Planner Talk: July 16, 2018

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

– William Butler Yeats

Planner Quote: July 9, 2018

“True charity is the desire to be useful to others without the thought of recompense.”

– Emanuel Swedenborg

Planner Quote: July 2, 2018

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”

– George S. Patton

Planner Quote: June 25, 2018

“Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.”

– James Russell Lowell

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer

Summer is a short, beautiful time that brings a unique set of stressors and challenges. For many of us, it’s a brief few weeks when our schedules change. The days grow longer, temperatures rise, and children have a little more freedom to play without the routine of school. We feel the urge to take a break from the daily grind and spend some quality time with those we love. We may even feel pressure to do something big—perhaps we’ll travel, or change the landscape in our yards. Most of us could write an extensive list of things we’d like to do, but summer is short.

You can’t do it all, so you need to determine what is most important. Your planner is the ideal tool to help you make the most of your summer. Take a few minutes today to consider how you want the coming weeks to feel. Write your answers to the following four questions in your planner.

What do you hope to create?

Humans are natural creators. It’s in our DNA. Every day we create something, whether it’s a beautiful meal, a deeper relationship, a meaningful memory, or just a mess in the garage. If you’re planning a family vacation, what memories do you hope to make? What sights do you hope to see? Perhaps you have goals for your garden, you’d like to remodel your home, improve your golf game, or simply build a kite with your daughter and see if it will fly. Write these in your planner, and make time for them to happen.

How do you choose to relax?

When you relax is it truly restful? Relaxing can be stressful if you allow it. Often we plan vacations so we can relax, but the trip itself turns out to be so harried, that we wish we had a vacation to rest from our trip. Is there a way to find balance between your relaxing activities and your structured events? You need both to have a fulfilling summer, right? Often the most rewarding feeling you’ll have is when you step back and relax after you’ve done something meaningful—enjoying a tall glass of lemonade on the patio after the work is done.

Hiking is a structured, planned activity that includes both exercise and relaxation. Exerting the effort to climb is great for your heart and lungs, and taking time to stop, enjoy the view, and breathe the cool, crisp mountain air can relax and invigorate your mind. The same can be said for a good round of golf, unless you let your slice get in the way of a good time.

You may choose to take your kids to the swimming pool. Their confidence in the water and ability to swim will determine whether it’s a relaxing experience for you or a gut-wrenching ordeal. You could also spend time with a good book, write memories to share with your grandchildren, or enjoy a cruise. However you decide to relax, remember that if you don’t schedule relaxing activities into your day, they may not happen.

What relationships do you want to develop?

Relationships matter. That’s where the good stuff is. There are few things quite like listening to your grandmother tell stories about her childhood, or listening to your grandchildren tell about their latest adventure. As you’re planning how you’ll spend the next several weeks, consider the power of relationships and the effects that shared events can have on your life.

Imagine what might happen if your children become familiar with their grandfather’s history. What if they come to understand what he struggled to overcome and what he learned from his experiences? Do you think that experience might add to their strength and give them something to lean on when things get hard for them?

Find opportunities to work together with family, neighbors, and friends toward a common goal. Playing together is great, but working together can be even more rewarding. Volunteering in a neighborhood garden, serving in a women’s shelter or soup kitchen, and teaching your skills to the rising generation are a few powerful ways to connect with your community.

How do you want to manage your down time?

It’s easy to find meaning in your busy days. Road trips to national parks, a weeklong adventure, and days filled with volunteer work and dinners with friends, have their own rewards. How can you make your days meaningful if you don’t have anything scheduled?

One great solution is to broaden your experiences. Make regular visits to your local library to read to children. Organize a family book club and talk about some of your favorite books over dinner or Skype. Volunteer to hold babies at a NICU. Decide to tackle a project you’ve been putting off. Pull your camping gear out of the shed. Keep a fishing pole ready, and slip out when the conditions are just right. Dive into a new skill you’ve always wanted to learn. Don’t be afraid to fail. New experiences expand the mind and keep it fresh.

We’re certain that if you plan to create something wonderful, to truly relax, to develop stronger relationships, and find creative ways to manage your down time, you’ll be more than satisfied with your summer. Go over each of these questions with your family and plan as much as you can together so they will all feel invested in the outcome. Most importantly, whatever you do this summer, make it meaningful—after all, summer is short.

Planner Quote: June 18, 2018

“Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

– John Watson

The Franklin Five: July 2018 Checklist

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

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

Ode to the Tired Dad

Fatherhood is a wonderful thing. There may be no better way to learn who you are than to spend time working with children. Children can bring out our strengths as well as our weaknesses. There never has been a father who felt like he always did it right—it’s just the opposite, in fact. According to the Pew Research Center*, roughly 48% of fathers feel like they aren’t doing enough.

