Setting Contexts

Feeling Nostalgic – Franklin Covey

Posted in Online Productivity, productivity by jquig99 on May 27, 2009

Last night, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester asked a question on Twitter about which company missed the innovation curve. He said Rolodex, but there was only one company that came immediately to my mind.

My first productivity porn

My first productivity porn

Back in the nineties, when I was a wee small girl, I worked for a wonderful company (Nordstrom) that was very focused on their employees living balanced lives. For management, they brought in consultants to train the staff on how to prioritize and be more productive. That was my introduction to Franklin Covey and their planning system.

It was love at first to-do list. Not only did the system make complete sense to me, it allowed me to delegate and followup easily with people, and focus on just getting stuff done. GTD before GTD. They had great seminars and consultants who held workshops onsite and off to train – I worked for (at least) 3 companies who brought teams of FC consultants in – and bought tons of supporting material each year for their entire staff. And – for the total girl in me – there was shopping. I could go into there free-standing stores and buy themed planning pages (like Monticello, Compass or Millennium, which came in a keepsake tin), planners in different materials (I bought a Italian leather planner in Apple green at the height of my obsession) and all kinds of accessories that allowed me to make this system personal. Which I did for over 10 years and a bunch of different jobs. They were certainly the company that defined “Balanced Living” and “Productivity in the Workplace”.

Fits in even in my handbag

Fits in even in my handbag

Then things started to get less easy as more of my life ported to the Web (that would be Web 1.0 for those in the kiddie seats). The planner software FC released was buggy and expensive and didn’t print that well – as we were all still killing trees. My “book” started to be a point of teasing from my design/developer team and I started looking at other solutions, reluctantly, that would allow all of us to collaborate together and keep the team/projects on track as a whole. I found 43Folders, GTD and Merlin Mann as enablers of my productivity application/workflow addiction. Once Basecamp came out, my team (and I) never looked back.

Today, I use Field Notes to capture any idea or to-do, etc. before I enter it all in the appropriate 37signals product. Easy – and it works for all of my needs, work projects, personal projects, online/offline and mobile.

I still keep my old FC planners and pages – more of a record of who I was at that time than for any real work value. And I do check in on the website from time to time and am tempted by all of the fun new toys. But I’m over the new and different now – I’m totally focused on what just works and getting things done – a system that’s working for my life today – online. offline and on my iPhone.

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