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Friday, September 7, 2012

Guest post from Patty at Homemakers Daily: Want to See What’s In My Franklin Covey Compact?

(Yes we do!!!)

Okay here's the truth: I had originally planned to post this on Monday, but it turned out to be so amazing I just couldn't wait. Also, some good friends of mine (Rori, Zoe, you know who you are!) are rockin' new 2PPD inserts so I thought I'd give this to you to play with over the weekend. And, here's a secret: because of Patty's setup, I have ordered FC 2PPD inserts myself, and I really hope they arrive today because I am ready to launch this setup!!  So hang onto yourselves for this post.

Huge, enormous thanks to Patty at Homemakers Daily for this wonderful post with tons of photos and details on how she uses her Franklin Covey binder and inserts!

First of all, if you don't know Patty and her excellent blog, you really should go check it out. Even if you're not a homemaker, it has excellent tips for managing life in general including recipes, household cleaning and time management. No matter who you are, you have to eat, keep a clean (or at least reasonably hygienic) home and manage your time! It should be called "Life Management Daily" if you ask me!

I'm ashamed to say I only just discovered Patty's gold mine of a blog very recently. She hooked me with her posts on using her Franklin Covey planner. I asked her if she would be interested in doing a detailed post here on Plannerisms and she very graciously agreed!

Ok I'll shut up now and hand it over to Patty!  Go get a beverage and something to take notes on, settle in and enjoy!

My planner journey hasn’t been a very adventurous one. I started out with a week-at-a-glance calendar purchased from the local discount store and then a few years later graduated to my first Franklin Covey Compact. I’ve been a faithful FC user for the last 20 years. I’ve dabbled with other planners but I always come back to the Franklin Covey Compact.

The Compact pages are 4-3/4” wide by 6-3/4” high and the pages have six rings. As far as I know, there isn’t another planner with this size of pages. Comparable planners have pages that are 3-3/4” wide by 6-3/4” high. That extra ½” of width makes a HUGE difference to me.

My preferred binder style has 1-1/4” rings with a snap type fastener. Most of the planners available at the FC have 1” rings. I can make those work but I really prefer 1-1/4” rings. Several years ago I learned that FC keeps extra ring sizes on hand and for certain binders they can replace the rings with a different size (at the stores, not sure about on-line).

I’ve had my current binder 3 or 4 years and it has 1-1/4” rings. I don’t love the large fastener at the front but it was all that was available at the time. The binder only has one pen loop and it’s on the left side. I don’t like that either. I like two pen loops. FC went through a phase where they only put one loop. Hopefully my next binder will have two. I like to carry a pen and a pencil.

The inside cover of the binder has a flap for storing papers, a pen loop and a page lifter (there’s one of these at the back, too – they allow the binder to close easily).

Next I have my address pages. These are FC pages on heavy paper with plastic tabs. I’ve had this set about 15 years. I really need to replace and update the pages but I can’t bring myself to do it. It sounds like too much work and I’m afraid I’ll miss something in the transfer process!

I keep these pages in the front of the binder because I refer to them often (I include more than just addresses – I have account numbers, part numbers, refill information, etc.) and also because having them here helps level the planner. When my daily pages are open, there are an equal number of pages on the left and the right. Putting the address pages in the front makes it so the daily pages are more level. The first picture shows the pages with the calendars at the front and everything else at the back. The second picture shows the difference when you split it up and put the address pages at the front. It doesn’t make a huge difference right now but when I have more in the planner, it definitely makes a difference.

Next are the monthly pages. These are Franklin Covey Leadership pages. Each month has a front page which is an index. The index is for recording important information from your daily pages for that month. These pages make it a lot easier to retrieve information. Instead of thumbing through all the daily pages, you skim the indexes to see if you can find what you’re looking for.

Turn the page and you have the monthly calendar. It’s split between two pages with a Notes column on the far right. I use the Notes column as my pend list. Whenever I’m waiting on something, I make a note in that column with the date, the company and anything else that’s important. I mark it off or highlighter when the item is received.

The next page is the Master Task List. This is a list of things that need to be done sometime during the month. If an item has a specific day, you record it on the specific day. But if it doesn’t have a specific day, you record it here.

Behind the current month is where I keep my daily pages. Sometimes I use my homemade pages:

And sometimes I use Franklin Covey two page per day. I prefer the Original style because it’s clean and simple. Some of the designs have printing in the margins and it gets in my way. I write EVERYWHERE on my pages, including the margins, so I purchase pages with clear margins. They may not be as pretty but they’re more practical for my needs.

You’ll notice that the two pages per day have a task list on the left side of the page, a schedule on the right side of the page and a Notes page on the right. I use the Notes page for everything, including notes about phone calls, things I need to do, things my grandkids do, interesting things that happen, etc. I nearly always fill up the page.

At the top of the notes page I record information about my husband’s day. He’s self-employed so we need to keep track of what he does each day and where he works. I record it there.

