5 Weeks to Christmas Countdown

There are less than six weeks left until Christmas. For the kids in your life, that seems like forever. For you, though, it doesn’t leave much time to get ready. Here are some suggestions to help you beat the holiday rush, starting now:

Five Weeks Out: Affix Postage Here

Greeting cards are a fun tradition for many families, and a chance for a more personal and tangible connection than a birthday reminder on Facebook. If you send out cards, now is the time to get everything ready. If you don’t already have a list of contacts, use some Address/Phone Tabs and create one that you can use year after year. Print out your photos, buy envelopes and postage, draft your yearly letter if that’s your thing, and set aside a night to get everything ready to mail. This will give your friends the chance to enjoy your season’s greeting during the season itself.

Four Weeks Out: Lock In Your Menu

From special dinners with family and friends to seasonal treats to ubiquitous chocolates, food takes center stage in many holiday traditions. Whether you’re planning on hosting a social gathering worthy of Martha Stewart or just attending a few smaller get-togethers, take the time to plan out your food contributions. Make a list of all the important meals you plan on serving this holiday season, and then list the ingredients you’ll need on a Menu Planner-Shopping List. As you’re out shopping for Thanksgiving, check for non-perishable or storable ingredients for your December meals, like cans of pumpkin, piecrusts, biscuit dough, or sale-priced turkeys for your deep freeze. You’ll still need to make shopping trips in December, but preparing now will help cut the time you spend on each trip.

Three Weeks Out: Get Things Wrapped

When you were a kid, you never knew that Santa was such a hard worker. It takes time and the right supplies to create a well-wrapped holiday gift, and choosing to take that time on Christmas Eve after your family festivities will likely see you wrapping into the wee hours of Christmas morning. Start the wrapping process this week with the gifts you’ve already purchased, and Santa can get some well-deserved shuteye on December 24.

Two Weeks Out: Remember Your Neighbors

Sharing a thoughtful gift with your neighbor is a great way to get in the spirit of the season. Some fun and thoughtful gifts include a box of tissues with a fun poem, or the traditional Hawaiian gift of a pineapple. As you plan out gifts for your neighbors, use the contact pages in your planner to set the scope of your gift list, and then write down a task on the day or days you plan on delivering. Then try to get these gifts out before the craziness of the last week of the holidays. You can also keep a couple of extras for the neighbors who aren’t on the list that stop by with a gift for you.

One Week Out: Enjoy

By December 20, you’ll have holiday cards displayed on your mantle, cookies smelling great in the oven, and everything wrapped and ready for Santa to come. Start with a plan, and you’ll have the mental space to enjoy the season with those you love.

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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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Thanksgiving is Coming! Is your Planner Ready?!

By Patty Gardner

Thanksgiving is coming, and it’s going to be at my house again (like it has been for the last 20 years or more).  I’ve hosted so many times that I can almost plan the menu and prepare the food with my eyes closed.  But I don’t.  And even though I know what I’m doing, I still use my trusty planner to figure out what to do and when to do it.

The first thing I do is pull out last year’s planner and read about how last year’s Thanksgiving went.  Then I get out my calendar and highlight Thanksgiving on my monthly calendar so I can see at a glance how much time I have before the big day arrives. Since I have ADHD, I don’t always have a realistic view of how much time has passed or how much time is still remaining.  That’s why it’s important for me to have a visual reminder of exactly when the holiday is – more than just a box on the calendar – a HIGHLIGHTED box.

FC - Thanksgiving 3Then I go to the Thanksgiving page in my planner and insert a blank piece of paper.  On that paper, I write down who I think will be coming so I can get a count.  I also decide what time we’ll eat and write down a tentative menu.  We like to have most of the same foods year after year but we tried to include a few new things each holiday.  Anyway, on that blank piece of paper I jot down any thoughts I have about the menu, the guest list or anything else about the holiday.  I start doing this in October at the latest.

