Most of you probably use some sort of electronic calendar or PDA to keep your schedule. I used to, and will again (once I save up for my iPhone). But for the last two years, for reasons too weird to go into, I have been using the Franklin Covey planner system for my calendar. I even took their basic class for time-management, FOCUS. And they do have a software version. But this year I just gave up. I am not Franklin Covey material.
If you are the kind of person who is semi-organized to begin with, Franklin Covey is probably a great system for you. I imagine a majority of lawyers would benefit from it, since it pushes you to focus on long-term goals, and to break down projects by types of resources needed, incremental steps, and all.
You are supposed to start every day with a list of tasks, categorized as A (important, must get done today), B (pretty important, but could wait a day), C (can wait). Then you prioritize each category, as in A1, A2, B1, B2, B3, etc. Then you plug in tasks around times that require your presence, such as teleconferences. But damn, I can’t think that way. I either have too many As or too many Cs, and then if all hell breaks loose on something, well there goes the day. Plus I am horrible at estimating how long some things will take.
So I switched to Levenger’s Circa system. I love it. Unlike so many of the planning systems, you can use one hole punch for everything — Franklin Covey drove me nuts that way, because each notebook size needed a different paper with different spacing for the rings. (cha-ching!) In the Circa system, the holes spacing remains the same no matter what size notebook you are use. Physically, they aren’t so much holes as D-shaped cutouts with a stem, so that the stem portion fits around the wide part of the ring. It’s hard to describe, but Levenger has a great online video of it.
Better yet, you can take a random sheet of paper with an important scribble on it — including business cards — punch it, and in it goes, wherever you want it. If you want to keep some paper notes in your PDA case, you can do that, by using small rings (disks) and punching the paper across the top. If you decide you want to move the page to another notebook, not a problem. You control the size of the notebook. If you want a tall skinny notebook, cut the paper to the size you want, punch the side with the hole punch, and voila, custom-sized notebook.
In other words, every piece of paper you want to keep with you can be punched to fit in your notebook. Righteous!
The rings control the thickness of the notebook. For a simple planner with some extra scribbling pages, the ¾ inch rings are fine; for much else, I’d suggest the 1 inch diameter rings.
Here’s another tip: If you just want the hole-punch and rings, get them directly from Rollabind, the company that owns the patent to the whole system. They sell a bigger variety of ring sizes and colors than you’ll see on Levenger, and also sell translucent plastic covers in varying sizes and colors.
Most lawyers I’ve ever worked with have a penchant for customized gear, so this might appeal to many of you. For lawyers with ADD, this system could rock your world, since it takes less effort to be organized.