24 September 2008

My Former Franklin Covey Life

We've been talking about our Franklin Covey experiences lately, so I decided to dig up my old FC planners. I have three: two Classic (7-ring, half-letter size; similar in size to A5) and one Compact (same ring configuration as Filofax Personal, but with wider pages).

My first Classic Franklin Covey planner is still my favorite, and the only one of the three I'm going to save in the long run. It's all leather, and I bought it because of its small "footprint." Instead of being larger than the pages, the planner's zipper hugs them. It's barely bigger than the pages themselves, and also has a slim ring size. It's more suited to a weekly than a daily page format.

I'll take pictures of it soon, but today I'm starting with the last planner I was using before, in 2000, I switched full-time to a Palm Pilot. Actually, the full transition took about a year. When I finally abandoned this beautiful fabric and leather planner with its one-and-a-half-inch rings, it weighed three pounds and contained all of the notes I needed for my 4 part-time/freelance jobs and one volunteer job, as well as all my personal stuff: home repair and car records, Christmas card lists, wish lists, and so on. I even found a list of all NFL teams and their towns, and a list of poker hands in winning order. Hey, you never know when you're going to need that stuff!

Imagine going from carrying 3 pounds of leather and paper wherever I went to a Palm Pilot! But I did it.

I found this planner in the basement in virtually the same condition it was in when I stopped using it. It's like a snapshot of my life, frozen in time. I'm fascinated by the number and variety of pages FranklinCovey supplied, including about 20 pages of instructions on using the planner itself! I'll scan some of these forms one of these days, since it's hard to take clear photographs of them. There are a bunch of pictures on Flickr of some of the forms and how I used them.

FranklinCovey still makes a lot of forms, but not nearly as many as they used to. They sell software for printing out the additional forms yourself.


  1. Ahh, the memories! Your post reminded me of my old Franklin Covey days. As in relationships, the things that drove me to FC in the first place, became the things that drove me away in the end -- daily planning & prioritizing, mission statements, instruction manuals, etc. The two page per day format became too much to keep up with and I soon longed for the freedom of my old Filofax.

    That said, I really miss the forms and inserts FC produced in the old days. Remember the compact classics that provided a brief description of classic books? There was also a loose leaf version of the Bible available. You could carry as many pages as you liked for those down times when you needed something to read or reflect upon. I also purchased the 'fun & games' packs that included puzzles and coloring pages that were great when I just needed a break.

    They also used to print some lovely special edition planner pages licensed by Hallmark. I think they did that for a couple of years in a row and when they quit, I went back to Filofax. Silly I know, but I was not very impressed with the remaining selections available at the time.

    Now I'm going back even a few more years, but do you remember the special inserts that Filofax used to produce? I once purchased an insert that was produced by Slimming magazine at the time. I'm not sure that magazine is in print anymore, but the insert contained some wonderful information about nutrition, calorie counting, exercise and tracking logs for eating, working out, etc.

    It's a shame these items are no longer offered.

  2. Yes, dewanna, I DO remember some of the old inserts available via Filofax. I have an ancient black leather insert with two zippers: one close to the outer edge, and the second, shorter zipper runs from the center of the leather to the edge. My guess is they designed the larger zip area for dollar bills, and the smaller zip area for coins. I've used it for many different things over the years - stamps, keys, "secret" stuff - basically, it functions as a "Junk Drawer" to carry inside my Filo. Alas, it's a bit thick, so I rarely use it. I do have an old personal Cavendish Filofax; that's one of the few models Filo made with extra large rings. When I put my Cavendish into use, it can easily accomodate my black leather "Junk Drawer."

    Question: Is anyone out there using the personal Siena? I've had my eye on it. That, and the Eton. Would love to hear which models other readers are using and what they think about their particular model.

    Here's my Roving Filo Commentator summary:

    My personal Stratford: by far the softest leather Filo I've owned. I can cram everything into it. And it feels wonderful in my hands. But only one pen loop, which bugs me.

    Hampstead: Great for traveling, but too clunky for everyday use. The outside back pocket is darn handy, though, because it can handle a thick batch of booklets and pamphlets. And the Hampstead has two pen loops. It's a miniature office, but it makes my handbag so heavy, it kills my shoulder.

    Rio: Very cute. I use it as a scrapbook: for memorabilia only.

    Topaz: Now here's a book I wish worked for me. It has two pen loops (excellent). And a roomy back pocket with gusset. And yet...mine is red, and the leather is not soft, and it never felt right in my hands. I often wonder if the "ruggedness" of the leather on my particular Topaz was just a quirk. I've tried to soften the leather with saddle soap, etc., but, well, it does what it wants to do in spite of me. Just can't get comfortable with it.

    Finchley: It can only take so much. I find it's not "stuffable" enough.

    Kensington: It's old, it's worn in, and it's nearly the perfect Filo. I can almost hear it breathing, that's how responsive it is. If it only had an extra pen loop, it would never leave my hands. If I'm not mistaken, the current Stratford model is the update of the Kensington. Here's the very smart thing about both of these models: there's a zip pocket with gusset in the back, but they don't stop there - underneath it is another area for storing things. That's one thing that bothers me about the Topaz: the back zip pocket is stiched shut at the bottom.

