Franklin Covey Planner -VS- Digital Planners

First of all, I love my Franklin Covey Planner! For a long time, I lived in the digital age, and I tried a little bit of everything. However, I often felt like a “digital gypsy” going from one software program to another, not really having a solid foundation or place where I was comfortable; constantly on the move restless always looking for a fresh start to something better. To some degree, we can all relate. Something bigger and better is always on the horizon.

Franklin Covey Leadership Daily Planner

Over the years, I’ve transitioned from an avid PC user to a loyal Macintosh follower and I must say life has gotten simpler and less complicated. The Mac is a simple operating system (over the years, its gotten pretty complex) but moreover, it’s very delightful to use and work with. It’s also hassle-free considering that I never got the “blue screen of death” like back in the PC days. Does this still happen to the latest versions of Windows? I wonder because it’s been too long since I’ve owned any Windows based products.

Since being a Mac user, I’ve tried three different types of digital planners that worked for a while but all had their downfalls.

After trying all three programs, I eventually came to a few conclusions and decided to seek out paper products. Going to Office Depot, you will find a myriad of daily planners that are aimed at every type of profession and some of them can be a real bargain under $10.00.

However, I was looking for something robust, aimed at Entrepreneurs, businessman and professionals. I wanted a planner that had interesting success quotes at the very top of every page, a generous notes section and a to-do list side-by-side. I also wanted to find something that had a monthly and yearly area where I can track my progress all in one binder. After doing a little bit of research, I landed on the Franklin Covey web site where I purchased my set:


My planner goes with me everywhere

  • Vacations
  • Trips to the coffee shop for some pondering.
  • To the park, sitting under a tree reviewing my life plan.
  • To my quarterly retreats where I review my yearly goals.

Top Benefits to Using a Paper Based Planner:

  1.  There is no syncing involved.
  2. advocates writing –VS- typing because writing stimulates a bunch of cells at the base of the brain called the reticular activating system.
  3. People who operate at a much higher level (Example: Richard Branson) write a lot and carry paper-based products.
  4. It is lightweight and you can carry it everywhere you go.
  5. There is a sense of personal obligation in checking off things from your to-do list. This translates to personal accountability.
  6. There is a sense of accomplishment in physically checking off things on your to-do list.
  7. You don’t need to carry a computer with you to view your planner.
  8. Depending on the flexibility of your planner, your entire year can be archived and progress can be tracked from years back.

Disadvantages to Using a Digital Based Planners:

  1. Your computer must always be left on.
  2. Computers are often cluttered and too much visual noise like desktop icons can thwart concentration.
  3. Programs such as “Things” often make you pay extra subscription fees for cloud based syncing or their iPhone or Ipad companion.
  4. In the event of a hard drive failure or operating system crash, you risk losing it all.
  5. In less than 5 seconds, I can pack my planner in my bag and off I go, not so with digital planners.
  6. The cost of digital planners is exorbitant compared to paper based products.
  7. Syncing can make it a chore with your on-the-go gadgets or cell phone.

Now that you have read my advantages of using a paper based planner -VS- software planners, what is your ideal choice and why? Please respond in the comment box below.


Share on Facebook3Tweet about this on Twitter2Share on LinkedIn0Share on Google+3Digg thisEmail this to someone
Get Free Email Updates
Sign up for my newsletter to receive updates and be the FIRST to get my new eBook titled “Life Purpose – a complete guide on finding and creating your life purpose from within” for FREE!

by William Shaker

As an Entrepreneur, podcaster and author, my goal is to reach far and wide and influence as many people as possible towards success. If you found this article helpful, would you please use the share links above to let others know? Thank you in advance!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JasonEC

    Nice article, William.

    My biggest problem with the paper planners is just that it’s so hard to always carry them with me. Secondarily, when I do, they always seem to get wet somehow, and I hate that wrinkled paper after they get wet. I got a small Moleskine planner, maybe that will be easier to carry/protect.

    Regarding the disadvantages of digital planners – I use Omnifocus. Yes, you have to pay separately for iPad and iPhone versions, but I NEVER go anywhere without my phone. And I sync them to the cloud so the data will never be lost. Also, pay once, lasts essentially forever, whereas the paper ones get replaced at least yearly.

