The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 31, 1998 · Page 45
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 45

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 31, 1998
Page:
Page 45
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I n past eras, Americans ran on "a kind of optimism that didn't require us to plan because we thought things would always get better," says Brown, co-author of Insider's Guide to the Future. But in recent years, he says, "A lot of big things have happened to force us to plan ahead": • In a transformed work world, most Americans can no longer count on spending a lifetime at one company and retiring on its pension. That is "forcing people to become more self- reliant and plan more responsibly," Brown says. • As competition becomes stiffer to gain entry to good colleges, Brown says, "Parents are starting when a child is born to think, 'What do I have to do to get this kid into Yale or Harvard?' " Result: At the highly regarded Henry S. West Laboratory School at the University of Miami (Fla.), parents bring newborn infants in to register for the random drawings that determine each year's 60 kindergarten admissions. • Among people ages 18-30, there's a widespread conviction that Social Security won't be around when they need it. So Gen-Xers are planning ahead, says Brown: "Their savings rate now is much higher than their parents' savings rate was at the same age." Tagariello fits that pattern: On her to-do list for 1998, she says, is "starting my 401(k) and probably a Roth IRA." • Among women, especially baby boomers, Brown sees an increasing realization that their marriages and jobs may not be eternally secure or fulfilling, so "they're thinking about what to do now to be independent later." Example: Brown says women's clothing sales have been off the past five years in part because women "open the closet, see a lot of serviceable clothes and say, 'Why don't I put that $500 into a mutual fund?'" Such cultural shifts have made devout planners out of "people who didn't use to be," Brown says — and inspired even greater zeal in people who already are confirmed plan-aholics. The latest planning gadgets Roel Zavala is one. A physical therapy aide in Austin, Texas, Zavala, 26, starts a typical Saturday with a mental list of "10 things I want to do, and generally nine of them get done. But it's very upsetting when they don't. And if Thing No. 3 gets done before Thing No. 2, it doesn't feel as comfortable as if they're done in the right order." Right now, Zavala's juggling three big plans. One, arrange his Nov. 21 wedding to fiance'e Carmen Diaz. Two, win admission to a two-year physical therapy training program. Three, achieve financial stability by the time he graduates. Between the notes on his wall calendar and the lists in his head, Zavala is juggling so many plans that he sometimes fears he'll have "a mental blowout." But mostly, he admits sheepishly, "I like being this way." C3 Roel Zavala tracks his physical therapy patients with charts and I.D. cards, his own plans with calendars. The PalmPilot has an address book, a datebook, a to-do list and a cult following: In just two years, the hand-held, PC-compatible computer has sold more than a million copies at an average $299 each. The newest version, out this spring: Palm III ($399), which also sends e-mail. For more info, call 1-800-881-7256 or visit http:// www.palm.com. Personal information manager (PIM) software tracks dates, appointments, lists, reminders, contacts and just about anything else you throw at it. Some of the most popular programs - ACT!, GoldMine, ECCO Pro, Sidekick, and Now Contact - list for $80 to $200. But lots of good free and low-cost shareware PIMs are available from online sources such as ZDNet (http:// www.zdnet.com). For those who prefer planning on paper, FII of ax (with more than 3 million U.S. users) still offers sheaves of customized pages. But in a nod to the electronic age, Filofax's new Soho organizer ($60-125) also has a handy pocket for diskettes. A quiz to test how well you plan Good planning should mean you have time for what's important in your life - but aren't a slave to your calendar. Here, rate your planning habits with this quiz written for USA WEEKEND by time management expert Hyrum Smith, chairman of the Franklin Covey Co., whose Franklin Planners', agendas and planning software are used by 15 million Americans. Answers below. How often do you plan in an effort to keep life from running out of control? How often do you put daily plans on paper? Do you allow flexibility in your plans? How often do you accomplish all you plan for a given day? How often do you plan time for what matters most to you? How often is your daily plan destroyed by urgent interruptions? ^ %¥ A. F»rT|t W _jW "Sr< Saretms ••3'" '•35 »r ••-,$ k ; SCORING! Add the numbers next to your answers. 6-10: Terrible planner. You should consider using new tools and processes to help you plan effectively. A great first step would be to take a time-management course. 11-15: Below-average planner. You may already have a planning system, but using it more effectively will help to reduce the stress and lack of control you feel in your life. 16-20: Average planner. Your planning system is working, but you can do better. You may need help focusing on priorities, dealing with urgent interruptions or writing your daily plan. 21-25: Above-average planner. Your planning system is working well. Keep up the good work, with periodic reviews to be sure you're planning around what matters most in your life. 26-30: Excellent planner - or candidate for burnout? You have mastered planning and should experience the serenity that comes from taking charge of your life. But make sure you're in control of your planning rather than letting it control you. I USA WEEKEND • May 29-31,1888 5

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