    I hear that Filofax once made an insert with a loop to carry an extra pen or pencil. Wish I had one.

    Remember the old onion skin paper inserts? Gosh, I miss those. Wafer thin paper reduced the thickness of the total pages by quite a bit.

    Oh, and my personal microfiber Stirling: Day Runner did that style better - but Day Runner's rings are too tiny. And the Stirling is impossible to snap shut.

    Is the perfect book out there? Siena? Eton? Yes? No?

    As for the pocket size, my Finsbury is absolutely perfect. I carry an extra pen in the exterior full-width wallet: I just clip it on.

    1. If you don't use your leather holder, I'd love to give it a second home. Mine disappeared when my beloved and cherished Pigskin binder was stolen years ago, and I've missed its practicality ever since. I can't understand why they done re-release them. So many people use their film as a wallet now.

    2. if you no longer use the leather change holder, I'd love to give it a second home. Mine disappeared when my beloved pigskin filofax was stolen many years ago and I've missed it ever since. I wish they would re-introduce them.

  3. Anonymous, I forgot about the onion skin leaves until reading your post. They were excellent and I really miss them. You can still find some onion skin in craft stores and cut to fit, but it's not quite the same.

    I was also interested in the Siena because of the soft leather construction, but wasn't crazy about the little zip pocket on the outside. I have a personal size Eton. The leather couldn't be softer, it lies totally flat when open and there are two gusseted pockets and two pen loops which works great for me. I find it very 'stuffable' which usually leaves me cleaning it out often. I paired it with the bright color a-z address tabs and made matching color tabs for the subjects. It adds a nice punch of color to the boring old black planner. That's my only issue with this model, it's only available in black.

    As for the pen loop situation -- one of the tips in the Advanced Day Planner User Guide is to clip the existing pen loop in half to accomodate more than one pen. I tried that once and did not like the effect. It just didn't feel right.

    As for my next investment -- the personal Baroque. I can't decide between the fuschia or turquoise, but the leather looks soft and the print on the interior is fabulous.

  4. Dewanna, Thanks for the "split pen loop" idea - I'm still trying to visualize it, though. One takes a scissor and...? Stitches an additional bit of elastic or leather to the loop? I'm sure the mechanics will come to me several hours from now. When I use my Kensington or Stratford, I slip a slender pen in the zip pocket and keep a mechanical pencil in the loop. That's why the gusset is so sensible: it expands the "stuffing" potential of the pocket. I just looked at the Baroque on the Filo website: lovely. The streamlined zipper compartment would be perfect for stashing a thumb-drive. Or an extra pen. Just went to Ebay, too, and I see a nicely broken-in old Kensington on sale for peanuts. Thank you for the "tour" of your Eton. As they say about visiting someone's home: I like what you've done with the place! They are like little homes, aren't they? Went to 43 Folders and the author of the blog calls this fascination with our daybooks "productivity porn." Of course, he means that in the nicest possible way! My dream daybook? The one Jason Bourne kept in one of the Bourne movies. Sometimes I think I use my book in the same way he used his: to remind him of who he is, to remind me of who I am.

  5. 'Productivity porn' -- doesn't that sound exciting! I'll have to check out the Bourne movies. One of my favorites has always been 'Taking Care of Business' with Jim Belushi. It's hilarious and shows us just how dependent we can become on these little books.

    As for the pen loop -- it's a little tough to describe in words, but here goes... the pen loop is just over an inch long. Just snip the pen loop in half width wise so you have two little loops of equal size instead of one. Think long and hard about it though because if it doesn't work for you it's an expensive cut. It works pretty well except for the fact that the pens tend to flop a bit from side to side without the stability of the longer loop.

  6. Anonymous - I'd love to see pictures of all those planners, especially since some of them are no longer on the Filofax website (unless I missed them). I'm thinking about a red finchley - I don't tend to "stuff" mine though, so I'm not worried - I just need to decide if it's something I really want to spend my money on since I have the chocolate classic, which I love (just trying to build my collection...).

  7. Dewanna, Thank you! I understand! And it's a terrific idea. I am contemplating my Filo collection and wondering which one will go under the knife first. I think I'll practice on my Domino...no, perhaps I'll do experimental surgery on an old Dayrunner or Franklin Covey before I disfigure one of my beloved Filos. Again, thank you! And to Kanalt: My black Finchley has the best, well, "action" of all my Filos - meaning: it stays perfectly flat when open, and the leather is just right, not too stiff, not too squishy. The leather they use for this model has a great, slightly textured feel. Maybe I'll revive my Finchley and split that pen loop in two; the loop is certainly long enough.

    All best...

  8. Here's a pen loop hack that won't require you to cut your Filofax pen loop. And it only takes a couple of minutes to do it, though the first time you might take a bit longer.