    My wife is very much pro-paper. As you can tell, I’m on the digital side of the fence. Nice blog!

  • William Shaker

    Hey Jason? thanks for commenting. I believe you’re my first commenter — COOL! LOL. This blog is about a month old and I was afraid no one was reading it but I take it you’re a member of Platu? If not, sorry but grateful someone is reading my hard work! LOL

    Anyway, both types have their ups and downs but so far, I’ve fallen in love with my paper planner and it seems to be working.

    At the end of the day, its all about “does it work for me?.” Am I right?

    • JasonEC

      William, I’m glad to be your first commenter. Your blog posts are quite nice so far. Keep up the good work. My own blogging tends not to get a lot of commenting, but then I don’t get a high volume of visitation, either, so that may be the primary reason. Don’t let it be a discouragement, though, because I hear a lot of positive things directly from people who read it (that I never thought would be!) and my wife even hears stuff from her friends.

      You’re correct in that I initially found you on PlatU. In the “Introduce Yourself” section. Maybe I should do the same.

      As for the method to the organizer madness… absolutely, it’s all about what works for you!

      BTW, kudos on that nice, clean desk!

  • William Shaker

    Thanks Jason! What is your blog? I’ll check it out. Thanks for the encouragement. Trust me, all the encouragement, the better! You know how it is….

    • JasonEC

      My blog is at I’m currently primarily doing a series called the Direct Sales Husband’s Handbook, but I do a fair number of reviews as well. Let me know what you think!

  • William Shaker

    Awesome blog! You have a little bit of everything. Keep me updated on Twitter when your ebook is released. I am working on one myself. Keep in touch!

  • Pingback: Create and Achieve Goals Part 3: Review It, Schedule It and Do it

  • Pingback: EP 004: The Complete Overview of How To Create SMART Goals More Effectively

  • Bert Herna

    I have used a Franklin day planner since the 1990s. Since then I’ve tried the Franklin desktop software as well as many different applications for smartphones. At the end of the day I find myself getting more things done when I have a paper based planner sitting on my desk. At 1st I thought it was because I think better when I write things down. And although that’s true what I have discovered is that the primary reason that I get more accomplished is because my planner sits on my desk open constantly reminding me of what I need to get done so that I don’t get sidetracked.

    Since I work from home it’s very easy to get lost doing research or reading articles online. My success planner is always there reminding me to get back to what I already decided needs to be done.

    I have been using the “My Tyme Success Planner” for close to 5 years now. Every now and then I wander off and try a new application however, I always come back to the paper based planner. Yes it’s a little bit more to carry etc. but at the end of the day it’s about productivity.

    • William Shaker

      Hi Bert,

      I couldn’t agree with you more! I am in Chicago now for a coaching program I am attending and its the only thing I attend to when I record important dates or todos. Its always reminding me just like you said.


  • Jeff Jones

    Hi Will,

    I’ve been using paper in the form of a notepad at my desk so I’m not digital but I’m not doing a great job with the paper either-LOL! I start out the week on Monday writing 10 things I want to accomplish that week. I trying to get in the habit as you suggest to look at that list every night and pick the stuff for the next day but it’s not a good system.

    This post has given me something to think about for sure!

    Does this system integrate well with David Allen’s Get Things Done book?


    • William Shaker

      Hi Jeff,

      I’ve read GTD and its a great book and yes, you can combine the two. Thanks.

      • Jeff Jones

        Thanks, Will!

        I like the idea of using my Mac for stuff I have to and pen and paper for the rest.


        • William Shaker

          In the end – there is no right or wrong. Its what works for you to GTD.

  • David Hooper

    I love the simplicity of Things. I have it on my desktop, which is what i refer to while working, but also on my iPhone, which is helpful to add things to the list as I think of them. This helps me get things off my mind when I’m away from work (since I know they’re on the list and will be attended to) and helps me get more done during work time, since all I need to do is “work from the list.” Using Things combined with the pomodoro method helps me get A LOT done.

    • William Shaker

      I used “Things” for some time and loved it. It all depends on individuality and what works best for you. There is no “best” method, just what works best for “you.”

Next Post:

Previous Post:

My "Endless Possibilities" podcast is now LIVE! Click Here..