Franklin Covey Planners:  Paper vs electronic

Franklin Covey Planners organize your life and get the right things done. Does your time mangement system consist of loose papers scattered over your desk? Are you tired of trying to find that phone number or reference document?  If you are looking for a planner that holds all your tasks, appointments, and information in one central place, then a Franklin Covey Planner could be for you.

Here I talk about 

  • the benefits of the Franklin Planner system
  • paper vs. electronic planning
  • why people don't use the Franklin Planner system

The benefits of a Franklin Covey Planner

I was looking for a planner is that was robust and would be able to manage my information and actions from the different roles of businessman, lecturer, and entrepreneur.

In my planner I wanted a place for a structured to do list and a schedule of appointments and commitments. This is a good tool to block out time for important activities.

I also wanted my planner to have:

  • a place in which you can keep track of your daily and monthly appointments.
  • a monthly calendar tabs that track my appointments and ensure that I don’t double book meetings. For me the monthly and yearly sections allowed me to visually track my progress on my important projects. It is useful to refer between your daily and master task list to ensure that you are focusing on those things that you want to get through that month.
  • ample space to jot my ideas. I really liked the notes section as it minimized the use of post-it notes or other information that was outside my planning system. I use the notes page to record phone calls, take meeting notes, or jot down important points from conversations.
  • quotes and specialized content from life management experts
  • a tabbed section that was devoted to my goals and mission - key tenets of the Franklin Covey System

I was also looking for a planner that was able to collect all the reference information and project actions in one central place. I liked the Franklin Covey Leadership Ring-bound Daily Planner and goal planning pages.



When I had decided on my personal planner it was a matter of chaining this personal planner to me wherever I went. Any ideas, contacts, new tasks, or appointments went straight into my daily planner - my central repositry for my personal information and tasks.

The rigor of the Franklin Covey system was designed to identify what is most important to me, set long range goals around them and then bring these into my daily or weekly planning.

Paper vs Electronic planning

As a time management coach I often get asked this question. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I like the idea of penning my ideas on paper. While I might be old-school here, Lifehack does advocate writing over typing as it stimulates the brain cells in the reticular activation system (RAS).

However, if much of your time is sitting in front of a computer and many of your tasks are communicated to you via email then it makes sense that you have a time management system that is linked to your email system. For this reason, and the fact that much of our calendar and task list software is easily synced to mobile devices and backed up on servers in the event of loss, I favor Franklin Covey software over paper planning.

Common reasons for not using a Franklin Covey Planner

There are a number of common reasons why people don't want to use a planner. Some that I have heard are:

I don't have time to plan. But did you know that planning reduces your execution time as planning makes you more proactive and less reactive. In other words you spend more time in quadrant 2 and less time in quadrant 3 of the Franklin Covey Priority Matrix below.

I already know what I have to do, so why plan? While you may know what you need to do, the people that I meet in big corporations down to students at school find that a planner keeps them focused on their top priorities.

This means that rather than being swept up in the urgency of daily routines acting in a reactive manner (which increases stress!) the planner helps them to become more proactive in their high value activities.

I have too many interruptions so planning won't work for me. Interruptions have the potential to take you off course which is all the more reason to have a plan so that when you go off course you are able to refocus on what you have to do. A Franklin Covey Planner is not about living a life of no interruptions...that is unrealistic!

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