    I've made several of these for various notebooks and binders. I make mine with Scotch transparent packing tape, tho, as I don't like the look of the duct tape. And for the last one, I've taped it to a clear plastic envelope, and it's really invisible. I have a pencil in the original loop, and a pen in the hack. I've even stuck these loops onto a piece of plastic page protector or similar plastic , like a slash pocket, or even a piece of card stock, and left them loose in the notebook, and the pressure of the pages in the binder holds it in, so no need to punch holes and it can be switched easily between notebooks or binders.

    If I can get my daughter to help I'll upload a pic of my homemade pencil loops.

    I still have a couple of those inserts from Day Runner or Franklin Covey, and they were nice, and one had a pocket or place for a notepad, but they do add weight. I'm trying to get my binders as light as possible, so I decided to try to get the same thing but without the weight.


  9. Anonymous, you have a Sterling too?

    I'd love to see a picture. I have a pocket Sterling, love the microfiber and the fold-over flap. Just wish it were bigger, preferably A5. When did you get yours? I don't even know when they were made, and haven't seen them on Ebay or anywhere else.

    My husband got mine at a garage sale, like new condition, but no packaging or anything else that would tell me when they were made.

  10. GG,

    Thanks for the Scotch tape tip. I will try it. I spotted a set of pastel plastic slash/pocket inserts at Staples, in the display for Franklin Covey and Dayrunner. I will purchase a pack and try out your tape idea.

    I really like the "idea" of my personal Sterling, but it simply will not snap shut because I stuff my Filo to the max. Dayrunner made a knock-off, with several improvements, including a full-length exterior wallet pocket. But the rings are too small; they used the smallest rings available. So, total defeat there. And total defeat with my personal Stirling because the snap closure is unforgiving.

    I don't remember when I purchased it. Probably found it in an old stationery store in the backwoods of Florida.

    I regret tossing all my old Filofax catalogues into the trash. I did that last year during a desk drawer purge. Sometimes I wonder about old models...that bright orange microfiber number they made with big, fat zippers and lots of pouches...and I wonder about Filofax "urban myths" such as an old tri-fold book they made decades ago (a portable leather desk that did war-time duty).

    They (Filofax) ought to come out with some commemorative models, something to celebrate the best of the decades.

    It's nuts, I know, no surprise there. And yet, this daybook craziness...sometimes it pays off big time. My memory isn't what it once was. When my daybook works for me, there are fewer "lost chords" and my random jottings, insignificant as they may seem at the time, sometimes turn into something quite lovely, surprising.

    Thank you for your very clear set of instructions for transforming my one-loop books into two loop books.

    1. If you're still reading this, the try-fold was no urban myth. I was in the army in the 1980s and most of us had them then. Two sets of rings in one binder. We were even issued with them if you knew the right people, although these weren't leather, they were vinyl, in olive green. I will upload some photos in a couple of weeks when studies are over.

  11. I should have been more specific that I use the Scotch package mailing tape for my pen loops -- it's about an inch and a half wide and nice and clear and strong. I don't know if regular Scotch tape like we use in the office would work, but you could try that to start with -- I'm sure it's easier to work with.

    Actually I used card stock the first time I made one of these, and stapled the loop onto a piece of card stock I'd punched to fit in the binder. But it's unsightly and the staples can catch your fingers and eventually work loose.

    I've seen some filo's from the 80's on flickr. Wish I could find a stash. I have to say my sterling is pretty limited in capacity, and the rings are pretty small, so that's a limitation. But I have other binders for other things, and am using this one for just jotting down notes and minimal appointment taking.

  12. Thank you, Dewanna and GG, for your suggestions re: fabricating an extra pen loop. I sliced a pen loop on an old daybook from Target and, yes, it works! But I get your point, Dewanna, about the floppiness.

    While chopping up my Target book, I came up with another idea: take an old book, one with a pen loop that would match the Filo I want to add it to, cut it off, and bring it to a shoemaker to stitch onto the inside front cover. Or I could buy a piece of leather and bring it to a seamstress to attach to the book.

    All this got me laughing, though. If I haven't crossed over the line with my Filofax nuttiness, I'm darn close. One Filo owner said of her Personal Ostrich: I love that thing beyond reason.

    Beyond reason - I'm almost there with my daybook.

  13. Here's another pen loop hack -- I use one loop for two pens. Rather than slip one pen through the loop, I use the pen clips to hook onto the loop itself. Works like a charm.

  14. I enjoyed all the nice comments about the Finchley. I have the red for my main "brain" and I have come to appreciate it. The only problem with it is that it is a bit too narrow to accommodate the Franklin-Covey inserts I used to use.

  15. Here's an Ebay seller who has a decent selection of older Filofax models - including the Stirling and the Pak(which I suspect is the bright orange thing mentioned in a post above).
    I recently got my pocket Henley from her, and the shopping experience was awsome all the way.

  16. Here's an Ebay seller who has a decent selection of older Filofax models - including the Stirling and the Pak(which I suspect is the bright orange thing mentioned in a post above).

    I recently got my pocket Henley from her, and the shopping experience was awsome all the way.