Stephen R. Covey, the author of the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and a co-founder of the Franklin Covey company, died today.
I am a big fan of Dr. Covey's. The "Seven Habits" book was very helpful to me when I first started working at Granite. I had so much stuff going on and I didn't really know how to prioritize and schedule my time. I was much more reactive than proactive. My sister was using the Franklin system of planning pages and she was the one who introduced me to the system. I've been a loyal believer ever since. Let's see...I went to work for Granite in 1996, and I probably started using their program in 1997.
I use an online tool for work now, but it's the same principle. I just don't have to write stuff down by hand anymore and transfer it to the next day if I don't get it done today. I thought I'd try something new for my personal stuff this year. I bought a generic weekly planner, which I rarely used. (The pages weren't cute.) Then I thought I'd just do all of my planning on my beloved iPhone. It's the not the same. On Saturday I broke down and went to the Franklin Covey store and bought myself some cute weekly planning pages. I missed carrying my book around. It has all my addresses and other information plus my calendar and the pages. It's worked for me for 15 years. What was I thinking when I deviated from what has worked well?
I know why I did it. In my personal life, I don't really have much need to do a lot of planning. Most days say the same types of things, but here's the deal for me: by writing them down, I'm making a commitment to myself to do those things. I hold myself accountable when I look back at my notes for the day and see that there was something I wanted to accomplish and I did (or didn't) do it.
The planner is great for lots of things. When I have a big project, I use my planner to break the big project down into small pieces that are easier to fit into a busy schedule. It's a convenient place to jot something down that I want to remember. I've got numbered tabs in my book. One of the tabs has quotes that I like. All of my addresses and phone numbers are in the address section. I'm slowly moving the contact info to my phone as I need to, but it's good to have that all written down and stashed somewhere. I have a tab that is set aside for my goals and how I think I'll accomplish those goals. In that same section I keep a list of all the places I want to go. I keep a list of things I would like to do in a given year. (I didn't make that list this year because my new book didn't really have a good easy place to keep that list.)
Some of you may be rolling your eyes and thinking what an anal nerd I am. That's ok. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and for me the Franklin Covey system works well. The Seven Habits helped me a lot, too. It helped me define my priorities, taught me to think about what is important to me and put me on a good path at a time when I really needed those lessons. For several years, I read the Seven Habits book every year. I haven't read it for awhile. I was thinking, while I was on vacation actually, that it was time to re-read the book and get back in touch with that part of myself. I've been struggling with some stuff lately, and maybe I can find something in that book that will pull me out of this rut I've been in.
Thank you Dr. Covey. Rest in peace.