Confessions of a former Franklin Covey Trainer: Giving Up my Paper Planner System

Yes, it's true. I finally got with it and bought a PDA. It wasn't easy, in fact it was downright painful. You see, I was a former Franklin-Covey "What Matters Most" trainer, and trained hundreds on how to use the wonderful paper-based planning system.

I remember how everyone loved to get their new paper system - at least in the beginning. The trouble was that they didn't make behavioral changes so ultimately the planner became a glorified address book (before Outlook became a trusted source for that) or just a monthly planner - sometimes daily for those who were diligent.  If you had the zippered binder, like mine, you could use it as sort of a file folder to hold all sorts of little things.

For me - it happened slowly - I'd drag my planner system around and always had to update my Outlook back at the office. It was my crutch, my security blanket.

Oh, I looked into buying a PDA but never found anyone helpful to aleviate my concerns about which to buy, when to buy, where to buy. The convergence that has happened in mobile electronics has given rise to purchase outlets from the mobile phone store to Best Buy to Circuit City to department stores.

I DID try my local AT&T Wireless store. THREE times, in fact. I never got help in the way that I needed it. I admit that I did walk in assuming that a young sales guy (each time, a very young person - probably his first sales job) wouldn't know how to help - and each time I'd coach them that I'm a "qualified prospect" - but am "overwhelmed at my options". It was funny to see their reactions each time - nearly the same. If I only wanted a phone that takes cool color pictures - now that would be easy. One tried to sell me on brand names, one simply threw his hands up by the time I was done talking. Bottom line: they didn't listen to me.

In the end, my associate, Rick Cooper, the PDA Pro suggested that I really figure out what functions I needed it for, and that would direct me toward what to purchase. Once I started thinking that way, my fiance sat me down and we did a quick needs list compared to the Sunday ads - then rushed off to Circuit City and got a simple color Palm for about $199 - as I didn't need connectivity - just constant appointment, address, and notes capabilities. Syncing back at the office instantly to my Outlook is fantastic. I had a Palm when they first came out, and they were difficult to work with - so that also had biased me and I'm glad I got over the past and realized that PDAs have come a long way since '99 or so.

I felt relieved after this decision because it helps me create a better environment for myself - which is what we all need to pull us forward.

Topics: Sales Ideas & Skills

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