There’s a lot to do. Dads teach their children how to respect each other, how to treat mom, and how to behave in public. Whenever possible, dads take time to encourage their children. Fathers work to discover their children’s strengths and help develop them. They take note of their children’s interests, and take interest in their passions. There is so much negativity in the world—so much comparison—that kids know all too well where they struggle. They need to hear that they’re good at something. Dads are great at that, or can be with effort and focus.

Parenthood certainly takes focused effort. There’s nothing easy about it. But the things we appreciate most are those things that we work the hardest to accomplish. Tough challenges bring the best rewards.

Parents are busy. You’re pulled in so many directions throughout the day that it can be hard to meet every expectation every time. Fathers usually spend more of their waking hours at work than they do at home with their families. Every dad feels that tug. When you’re away you want to be home. Yet each morning you feel the pull of responsibility driving you forward and out the door. You long for that elusive work/life balance everyone talks about.

Balance in any aspect of life is a challenge. Instead, consider the magicians, jugglers, and acrobats who spin plates on poles. They’ll get one spinning well and move to the next, then to another and another. Once they’re all spinning, they run from plate to plate giving each one a spin when necessary.

As you work to keep your busy lives moving, you may want to consider doing the same. Not every plate you juggle will be spinning at the same speed. At times some plates may be barely moving at all, but as long as you can spin it before it falls, you’re doing well. And what if a plate falls? You pick it up and get it started again as soon as you’re able.

We call these plates roles. Each father plays several roles each day: Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Uncle, Grandpa, Employee, Neighbor, Friend, Teacher, and Cheerleader—to name only a few. As you plan each week, keep a Compass Card in your Pouch Pagefinder. The Compass Card has space for you to write the roles you’ll focus on during the week, and a line for you to write your most important task, or big rock, associated with each role.

Keeping these roles and activities in front of you daily will help you keep the most important things in your life moving. Be careful to keep your focus. Don’t try to spin more plates than necessary. Take time to decide which roles and activities matter most at any given time. Sometimes you’ll need to allow things to fall out of your lives for a while so you can focus on the most meaningful.

According to the Pew Research Center, Dad, there’s a good chance you wish you were more than you are. We suggest you take a minute today and list the things and people you love in your planner. Make your list as long and as exhaustive as possible. Then place a star next to the things that you’d give up the rest to keep. As you do this, you’ll find that several of the tasks nagging at you truly can wait. You’ll understand fairly quickly which plates need the most attention. Keep those spinning, and you’ll be all right.

Happy Father’s Day!




Planner Quote: June 11, 2018

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

– Napoleon Hill

The Core Four: 4 Essential Elements to an Effective Planning System

There’s a lot to be said for reliability. As people learn that you’ll finish what you start, keep your promises, and follow-through with commitments; they’ll grow to trust you. Trust is a powerful gift granted to us by others. It’s something we must work to maintain through honest effort.

Highly effective people have a reputation for consistent follow-through. You develop this reputation as you put first things first each day. This not only requires discipline but also good planning tools, or planning components.

It’s easy to focus on only one or two components of planning when you schedule your week. For example: you’ll open your calendar, jot down all your appointments and your children’s appointments, and move on with your life. But doing that is like trying to build an office desk with just a hammer. Sure, you might come up with something functional, but it certainly won’t be cut to precision with drawers and a smooth finish. To plan effectively, you’ll need a system that contains all of the following four components in one place.


Tasks are assignments you give yourself to complete during any given day. They don’t have a set time; they simply need to be done. These are the things you work to accomplish when you aren’t in meetings or appointments. This is how you choose to spend your time, whether at work or at home.

Tasks are catalysts to long-term success. As you break your goals down from insurmountable mountains to smaller, short-term climbs, and finally, to daily steps—you’ll schedule those daily steps as tasks in your daily task list. Tasks rooted in your goals are priority items. Once you’ve listed all your tasks for your day, look over your list and prioritize each item by value, A, B, or C. Then, number all your ‘A’ tasks sequentially, 1, 2, 3, etc. Do the same for your ‘B’ and ‘C’ tasks.

If you start with A-1, and work in order, you’ll be sure to get the most important things done first each day. If you find yourself interrupted, or if some items take longer than you anticipated, you can be sure that you at least started your day working on the most important things. This will help ensure that the things that matter most to you don’t slip through the cracks.


Appointments are important and time-sensitive. Arriving promptly to your appointments is essential, because these events involve more than just you. Be sure to schedule time to travel to and from your appointments, so you won’t feel rushed, and so you can give the other party the courtesy of arriving on time. Schedule your appointments separate from your tasks so you can quickly recognize which activity is which.

Your daily appointments determine your tasks. As you plan each day, be sure to schedule your appointments first. This lets you assess how much time you’ll have in the day to work on the tasks that matter most to you. Only plan tasks that you know you can accomplish with the available time you have each day.


