, we also offer a variety of covers for wire-bound planners, letting you personalize and enhance your organization no matter which binding you choose.

Ring-bound planners offer a greater level of personalization. You can insert forms wherever you’d like, add additional notes pages, or simply hole-punch an item and place it in your planner. Because ring-bound planners require a binder, you also enjoy the added benefits of a binder; pen loops, a notebook slot, pockets, and a cardholder.

Discover New Planning Coordination

The planning lifestyle doesn’t end with planners. Pair a Wanderlust Planner with a set of inspiring Wanderlust Prints.  Grab a new Textures Pagefinder to match the new format and photography of your Textures Ring-bound Weekly Planner. Color-code your planner storage with our new selection of Storage Sleeves, designed to match our colored Storage Cases.

Whether you expand your horizons or stick with the tried and tested, one thing is certain: the first step to a successful 2017 is starting out with a Franklin Planner.

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Organize Your Holiday Events

As of today, there are 62 days left until Christmas and 69 until the end of the year. With Halloween on the way and more holidays coming, it’s time to take charge of your holiday plans. Talk with your family and friends and make time for your most important events before outside groups fill your schedule for you. Then as each event approaches, you can use your planner to track the dates and details for each party you’re attending, as well as any travel considerations and costs.

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Planner Quote: October 17, 2016

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

– G.K. Chesterton

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Make a list of to-dos for the new season

As the season changes and winter approaches, there are likely several tasks that you need to do. You might need to finish the home maintenance and landscaping jobs you didn’t get to this summer, while the weather is still warm enough. You may need to harvest your garden and prepare the soil for next year. You might need to rotate your storage, bringing out the winter clothing and holiday decorations. Perhaps there’s a corner of your home that needs serious reorganization. Make anything on your list manageable by breaking the big task down into subtasks and tracking them one at a time.

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How to Build Momentum to Accomplish Your Tasks

Have you been feeling unmotivated lately? Does it seem like the tasks in your life are too large, too many, and too daunting to attempt? You’re not alone: in a 2014 national survey*, 73% of respondents said that they don’t feel “completely balanced,” and need to find ways to counteract crammed schedules. This same survey found that, among those who would pay money for an extra hour in each day, 58% would gladly pay $2,725 for the privilege.

to-do-listYes, there are days when you feel like you’d pay $3,000 just to accomplish something, anything. If you’re staring at your Prioritized Daily Task List and feeling overwhelmed with your day, take a moment to reconsider.

First, check the priorities on your tasks. Think of the classic object lesson of trying to fit big rocks and little rocks in the same jar. Are there small rocks masquerading as big rocks? Sometimes the desire to cram activity into a single day seriously lessens the actual amount of what gets done. If there are things that you can reschedule, take a moment and do so. Your friends and family will understand, and hopefully you’ll offer them the same courtesy with their scheduling conflicts.

Of course, that leaves the items on your list that must be done today. To give yourself more breathing room, grab a separate piece of paper and list subtasks for each task. Then, on the appropriate days in your planner, you can note the subtasks you need to achieve your goal. For example, if your main goal is “Buy/Make Halloween Costumes”, then you can schedule time with your family two weeks before Halloween to research costume ideas. Once everyone has selected their costume, schedule time one and a half weeks before Halloween to shop for supplies. One week out, plan on making the costumes. And then two days before, you can make final adjustments and pick up any final accessories.

Life is full of minutiae that you just can’t anticipate. There will be days when potty training works less well, when your son empties the cereal box onto the kitchen floor, or when your sister gives your kids red Kool-Aid right before family pictures. Whether you squeeze many of your subtasks in between life’s urgencies, or whether you find yourself writing “water the plants” on your list, just so you can say that you accomplished something, remember that any day is just that: 24 hours of your life. With your plans broken out step by step, there’s nothing to say that you won’t get much further with the next 24.

*2014 Survey from Zico Coconut Water

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Planner Quote: October 10, 2016

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Urgency ≠ Priority

Are you running your life? Or is your life running you? There is a big difference between priority and urgency. Your priorities come from careful thought, when you decide to act according to your values and craft a plan to make it happen. Urgency, whether real or simulated, rises to the top of your list and demands your reaction. Much of the time, tasks with a sense of urgency come from a lack of planning, whether on your part or someone else’s. Control your personal responsibilities with effective daily and weekly planning sessions, and you can leave space in your schedule for other people’s emergencies without pushing out your own priorities.

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6 Steps to Mapping Your Tasks

We all know that the secret to realizing our goals is to look ahead, set a date for accomplishing the goals, and then to break the goals down into bite-sized pieces that we can accomplish daily or weekly. It sounds easy enough in theory, but many of us struggle to achieve it in reality.

simon2A lot of our goals look the same today as they did three years ago. “Get a handle on our clutter. Visit Europe. Create a retirement plan. Read more. Develop an exercise routine. Save money.” If it’s as easy to break our goals into manageable pieces as all the literature makes it sound, why are so many of us still planning to reach our goals during that mythical Someday?

