Changing a Habit – Where to Start

The habits we form are based on these three parts: knowledge, desire, and skill. Knowledge is what to do and the why to do it. Skill is the how to do it and desire is the motivation and the want to do it. In order to remove a habit or to create one, we have to utilize all three of these components to our advantage.

If you want to change a habit, here is a great place to start. Take a closer look at the following diagram and ask yourself these questions:

Knowledge – What do I need to learn? What resources do I have available to me? Why do I want this change – is it for me or for someone else?

Desire – Why do I want this change? What can I do to strengthen my motivation? Who can I enroll in my cause? Who can I ask to support me?

Skills – What is my plan to overcome/change? What skills do I need to gain? Who can teach me what I don’t already know?

Planner Quote: March 12, 2018

“Focused action beats brilliance any day.”

– Art Turock

Planner Quote: March 5, 2018

“Every moment spent planning saves three or four in execution.”

– Crawford H. Greenewalt

TV Binge Watching to Reading More Books

Watching TV and reading books are both sedentary activities, but reading engages your mind, awakes your imagination, and broadens your vocabulary. If you’re unhappy with how much time you spend in front of a screen—whether it’s a television, computer monitor, tablet, or smart phone—replacing a portion of that time with a good book will be highly rewarding. The world is loaded with interesting books.

Make a list of the books you want to read on your Monthly Index pages and start checking them off. If your list is too long for one page, use a set of alphabetized address phone tabs to keep your list organized. Or, pick up a set of customizable tabs and create a section in your planner for your book list. As you finish each book, note how well you enjoyed it with a rating system.

Workaholic to Work/Life Balance

It’s true—you can have too much of a good thing. There is a certain high that comes with a job well done. Accomplishments can be addicting. Of course, for many of us the reason we work late has more to do with our workload than our egos. Either way, your planner can help you replace those late hours at the office with family time, time enjoying hobbies, or simply more rest.

Often the best way to reduce the time you spend at work is by sharpening the saw. Planning time to practice a skill, read up on the latest trends, or study your trade can greatly improve your productivity when you are at work. Taking time to exercise, eat healthy, rest, and regenerate can go a long way as well. If you feel like you are able to make time for you, it’s easier to give your all while you’re at work—and then get out.

Add a personal improvement task to your Prioritized Daily Task List each day, and make it an ‘A’ priority, so you’ll be sure to get to it. Schedule time with your spouse, children, and friends in your appointment column each week, and be sure you’re out of your office in time to enjoy them. See if doing these things doesn’t bring a spring back into your step.

Staying Up Late to Healthy Sleep

Does it feel like you’re always running behind? Chances are you aren’t getting enough healthy sleep. The best way to start fresh in the morning is to get to bed at a decent hour each night. If you’re in the habit of staying up with the owls, this may take a while to correct. You can do it.

Set an alarm on your phone an hour before you’d like to go to bed, so you can start the process. None of us can just drop into bed at 10:00. We need to wind down. Also, studies show that the blue light of computer monitors, tablets, phones, and televisions confuse our body clocks because they resemble the light of early dawn. That color of light tells our minds to wake up, and is no help when we’re trying to fall asleep. Determine to turn off all electronic screens an hour before you go to bed.

Set a goal in your planner to be in bed at a reasonable hour. Mark on your monthly calendar each time you successfully retire to bed on time. Plan a reward for yourself if you have been successful 80% of the time by the end of the month.

Unproductive Chaos to Focused Daily Progress

Life comes at us surprisingly fast. Sometimes big events in the distance seem far away—until they aren’t. When life charges at us, we have little choice but to react. We jump, run, and grab whatever we can. That’s an exhausting way to get through the day.

Planning for a few quiet minutes each day will put you in the driver’s seat of your day. You will determine what matters most to you and set your focus there. Your Franklin Planner is deigned to encourage your long-term visions by giving them a place to grow—a place that you’ll see often and reflect on them. It is also designed to ensure you don’t forget your short-term goals and the daily actions that will keep you moving forward.

Sitting All Day to Exercise and Movement

Do you sit at a desk all day? Do you have a commute on top of that? Chances are, you’ve felt some of the effects. Low back pain, sore wrists, and a stiff neck are only the beginning. Sitting for extended periods of time can damage your nerves, tendons, and ligaments.

Taking regular breaks from sitting can relieve the short-term aches, and reduce the long-term damage. Set an alarm on your phone or on your computer to remind you to get up and walk. (Drinking more water can help encourage walking as well.) Take a break to stretch your back, legs, and arms, and set aside time each day outside of work to walk and do resistance training.

Schedule walk breaks and exercises on your appointment column in your daily planner, so you don’t forget to get up and move. Our Health and Fitness Tracker is an ideal way to manage the nutrition you eat and the type of activities you do each week.

Drinking Soda to Drinking More Water

We all know that sugar isn’t good for us. As it turns out, diet soda isn’t any better. A 2014 study found that consuming too much added sugar increases your risk of dying from heard disease, even if you aren’t overweight. Also, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that older adults who drank diet soda daily for nearly a decade experienced almost triple the increase in waist size compared to those who never drank it.

But quitting soda cold sounds nearly impossible. Start slow. If you drink more than one can of soda per day, try replacing one can with a glass of water instead. Water is a far better source of hydration. Keep a water bottle at your desk and drink from it throughout your workday. See if having plenty to drink reduces your cravings for sugary soda.

Make a note in your planner for each 8 oz. glass of water you drink. If drinking water starts to get boring, try adding sliced citrus fruit to kick up the flavor.

Eating Out Regularly to Bringing Food From Home

We all know that eating out is expensive. The average fast food lunch costs around $7.00 and is usually less than ideal in terms of nutritional value. If you buy your lunch five days per week, you’ll spend $35.00 weekly. The average person works about 50 weeks per year, bringing your total lunch expenses to $1,750.00 annually. Imagine what you could do with that money!