At the very top of the left page I record my menu. On this particular day I made a to do that was just the things I had to do. The box at the bottom left was my daily chores and the area at the top right was my blog to do list. I highlighted my schedule to show when I was busy with commitments.

You’ll also notice the page finder. The FC page finders have a pouch that allows you to insert a piece of paper called a Weekly Compass. I usually record things I need to do sometime during the week on the weekly compass. I use the front of the Compass for the really important things I need to do and the less important things go on the back.

I keep two months worth of pages in my planner. I keep the previous month until about the 15th and then I remove it and put it in my archive book and pull the next month’s pages and put them in my planner.

Between the monthly calendars and the information tabs I keep blank paper. FC sells a Swing Pad Refill that I really like. It’s white paper with wider lines. It’s a pad, though, so I pull the pages apart. I don’t mind, though, because I really like the wider lined paper and I think it’s a better deal than the individual packets of paper.

Next are 12 tabs.

1. Bills to be paid. I have a year calendar taped to the inside of this divider so I can see dates for the whole year. My bills to be paid list is set up by week and is divided between business and personal (remember, we’re self-employed).

2. Business Accounting. This section includes a payables page (for materials that we’ve been reimbursed for but still need to be paid), a paint company page (showing all current charges and which customer they belong to), a page listing outstanding invoices, a page for the business savings account, and the business check register.

3. Personal Accounting. This section includes a payables page (for things I’ve used the credit card for – I deduct them from the checking account and place them here until the bill comes due) and a check register. Here’s a sample of the FC check register page, which I love:

4. Savings account ledger. I have four savings accounts for four different purposes but I have them all listed on the same page and keep track of the balances on one page.

5. Business Calendar. Since we’re self-employed, we have to keep a written record of what we do each day (for mileage). I record it at the top of the daily pages but once a week or so I transfer it to a calendar page like this:

6. Info. This section includes miscellaneous information including car and truck repair records, birthdays, license numbers, and passwords (in code).

7. Church. I have various responsibilities at church and keep information relating to my responsibilities in this section.

8. Blog. When I think of articles I want to write or things I need to do for my blog, I jot them here.

9. Food Journal. I write down what I eat each day and that goes here. I also keep a page finder here so it’s easy to get to the food journal page. The page finder is upside down so it doesn’t interfere with the one for my daily pages.

The last three tabs are for odds and ends that come up – temporary projects. I usually don’t label those- I just remember what’s in there.

At the back of the binder I have another page lifter and then the back cover. I rarely have anything in the flap or the zipper compartment.

The only other pieces to this planner are my archive books. I have one for each year that I’ve used my FC planner. I save all the monthly and daily pages plus any other pages relating to the year. The unused pages are stored in the archive book and as pages are completed, they’re put back. The books are stored in my office closet. You’d be surprised at how often I pull those books out to look something up.

And that’s it. It’s a small book but it holds a LOT of information!!!

Thank you again Patty! I am in total awe of your planner system!  I can only aspire to this level of planner consistency and detail.



  1. It always warms my heart when I come across another Franklin Planner devotee. Very nice article.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!! I loved the tour. :) I am currently using Franklin Covey 2ppd inserts inside a Filofax personal Holborn. I keep thinking about buying an FC binder, but I have the classic version of the one you have in these pictures and it just doesn't have the appeal that my Holborn does. So I'm sticking with it for now!

    1. Hannah how far do the pages and tabs stick out the edge of your Holborn? My new FC 2PPD pages and tabs stick out pretty far in my Finsbury, and I'm already craving a FC binder!!

    2. Franklin Covey binders are very well made but Franklin Covey has never had the variety that Filofax has. I wish the compact pages would fit better in the Filofax binder because I'd definitely switch binders. I did get a personal Filofax binder (Malden) thinking I would just move my FC pages over but I'm not sure I can handle how they fit. I put them in and immediately took them out and put them back in my FC binder.

  3. Thanks for sharing!! Dang, I wish I could pick something and stick with it for 20 years!!

    1. Rori, I will confess that I have wandered at times but I always come back. I want to do something different but I can't seem to. I don't know if I'm just stuck in a rut or this really is the best option for me.

  4. This post really makes me nostalgic! What an impressive system you've developed! I, too, used a FC Compact 2 pg/day for 20+ years, and I only changed this year (to a Moleskine daily pocket) because my work and life changed in such a way that I wanted a more streamlined planner. But I always loved the modularity of the ring binder and all the different inserts. And I still use the tabbed monthly calendar in a small binder because I've never found any monthly calendar that works as well.

    1. The monthly planner is really good. I love the front page for the index and the back for the monthly to do's. Not all monthly planners have those and I think they're important.

      As good as FC is, sometimes life does require a change. Sounds like you made the right decision.