The truth is, the process of determining our goals requires personal insight. That takes time, thoughtful consideration and quiet pondering. Yet, most of us are so busy that we can’t or don’t find the time for this critical exercise. Plus, once we have our goals in mind, breaking them into steps is another skillset that we haven’t been taught or rarely practice. So even if we can name the things we hope to achieve someday, it doesn’t mean we’ll realize those dreams without some real help.

That help comes through the process of task mapping. How often do we panic when we receive an assignment? Big projects can have more than one possible starting point, and there are usually several steps along the way that will require careful planning. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Mapping our tasks makes our big projects much easier to complete.

  1. Focus on the Finish

We’ve always championed the idea of beginning your tasks with the end in mind. In order to map your tasks in a manner that ensures your success, you need to take that advice literally. Start mapping your task from finish to start, rather than from start to finish. If you have a goal to develop a fitness plan, imagine what that plan looks like, when it will take place each day, and how you will feel when you are following a healthy routine. It’s important to think through all the details because each of those details will require time to develop.

It’s no different than cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. You need to know how that turkey is going to look, smell, and taste before you ever purchase the bird from your grocery store. You need to know what seasonings to buy, how long it will take to thaw, how long it will take to cook, and what garnishes will pair best with it before you can begin.

  1. Develop a Time Line

Success is purchased with the coin of time and effort. Everything we do takes time, so we need to consider how long it will take to complete our goals. If you have a long-term goal to visit Europe, you’ll need to determine where you want to go, how long you’d like to stay, how long it will take to save the money for the trip, what you need to do to secure your home and belongings while you’re away, what to do with your mail delivery, and who will watch your pets.

How long you stay will determine the cost of your trip. How well you save your money will determine how soon you can leave. So take the time to consider each element of your trip and create a realistic timeline for accomplishing each part.

  1. Find the Natural Breaks in Your Task

The next step is to break your project into big pieces. As you think through your project, you’ll notice natural dividing lines. Every goal is actually a combination of several steps. Whenever a change in function occurs during your process, note those changes as separate chunks of your project. Think of these chunks as mid-range goals—items that will take time to develop and work through.

If you want to visit Europe, you’ll first need to plan the events of the trip. That portion of your goal will include researching venues to visit, determining your means of travel, deciding how long you’d like to stay in each area, and so forth. It’s necessary that you decide all of these details before you determine how much money you’ll need to save and how long it will take to acquire those funds, right? So there is a natural dividing line between those two aspects of your goal.

Finding the natural breaks in your project will help simplify your planning process. You’ll be able to compartmentalize each aspect of your goal without letting other parts of the process creep in and clutter your efforts. One great way to visualize this stage of your plan is to write each chunk on separate pieces of paper and place them on your timeline.

  1. Arrange Each Item in Sequential Order

The fourth step is to arrange each big item into a sequential order. If you find that two or more items need to happen at the same time, just place them in the same spot on your timeline. Life events don’t always happen linearly, so you’ll simply need to schedule events concurrently as you plan.

  1. Establish Your Short-term Goals

Now is the time to reduce. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with each existing chunk. Prepare a list of all the tasks that need to be accomplished within each large chunk. These tasks are your short-term goals—hopefully things than can happen in a week or less. It may be easier to visualize this process if you write each step on separate small pieces of paper and arrange them in order, so you can see how each task affects the rest.

Consider the relationships between the tasks. Who should accomplish each task? Are the tasks sequential, or will any need to happen at the same time? Look at the longest timeline that you’ve allocated to a task—if you have a deadline, will you be able to fit it all in?

  1. Layout Your Entire Project From Finish to Start

Lay out every big chunk in sequential order from the end to the beginning and place the small chunks in sequential order inside each large chunk. Because you started from the end, all the pieces of your task map are in reverse order, but the advantage is that you know they’ll work toward your desired end. Now simply reverse your task map and place it in its final form, and you’ll have an ideal plan that you can follow from start to finish.

Once you’ve decided on a path to follow toward your goal, write each step in your planner and spread the tasks throughout the weeks and months as you’ve determined will work best. As you work through the tasks that will move you toward your goal, you may find that you need to make adjustments. If so, simply note the changes in your planner and keep moving forward.

Plan for change along the way. Keep a running list of the things you’re working toward in your planner and move them from day to day until they’re completed. You may also want to keep a visual reminder somewhere in your home. Keep each chunk and step on separate papers on a white board or in an electronic file on your computer and rearrange tasks as you go to accommodate the inevitable hiccups.

We know that this sounds simpler than it really is, but as you practice this process, it will become easier. Before long, many of the things you thought were distant dreams will begin to become your reality. Why not dream big—starting now?

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Planner Quote: October 3, 2016

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”

– H. Norman Schwarzkopf

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Evaluate your Planning System

Change is the essence of life, and that also holds true for your planning system. This  month, we’re changing up our annual Organized October tradition with a renewed focus on all things planning.  With detailed infographics that link to helpful content, you can use Organized October to learn new planning strategies, refresh your knowledge of your current system, and identify areas where you can improve.

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