It costs far less to prepare your food at home. The average homemade lunch costs about $1.50, or $7.50 per week, for a total of $375.00 annually. If your goal is to save money by eating out less, you can start by preparing larger meals on the weekend and packing leftovers two or three days per week. Or you could store sandwich supplies in your office. Each week you could try a new, creative dish. After a few months, eating out will be the exception rather than the rule.

Plan your lunches into your grocery shopping and menu preparation. Our Menu/Shopping forms are ideal for this. They give you a convenient place to plan your meals on one side, while the other side is divided into sections you’ll find at your grocery store, so you can write your shopping list and keep like items together. It will streamline your shopping, which can also save money and time.

The Franklin Five: March 2018 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

21-Day Planner Challenge: Replacing Old Habits with New Ones

The desire for change and growth seems to be hardwired in each of us. It’s part of the human condition. We can’t remain stagnant without feeling stuck. Instead, we look ahead and determine where we want to be and what it will take to get there.

Yet, some changes can be tough. It’s true that old habits are hard to break. So how do we overcome unwanted behaviors that are holding us back? Sometimes the best solution is to fight a habit with a habit.

Join us throughout the month of March for our 21-Day Planner Challenge, where we’ll offer tips and encouragement to help you get closer to your goals. By now you know that the little things make the biggest difference. Taking a few quiet moments each day to plan will enable you to start each day in the right direction. And just moving in the right direction feels great.

This month, focus on a habit you’d like to change, write it in your planner, and let’s work together to change it.

Use the 21-Day Planner
The 21-Day Planner is a great catalyst for change. It fits perfectly in your planner binder or your bag, and it includes great reminders such as the Productivity Pyramid and the Time Matrix to help you determine the most effective use of your time. It also offers a weekly and daily format so you can decide which works best for you.

It takes at least 21 days to form a habit, certainly longer than that to solidify positive behavior. But you’ll be surprised at what you can do in just three short weeks. The 21-Day planner is a great supplement to your yearly planner because you can use it to focus on one specific area. It’s the ideal way to replace unwanted behaviors with better habits.

Stay accountable
Keep yourself accountable by tracking your progress. Mark your planner each time you successfully act on your plan. Taking note of your success will motivate you to do more. Most Franklin Planners have a Daily Tracker designed specifically to help you follow your progress toward your goals. It feels great to see your successful efforts noted in ink in your planner.

Don’t just stop—replace.
Even little habits are strong. It can be intimidating to stop them cold turkey. Instead, try replacing unwanted behaviors with better ones. Erasmus of Rotterdam has said, “A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”

He’s right. Here are a few common examples.

Unhealthy Snacking -> Healthy Snacking

If you have a habit of visiting the vending machine halfway through the day, place an apple next to your car keys at night so you’ll have a healthier alternative on hand when the cravings come. Replacing unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks is far easier than replacing unhealthy snacks with no snacks. Add the Health and Fitness Tracker to your planner, and keep track of all the healthy nutrition you’re adding to your life each week.

Eating Out Regularly -> Bringing Food From Home

We all know that eating out is expensive. The average fast food lunch costs around $7.00 and is usually less than ideal in terms of nutritional value. If you buy your lunch five days per week, you’ll spend $35.00 weekly. The average person works about 50 weeks per year, bringing your total lunch expenses to $1,750.00 annually. Imagine what you could do with that money! Read More >

TV Binge Watching -> Reading More Books

Watching TV and reading books are both sedentary activities, but reading engages your mind, awakes your imagination, and broadens your vocabulary. If you’re unhappy with how much time you spend in front of a screen—whether it’s a television, computer monitor, tablet, or smart phone—replacing a portion of that time with a good book will be highly rewarding. The world is loaded with interesting books. Read More >

Sitting All Day -> Exercise/Movement

Do you sit at a desk all day? Do you have a commute on top of that? Chances are, you’ve felt some of the effects. Low back pain, sore wrists, and a stiff neck are only the beginning. Sitting for extended periods of time can damage your nerves, tendons, and ligaments. Read More >

Drinking Soda -> Drinking More Water

We all know that sugar isn’t good for us. As it turns out, diet soda isn’t any better. A 2014 study found that consuming too much added sugar increases your risk of dying from heard disease, even if you aren’t overweight. Also, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that older adults who drank diet soda daily for nearly a decade experienced almost triple the increase in waist size compared to those who never drank it. Read More >

Workaholic -> Work/Life Balance

It’s true—you can have too much of a good thing. There is a certain high that comes with a job well done. Accomplishments can be addicting. Of course, for many of us the reason we work late has more to do with our workload than our egos. Either way, your planner can help you replace those late hours at the office with family time, time enjoying hobbies, or simply more rest. Read More >

Staying Up Late -> Healthy Sleep

Does it feel like you’re always running behind? Chances are you aren’t getting enough healthy sleep. The best way to start fresh in the morning is to get to bed at a decent hour each night. If you’re in the habit of staying up with the owls, this may take a while to correct. You can do it. Read More >

Unproductive Chaos -> Focused Daily Progress

Life comes at us surprisingly fast. Sometimes big events in the distance seem far away—until they aren’t. When life charges at us, we have little choice but to react. We jump, run, and grab whatever we can. That’s an exhausting way to get through the day. Read More >

If you don’t have a planner, pick up a 21-Day planner and see what daily focused effort can do for you.

You can do this!
As you take a few quiet minutes each day to plan your activities, you’ll begin to take control of the chaos in your life. You’ll plan for the big events while they’re still far off, and be prepared when they arrive. You’ll discover that you have more control over your life than you thought. And you’ll realize that your Franklin Planner is the perfect tool to help you make the most of it. Good luck with our 21-Day Challenge. Plan on making the next 21 days amazing.

Planner Quote: February 26, 2018

“Caring is the ultimate competitive advantage.”

– Ron Kendrick

The Top 3 Time Robbers and How to Overcome Them


For some of us, time is a constant, plodding taskmaster—demanding our attention and dictating our actions. For others it’s a welcome adventure—a powerful tool that we use to make the most of our skills, sharpen our talents, dabble in hobbies, and work toward goals.

