Software Review: Benjamin – Franklin Planner Replacement

Benjamin

From LJ: Recently I was sent a code to review a new release for the iPod/iPhone/iPad. This software, Benjamin, was touted as being an electronic version of the Franklin Planner. The developer had this to say about it:

Benjamin is a task manager that implements the FranklinCovey system of time-management. In other words, it’s a replacement for a Franklin Planner.

Since I don’t use a Franklin Planner, I decided to ask my readers. One of the respondees, Sarah Zblewski, has used Franklin for years, and had just gotten an iPad. I asked her to review the software. Here is her review:


As an avid Franklin Planner user and a new iPad user, I was asked to give Benjamin a try. The company boasts that Benjamin is a replacement for Franklin Planner.

I am a full-time working homeschooling mother of three. I am an organizing junkie that lives in routines and the Franklin Covey way. I have spent the last two weeks working in the Benjamin program. I spent the first week placing data into the program and working with both my current system and the Benjamin program. The second week, I put away my original system and only used Benjamin.

Tasks

The app does have a basic to-do list with prioritization. It has the basic needs of recurring tasks but they are extremely restrictive to a couple prearranged options. The master list also doesn’t show which projects each task is related to without opening the individual task. My housekeeping tasks were not included in the overall master list since they are into part of a project. The input of all tasks are tedious and has no option to import from any programs to easy transition. A reminder from the program would be a nice.

Notes

There is a really nice note section that you can type notes into. You can either place it within the task or by day. The notes are then searchable by day they were written on.

Other Planner Components

The app does not have a calendar/meeting proponent. You lose the overview of your day without this function. I personally find having my task list and daily appointments visible on one screen or page extremely important.

The app also doesn’t have contacts, web address book or other useful tools for organizing; which are all a necessity for a good planner system.

Email Support

You can email today’s tasks, master task list, or project specific task list which is nice to have it in one view. The email isn’t visually stimulating but does give you all the information you enter for your task.

No Sync/Backup

The application has no way to sync with your computer or download in case of crash. I keep a lot of information in my planner and would be lost if I couldn’t access it for even one day.

Summary

I found the program extremely hard to understand and use. It doesn’t have all the proponents needed to replace my current planner. It is a basic task list program with priority capabilities. The app isn’t visually stimulating but is basic and plan. The program would be good for a beginning to do list user but a power user may not find to work for them.

Software: Benjamin
Author: Daze End Software
Price: $9.99


Disclosure:

This review was written by Sarah Zblewski, a reader of the blog. She recieved a copy of the software, provided by the software’s author, in order to review it.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi. I’m the author of Benjamin. Thanks for the review. I’m sorry it didn’t meet all the reviewer’s expectations.

    By way of clarification, the reviewer is correct that Benjamin doesn’t include a calendar. That’s because the iPhone already comes with a full-featured Calendar app. Benjamin aims to replace the tasks and notes aspects of the “Core Four” as taught by FranklinCovey in their training. I think that people will find that Benjamin, along with the Calendar and Contacts apps that come with iPhone, make great replacement for a Franklin Planner. And it’s certainly lighter!

    If you’re not sure whether Benjamin will serve your needs, I encourage you to check out Benjamin Lite, which is a free but limited version of the app. You can get more info on Benjamin Lite at .

    If you want to learn more about Benjamin and its features, please check out its website at http://metakite.com/benjamin/

    • LJ Earnest says

      Hi Charles,

      I am glad you followed up and clarified some things, and also told people about the trial! I think many people will be glad to check out its offerings. I think the expectation for the included calendar was set up by the claim that it was a “full” replacement for the Franklin. Your software has some innovative features that are a great addition to the market.

    • Tom says

      I must say that I find the lack of a calendar quite frustrating. It would be significantly better to be able to look at one place for your appointments and tasks, just like a regular planner.

      Syncing with the calendar would be better, but I would be content with manually entering the calendar if I could integrate appointments and tasks.

      What makes the Franklin Covey Method useful, is that you have a master list, then you can look at your week, and assign tasks and appointments to your calendar for the week – all in one place.

      New technology is supposed to make these things simpler, not more difficult.

      What I don’t understand is why no-one seems to be able to put this together. I’ve been searching for a good task/calendar app for months, but have yet to come across anything that suits what I want it to do.

      I have tried the Benjamin lite version to and it just doesn’t cut it. I want everything in one place – which is the purpose of a planner.

  2. Jeremy says

    I like it a lot and it is VERY useful on my Iphone. I switched to Iphone just to use it and keep me up to date on what has been done and what needs to be done. The only problem I am having is that I have it on my IPAD and IPHONE and I need them to sync so I do not have to double enter. Do you have a way to make this happen?