franklin covey & palm PDAs

Franklin Covey day-planning on your Palm PDA

Several years ago, I looked for time-management and project management classes to help me get more done in the course of my day and to not let what was important to me slip through the cracks. I took the Franklin Quest “Time Quest” course in 1994 and was impressed by the Franklin method. It’s a simple plan, really. Determine what’s important to you, plan long term goals, build intermediate goals to get you to your long-term goals, make sure that your daily tasks are in line with what’s important to you, and prioritize your daily tasks.

Franklin’s day planner comes with pages to assist in this process. I used to carry a relatively bulky planner wherever I went, but with laptops and Palm Pilots becoming indispensible tools in today’s workplace, carrying a paper planner in addition is a pain in the neck.

Franklin sells an software package that mimics the page layout of the day planner, but I could never get used to the software. There’s also an Outlook product that add Franklin functionality to Outlook, but it seemed kludgey and added-on.

Since I’m an experienced Microsoft Outlook user, I decided to modify the Franklin process to suit the Palm tools and Microsoft Outlook. Since most of the process is not tool-related, it was just a matter of building habits into my Outlook usage.

I use Chapura PocketMirror to sync Outlook to my Palm. Whatever sync add-on you use, make sure that you can get Outlook and the Palm to use the Palm categories. I use categories quite heavily to mimic some of the Franklin tools. I can’t vouch for some of the other sync packages available.

What I did was this:

  • I created categories in Outlook called “Values”,”LT Goals”,”IM Goals”, and “Monthly Tasks”. I then synched those categories to my Palm.
  • I created a series of affirming statements as note items, assigned with a category of “Values”. I took my paper-based Long-Range goals, and added them in as tasks. I did the same for my intermediate goals and monthly task list.
  • I have a recurring appointment in my Outlook calendar every monday morning during my planning time to consult with my values and the monthly task list. I review my values, review my goals, and make sure those are fresh in my mind when looking at my monthly task list. If a task is in line with my values, I add it into my week somewhere. If not, out it goes.

With the synchronizing capability of a Palm Pilot and Outlook, you can take your planning information with you to review it at any time or to add/delete information as needed.

Jeff Kirvin’s Writing on your Palm web site has a much more comprehensive discussion of Franklin Planning using Palm-specific tools. He’s included a great description of the process.

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