What’s the difference? It isn’t time. Time is unchanging and beyond our control. The difference lies in how we manage our actions within the time constraints we face each day.

Have you ever noticed how easily we lose time? We’ll glance at the clock at 10:00 a.m., believing we have plenty of time to prepare for our 1:00 p.m. meeting, only to find ourselves rushing to finish at the last second.

How did that happen? Where did the time go? If you’re anything like the rest of us, we’re guessing you stole it. The top three ‘time robbers’ are: interruptions, procrastination, and poor planning. All of us are guilty of time theft. So what can we do about it?

1. Interruptions

Interruptions are somewhat out of our control. They are sometimes emergencies resulting from another person’s poor planning, but not always. They could be as simple as the constant hum of your cellphone notifying you of incoming text messages, a child’s urgent tug on your sleeve as she asks you to finger paint with her, or a change in direction from your boss. On rare occasions those close to us actually face true emergencies, and we shift our priorities to share our time with them.

Interruptions are relationship-based. Because relationships are important to us, we are willing to give our time for them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t reduce interruptions. We can silence our phone when we are working on a project, or spending time with family. We can place a do not disturb sign on our office door while we hone in on our work. We can share our schedule with those close to us so they know when to avoid interrupting us.

Interruptions can be classified into three categories: necessary and vital, necessary but untimely, and necessary and untimely. Of course, those things that are necessary and vital will get your immediate attention, but the others can be scheduled or ignored.

Interruptions often feel urgent, but they aren’t always important. Ask yourself: Is this truly urgent or does it only feel that way right now? Is it important? It may not be important to me, but is it important to the person who interrupted me? Can it wait? If you are able to distinguish between urgency and importance, you’ll find that you can often maintain a balance between other people’s priorities and your own.

2. Procrastination

If you ever feel frustrated because you can’t find time for your most important activities, stop and think through your day. We’re betting you’ll discover that even with your busy schedule, you found time for procrastination. Why is that?

We procrastinate when:

  • We lack a clear deadline
  • We have inadequate resources (information, time, money, etc.)
  • We fear potential negative consequences or failure
  • The activity doesn’t link adequately with our governing values
  • The task feels overwhelming or uninteresting

Usually we procrastinate the things we’d rather not do. Writing a term paper, for example, is a killjoy. Many of us would rather get a root canal than regurgitate all the facts and figures we learned in our History of Civilization class. So we do. We fritter away our time on other things that may or may not be important until we’re staring at the deadline and have no other choice but to push through it.

And then something unexpected happens. Pushing against a deadline gives us an adrenaline rush. The task that couldn’t interest us at all before is suddenly the only thing we can focus on. Food and sleep can wait. The sense of urgency we feel adds an air of importance to the work we’re doing, which only builds our sense of self-importance. And then, several hours past our bedtime, we breathe a sigh of relief and bask in our accomplishment. We did it! Sure we’re tired, but that only adds to the intensity—it’s another great detail we get to share with our friends. And you can bet we’ll share this story. It’s a big deal! This was a huge thing we did in just one night! What a rush!

Oh no! Did you see what happened there? Our brains actually reward this negative behavior with a chemical rush. It’s related to our fight or flight reflex. We run away as long as we can, but when we’re finally cornered against a deadline, our adrenaline kicks in and we fight. Could it be that some of us are addicted to procrastination? Could that be our MO? What happens when we wait too long, and we simply can’t finish it the way we wanted to, (or worse yet, the way our boss wanted us to)?

The ability we have to push through and finish important projects is a vital part of being human, but we shouldn’t find ourselves working in that mode all the time. It isn’t healthy. Procrastination creates stress, not only for ourselves, but also for those close to us. Added stress plays a significant role in several health ailments from diabetes and heart disease to anxiety.

Here’s another problem. Our life goals don’t always have deadlines. If one of our goals is to create order in our garage, we need to get a handle on procrastination. After all, not many of us wake up each morning eager to sort through the mess in our garage. Without a deadline, it’ll never happen. Here are a few other life goals to consider: Eat Healthier, Exercise, Drink More Water, and Spend Time with Mom. Procrastination destroys our ability to accomplish our open-ended goals.

3. Poor Planning

All this talk of procrastination leads us to our third time robber: Poor Planning. The first thing we can do to improve our poor planning habits is to create deadlines for our goals. For example: I will create order in the garage before our Labor Day Barbeque. This allows us time to procrastinate and cram, but we can do even better.

Focus on your values. If you value order—if you thrive best when you can quickly put your hand on the tool you need, then organizing the garage is a task that is important to you. If you’re comfortable in chaos, it will be more difficult for you to stay motivated to complete this task.

Now that we have a goal with a deadline, we can break that goal down into smaller tasks that are easier to finish. Examples may include: Build storage shelves above the garage door, Learn how to make a folding workbench, or create a fasteners organizer.

Write this list of projects on your Monthly Task List, and schedule each of these tasks to be completed throughout the summer. As you plan each week select a task from your monthly task list to work on through the week.

During your daily planning break the task into manageable pieces and add them to your daily task list. Prioritize your tasks by importance: A, B, C—and by order 1, 2, 3, and work through your tasks a day at a time.

Before you know it, Labor Day will arrive and your garage will be the envy of the neighborhood. What’s more, you’ll have actually enjoyed the process, learned new skills, and accomplished much more than simply creating order in your garage.

Living the life you want to live requires creativity and proactive planning, but it also requires an honest assessment of the way you spend your time. Are you running away from the hard or mundane tasks until you have no other choice but to force your way through them, or are you facing them early and developing a plan to achieve even more?

Your FranklinPlanner is the ultimate tool to guide your activities and ensure they are in line with the values that matter most in your life. With daily and weekly planning you may not completely eliminate these three time robbers from your life, but you’ll give yourself much more control over the way you spend your time, and ensure that you are achieving what matters most to you.

