I’m pleased to announce the release of a free, downloadable day planner and time management system from Genius Types (a $30 value). I have been developing this design since 1996 and this is the first time it will be available to the public for free.
I use this planner on my desk in addition to the primitive, yet effective planner, that I take with me in my back pocket.
To get started, download the pdf file at the end of this post. There are eleven pages including one monthly calendar and five weekly calendars.
The file is meant to be printed with a double-sided printer. If you have access to one, make sure to print the pages for “long-edge binding” in order to get the proper effect. Just 3-hole punch the sheets in the wide margin and place them in a binder.
How it Works
The day planner is built around Stephen Covey’s philosophy, presented in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I read this book for the first time ten years ago and to this day it is still the best book I ever read on personal development.
Each time you print the pdf, you will have one month covered. The system starts with a long-term sheet which includes a month calendar and space for your mission statement, 3-5 year plan, six month plan, and monthly goals; and continues with detailed weekly planning.
Mission statements are covered in great detail in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The general idea is that you want to take great care to come up with a statement that describes how you want to live the rest of your life.
A mission statement should rarely change and signify the values that you hold closest to your heart. I like the fact that this system makes you write it out each month. It helps to remind you of the things that are most important.
There are areas for you to write your long-term, medium-term, and short-term (one month) goals. Your 3-5 year and six-month goals should remain the same until their time has come or you have accomplished the goals.
These goals should be results-based, and not activity-based. For example, you might say that it is your goal to weigh 180 lbs instead of saying that you want to work out five times a week.
The calendar has room for six weeks worth of days. Fill in your own numbers and plan your month!
The weekly planner is designed to easily integrate your long-term goals with your weekly plan.
Set your weekly goals by looking at your goals for the month. There is a column for your goal and the actual results for you to fill in at the end of the week.
This is my favorite part of the planner because it’s where true success is made. Identify the essential activities that you must do every day to achieve your goals and place them in this section corresponding to times on the timeline. This is where you commit to working out every day at 7am, or reading 30 minutes a day, or whatever you choose.
I place little circles on each day of the week next to each discipline and check them off as I complete them. At the end of the week, I can score myself.
This section is based on Quadrant II in the Put First Things First chapter of Seven Habits. These are the activities that are important for long-term success, but not necessarily urgent. They are also the types of activities that we tend to procrastinate, like learning a new skill.
There are activities that make you money, and there are activities that just kill time. This section is devoted to those things that are directly related to making you money, like making sales calls or going to work.
This section is for things that need immediate attention. Bills that are due, phone calls to return, and orders to ship.
Each day in the calendar is set up with a ruled area on the left and an open area on the right. The ruled area is for you to block out specific appointments and designated activities. The open area is for you to jot down less specific notes and to-do’s.
If you don’t have a double-sided printer, I would highly recommend the MFC-8860dn Copy/Scan/Fax/Printer by Brother. I bought one about six months ago, and now I don’t know how I lived without it.
I used to do all of my printing at Kinko’s, but that was before printer costs became so low. This machine actually saves me money when compared to the money I was giving to The Man.
It’s a super-fast laser printer (30ppm), a fully-functional fax, a versatile copy machine, and a high-quality color scanner, all for around $400. This is the kind of machine you see in offices! The best part about it is that it’s network-compatible, meaning that I can wirelessly print from any laptop in my network!
The only downside is that it only prints in black and white, but when compared to color multi-function devices, this machine is much faster and more versatile. My suggestion is to get this printer in addition to a $100 photo-quality ink-jet if you need both.
Plans C and D
If you don’t have access to a double-sided printer, or $400 for one, your next-best option is Kinko’s.
If you’re going to rough it from your own ink-jet, here’s how to do it:
1. Start by printing a single page 1.
2. Print 5 page 3′s.
3. Reload page 1, upside-down, into the printer; and print page 2 onto the back.
4. Reload 4 page 3′s and print page 2 onto the back of each.
5. Page 1 goes on top, the four 2-sided sheets go in the middle, and the single page 3 goes on the bottom.
6. 3-hole punch the sheets in the wide margin and place them in a binder.
That’s it for the calendar! I hope you can get some use out of it.