As November gets closer, I start finalizing the recipes and assigning foods to other family members (I let them tell me what they want to bring and then make it fit the menu).  I write on the Thanksgiving planning page who’s bringing what.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving I start writing down all the extra things we’ll need like plates, silverware, napkins, salt & pepper, butter, coffee (I always forget coffee), ice, etc.  It sounds silly to write all that stuff down but I want to make things as easy and mindless as possible on Thanksgiving.  I don’t want to forget anything and I don’t want to be stressed.

At the beginning of the week of Thanksgiving I write out a plan.  My plan includes what I’m cooking and when.  I get pretty detailed about what needs to be done when.  And I post that plan so it’s visible to everyone.  Then if they want to help, they have a better idea of what to do and I know what to tell them.

FC - Thanksgiving 2

And then . . . when it’s all over, I write details on my notes page about how it went and what I might want to do different or the same next year.  And before the lights go out on Thanksgiving, I move on to Christmas . . . no wait, I already started planning for Christmas.  But that’s an article for another day!!!

 

 

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Colors Giveaway Week!

Colors giveaway week 3The Classic-Sized Original Daily Planner now comes in six different colors! To celebrate we are going to give each color away for an entire week.

Here’s how to win your favorite color planner:

  1. Choose your favorite color planner (or favorite colors).
  2. Find which day we are giving that color away on the schedule below. colors calendar
  3. On your favorite color’s day, share the color photo (see below) on your Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to tag FranklinPlanner on Facebook and on Instagram (@franklin.planner) and follow us. Use the hashtag #FPcolorsweek so that we can easily find your post!
  4. Each day at 6:00 MST, we will announce a random winner of the colored planner for that day in the comments section of our post on Facebook and Instagram.
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30th Anniversary Story: Tina Pruitt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Tina Pruitt

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30th Anniversary Story: Barbara Moore

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Barbara Moore

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30th Anniversary Story: Colleen Boraca

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

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

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

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

For this, I am grateful.

Sincerely,

Colleen Boraca

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30th Anniversary Story: Larrissa Geiger

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Larrissa Geiger

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30th Anniversary Story: Kristi Kreiner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Kristi Kreiner

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30th Anniversary Story: Julie Bailey

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

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

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30th Anniversary Story: Catherine Krause

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Catherine Krause

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30th Anniversary Story: Annette Wilder

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

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

This is why my Franklin Planner comes in handy.

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Annette Wilder

 

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30th Anniversary Story: Summer Perkins

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Summer Perkins

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Make Your Planner Personal for 2014

Your planner is a great tool for organizing your time, but you can make it even better. When people take the time to personalize their possessions, they tend to use them more. If you can make your planner represent the important aspects of your life and personality, you’ll find that they not only work to organize your time, but also your life.

With a few well-designed forms, your planner can serve as a personal motivator for your health goals, or it can encourage you to stick to your financial budget. With customized tabs, you can create a place to track your medical expenses, make it easier to find important lists, and help you manage your personal endeavors.

Plastic inserts make it easy to carry the things that can’t easily be hole-punched, but are helpful to have such as pencils and erasers, business and credit cards, and family photos.

Something as simple as a page finder can make scheduling and tracking your daily events thoughtlessly simple. You can have your planner open to the right day in less time that it would take to find your calendar app on your smartphone.42044_lrgcase

Yearly foldout calendars let you track the big events of each year with ease. Simply open the calendar and you can see in advance when your niece is getting married, what day your vacation will begin, or find a quick reminder to send your parents their anniversary card.

And this is only the beginning. Your planner can become your office manager, your wallet, and even your little black book. Why try to keep all that information in more than one place when your planner is such a convenient and effective tool?

Now that you have your planner and the year is underway, take a look at how you can accessorize it so you can use it to it’s fullest potential.

 

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My Planner, Tabbed Up

I love to put tabs onto my planner pages on days where I know I have major meetings. This lets me quickly turn to a meeting and jot down reminders or assignments. I’m currently using Avery Note Tabs, which I can writing on and they last forever! They are very sturdy and blend in well with my Real Life Adventures planner.

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