Planner Quote: February 19, 2018

“The height of your accomplishment will equal the depth of your convictions.”

– William F. Scolavino

Changing a Lose/Win Mentality to a Win/Win Mentality

One of our Facebook followers asked us how to turn a Lose/Win mentality into a Win/Win mentality. That’s a great question.

We live in a very competitive world. We’re all clamoring to get ahead and meet our agendas. Nobody likes losing. But when we’re working with other people, we need a little give and take.

Almost every conversation includes negotiation. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a lot of pleasant disagreements disguised as idle chatter. Disagreements are healthy. It’s been said that if two people agree on everything all the time, only one person is doing the thinking. But what if two people are trying to work together and they have dissimilar goals? What happens when your disagreements get in the way of productivity?

We negotiate every day; when our children ask us for treats right after breakfast, when we’re deciding which movie to watch, or what we’re going to eat for dinner. These simple discussions usually end well. Similar yet more complicated situations occur between business partners, marriage partners, co-workers, and during other aspects of our lives. These situations can often be complicated, and how they end depends on us.

So how do we progress from wherever we are now to a Win/Win mentality? First we have to decide what winning is. In other words, we need to decide what is most important to us, and what we hope to gain from our relationships.

Remember that Win/Win is cooperative and not competitive. Once we know what we want, the next step is to understand our partner. We have to be able to see the problem from their point of view. From there, it helps if we can view it from an outsider’s viewpoint.

The next step is to identify the key issues and concerns involved—not just yours, but theirs as well.

Now, determine what results would constitute a fully acceptable solution. Write down every possibility.

Last, work together to identify possible new options to achieve the results you both want.

This process will work most of the time—especially when both parties have an abundance mindset. Remember that one person will not achieve success at the expense of another. There are plenty of acceptable solutions, if you’ll just stick with it until you find them.

That sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Far too simple, we suspect. To be honest, we couldn’t begin to fully answer your question in the form a blog. The best source for this information is Stephen Covey himself. Pick up a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and read the 4th habit.


Planner Quote: February 12, 2017

“Success is an inside job.”

– Ralph Ford

Planner Quote: February 5, 2018

“Make your passion your profession.”

– Carl Holmes

The Franklin Five: February 2018 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

Planner Quote: January 29, 2018

“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.”

– Albert Einstein

5 Planner Locations for Tracking Goals from Start to Finish

We all want something in life. We want to become better people. We want to have nice possessions. We want to experience new things. The art of setting goals helps us get from where we are now to where life’s prizes wait.

Like other art forms, however, achieving a goal takes effort, practice, technique, and the right equipment.  Your FranklinPlanner has several sections to help support your goals, from the first desire for change to the victory lap.

1. Dashboard: Define Yourself

If goals are desires fulfilled, then it follows that the first step to achieving a goal is to identify your desires, or your values. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want to have?
  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to be?

The answers to these questions are the first step toward creating a framework for your goals, a schematic for your life. As you answer these questions, you can combine your reflective insights into a personal mission statement. Once you have developed this personal mission statement, write it down and keep it at the front of your planner. Many FranklinPlanner users decorate a Dashboard (Link to Planner Love Dashboard) with their mission statements, and place it so that it’s the first page they see when they open their binder.

2. Goal Planning Sheet: Develop the Details

Once you’ve defined your values, you can use a Goal Planning Form to map out the steps needed for each of your goals. Each Goal Planning Form gives you space to set deadlines for each step along the way, whether you’re improving your running times for a marathon, reaching word count milestones in your novel, or executing a new marketing strategy.

3. Future Planning Pages: Get the Big Picture

legacy monthSometimes it’s hard to see beyond next week, let alone plan for next year. However, many of life’s most enriching goals, like developing musical talent or becoming a better parent, require consistency for weeks, months, and years at a time.

As you set your goals, use your Future Planning Pages in the back of your planner to mark off long-term milestones related to your goal. Whether you’re marking each color of belt on your journey to black belt or planning a live performance for 2017, understanding the big picture gives perspective to the daily grind.

4. Daily Tracker: Form Your Habits

The loftiest dreams will never come true without daily effort.  Whether it’s practicing the piano, eating healthy, or spending less, small changes each day can add up to big improvement. Many planners have a Daily Tracker section to remind you of these small steps, but even if you simply record it in your list of daily tasks, the act of writing it down and crossing it off each day helps solidify your focus on your goals.

5. Monthly Index: Accountability Check

At the end of each month, review the progress that you’ve made. In your Monthly Index, give yourself a score for the things that you’re tracking daily, and identify what happened on the days when you slipped up. A monthly accountability check is a great time to fine-tune your goals, and prepare for the next month.

Your planner is a means unto an end: growth and development in your personal, professional, and social life. Take advantage of all the tools it has to offer, and you’ll make lasting positive changes in your life.

Planner Quote: January 22, 2018

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.”

– Earl Nightingale

Take This Down: Benefits of Handwriting in a Digital World

We live in an era of Big Data. With the rapid advances in mobile technology and the convenience of the Internet, we have more facts available to us than ever before. With a quick search, we can discover the history of cheese, or the name of the actor who voices the robot in the Iron Man movies. If cell phones were allowed on Jeopardy, it wouldn’t even be a contest anymore.

But there’s a big difference between fact-finding and inspiration. Facts only change your life if you can use them to make connections. It’s why you’ve likely never researched the history of cheese, unless you’re a historian or a maker of artisanal foods. Without connections in your mind and heart, facts fade from your memory, if they were ever recorded there in the first place.

To make better connections, try writing things out by hand. In a study from the Association for Psychological Science (APS), two groups of students were given lectures and asked to take notes as they usually did, whether on paper or with a laptop. After a half-hour break, the students were tested on the material.

The results showed that while both groups memorized the same number of facts, the laptop users performed far worse when they were tested on ideas. “The students using laptops were in fact more likely to take copious notes, which can be beneficial to learning,” the APS reported. “But they were also more likely to take verbatim notes, and this ‘mindless transcription’ appeared to cancel out the benefits.”