Keeping good notes is essential. Throughout the day, you’ll come up with great ideas, get assignments in meetings, and gather important information at Dr. visits and other appointments. Keep all that information on your notes page on the day you receive it.

For example: If you are in a meeting on March 22nd and you plan a follow-up meeting for June 3rd, make notes on your March 22nd notes page. Perhaps you need to bring storyboards to your meeting in June. Make a note of that. If you need to invite your graphic designer friend to the meeting, note that as well.

The next day as you’re quietly planning and looking over your notes, you’ll remember what you need to do in June. You’ll mark on your task list to contact your designer friend so she can get the meeting on her schedule. Then you’ll find your June 3rd planner page and write Follow-up Meeting 2:00 (3/22) in your appointments column. You don’t need to write the information all over again. Your parenthetical note will remind you to look at your notes page on March 22nd for all the information you need.


Most of us keep our contacts on our phone these days, but it’s wise to keep a written copy as well—just in case. Regardless of how you keep your contacts, it’s important that you keep them with the rest of your planning system. Having your contacts’ information with you at all times makes it easy to plan on the go. This way, regardless of what happens, you can simply open your planner, contact the people you need, and continue forward.

Keeping contact information with your plans makes it easy to coordinate and collaborate with others throughout the day. Plus, it adds a sense of calm in emergency situations. You can use your alphabetized Address/Phone tabs to organize your contacts by first or last name, or by profession: P for Plumber, F for florist, etc. They’re great for sales contacts, supply vendors, and for friends and family.

Final Tips For Success

All of these elements should be integrated into one system for optimal success. When all of your planning essentials are working together in your hand, you’ll notice your efficiency increase. Be sure your planner is mobile enough to be with you at all times, so you can make new plans and change plans when needed. And be sure your planner is personalized and customized to fit your needs and your lifestyle.

As you set up your planning system, remember to use all of the tools available to you. Think of the acronym TANC—Tasks, Appointments, Notes, and Contacts—so you’ll have all you need to tank up on success.

Infographic: The Core Four

Planner Quote: June 4, 2018

“Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.”

– Samuel Johnson

The Franklin Five: June 2018 Checklist

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

June Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

June Checklist Compact Size: PDF

June Checklist Classic Size: PDF

June Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

Planner Quote: May 28, 2018

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

– Harvey Fierstein

How to Discover Your Governing Values


Let’s start with a few facts.

Life is about choices. Every one of us has 1,440 minutes each day to do as we choose. If we decide to, we will spend several of those minutes sleeping. We may choose to go to school or work. We may choose to prepare meals, taxi our children, watch recitals, ball games, or TV. We will choose whether or not we’ll answer the phone or help a friend. We will even choose the way we’ll feel about our decisions.

Only you can define what it means to make the most of your day. It might mean that you make significant progress on a project around the house, or you spend quality, focused time with one of your children. It may even mean that you enjoy several hours relaxing on the beach or playing video games.

If that’s true, then why…

So, if all the things we do each day are things we’ve chosen to do, why do we sometimes fall into bed exhausted with nothing of value to show for our time—like we’ve spent the entire day running on a hamster wheel?

Hamster wheel days are interesting because all that running usually produces quality results, but you still don’t feel accomplished. That’s because those results have little meaning for you. On days like this, things of lesser value supersede things of greater importance—leaving you tired and frustrated.

How can we have fewer days like that?

The secret is to plan the things that matter most to you into each day, and place those items as top priorities. That sounds simple enough, but do you know what matters most to you? Can you list the things you value? What are the basic elements that govern your daily decisions? We call them governing values. A governing value can be a person, idea, principle, standard, ideal, or highest priority. Knowing your governing values can change your life immensely.

Let’s make a discovery.

Understanding your governing values is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, so let’s take a few minutes and discover yours. You can probably think of several things off the top of your head that are important to you. Write that list in your planner.

Be thorough. Don’t rush this.

Now imagine a 200-foot-long, steel I-beam on the sidewalk near your home. An I-beam is used as structural support in large construction projects. They’re designed with horizontal flanges on the top and bottom supported by a vertical section between them so they look like a capital I when viewed from the end. Let’s say this I-beam is eight inches wide. Would you walk the length of that I-beam for 20 dollars? Many of you would.

Now imagine that same I-beam is stretched over a section of the Grand Canyon six thousand feet above the Colorado River. Would you still walk the length of it for $20? How about $5,000? What if your child was on the other end and crossing it meant the difference between life and death for her? Would you cross the I-beam then?

Now take another look at the list you wrote in your planner. For which of those things would you cross the I-beam? Write that list separately in your planner. Those things for which you’d risk everything are the things that govern your daily actions—your governing values. They matter most to you. Remember, a governing value can be a person, idea, principle, standard, ideal, or highest priority. Your list of governing values could range from names of people you love, to ideals you hold dear.

