Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Reprise of Covey’s 7 habits

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I’ve applied at various times the method Stephen Covey describes in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic, and it seems time to dive in again. Franklin (of Franklin Planners) acquired the Covey organization some time back, with the name changed to FranklinCovey, but the site seems to be called Franklin Planner.

Since I’m going to start again, I wanted to get a good weekly planner. A new gig seems to have started at Franklin, 5 Choices, and their 5 Choices Weekly Planner looks like a good format for the weekly planning the Covey approach requires: you schedule your important but non-urgent priorities as appointments, with specific tasks for each priority to be accomplished during the week. Two drawbacks, though: it’s $30 (the weekly planner covers a year in total), and the current offering starts in July 2017.

So I looked around—you can really use any weekly planner, but it’s nice if the design accommodates the kind of planning Covey describes in his book—and I found The Simple Elephant: good design and you can start it at any point since you provide the date information. Despite the Amazon entry saying that it’s a day planner, it is in fact a weekly planner, and it includes the kind of goal tracking that Covey’s method requires. (At the link you can see the various page layouts.)

The Blue Sky weekly planner is only $7.34 but it is not such a good fit and when I tried to order it, I found that it would not be delivered until the end of April. Plus it’s a 2017 calendar year book.

There are also pads of weekly planning sheets that you tear off—the Bloom Weekly Planner looks quite good—but I wanted a book so I could look back, and I wanted a 5″ x 8″ (approximately) format, not 8 1/2″ x 11″.

I also found some templates for a DIY approach—for example, a page with links to a PDF template and an Excel template. But again, I wanted a book. Still, it’s a good design. Below is the PDF version: print and use as directed by Covey’s book. (The labels on the page are reversed: the one labeled as PDF is Excel, the one labeled as Excel is PDF.)

There’s also, specifically designed around Covey’s book, but I found it somewaht awkward to use. Handwriting seems to me the most effective approach for this kind of planning, so while the Excel workbook looks nice, it seems impractical. The PDF would work, though.

I settled on The Simple Elephant for now, and my copy should arrive today. In the meantime, I updated the study outline for the 7 Habits book: corrections, links, and more information. The outline is certainly no substitute for the book itself, but I think it is helpful since sometimes Covey’s book is a little difficult to follow. (It seems to be based on transcripts from his talks, and without intonation and gestures some passages don’t work so well.) The idea is to read the outline along with or prior to reading the book.

I didn’t have my old copy of the book—victim of a book purge—but at the link above are inexpensive secondhand editions—quite inexpensive, in fact: I ordered a hardbound copy of the book in “very good” condition for $3.65 including postage.

If you’ve tried using Covey’s method, I’d be interested in hearing of your experience. I think it has quite a few strong points—e.g., planning a week at a time, and scheduling first the appointments to work on items that are important but not urgent, so that you make progress on those. A month would be too long—too easy to put stuff off—but a week see about right.


Written by LeisureGuy

27 March 2017 at 10:16 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

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