  5. Though I'm currently on a Filofax obsession, I have been a Franklin Covey user since the 80's. Their page on 2 days and monthly spread on 2 days (with tabs!) are still my favorite planner inserts. My only regret is that I didn't keep most or all of the 25 or so FC planners I've had over the years. (A few years ago I got on a cleaning, purging, organizing frenzy and decided I didn't need all those binders piling up) Big regret. The compact size was always my favorite, although I did at times use a classic size and tried out a pocket but that was just too small. The selection of FC inserts and binders lately have really been reduced and at least 2 of their stores have been closed in my area. The closest FC retail store is about 22 miles from me, coincidently in the same shopping mall as another retailer that sells a few (very few) Filofaxes. It's a mall I frequent though so every now and then I pop into the FC store. There is rarely but one other person in the store when I'm there and I don't know how much longer that store will last either. I used to spend hours, literally hours, in the FC store. Through Filofax blogs and Philofaxy its been good to find other devotees of the Franklin planner.

    1. We used to have two FC stores where I live but they closed one. The other is only about 10 miles from my house but it's the wrong direction! I never get that way. But they definitely have reduced their selection. They used to have more binders and more pages to choose from (designs, I mean). Seems like they're focusing more on bags, organizing accessories and training seminars. Makes me sad because I loved all those options and I still think paper is the way to go!

      I wish there was a store near me that sold Filofax products. I checked on-line and made a bunch of calls but no one had anything. I really prefer looking at and touching my planner accessories. Oh, well. You gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

  6. I've dabbled with many different planner systems - currently am using a FC after having read the 7 Secrets Book and really can empathise with the concepts - just got to sort myself out to use the planner effectively! My little gripe is that some of the pages that are shown on the US FC site are not available in the UK and they look just right for what I could use (shipping from US is really prohibitive too).

    1. I completely agree! The FC UK selection is very limited, and the binder selection is pretty lame. Already planning to send some FC to my mom to bring with her when she comes to visit next month!

      Discabel, did your FC binder come with any pages/ tabs, or do they come empty?

    2. The binders come with only the page lifters. You need to buy the Starter Pack (http://franklinplanner.fcorgp.com/store/category/prod435/US-All-Forms-%26-Tabs/Starter-Pack?skuId=27401) to get the tabs, page finder, weekly compass, and some other forms. Those used to come with every refill purchase but they split them out quite a few years ago because you only needs those when you're first starting.

    3. Great to know, thanks Patty!

    4. And now that I've said that, I forgot about a new line they started several years ago. The binder and inserts are $20 and can be purchased at Franklin Covey or Target. They're not the same quality, though, as the regular FC products. Sometimes they come with dated inserts and sometimes they're undated - week-at-a-glance. But I don't really consider it a FC product.

  7. TBH I bought my FC binder from eBay and then bought the 7 Secrets 2PPD plus starter pack and a couple of others from the store. The more I use it the more I actually think I prefer it to my FF. I use the A5/Classic size (big clumsy handwriting script LOL) - does your Mom do order (cheeky so and so LOL)?

    1. LOL! Email me (laurie at plannerisms dot com) and when I find out exactly when my mom is coming I'll let you know! She probably wouldn't mind bringing some extra stuff. ;)

    2. You guys are funny! So sorry that you don't have good access to Franklin Covey in the UK. It is nice having a store nearby. I didn't realize how lucky I was.

    3. Discabel, do you carry the classic with you everywhere? I've tried switching to that size because I could use the extra room but I hate carrying it. The compact fits in my purse easily. I can get the classic in my purse but it makes it SO heavy! I actually weighed the two planners and there was a difference of 6 ounces. It doesn't sound like that much but hanging off your shoulder it's a lot!

    4. Hi

      Yes, the CLassic travels to work and the various voluntary organisation meetings I participate in. Have just bought a mini sized FF from eBay to see if I can use it to make notes and then transfer to classic (not sure it will work but going to have a try). The Classic is heavy when full BIT lighter than an A4 sized one, which does not work for me. Defo jealous of you having a store close at hand, but hey perhaps not I might not have that much salary left for other essentials LOL. Also apologies to all FC users for referring to Stephen's book as the 7 Secrets (I know it is the 7 Habits), just getting confused with the titles of several books I am currently reading!

    5. FC sells a satellite notebook you can carry with you. You write notes in it and then remove the pages and put them in your classic or compact. Maybe that would work for what you're trying to do. http://franklinplanner.fcorgp.com/store/category/prod318/US-All-Forms-%26-Tabs/Universal-Size-Satellite-Booklet?skuId=31488

      I didn't even notice your mistake on the 7 Habits book. I knew what you were talking about.

      When I first started using FC, it was just Franklin Binders. Stephen Covey joined later and it became Franklin Covey. That's really when they started selling more weekly sets which is what Mr. Covey recommended in his book. Before that it was mainly two pages per day. Wow! That was a long time ago.


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