It turns out that how you record things really does matter, whether through an increased connection between hand motions and your brain, or through the extra time your brain spends forming each letter on the page.

These connections can change your life in powerful ways. Keeping a handwritten journal can help root your memories of past experiences, giving you an accurate representation of what happened and how you felt about it. Re-reading previous entries can prove that you’re making progress toward your goals, or reveal areas where you can focus on improvement.

The right app will certainly change your day. Technology is a wonderful thing, giving you a place to write your grocery lists or to set up reminders and notifications. Handwriting, however, will change your life as you put time into it. Invest in your life’s story with a top-quality planner or journal.

Planner Quote: January 15, 2018

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Infographic: Choosing the Right Planner Size for You

The size of the planner you choose depends a lot on the way you use it. Discover the planner size that best fits your life.

Planner Quote: January 8, 2017

“Growth is never by mere chance; it’s the result of forces working together.”

– James Cash Penney

Planner Quote: January 1, 2018

“Each of us is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice.”

– Alice Childress

The Franklin Five: January 2018 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

Beginning With The End in Mind

Once a man came upon a construction site where three people were working. He asked the first worker, “What are you doing?” The worker grunted, “I’m laying bricks.” He asked the second man the same question, to which he replied, “I’m building a wall.” As he approached the third bricklayer, he heard him humming a tune as he worked, and saw that he was smiling. When the man asked what he was doing, this third worker stood, looked up at the sky, and grinned, “I am building a cathedral!”

This well-known story by an unidentified author teaches us a great lesson. If you begin each task with the end in mind, you’ll find motivation and meaning in even the most difficult or mundane activities. Before you start a project, an exercise routine, or even your daily activities, you will do well to define what you expect the end result to be.

Envisioning the end when you’re still at the beginning can sometimes be a challenge—especially at the start of a new year. But if you follow these four steps, you’ll discover the big-picture view of your life and your goals. That will make it much easier to begin your activities with the end in mind.

First, Prioritize

Determine what matters most in your life. It wouldn’t take long for you to create an extensive list in your planner of all the things that make you tick—the people, places, and activities that bring you the most joy. Once you have that list, consider how much time you spend with each of your most valuable activities and people. These are the things that matter most, but often we allow less important matters to overtake our time and steal away precious moments.

Weed out the things that keep you from achieving what matters most—the distractions, procrastination, and less important activities. When we spend our time chasing lesser things, we end the day feeling frustrated. We get the sense that our day was driving us, rather than feeling like we took control of the day. However, when we prioritize our tasks based on the things that matter most to us, we find that we move faster toward our goals, and have a greater sense of achievement.

Second, Analyze Obstacles

Each of us faces obstacles that impede our progress, or we get in our own way. Take some time to honestly analyze the obstacles that slow you down. Be aware of the things that have habitually kept you from reaching your goals. List those obstacles in your planner, and beside each item note what you plan to do to overcome it.

This amazing practice often leads to life-changing goals. For example, if the lack of money is one of the obstacles impeding your progress, you may choose to create a budget to overcome that obstacle. Living within your new budget may allow you to pay off other debts earlier than you had anticipated.

Third, Paint the Vision

Determine what your future will look like with this goal accomplished. Write a statement in your planner describing the change you envision. Include a note about what it would look like without the change. Focus on the big picture to motivate your progress and keep you smiling when the work gets difficult. Your dreams are built one brick at a time. They won’t just happen on their own. If you have that vision always on your mind, you’ll appreciate the effort it takes to get there.

Fourth, Create a Plan

With the vision of your goal in mind, consider the steps you will take to reach it. Write each step in your planner and break those steps down into activities that you can complete in a few hours or less each day. Use your planner to incorporate the steps into your daily routine. Write a note on your weekly or daily pages so you can keep the big picture vision always in sight.

As you work through these four steps continually, you’ll see the growth you hope to achieve. Often that growth will begin much sooner than you ever thought possible. But whether your progress is fast or slow, if you work steadily on each step, you can plan on more satisfying days ahead. You’ll be in the driver’s seat of your life, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Planner Quote: December 25, 2017

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

– Charles Dickens

Planner Quote: December 18, 2017

“Each of us is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice.”

– Alice Childress

Planner Quote: December 11, 2017

“You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.”

– Will Rogers

3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time During the Holiday Rush

The holiday season is here, loaded with important dates, deadlines, and dilemmas. How are you going to get to all of it and still make time for the things that matter most?

Here are three things to keep in mind as your schedule ramps up.

Write Down Each Item as You Discover It

Whenever you learn of a family gathering, neighborhood block party, or a gift you’d like to give, write it in your planner and schedule time to do it. Commit to work during that scheduled time to be sure you finish the task—whether that be shopping for the ideal gift, or preparing to attend a party.

Resist Distractions

Don’t allow other last-minute items to encroach on the time you’ve set aside for the things that matter most to you. If emergencies or other urgent matters do interfere with your ability to prepare for important items on your schedule, immediately reschedule your important events. Make sure you complete the important tasks and make yourself available for the people you love.

Plan for Rest and Downtime

Over-scheduling your time has a negative effect on your health. Remember that saying no to one thing is also saying yes to something else. If you are constantly running from event to event, you’ll rob yourself of other important elements in your life, such as: quiet time for reflection, preparation time for important activities, and sleep.

Packing your schedule is even harder on young children as they require more time to process changes in their schedule and mentally prepare for the next part of their day. This often leads to confusion, temper tantrums, and tears—inevitably adding the drag of resistance to your routine and slowing you down.

Sacrificing sleep and quiet time for reflection can lead to increased stress, agitation, loss of control, and even sickness. Your body’s metabolism slows down leading to weight gain, and your immune system is weakened, which can lead to illness.

Plan time to simply be home with those you love. Give yourself and your family a reasonable time for conversations and fun, but be sure to wrap up in time for travel, a reasonable bedtime routine, and to settle into bed at a reasonable hour.

