I have a love/hate relationship with planners. Something in me knows I should use one and I will occasionally break down and buy one but almost immediately I start to feel like I’m in handcuffs. I’ve had lots of planners over the years that quickly ended up in a drawer.
In May I began to see ads for The Full Focus Planner on Facebook. I had no interest in another planner and especially not going back to paper – I’ve been full digital for the last couple of years and my iPad Pro goes everywhere with me. It seemed like every time I opened social media though there was another ad for this planner (marketing works) and so I broke down and bought one. I never thought I would say this but I love it and I don’t think I’ve ever had a planner that wasn’t in a drawer after a month.
One of the best things about The Full Focus Planner isn’t the planner at all. It is the training videos that Michael Hyatt himself has taken the time to record. I highly recommend that you take the time to watch them – I did and I think it is one of the reasons I have been successful with the planner. I also took the time to read Michael’s blog post on how he uses the planner together with digital options which was a major concern for me.
The Benefits I’ve Gained
- Lower Stress – This may be the best benefit. I go home at the end of the day and especially at the end of the week now knowing what I am planning to attack the next work day.
- Better Focus – With the name of the planner you’d hope I’d be able to say this and I can. If your day is like mine it is often full of little emergencies and unexpected todo’s. The planner helps me stay focused on the most important things and capture incidental tasks which now usually get done without ever making it into Outlook.
- Goals Visibility – I took the recommendation in the training videos and made reading my goals summary page every morning part of my work day startup ritual. It works. For the first time ever I can rattle off all 8 of my annual goals without thinking about it.
- Intentionality – Using the planner has made me more intentional about where I spend time (even though I really don’t use the daily calendar). The Quarterly, Monthly and Weekly planners have caused me to really think ahead and put the big rocks in the jar first so to speak. Having to actually draw out my ideal week is an exercise I had never done and it gives such a great visual of where my week goes.
I made a few modifications to the recommended use of the planner for my purposes and wanted to outline them here in case they are of interest to anyone else.
- Daily Calendar – I have my calendar with me digitally between my phone, iPad and Laptop so I opted to use this space in what may seem like an odd way to some. I use these lines to jot down thoughts through the day from my morning ritual which for me includes bible reading and prayer time.
- Daily Notes Space – I have been an avid OneNote user on my iPad for a while and have continued to take bulk meeting notes there. When I get back to my desk I will take a moment to jot down important decisions and todo’s from the last meeting. This allows me to use OneNote strictly as an archive and saves me from culling through it to find important information. At the end of the day/week anything crucial is in my Full Focus Planner.
I bought a couple of essential accessories here – both of which were recommended in the training and on Michael Hyatt’s blog posts.
- Pilot Frixion Ball LX Erasable Pen – I made the mistake of not buying this immediately and quickly found myself crossing stuff out and using corrective tape. This is one I bought but there are less expensive ones: Amazon Link
- Self Adhesive Pen Holders – For me at least having a place to put my pen so it stays with the planner was essential. Inexpensive and effective: Amazon Link