Big Idea 5: The Breakthrough Solution—Combining Paper Planning With Digital Technology

Big Idea 5: The Breakthrough Solution—Combining Paper Planning With Digital Technology


Nowadays, it’s hard to find anyone over the age of 13 without a smartphone. Digital technology has become commonplace in our world. It makes sense. There are a lot of things you can do incredibly well with a smartphone. Your phone is full of contact information that you can access instantly. You can set up alarms related to your schedule, and reminders to keep you working toward your goals.


However, when it comes to planning activities and plotting out your goals, there are still several things that are best handled with pen and paper. In fact, we’ve found that many people who had left their paper planner have come full-circle and are returning to the power of paper.


As we mentioned in Big Idea 4, Technology is defined as: The sum of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives.


With that definition in mind, it’s easy to see that paper is the ideal technology for setting goals and planning the things that matter most in your life. Science has found that writing notes by hand actually sparks more related ideas and imbeds that information deeper into your memory. Reading on paper even improves recall by creating a mental map of the information you read.


Paper allows you to draft a big-picture view of your plans with notes, mind maps, sketches, and lists. With paper, you can list your long-term goals, break them down into small, manageable pieces, and review it all at a glance. Because of these unique qualities of paper, your paper planner can act as an anchor for your life plans. It can help ensure that you don’t drift into areas of lesser importance and lose precious time.


That doesn’t mean you should ditch your devices. For all the reasons we’ve already listed and more, it would be silly to overlook the power of modern technology. The best solution in today’s complex world is to combine the strengths of both paper and digital technology. As simple as it sounds, we feel that it’s a breakthrough solution that will allow you to maximize your ability to achieve in ways people could only dream of just a few decades ago. When you blend the power of paper, phones, and digital apps into one optimal planning and journaling system, you’ll find the ‘perfect fit’ solution for you.


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11 Replies to “Big Idea 5: The Breakthrough Solution—Combining Paper Planning With Digital Technology”

  1. Hi, I couldn’t agree more about the power of combining paper and technology. I have been using FP for so long I can’t even remember when I started, but at least 40 years. I wouldn’t give up my paper planner for anything but I also love my Franklin Planner software (from 1999!). I use it to keep track on going tasks, family birthdays etc, phones & addresses and so many other things. I have a personal system that integrates the two and it works perfectly for me. My problem is that the software is so old it is getting difficult to still use it with upgrades to Windows. I finally found a tech guy who could get it to work with Windows 10 but I am not sure how long that will last. I would like to make a plea for you to publish an updated version of the original FP software for Windows. Thanks for listening! Betty Ann

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. I was a Franklin Covey trainer in 1999/2000 for Western Wireless, and still use the system. One of the great tenants was only one calendar. Applying the same concept to tasks has been very effective over the years. The issue is that almost everyone has a phone and few people still use paper planners, when seen in the grand scope of all workers. So the paper day planner becomes the duplicate technology. What would be really nice is if we had an up-to date mobile device app that works seamlessly across Android, iOS, Mac, PC and Cloud. When can we expect to see this?

  2. This was a great general post, and some good opening thoughts, but do you have resources that will help me go deeper into better actually understanding *and implementing* this notion of combining paper with technology? Or do you find that it’s a personal thing that each person may do differently?

    Thanks! I really enjoy reading your blog posts!

  3. I would LOVE to hear more about Franklin Planner software–is it still available? I have heard that something called “PlanPlus” is sort of Franklin Covey compatible–does anyone know anything about that?

    1. Yes I would too!!! Ages ago Inuswd to have all these online in franklin covey and have it printed with all the birthdays etc- i would love so.e type of software that could print my google calendar into franklin covey planning pages!

  4. Great post. I do not use my smartphone for anything personal. It’s great for web searches, texting and phone calls. But all contact info goes right in my planner, NOT my phone. Same for notes. I find that I’m more detailed with handwritten notes than tapping with thumbs. Thank goodness actual planners are still around. As the digital age gets even sketchier, planners are more important than ever.

  5. I quit using my Franklin Planner years ago because I wasn’t willing to keep two copies of my calendar (one in Outlook and one in my Planner), and I couldn’t do my planning without my calendar, and I couldn’t manage my calendar without my planner. I also needed my meeting notes online, but didn’t know how to integrate them unless they were in my planner, so I felt like the whole Franklin System just broken down in the digital world, and I’ve basically been ‘adrift’ ever since… It would be really nice to have an updated “System” that includes bridging the world (for example, how do I link digital notes to Franklin planning, and how do I keep my calendar in sync, especially when other people can put meetings directly on my digital calendar – I still get to accept or reject, so I suppose I could sync my calendars then), most notably, I simply can’t afford to do everything twice (I can barely do it once, I recently found out I have ADHD, which complicates things, but helps me understand why I tend to always have too much too do.)

    1. I relate to your post. I have felt adrift since I stopped using my planner 15 years ago. I finally jumped back in and am excited to be back in control of my life. I would love to know how other people bridge the tech/paper divide. Especially the calendar.

  6. Dear Franklin Covey, right out of college I went to work for the Marriott Corporation. The first December I was with them the district managers gave each of their directors a Franklin Day Planner. For some reason there seemed to be a moratorium on managers using them. Doesn’t make sense, huh? Well, after several months things seemed to open up and managers began getting Franklins. Pretty soon managers at all levels used them and we became totally reliant upon them. I was with Marriott for ten years and decided to go back to school and study to be a priest. I gave up using my Franklin; I just didn’t think I needed it. I used the wire-bound academic calendars we got at the bookstore. So after graduating and being ordained a priest I started using a smart phone. I thought the smart phone was enough. Well, I’ve thought for four or five years I should start using a Franklin Planner again. We’ve gone through almost a year of COVID-19 and I’ve found I am wasting a great deal of time. Well, today I’m going to order a Franklin and begin using it along with my smart phone. I just have to decide which one.

  7. Many of these posts requesting an updated FP software date back several years. Has there been any work on a new software?

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