Daily planning allows you to think through the events of the day and mentally prepare for them, so you aren’t caught off guard. Planning is the best way to ensure this holiday season is both peaceful and productive.

May you enjoy the peace of a well-planned holiday season.

FranklinPlanner Media Information


Peace of mind and satisfaction have little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and much more to do with the focus of our lives. The secret is maintaining that focus each day. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of daily matters and lose track of the things that matter most. Over the next three weeks, you’ll chart a course and navigate your way toward your goals. Through the simple act of daily planning, you’ll begin to bring about big changes in your life—and start achieving what matters most to you.


It takes at least 21 days to form a habit. In the early days of FranklinPlanner, we routinely issued a 21-day challenge to our clients and asked them to write us with the results of their efforts. We received unimaginable stories—people reconnected with loved ones, got out of debt, started successful businesses, and re-arranged their activities to align with their core values. Their lives were more rich and meaningful, with a greater sense of purpose. We’re confident you’ll see similar results as you incorporate planning into your daily routine. Just try it for 21 days. Find our most recent 21-Day Planner Challenge here.


We believe the key to successful planning is prioritizing. But first, let’s establish the difference between tasks and appointments. Appointments have a set time when they need to happen, but tasks are the things you choose to do with the time you have left. Since you have a limited time to accomplish your tasks, it’s important to ensure you’re working on the tasks that matter most. This is where prioritizing comes in. Your Prioritized Daily Task List makes that easy with three simple steps: brain dump, assign value, and give order.

1. Brain Dump – Write all the tasks you’d like to accomplish in your day. Don’t worry about order or importance.

2. Assign Value – Designate which items are most urgent and important and place an A beside them. Place a B next to less urgent tasks and so forth.

3. Give Order – Number all of your ‘A’ tasks by priority 1, 2, 3. Do the same with your ‘B’ and ‘C’ tasks.



Moving toward your goals is a simple four-step daily process. It takes about ten minutes each morning, but it’s sure to save you time throughout your day.

1. Review yesterday to determine which tasks need to be finished today.

2. Check today’s appointments and block out the necessary time.

3. Make a realistic list of tasks for the day.

4. Prioritize your tasks (ABC, 123).

We challenge you to practice these four steps daily for the next three weeks to discover how powerful this small daily exercise can be in your life.



Planner Quote: December 4, 2017

“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.”

– Zig Ziglar

The Franklin Five: December 2017 Checklist

December Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

December Checklist Compact Size: PDF

December Checklist Classic Size: PDF

December Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

Planner Quote: November 27, 2017

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

– Jimmy Johnson

Planner Quote: November 20, 2017

“Ideas bring people together, but ideals hold them together.”

– Dan Zadra

Planner Quote: November 13, 2017

“If we have a big enough ‘why’, we will always discover the ‘how’.”

– Tara Semisch

Holiday 2017 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 2017 Gift List – Classic

Holiday 2017 Gift List – Compact

Holiday 2017 Gift List – Monarch

Holiday 2017 Gift List – Pocket

Planner Quote: November 6, 2017

“Set your goals to paper and you’re halfway there.”

– Don Ward

Daylight Saving Times Ends This Weekend

Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour!

The Franklin Five: November 2017 Checklist

Welcome November! The month of gratitude is here! As the holidays approach, take time to plan family time and what matters most to you. 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

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 – get 20% off your entire order when you use the promo code HALLOWEEN at checkout!

Planner Quote: October 30, 2017

“A critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded.”

– Tyne Daly

Planner Quote: October 23, 2017

“Let me listen to me and not to them.”

– Gertrude Stein

The results are in! Survey says….

The much-anticipated Vintage Aurora Binder is now here and in two new colors! We asked our social audience back in February of this year, which of four colors (turquoise, red, chocolate brown and navy) they would prefer and here are the results!

Turquoise/Teal – 46.2%

Red – 21.9%

Chocolate brown – 16.9%

Navy – 15%

Enjoy your new red or teal Vintage Aurora Binder!


Planner Quote: October 16, 2017

“Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.”

– Don Herold

Planner Quote: October 9, 2017

“You are one of the forces of nature.”

– Jules Michelet

Planner Quote: October 2, 2017

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

– Steve Jobs

Organized October 2017

Organized October is back! This time, it’s all about getting your planning system organized and working for you.

The FranklinPlanner system isn’t just about checking tasks off a list or remember your appointments – it’s about helping you achieve what matters most! In order to do that, your planner needs to be as multidimensional as you are.

For each week in October, focus on organizing one of these five aspects of your life in your planner. Click on the link below, and we’ll show you several examples:

As part of this month-long event, we are also giving away a planner and binder! Click here and enter your email to win the planner and binder of your choice! The winner will be announced here on November 1, 2017.

The Franklin Five: October 2017 Checklist

Sweater weather is here! The leaves are falling and it’s time to make sure the drains are in working order and your yard is ready for colder weather. Time to get your Halloween costume ready! Here are a few other things to add to your list:

October Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

October Checklist Compact Size: PDF

October Checklist Classic Size: PDF

October Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

Tyler Leather Zipper Binder and Cover

The color black signals high performance, whether in sports cars, dinner attire, or our newest collection. Crafted from genuine pebbled distressed leather with semi-structured construction providing extra flexibility, the Tyler Binder features sleek, black rings, two pen loops, two secretary pockets, card slots, and a notepad slot, all secured with an antique brass zipper.

Organized October: Career

Your career is important. It’s been said that if you enjoy your job, you won’t work a day in your life. Plan to develop your skills, improve your knowledge, and strengthen your relationships at work, so you can enjoy your job – no matter what you do. To ensure you are meeting expectations, be sure to plan your:

  • work schedule
  • project deadlines
  • meeting times
  • training/conferences

Goal Planning

Stay ahead of your work projects, goals, and team meetings by tracking your progress in your planner.

