Review of the 2014 Franklin Planner Real Life Adventures Daily Inserts in Compact Size

Now that we’re well into 2014, I’ve had enough time to set up, tweak, and use my new planner pages. It’s the perfect time for a review. This year, I’m using the Franklin Planner Real Life Adventures daily inserts. This is in the compact size, housed in my Filofax Personal Holborn.


This is the first time I’m using these particular inserts. I’ve used a variety of formats in the past, which I’ll talk about in another post. Last year, I was in a one-page-per-day format.

I’ve since set up my own freelance writing business, and things have gotten a bit busier. I also wanted to keep a more detailed journal/record of my days. Hence, the need for the extra page for notes.

Main Features of the Real Life Adventures Daily Inserts

This design features comics by Lance Aldrich and Gary Wise which, according to the Franklin Planner website, “celebrates the details of life’s daily adventures; dogs, bosses, garden slugs, cheating at golf, and coughing into your elbow.” Both the monthly tabs and the daily pages have these comics.

There are four color schemes (three months for each). The available sizes are Compact and Classic.


Below are the pages included in the package (Compact size):

  • Two page monthly tabbed calendars
  • Two-pages-per-day refills for the whole year
  • Tabbed dividers (Planning Calendars, Planner Guide, Values/Missions, Goals, Finances, Key Information, Tabs with Numbers 1-5, Address/Phone)
  • Address forms
  • Finance forms
  • Key information forms
  • Month-in-one-page forms for January through December 2015
  • Year-in-one-page forms for 2016 through 2019

They might also have come with a Pouch Pagefinder and some Weekly Compass inserts. But I’m not 100% sure about this. If I did receive these in the package, they’re now mixed in with the pagefinders and compass inserts I already own.

The Monthly Calendars

Let’s now take a look at the tabbed monthly calendars.

For the Daily Life Adventures design, the tabbed first page of the monthly calendar has a big comic box, followed by three small calendars showing the previous, current and following months:


Behind this is the month-on-two-pages calendar, laid out in the usual 8-column grid. The week starts on Sunday, and the last column is for Notes:


After this comes the month’s Master Task List, with columns for Personal and Business, plus spaces for checking things off. Before the first day of the month begins, you’ll find the Monthly Index.

So if you put the daily pages right after the monthly calendar, the Monthly Task List and the Index are facing each other, which I think is a very efficient way to do it. Franklin Planners always has these two elements in their inserts.


After the last day of the month is a page for Business Expenses (see the third photo from the top, showing the February Expenses page opposite the tabbed March page).

The Daily Inserts

Below is the layout of the Daily Pages. On the left (first page) is a column for Appointments. Note that it has no time/hour divisions, and it’s narrower than the column for To Do’s. It also has what day and week it is out of the entire year (eg., 44th Day, 321 left; Week 7).

The second page has the day/date and a comic on the lower right.


What I Like About the Real Life Adventures Design and Layout

The daily pages in this design are very clean and modern-looking.

The lack of hours and other divisions also makes it very flexible, and is my favorite feature of this planner. The “open appointment” section is the reason I chose this design to begin with. I don’t have many appointments to schedule hour by hour. But I do have a lot of tasks, so I appreciate the bigger space for “To Do” lists.

The pages look neat as they are. The uncluttered look is professional, but there’s also just enough flair keep it from being boring. I really like the fonts they use. And the colors are fresh, without being overwhelming.

I use most of the spaces every day, and occasionally add some decorations (stamps, stickers, washi tape) when the bug strikes me.

The quality of the paper is superb, with no bleed-through at all (which is something I’ve come to expect from Franklin Planners). I can barely see my handwriting on the other side of the paper.

The pages take all my scribbling, sticking and turning very well. I’ve never had to put hole reinforcements in any of my Franklin inserts.

What I Don’t Like About the Real Life Adventures Design and Layout

Like any planner enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect inserts. Sadly, this particular design is still not perfect for me. It’s close, but not perfect.

The main thing I would change in these inserts is the comic. I know it’s a light-hearted look at daily life. And I’m not dissing the artists at all. I like comics in general, and these are quite good.

I look at the comics every day, and some of it’s pretty funny. But sometimes, I just find it a tad too cynical.

I know it’s called “Real Life,” and it probably reflects real life more than I’d like to admit. But I use my planner to keep myself moving forward. In the words of personal-success author Napoleon Hill:

Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think and act on building the life you desire.

Even if those people are just drawings on a page, if I had to look at them every day (and I use my planner every day!), I’d prefer them to be uplifting and positive all the time.

My Perfect Daily Planner Pages

So, going back to my dream inserts, the perfect pages for me would be very similar to the Real Life Adventures design.

Keep the same colors and fonts, the appointment column without hours, and the bigger space for To-Do’s.

Instead of the big square comics in the monthly tab, I’d just have a lined space there for focus items (I actually do this now, using a tweak that I’ll show you in another post). I would also take out the daily comics and just leave a nice clean uninterrupted swath of lined white paper to journal on.

Overall, I do like these pages. I very rarely switch planner inserts mid-year. I don’t like wasting pages/money so I choose very carefully and tend to stick it with whatever I’ve bought. So I see myself continuing to use these inserts in my daily-use planner through the end of 2014.

Now if the folks at Franklin decide to make my perfect inserts (as above), I’ll be all set for 2015! Or maybe not. Because who knows what my planner needs will look like at the end of the year? 😉

Would the page layout/design of the Franklin Planner Real Life Adventures work for you?

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  1. says

    I tried those pages – I liked the idea of the daily comic and the clean lines. But I had to have a schedule column. I thought I would be okay without it but I wasn’t. I used them about a month and then went back to my original format. Boring but it works.

    I wish FC would have a contest and let a user design the perfect pages. Wouldn’t that be fun?!

  2. Maricar says

    I’m enjoying the “hour-less” appointment section so far. But after reading your post on your blog, I find myself willing to try the schedule column again ;).

    It would be great if FC, and Filofax, for that matter, would have a contest like that! (Franklin folks, I hope you get to read this!). Maybe have users submit designs and have the community vote for their favorite/s?

  3. says

    I considered these pages for 2014, but I still have a problem with how narrow the line spacing is on FC pages. I like a wider line spacing, so I created my own Day on 2 Pages.

  4. Maricar says

    Hi Bree,

    You’re right about the spacing on the FC inserts, especially for the compact size. My solution was to use a finer pen (I’m down to 0.38mm at the moment). When I need plain lined paper, I pull out their wide-lined inserts.

    Do you have a link to your Day on 2 Pages? I would love to see them!

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