“Once you have a clear picture of your priorities, that is your values, goals & high leverage activities – organize around them.”
Five years ago, I had more planners, calendars and notebooks than I could handle. The wall calendar housed my loved ones’ birthdays and my work schedules between multiple jobs, my phone calendar stored events with family and friends, my Outlook calendar had all my work meetings (for that job). And of course, various notebooks around my house, car and cubicle contained to-do lists that never seemed to get done.
All that changed when I found a way to consolidate it all to my Franklin Covey planner.
Planning for all parts of my life in one, centralized location helps me manage my stress levels and practice effective time management to get it all done.
Why Franklin Covey?
Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was one of the first self-improvement books that made a truly lasting impression on me. Habit 3 (Put First Things First) was particularly impactful.
I’d spent years spinning my wheels and telling myself I just didn’t have time to do the things that were important to me. But then, I began to better prioritize my time and do the important things first. Amazing how I still had time to take care of all the smaller, “must-do” tasks when I’d finished with the important items!
The way I found it easiest to prioritize was with Franklin Covey’s compact-sized planner. The layout allows ample space to schedule in meetings, appointments and various items that must be completed at a specific time. It also has dedicated space for notes and for a prioritized task list. Best of all, it fits easily in my purse! It even has slots for my ID, debit card, cash & change. So, I use it as both a planner and a wallet, which helps me avoid forgetting it anywhere.
Scheduling Meetings and Events
Franklin Covey offers a number of different styles of planners in various sizes. The compact size works best for me, and I prefer loose-leaf pages so I can organize them in the way that makes the most sense to me.
I always make sure to order monthly spreads in addition to my daily pages for a quick view of appointments and events throughout the year.
When something comes up or is scheduled, I write it immediately on the date in the month-view section of my planner. Then, each week I transfer my appointments from the month-view to the appropriate daily page.
I should mention here that my office primarily uses Outlook for scheduling meetings. So, when I transfer my monthly personal appointments over, I also take a look at the week’s work meetings and add them to my planner, too. It’s not often that I need to know what meetings are happening at work more than a week in advance.
Maintaining an Effective Task List
Each day, I simply write down all of the tasks I must or would like to complete that day (in the order I think of them). Then, I go back down the list and label each task by level of priority, “A,” “B,” or “C.” Finally, I go down the list one more time and number each task of each priority level. So, as I go through the days tasks, ideally I would start with the task labeled “A1,” and work my way down the highest number in the “C” group.
This method takes a long to-do list and breaks it out so the most important items are easy to identify and get to work on.
At the end of the day, anything that hasn’t been completed is simply forwarded to the next day that makes sense.
How My Planner Aids in Weight Loss
When I first committed to losing 40 pounds, I relied heavily on my Franklin Covey planner.
At first, the prioritized task list wasn’t quite enough to motivate me to meal plan or work out. I started with time-blocking.
Every day, I scheduled time with myself to exercise, and every week I scheduled time to meal plan and to meal prep.
Eventually, I didn’t have to convince myself as much, so I was able to move exercise, meal planning & weekly meal prep to my task list and complete whenever was most convenient for me.
How My Planner Aids in Stress Management
Now, my planner serves as a way to maintain lower stress levels.
I always know that anything I have going on is going to be written in that planner, so I never have to worry I’ve forgotten something.
I’m also able to see at a glance if my task list has gotten too long for the amount of free time I have in the day. If too much is going on, I can quickly adjust my schedule or adjust my expectations of the work I’ll complete so I don’t wind up scrambling at the end of a long day.
You Just Have One Life
When it comes down to it, all the various areas of your life are still just parts of your whole life.
Why not plan and schedule for your one life in one place? Franklin Covey makes a fantastic planner with inserts to personalize as much as your heart desires. Their planner design makes sense and is easy to use.
Knowing at all times exactly where to find my daily, weekly and monthly plans and task lists minimizes my stress levels and helps me to accomplish my goals.
Has the Franklin Covey planner worked in your life? Do you use a different planning method that works great for your needs?