Goal Planning Form, FranklinCovey Basics Unstructured Leather Binder

Work Schedule and Tasks

Write work-related appointments, projects, and events in one color, and use a different color for personal events.

5 Choices Ring-bound Weekly Planner, Classic Noblessa II Strap Binder

Tracking System

Take better care of your clients by devoting space for them in your planner. You can also use forms to manage your auto mileage, and your expenses.

Client File, Simon Binder

Planner Quote: September 25, 2017

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”

– Pema Chödrön

Organized October: Relationships

Relationships matter. Love is the essence of life. Spending time with others is one of the most fulfilling tings you can do. Learn to make positive first impressions, but even better, show that you care with your actions over time. You can’t do this consistently without planning. As you plan, sure to include:

  • together time with your spouse/partner
  • family members
  • friends and neighbors
  • coworkers
  • anniversaries, birthdays, weddings
  • recitals, auditions, sporting events, etc.

Important Dates and Occasions

Track reoccurring dates and gift lists for birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions.

Blooms Monthly Calendar Tabs, Antique Glass Leather Binder

Coordinating with Family Members’ Schedules

Maintain multiple schedules in one place. Hold regular family planning meetings to discuss upcoming events. Keep in contact with distant friends and family and coordinate times to meet.

Multiple Schedule FormClassic Breckenridge Zipper Binder

Planning Trips and Vacations

Your planner is the perfect place for your itinerary, packing lists, airline arrival and departure times, reservations, and important contact information such as hotel phone numbers.

Blush Florals Planner Love Weekly RB Planner, Blush Planner Love Binder

Holiday Planning and Gift Giving

Create a list that you can add to throughout the year when you think of a gift idea for a family member. Make a note in your planner when they mention something they would like. Then when birthdays and holidays arrive, you will already have a list of great ideas. Use your planner’s Address/Phone tabs to keep track of where you send your holiday cards, and designate a place to manage the gifts you give.

FranklinPlanner Talk Holiday Gift List (coming soon!), FranklinCovey Basics Binder

Organized October: Personal Growth

Personal growth is your “me time”. We refer to it as “sharpening the saw”. You need to spend time strengthening yourself if you intend to be effective at the things you do. To keep your saw sharp, be sure you’re including activities like the following in your planner on a regular basis:

  • mental health check
  • physical health goals
  • exercise
  • doctor and dentist appointments
  • educations goals, skill mastery
  • hobbies
  • meditation, spiritual renewal, relaxation


It’s important to keep a record of your life. Use your planner to remember significant and even simple day-to-day events.

Dot Grid Wire-bound Daily Planner, Jordan Wire-bound Cover

Schedule Self-care Appointments

Take care of yourself by scheduling doctor, dentist, and other regular checkup appointments. Plan to treat yourself to a massage, pedicure, therapy, or even a great movie or book.

Flora Ring-bound Daily Planner, Charlotte Snap Binder

Continued Education

Continue learning. Register for a class that interests you, make a list of books you’d like to read, or dive more deeply into your hobbies.

7 Habits Ring-bound Daily Planner, Classic Logan Zipper Binder

Track Fitness and Health Goals

Use a stamp, write, or color in how much water you drink. Plan healthy, homemade meals, and schedule time to move, stretch, and breathe deeply.

Foodie Daily Ring-bound Planner

Big Picture Perspective

Take time to reflect, plan yearly goals, and consider where you’ve been.

Living Color Daily Ring-bound Planner, Floral Planner Love Simulated Leather Snap Binder,

Yearly Foldout Calendar

Organized October: Community

We enjoy things more when we put our time and effort into them. The same is true of our neighborhoods and communities. Strengthen your bond with your community by involving yourself in local activities such as:

  • volunteer opportunities
  • neighborhood block parties
  • local events
  • service projects
  • church
  • sporting events
  • school activities

Volunteer Opportunities

Keep up with local civic activities, neighborhood events, and opportunities to serve and give back in the community.

Compass Wire-bound Weekly Planner, Elliott Suede Snap Wire-bound Cover

Charity and Fundraising

Very few things in life bring more fulfillment than charity work. When we lift others we lift ourselves as well, and the issues we face in life feel just a bit lighter.

La Vie en Rose Wire-bound Daily Planner

School and Local Sporting Events

Get a list of dates from the local school district of upcoming plays, fundraisers, and sporting events throughout the school year, and attend to show your support.

Classic Simplicity for Moms Wire-bound Weekly Planner, Classic Slim Wire-bound Cover

Organized October: Resources

Our resources help enable us to do the things we love. As we manage our finances, maintain our homes, and keep our vehicles in working order, we enable ourselves to keep lifting, loving, serving, and smiling. Be sure to track these important things in your planner:

  • your annual budget
  • income/pay day
  • savings plan
  • car maintenance and registration
  • bill payment schedule
  • tax filing notes
  • investment details
  • subscription renewals


Keep track of your scheduled car and house maintenance items such as oil changes, furnace checkups, and rain gutter cleaning. Use your Address/Phone Tabs to update your maintenance contacts. A: air conditioning, C: car repair, D: dry cleaner, etc.

Leadership Address-Phone TabsMason Leather Binder

Finances and Bill Payments

Track when you have payments due such a mortgage, car insurance, or car payment. Mark each payday in your planner.

Textures Ring-bound Weekly Planner, Tyler Leather Zipper Binder

Manage Subscriptions

Know when your subscriptions should be renewed, cancelled, and when you’ll be billed. Cable, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.

Her Point of View Ring-bound Daily Planner, Classic Noblessa II Strap Binder

Planner Quote: September 18, 2017

“Whenever I get to a low point, I go back to the basics. I ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ It comes down to passion.”

– Lyn St. James

Planner Quote: September 11, 2017

“I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Planner Quote: September 4, 2017

“You don’t win games on optimism. You win games with preparation.”

– Monte Clark

The Franklin Five: September 2017 Checklist

School is now is session! Take time to learn something new yourself – especially before the hustle and bustle of the holidays approach.

