As the song goes, it's the most wonderful time of the year! I love the New Year, and not least because I get the thrill of setting up a new DayTimer. My sister is far more nuts about organizers than I am... she rarely makes it through a month without cycling to a different planner format. But here at the beginning of 2008, I'm going to make the big switch as well. I'm going back to the full-size (classic) Franklin Covey 2-page-per-day looseleaf, probably in the blue "Monticello" package. This will lend itself to work with some of my resolutions for the upcoming year, which include a more formal prayer list, some personal journaling, and better use of the hour between 5 and 6 AM for actual planning (as opposed to surfing the net and catching morning SportsCenter).
As a bit of background, the year was 1987 and I was a pledge of Delta Upsilon fraternity at USC when the chapter brought in one of our "founding fathers" to talk about being organized in school to the pledge class. His name was Don Weaver, of the class of '83 (the chapter was very young). He gave a short talk about setting goals and working from a list as a tool to getting more done (and more importantly, as a tool to getting the MOST IMPORTANT STUFF done). At the end of the talk, he gave out coupons that we could fill out and mail in that got a free 4-month sample pack of the original DayTimer pocket-sized wire-bound planner, with a cheapo plastic wallet. I wish they still did that--I guess it wasn't cost-effective for them, but it made me a planner user for life. In the 20 years since I have never been without a planner. I've had DayTimers, and Franklin Quest Planners, and Covey 7 Habits Planners. Now Franklin and Covery have merged, and I've got that. I've had classic, compact, and pocket-sized, and I've had wire-bound and loose-leaf. For a short while I even used a second-hand Palm Pilot (but in the end I went back to good old fashioned pen-and-paper). You could fill a small library with the books I have read (and in some cases bought) about the art of "time management." Some of those times I have been better at it and sometimes worse, but at least in theory, I have been for 20 years a person who takes control of his time and his schedule.
Which brings me back to '08. In 2007, I've gotten off the rails. My inner control freak has been out of sorts. But nothing gets one back on track like the smell of fresh, clean DayTimer pages. Office Depot, here I come!