Now and then we drift from our core values, sometimes we’re pulled away from them by some seemingly urgent situation. Most of the time we simply get busy doing good things—but these good things can get in the way of better things. Keep your list of core values in a prominent place in your planner. You may also want to keep it in your home where you’ll see it often and remember to focus on what matters most.

What do your core values mean to you?

Now that you have your list of core values, it’s critical that you know what they mean to you. Come up with a brief description of each value to clarify what it is and how you will implement it. For example, if patience is a core value, describe what patience looks like. Is it Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi, your own mother, or a mix of several examples?

Benjamin Franklin created his list of Thirteen Virtues after serious introspection. Early in his life, he found that he was not doing what he felt he could or should be doing. His Thirteen Virtues are the things he determined would help lead him over time to become the man he envisioned for himself. Rather that focusing only on the things that governed his current actions while in his 20s, Franklin was interested in the things that would govern his improvement throughout his lifetime. Clearly, ‘improvement’ was one of Ben Franklin’s core values. Here’s his famous list:

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Clarity is the key.

Ben clearly and briefly defined his Thirteen Virtues so they became personal and meaningful to him. Look up any word in the dictionary and you’ll find more than one definition. Define your governing values so they mean what you intend for them to mean.

One reason why Franklin settled on 13 virtues was because if you multiply 13 by 4 you get 52. This meant he could focus on one virtue per week and he could practice each virtue for four weeks throughout the year. You don’t need to keep such a rigid schedule where you focus on a single value for a week at a time, but if you keep your list of governing values with you while you plan, you’re sure to see positive results.

As you plan monthly, weekly, and daily, make a focused effort to include actions based on your core values. Work to keep these tasks as top priorities each day, and you’ll find that you grow where you hope to grow, serve where and whom you want to serve, and you’ll become the person you hope to become.

Plus, you’ll spend far less time in the old hamster wheel.

Planner Quote: May 21, 2018

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

– Mother Teresa

Understanding the Control Continuum

Greek mythology tells a story of the arrogant and deceitful Sisyphus, king of Ephyra, who tricked and trapped the god of the underworld. As a punishment, he was forced to push an immense boulder up a hill for eternity. Each time he nears the top, the stone rolls back to the bottom. One can assume he’s still at it today. We can also assume how he feels about it.

Most of us can relate to Sisyphus (minus his arrogance and deceitfulness, of course). We’ve all had times when our best efforts seemed to amount to nearly nothing—like no amount of work could affect the outcome. Why is that? Chances are, we’re working on the wrong end of the Control Continuum.

The Control Continuum—this graphic may help you visualize what we’re talking about. It’s a simple visual, but the concept behind it just might change the way you plan forever.

Let’s consider time.

To better understand the importance of control, we need to clarify time. We measure time in minutes and seconds, but we measure our lives by events—first steps, first words, first foods, birthdays, holidays, achievements, defeats, the struggles and the rewards. In terms that truly matter to us, the basic element of time is an event—so the key to managing time is controlling events. If you fail to control events in your life, then events in your life will control you. That’s no fun.

That’s why we need to understand control.

We aren’t saying that you can take control over every event in your life to the point that no event will ever control you. There are things we can control and things we can’t—and all of us confuse them now and again. When we mistake something we can’t control for a thing that is within our control, we find ourselves feeling frustrated, exhausted, and even useless rather quickly. We ask, “Why can’t I make a difference here?” Sometimes the answer is simply, “Because you can’t. This is outside your realm of influence.”

Influence is key.

Everything in your life exists on a control continuum, or spectrum, where you have varying degrees of influence ranging from no control to total control. When you are in a situation where your influence is high, you have the power to choose, act on those choices, and see results. When you have no control and no influence, you have no choice but to adapt. That can be a hard realization to face. Luckily, as humans, adaptation is one of our greatest assets for survival. But constant and continual adapting can wear you out.

So, if you’re feeling like Sisyphus, what do you change? Your focus—the secret is to worry less over things you can’t control, and focus, instead, on those things that you can influence. Planning allows you to look ahead and take control of situations before they arrive. Yet, as we’ve grown up in our homes and in society, we’ve all been conditioned to believe different things about what we can and can’t control.

First—There are events we can control, but we believe we can’t. Consider that for a second. If the reward is great enough, we will often find a way to make it happen. Imagine you received a phone call from a wealthy philanthropist who said he would give you $500,000.00 to use however you’d like. All you had to do was meet him at the airport Friday before 5:00 p.m.

Now imagine you start driving toward the airport with plenty of time to be there before 5:00, but on the way you get stuck in a traffic jam. The traffic reporter on the radio announces that a semi-truck jack-knifed in the road, and the traffic would be backed up for the next 3 hours. You’re stuck. You can see the airport towers from where you are, but you aren’t moving. Will you still be at the airport before 5:00? We’re guessing you’d find a way.