Fertilize for fall, get the water valves tested, and prepare for the weather to start changing. September is a great time to for preparation and maintenance updates.

September Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

September Checklist Compact Size: PDF

September Checklist Classic Size: PDF

September Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

Bailey Leather Zipper Binder

Immerse your plans in color and contrast with this soft, flawless, nappa leather binder. Rich colors are enhanced with monochromatic contrasting hues on the spine, and offset with bright accents that highlight the scalloped details throughout. Bailey offers full leather inside and out with a buttery smooth, supple touch. Stay organized with a gusseted zipper pocket, document pockets, card pockets, two pen loops, and silver rings. A comfortable zipper closure secures your plans and holds it all together. Designed to lay flat when open.

3 Questions to Evaluate Your Daily Routine

Humans thrive on routine. We’re creatures of habit. So why do we sometimes feel trapped in our day-to-day activities? Why do we lament another routine day—the same old, same old? How many times have you felt like you were in a rut, anxious for a change of pace and a different view?

Summer break often gives us the change of pace we think we need. By the time school comes to a close both parents and children are usually burned out from the school routine. Yet, having no routine is often even more exhausting. By the time summer break is over, most of us are eager for the school year to begin. We often say how nice it is to get back into our routine. But is this new routine the best routine for you, or will it also drain your energy over time?

How can you get into a routine that gives you the security of consistency, while still allowing for occasional surprises and personal growth? Here are three questions to help you evaluate your daily routine, so you can carve a path that’s all your own—a path that takes you where you want to go. If you take time to thoughtfully answer these three questions, you’ll thank yourself for years to come.

1. What are the most important aspects of my life?

Devote a notes page or a monthly tasks page to answering this question so you’ll have it readily available for reference. Start with a list—your spouse, children, friends, your faith, your talents, art, fitness, music, dancing, the outdoors, etc. Get specific—it won’t take long to fill a page. Refer to this list often as you make your daily plans.

2. Am I devoting enough time to the things that matter most to me?

That list you just wrote can feel overwhelming as you consider how you’ll fit it all into your daily routine. This is where planners change lives. Look over your list and determine which items on your list are A-priority items—things that need daily attention. This list would include your spouse, children, employment, and so on. These are items that you would add to your daily tasks.

As you plan your daily tasks, ensure that these A-priority items are included. Perhaps one day you plan to study with a daughter, prepare a meal with your spouse, and attend your son’s recital. Before long, you’ll notice that you’ve devoted time to your top priorities. Now with the time you have remaining, determine which other items from your list you’d like to add to your day.

As you look over your master list, you’ll notice that some things simply fall into their place as you attend to the most important items first. In time you’ll develop a routine that includes daily, weekly, and monthly activities that lead to personal growth and quality together time with those you love. Your routine will become rewarding.

3. What specific action can I take to increase the quality and quantity of time I spend doing what matters most?

As you look over your list, chances are, you’ll find things that you want to improve—areas that could use some focused attention. Whether you want to improve your physical endurance, develop a talent further, or focus on your upcoming retirement, your planner can help ensure you reach those goals.

Determine a specific act that will bring you closer to your goal and set a date when you will complete that action. Write the completed activity in your planner on the day you plan to achieve it. Break that activity down into small, steps that you can complete in a day and schedule each step in your planner starting this week and ending on your completion date.

Working these more meaningful activities into your daily schedule will break up your routine and help you feel that sense of accomplishment you’re looking for. As you focus your time and efforts on the things that matter most to you, you’ll find that your everyday routine is anything but mundane. It can be refreshing, exciting, and fulfilling even if it includes the same general activities day after day. After all, those daily activities will be the things that mean the most to you.

This won’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort, you’ll start seeing significant results as the days and weeks add up. Keep at it and your daily routine will become a life path that takes you exactly where you hope to go.

Planner Quote: August 28, 2017

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”

– William James

Planner Quote: August 21, 2017

“There’s no such thing as ‘zero risk’.”

– William Driver

7 Ways to Manage the First Day Mania

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

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

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

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

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

Planner Quote: August 14, 2017

“We fail far more often by timidity than by over-daring.”

– David Grayson

Meal Planning Around the School Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing The Right Planner For A Successful School Year

Choosing a planner that will get you through the rigors of the school year is a personal decision. What works for one person will definitely not work for another. We won’t begin to prescribe the perfect planner for you. Some people find a planner that works for them and they stick with it religiously, while others like to shake things up a bit. If you’re wondering what planner will work best for you, consider your schedule and your workload, then take a look at these great options:

Academic Planners

Planner by Grade

Calendars – July Start Date

FranklinCovey Planners – July Start Date

Planner Quote: August 7, 2017

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

– Melody Beattie

The Franklin Five: August 2017 Checklist

School is starting and the summer is coming to an end! Prepare this month’s to-dos as your routine changes.

August Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

August Checklist Compact Size: PDF

August Checklist Classic Size: PDF

August Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

Planner Quote: July 31, 2017

“Others can stop you temporarily, but only you can do it permanently.”

– Bob Moawad

Planner Quote: July 24, 2017

“Let’s give the historians something to write about.”

– Propertius

Planner Quote: July 17, 2017

“Don’t agonize. Organize.”

– Florence Kennedy

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.

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.

Planner Quote: July 10, 2017

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

– Hana Rose Zadra

Planner Quote: July 3, 2017

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

– Joan of Arc

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

Planner Quote: June 26, 2017

“Hope comes furnished with light and heat.”

– Don Ward

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.

Planner Quote: June 19, 2017

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

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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:

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

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!

Planner Quote: June 5, 2017

“To be is to do.”

– Immanuel Kant

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

Planner Quote: May 29, 2017

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

– Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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!

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

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.

Planner Quote: May 15, 2017

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

– Confucius

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.

Planner Quote: May 8, 2017

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

– Joseph Campbell

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.

Planner Quote: May 1, 2017

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

-Ayn Rand

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

Planner Quote: April 24, 2017

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

– Dan Zadra