Best Laid Plans

Ep #153: Exploring Franklin-Covey with Stacy Mellem

July 3, 2023

A few weeks ago, listener Stacy sent me this note:

“I am not at all affiliated with Franklin/Covey but have been using their planners in all the seasons of my life and they’ve been fantastic. I love that they are infinitely customizable (is that a word?). While they have a recommended system for using their planner, you can adjust easily to meet your own needs.

She also sent some pictures (I will share below), and shared with me that she’s actually used this system for DECADES. I decided I had to have her on, and our conversation was just delightful. She is a retiree (in the jubilacion phase – Spanish for retirement and a much nicer sounding term, right?) and is intent on making her latter years as fun and meaningful as her earlier ones.

I too hope to be planning for a LOOOOOONG time so this conversation was just inspirational. Plus, in my current disc-bound phase it was fun to learn about Franklin-Covey!

Her planner pics, which she gave me permission to share:

Franklin-Covey planners can be found here; neither Stacy nor I are affiliated!

This was one of my favorite guest interviews ever, so I hope you enjoy listening!

Episode Sponsors:

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  • Reply Melanie Novak July 3, 2023 at 1:13 pm


    First time commenting, but I’ve been listening since the beginning. This was my favorite episode you’ve done. Loved hearing how a “normal” (I guess by that I just mean not trying to sell anything!) person uses their planner. Stacy was articulate and so full of planning wisdom. The short discussion around the end about how it’s more critical to schedule your unstructured time so as not to let it slip away resonated with me. That’s been my number one challenge since my covid-related move to more work from home – how to use the increased flexibility for good and not fritter it away.

    Love your work here and over at Best of Both Worlds.

    Gentle note: There’s a typo in the heading on “exploring.”

  • Reply Mary July 3, 2023 at 10:18 pm

    Sarah, thoroughly enjoyed this episode with Stacy. I’m a “decades” long FC user (40+yrs) and I love her ideas, tips, and inspirations. Including something as simple as shredding after 7 years! I’m also in “jubilacion” and strongly concur that planning now is much more necessary if we want to continue to live full and productive life. Bravo! I will definitely listen to this one again with pen & paper ready to take notes. (BTW, I have used a fountain pen in my FC and it takes the ink beautifully.) Would love to hear more from Stacy. Wish I knew her during my working years!

  • Reply Mary Nelson July 4, 2023 at 7:52 am

    This was a wonderful interview. I loved hearing from a woman with such experience and perspective on life! Thank you!

  • Reply Laura Hill July 4, 2023 at 10:04 am

    This is also a first time comment from someone who has been listening since the beginning. What a lovely lady! I enjoyed Stacy’s energy and the passion she has for her planning system. It was inspiring! Hopefully you will hear from other listeners with successful planning systems that want to share. Thank you Stacy and Sarah!

  • Reply Leslie Shaw July 4, 2023 at 10:34 pm

    Oh!! Omg—as a retiree I love everything about this!! I have decades old FC planners and covers (still fondle an old leather cover with thoughts of refilling it😂, but it’s a little much!). The importance of still using a planner so intentionally is SO validating. (BTW—dreamy to hear you and Stacey revisit this with YT’s
    Tonya Plans! Just sayin’!) Thank you for this deep dive with someone in this season of life. Spectacular!!!

  • Reply Raquel July 7, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    Sarah and Stacy, one of the things mentioned in the show is about printing and matching the size of the binder. Franklin Covey lists the percentage of reduction you need to set your print job so that it prints matching the size of your specific binder. For the Compact size, I think it should be set to print at 68%.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 7, 2023 at 1:46 pm

      thank you Raquel!!!

  • Reply Anneli July 8, 2023 at 5:23 am

    What a joy !

    I think I my be a similar age to Stacy , and I just loved this conversation.

    What a positive lady , she explained her system so beautifully , and has inspired me to look again at my old Filofax system ( I’m in the UK , so not familiar with her Franklin Covey system, but from the photos she shared, the Filofax looks similar )

    I love the categories she has created , especially .

    Thank you so much for sharing Stacy , and I hope you are enjoying your Jubilacion , such great word for being Retired .

    I really enjoy listening to your podcast Sarah , thank you 🙂

    Have a wonderful summer .

  • Reply Lani July 10, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    First time commenter, long-time blog reader. This was a great episode and inspired me to try FC. I have been using FF and find it not quite capturing everything I need. It is great for M-F and daily planning, but I am not excited about their monthly or weekly spreads (and preferred the old weekly preview). Wish me luck with my new FC!

  • Reply Natalie July 11, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    I am also a long time listener and this is my very favorite episode you’ve done. My mom worked for a large bank in the 80’s and she was also trained at work to use Franklin planning products. I remember playing with her planners after she finished with them (probably part of why I love paper planning now).

    I recently sold my small business and haven’t yet figured out my next career move and Stacey’s comment about losing the structure of work hits home for me. I feel quite free but also lost without the rhythm of full-time work.

    I made notes of the verbs her and her husband use for planning, such a refreshing and interesting way to think about goals.

    Great interview with an awesome lady.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 12, 2023 at 12:34 pm

      LOVE this and the image of your mom in the 1980s with her Franklin planner!!!

  • Reply Meghan Calabro July 11, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    What a fantastic interview! Loved hearing how she has used this product throughout her career, but I was especially intrigued by her comments about how planning is even MORE important during retirement. Such great wisdom. Thanks for bringing her as a guest on the podcast!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 12, 2023 at 12:33 pm

      YES!!! so glad you liked it.

  • Reply Lee August 16, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    I’m really behind on my podcasts, but this was my favorite episode so far. I’m a retired attorney, and I remember the days when I had to have a monarch size (for 8.5 x 11 paper to capture my hundreds of court dates, meetings, to dos, and case information. It weighed like 20 pounds, but I was so organized. It was really handy to have so much information in my A-Z tabs.

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