Things like this happen all the time. We’ve all heard of people in emergency situations who have done things they never imagined they could.

Second—There are events we cannot control, but we believe we can. These tend to involve other people or events with several variables. Imagine the parents who are not comfortable with their child’s choice of friends. Parents can’t dictate or control who the child likes or doesn’t like. They can try to influence their child’s decisions, but ultimately they are dealing with another individual who also has his or her own choices to make.

Think about the times in your life when you’ve felt like you’ve had little to no control. What were the circumstances? Were other people involved? Chances are, the situations were far more complex than you wanted to admit, with more variables at play than you had imagined. How much energy have you spent fighting things you couldn’t control?

For consideration, here’s a small sample of things you can’t control:

What other people think

What other people say

What other people do

How other people feel

The weather/natural disasters

Gas prices


Who is in your family

The reality of death

Growing old

Physical or mental limitations

The past

And that’s just the beginning. Yet, it’s so easy to get worked up over things we can’t control. We’ve all asked, “What will people think of me,” or “Why can’t I change his opinion?” Have we not? But beating our heads against the wall won’t move the wall—we’re just pushing another boulder up the hill.

What if we established selective control?

If we’re continually focused on the things we can’t control, we’ll lose our self-esteem and our motivation. That’s a recipe for underachievement. But we can recognize and harness the things we can control and work to minimize the impact of the rest. No amount of complaining has ever changed the weather, but we can plan for sun and keep an umbrella in our bag just in case.

If you control your morning routine perfectly and get out the door in time for your 8:30 meeting, but get stuck in traffic. Assess what you can and cannot control. Perhaps you’ll call ahead and reschedule your meeting, then use the time on the road to listen to an audio book. Adapting your mindset and influencing events where you can will leave you feeling accomplished and productive, instead of helpless and frustrated.

How can understanding the Control Continuum help you plan?

Imagine what would happen if you made plans based on the things you could control—mainly yourself? Your goals might look something like this:

Learn to control my temper

Try yoga

Learn to kayak

Practice the piano

Go to bed earlier

Eat less junk food

Improve my listening skills

Serve others more

Walk four days each week

Leave for work earlier

Drive the speed limit

Save money/spend less

Everything on that list is doable and within your control—and that’s only the beginning. If you consider the control continuum as you set short- and long-term goals and plan your daily tasks, you’ll start seeing more growth. Your plans will be more specific, as you harness the things you can control, and work to minimize the effects of the things you can’t. When you focus on events that are high on your control continuum, you’ll find no shortage of achievable goals you can set for yourself.

Accomplishing things that matter to you works wonders for your self-worth. As you take control over events in your life early, you’ll come to value your time even more. Time becomes the tool you use to reach your goals, rather than something to fight against. So when those urgent “emergencies” pop up, you’ll easily distinguish between those that are important, and those that are nothing more than giant boulders at the bottom of the hill.

Planner Quote: May 14, 2018

“Respect yourself if you would have others respect you.”

– Baltasar Gracian

Ode to The Busy Mother

Here’s to those of you who are literally shaping society—molding the next leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and agents of change. It’s a big job, yet it isn’t your only job. Moms are busy. You’re volunteers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, managers, bus drivers, firefighters—you name it. Even so, Mother is the job title you wear all the time. You don’t clock out. Regardless of your daily demands, you still, almost magically, nurture life, growth, nourishment, and learning in the home.

Making magic is a lot of hard work—but the greatest satisfaction in life comes from those endeavors into which you put the most of yourself. So you beam over first steps, first words, first foods, the first day of school—and you weep at recitals, graduations, and award ceremonies. You give your all for this! With a world filled with things that beg for your time, the secret is to decide what matters most each day, and place your efforts there. Here are some ways to help you do just that.

Plan Every Day

Planning is the secret to success and achievement—even, and especially, for Mom. Planning can reduce stress and anxiety as you write down your daily tasks and prioritize them by importance. You’ll be surprised at how many seemingly urgent tasks can wait while you attend to what really matters.

Remember that the only things you can truly control are your own actions. Consistent planning gives you greater power over the actions you can control, and fewer worries over the things that are out of your control. Planning helps you find success where it matters most, and to set aside the rest.

Find Strength In Your Roles

Get a Pouch Pagefinder for your planner and a set of Compass Cards. Compass Cards are a subtle reminder of all the roles you play throughout the week. Remember that Mother, though vital, is not the only role you play. You’re also an individual with talents, gifts, and aspirations. You’re a friend, a daughter, and a neighbor. Perhaps you’re a musician, a co-worker, a student, or an artist. Each of these amazing roles builds upon and strengthens the rest—especially the role of Mom. As you strengthen yourself, you increase your strength for others.

Plan Time For You

As a mother, you place everyone above yourself, but remember you’re important too! As you plan, you’ll discover moments during the day that you can devote to you—a half-hour to read a book, time to try a new recipe, time for yoga or a walk, time to shop, time to practice a skill or work on a hobby that lifts your spirit.

By doing these personal things, you’ll make more of yourself. You’ll add to your own peace, strength, and joy—and you’ll discover that there is actually more of you to go around. You’ll rest lighter and sleep deeper. So plan time to discover what you love and invigorate your soul.

Record The Little Things

At home, there are no corporate ladders to climb, no raises, none of the usual accolades for a job well done. Your accolades are different. You’re the one they reach for when they’re scared or hurt. You’re who they look for as they bounce through the door bright-eyed with stories to share. You’re the one for whom all school art projects are created. Express your thoughts and feelings on your notes pages and in a journal.

There is power in expressing yourself and recording your life, even if no one else reads it. You develop a greater sense of who you are and what makes your life special. As you record these small moments, you’ll develop new perspective and find even more joy in the little things.

Use Your Planner For Reflection

Motherhood is not easy. Like every mom, you face unexpected challenges and events that remind you that you’re human. We all struggle at this job, and we’re our own worst critics. It’s sometimes easier to see our flaws than it is to see our strengths.

But don’t get down on yourself. Instead, open your planner and look back over all you’ve done—the hopes and dreams you’ve helped create, the challenges you’ve helped them overcome, small victories they’ve shared with you, projects you’ve completed, and the steps you’ve taken toward your goals. Read over your list of core values and you’ll see that you’re doing O.K. You might not feel on top of everything, but you’re working on the things that matter most. You’ll rest easier knowing you can do this—in fact, you are doing this! You’ve got this!

Six Planner Secrets For Teachers

As a teacher, your job is unique. You spend hours coming up with lessons that appeal to each student and their learning style. You arrive at work well before your students and leave long after they’ve left. You often tote homework home and correct it after your own children have gone to bed. You aren’t typically paid for these long hours of preparation, but you do it because you value your students, you value education, and you value a job well done. You also value your time. With a few planning tricks, you’ll be more effective with the time you have.

All of us stand on the shoulders of great teachers; so today we’re sharing some planner secrets just for you. Hopefully these suggestions will help your day run a bit more smoothly.

  1. Consider purchasing a July-start annual planner.

If your yearly planner starts in July, you can plan for each day of the school year—preparing for first-day jitters and last-day mayhem all in the same planner. You can plan holiday-related activities from Labor Day to Memorial Day without a break in the middle—so you can quickly reference each activity whenever you’d like.

  1. Use the Yearly Foldout Calendar.

If you haven’t discovered the Yearly Foldout Calendar, you’re in for a treat. This large calendar fits perfectly in your planner and folds out to reveal the entire year at a glance. It’s perfect for noting school breaks, holidays, plan deadlines, term cut-off dates, students’ birthdays, and anything else you’d like to remember.

  1. Take full advantage of Alphabetical Tabs.

Alphabetical Tabs are perfect for keeping notes sorted by students’ last names. Use them to document special accommodations for students, interactions with parents, notes from conversations with students such as deadline extensions, and more.

  1. Make quick guides with Multi-Color Pagefinders

You aren’t going to have the same teaching experience from class to class. Use colored page finders to separate notes for each class period so you’ll remember where you left off last time, and where to start tomorrow. If you teach multiple subjects, your Pagefinders can divide your notes from subject to subject.

  1. Discover Tabbed Divider Pockets.

Classic Tabbed Divider Pockets would serve the same purpose as above, but they also give you a convenient pocket for storage. They’re also a great way to divide your school-related notes from your home and personal notes. If you use them to separate your lesson plans, you’ll have a convenient place to store CDs, DVDs, photos, or other loose items that might be related to your subject.

  1. Expense Envelopes

Most teachers can’t go through the entire year without spending some of their own money for school supplies. Often those expenses are tax-deductible. An Expense Envelope is an ideal place to keep your school-related receipts because it has designated areas to keep detailed notes about each purchase. When tax time rolls around, you won’t have to struggle to remember what you spent or why you bought it.

What do you use to focus your plans on teaching?

This list only scratches the surface when it comes to ways to augment your planner for teaching. We’d love to hear from you teachers about how you organize your planner to suit your unique schedule. Please share them in the comments.

Thanks again for all you do for education.

Planner Quote: May 7, 2018

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”

– Malcolm Forbes

The Franklin Five: May 2018 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 30, 2018

“The greatest crime in the world is not developing your potential.”

– Roger Williams

Planner Quote: April 23, 2018

“There has never been another you.”

– Dan Zadra

The 4 Elements of Effective Goal Setting

It’s fair to guess that all of us have wishes, dreams, hopes, and goals. Often the things we place in this category are elusive, far-flung ideas. Over time, they might even seem beyond our reach—mythical, like forest sprites and unicorns. It’s easy to doubt we’ll ever see them.

We can all quote the phrase: A goal is just a wish until you write it down. Yet, if pen and paper are the elixir that turns wishes into goals, why is it that you can find so many unreached goals floating around on scraps of paper?

The reason is simple. Writing a wish on paper doesn’t really make it a goal. There is a lot more to it than that.

If you want to set powerful goals that will change your life, you need to plan them properly. Goals that make a difference are supported by your governing values. They’re clearly and specifically written. They’re measurable, and attainable. Let’s look at each part of effective goal planning and discuss why it’s important.

1.Effective Goals Are Supported by Your Governing Values

First, let’s talk about your governing values. For many people, family and children are a top priority because family is rooted in so many governing values—love, service, and meaningful relationships to name only a few. Parents teach, provide, support, and encourage, their children to reach their full potential because doing so is part of their core beliefs. Your core beliefs and governing values are interrelated, and they influence everything you do in every role you play.

What do you value most? What drives you? Those things that motivate you are rooted in your values, such as: Honor, Integrity, Love, service, and so on. You may also love the outdoors, excel in art, and enjoy travel. Your list of personal motivators can get long, but take a moment and write them all in your planner. Over time you’re likely to discover more things that you value, so allow room for your list to grow.

What would happen if any of those things were gone and you were no longer able to enjoy them? How would that affect you? Now consider your list again. Out of everything on your list, what are the things you could not live without? Are there items on your list that you’d sacrifice the rest of your list to keep? List those priority items separately in your planner and ponder them closely, because that list is rooted in your core beliefs. Those items will lead you to discover your governing values.

If your goals are aligned with your governing values, you’ll be far more likely to complete them. Why? Because they are linked to your core—they truly matter to you. And that’s the key—your core beliefs are unique to you. If you set a goal based on another person’s core beliefs, you’ll struggle to find the desire to work at it. If you do complete a goal based on someone else’s values, you won’t have the same sense of satisfaction you’ll get when you accomplish something that truly matters to you. Set goals that matter.

2. Effective Goals Are Clearly and Specifically Written

Even when your goals are linked to your core beliefs and written on paper, they still may be difficult to reach if they aren’t clear. If you have a small home-based business that you want to grow, simply writing, “grow my business,” on paper isn’t going to be enough. Your goal needs to be specific.

Instead, break your general goals into smaller, more specific actions that you can complete in a short amount of time. Create or update your website. Learn how to photograph products for the web. Test a new offer against your current best performer. The more specific your goal, the better your chances are of completing it.

After you’ve written your specific goal, write the core value that governs that action beside it or above it. This can serve as motivation to keep you moving ahead.

3. Effective Goals are Measurable and Have Specific Deadlines

Set a date. Tasking yourself to create a website is great, but without a deadline, you have no starting point. Your specific goal will continue to elude you until you pin a date to it. If you want to shoot portraits of graduating high school seniors, you’ll want to have a website they can visit months before they graduate. Your goal might be, “I’ll complete my website on or before February 21st.”

Once you have an end goal, you can plan backward from there. Determine how long it will take for you to find a website platform that fits your needs, gather images, write copy, organize each page, and ensure it is all running well. Set specific deadlines for each of these steps to ensure you reach the end of your goal when you planned you would.

After you’ve written your goal and set dates to complete each step in the process, schedule each step in your planner on your Prioritized Daily Task List. Because this goal is grounded in your core values, you’ll label this as a “Priority A” task, and start working on it right away.

4. Effective Goals are Personal and Attainable

Even if your goals are based on your core values and no one else’s, and written specifically, with start dates and completion dates, you may still struggle if they aren’t realistic. Your goals need to be personal and built around your unique abilities and interests. Be sure your skill set and personality are suited for your goals. Be sure you schedule your activities appropriately around the rest of your priorities.

Speaking of keeping your goals personal, make sure your goal is for you and not for someone else. If you set a goal to teach your child to play the piano, for example, focus your goal on your teaching efforts and not on your child’s success. The actions of other people are not within our control.

Even your smallest goal can be segmented into bite-sized pieces. The more you break your goal down and schedule the steps into your daily plans, the easier it will be to attain.

Sure, a goal is just a fantasy until you write it down. But writing alone is nothing more than the stuff of storybooks—unless you do it right. If you follow these steps carefully, we can promise you’ll see great success.

Planner Quote: April 16, 2018

“It’s not who we are that holds us back, it’s who we think we’re not.”

– Michael Nolan

Spring Cleaning Checklist 2018 – Free Download

As you prepare to make a fresh start this spring, consider the roles your home plays in your life. Home is where you eat, relax, prepare, create, entertain, listen, and serve. Each room has a purpose, but they often overlap. That means you have books, clothes, cleaning supplies, etc. in more than one place. This year, let’s focus our efforts on the roles your home serves rather than honing in on each room.

Download the Spring Cleaning Checklist here:

PDF – Pocket

PDF – Compact

PDF – Classic

PDF – Monarch

Planner Quote: April 9, 2018

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

– Max DePree

Planner Quote: April 2, 2018

“People talk about ‘finding’ their lives. In reality, your life is not something you find – it’s something you create.”

– David Phillips

The Franklin Five: April 2018 Checklist

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

April Checklist Pocket Size: PDF

April Checklist Compact Size: PDF

April Checklist Classic Size: PDF

April Checklist Monarch Size: PDF

Balancing Your Production with Your Production Capability

What does it mean to be effective or efficient? In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey defines it as, “getting superb results today (production) in a way that allows us to get those results over and over again (production capability).” Covey calls it the P/PC balancing act. If we focus only on production we run the risk of weakening our ability to produce. Aesop illustrates this balance well in his fable, The Goose and The Golden Egg.

Aesop tells of a countryman who had a remarkable goose. Each day, this goose laid a beautiful golden egg. The man took the eggs to market and began to grow rich.

He also grew impatient. One day the countryman decided he didn’t need to wait for the goose to give him a single golden egg each day. Instead, he would kill the goose and remove all the eggs at once. But when he did, the man found no eggs inside the goose, and his precious goose was dead.

Sometimes each of us acts like that countryman. We get so focused on our lives and our productivity that we forget to do vital maintenance. We’ve likely all heard stories of people who were so busy driving from event to event day after day that they lost track of the miles they had driven—failed to change the oil in their car—and burned out an engine far too soon.

Have you ever felt burned out?

So how do we balance our productivity with our ability to produce? How do we remain productive without burning out? How do we get the most out of our employees without making them feel worn down? How do we maintain positive, symbiotic relationships where we give and take without feeling taken advantage of, or taking advantage of others?

Effective living requires effective planning. As we plan to tackle and enjoy the upcoming projects and events in our lives (our eggs), we can determine what we should do to preserve and enhance our ability to produce quality results (our goose). This balancing act applies to every aspect of life.

Your Franklin Planner is perfectly equipped to help you manage the different roles you play each day. As you write your goals, ideas, and plans on paper, you can create a big-picture view. You can draw on past experiences and project your goals far into the future—all while focusing on the minutiae of today.

That big picture view makes it easier to direct your small daily activities toward your end goals. With the proper focus, your daily actions will feel far less mundane, because you’ll see them as your mode of travel from where you are now to where you hope to be. Along the way, you’ll find ways to improve your talents, rest your body, and strengthen others—so your ability to produce remains high.

This explains why flight attendants tell parents, in the event of an emergency, to put their oxygen masks on before they place oxygen on their children. As parents, we need to be strong in order to help our children. We are their goose. If a child protests or fights the oxygen, which is highly probable, the parent could run out of air trying to explain and encourage.

Have you ever considered that proper planning could be as vital for our success as oxygen is for life?

The most powerful planning is about far more than tasks and appointments. It’s about you—who you are and who you hope to become. It’s about living true to the things you value most, whether that’s growing your skills, sharpening your talents, supporting your family, or increasing your wealth.

So the true secret is to know and understand what matters most to you—to determine the values that govern your actions. Your governing values add meaning and motivation to the things you do.  They make you want to maximize the efficiency of your eggs while strengthening your goose. If you are struggling to create your list of governing values, consider what and for whom you would be willing to risk everything, and why you would. The answers to that question are rooted in your values. That’s a great start.

You play a lot of roles each day—child, sibling, spouse, parent, employee, employer, neighbor, friend, artist, athlete—your list is long. You have goals and expectations related to each of the roles that matter to you. When you use your planner for self-development in each of the roles you play, you’ll find that you need to weigh your actions against your governing values. There is simply not enough time in the day to do everything.

But as you focus your efforts on those things that matter most—as you prioritize your daily tasks, you’ll begin to achieve this P/PC balance. You’ll make time to strengthen your skills, improve your knowledge, and lift and serve those who matter to you. You’ll be able to recognize the geese in your life, and acknowledge the times when you are a goose for others. Supporting those who support you and those who need your support will become paramount. And in doing so, you’ll find yourself progressing toward your goals, rather than simply focusing on everyday tasks and appointments. You’ll find life, meaning, and satisfaction in all you choose to do.

Planner Quote: March 26, 2018

“If things go wrong, don’t go with them.”

– Roger Babson

Watch: What could a planner do for you?

Meet Becca and James. They have agreed to take the 21-Day Planner Challenge. They own their own business and are the busy parents of 5 kids. Watch as they take on this challenge and see what they have to say about their experience.

Why take the challenge? Here are a few reasons to try it out:

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

Here are some other reviews of the 21- Day Planner:

Planner Quote: March 19, 2018

“There are no gold medals for the 95-yard dash.”

– Max DePree

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