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10 Easy Tips to Start Improving Your Life with Your Full Focus Planner

Don’t be daunted — use these tips to make the most of this powerful productivity tool!

Learn how to use your Full Focus Planner to help you get more done every day, every quarter, and every year! Sign up for my 3-hour online Full Focus Planner course and find the keys to your success.

I live by my Full Focus Planner. Within a few short weeks, it transformed me from feeling frantic to focused. But at first, it seemed like a behemoth. And certainly it can be complex, but that’s just because it has so many options: it has the power to be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Here are my top ten easy tips to start using your new Full Focus Planner to transform your productivity as it did for mine.

Annual Goals

Put a marker on this page so you can find it each day. I use a book dart, but you could use a flag or a sticky note or anything else that’s a tactile cue to look at that page often. Very often.

As I said in my post describing the pillars of success, the more visible our goal is, the more likely we are to achieve it.

Goal Detail

This might not rank as an easy tip to start getting your Full Focus Planner working for you. Instead, you’ll need to do the hard work of soul-searching. Be honest with yourself. What is it that is driving you to accomplish this goal?

Nevertheless, be sure to write your motivation for your goal; don’t skip over that important step. Without clarity about your motivation, some days it will be tough to keep going.

Write not only your motivation, but also your intended rewards.

Monthly Calendar

Write your upcoming events, obligations, deadlines, and other major information on your monthly calendar. If the event falls on a particular day, write it on the body of the calendar. If it’s something that can be done any day that month, write it in the space that says “Major Projects.”

Make sure you keep track of all those mundane tasks that happen in a month — if you keep them organized, they won’t pull your focus from your big goals!

Rolling Quarters

Don’t feel silly if the Rolling Quarters page feels redundant to you. You can totally skip it if you wish.

If you do decide to use it, before you write your fingers off, ask yourself if having these far-out responsibilities on your electronic app (such as FantastiCal or a similar calendar) would be a better option. Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.

I’m inclined to enter meetings and related activities into my digital calendar, so I’d be likely to rely on that. However, it’s often handy to see stuff just blocked out into the rolling quarters of the planner. You might want to use it so that you can quickly scan

  • special project deadlines,
  • quarterly meetings,
  • activities that require substantial preparation,
  • activities that require a special sequence (e.g., planting a garden),
  • vacations — yours, or your teammates’, if they will affect you, or
  • any other odd or unusual activities that will affect you.

Daily Routines

People are often reluctant to establish a routine (some call them rituals), but it’s a great way to get into a rhythm that will save you time and relieve you of decision fatigue in the long run.

I’ve talked about morning routines, work start-up routines, work shut-down routines, and evening routines. I’ve also described why your routine might not be working for you, and how to get to bed on time.

If you’ve never established a written ritual, try this easy tip to start: create just ONE routine. Start with what you’re already doing, then revise and add to that page as you go along.

More specifically:

  • Write just one ritual per quarter.
  • Write what you are already doing.
  • Assign an approximate number of minutes to each activity.
  • During the quarter, ask yourself if those activities are helping you to have a better day.
  • At the end of the quarter, decide if you want to keep those activities, modify them, delete them, or add to them.

Ideal Week™

Designate hours to work on activities that are (1) high-leverage (2) administrative and (3) personal activities.

I like to designate a quiet day for high-leverage activities. By “quiet,” I mean a day when I have few or no meetings. I need a clear head to tackle high-leverage activities.

Administrative tasks could be reviewing a budget, planning a meeting, recruiting people, or any other tasks associated with the 5 pillars of success.

Read more about how to design your Ideal Week!

Key Projects

Not every Full Focus Planner has a Key Projects section.

This is a great place to see your big professional projects alongside your personal ones. You could make the case that you already have those on your project management software. But if you want a place to view the especially big projects at a glance, you might like this page.

Daily Pages

If you’ve never used the Full Focus Planner before, start by writing in the daily pages.

How you use the daily pages might depend on how much experience you’ve had using the planner. I’ve seen three different “levels” of people who use the Full Focus Planner. Here are some easy tips to start, no matter what your comfort level:

  • If you’re completely new to the Full Focus Planner, just use that page like a glorified to-do list. Get into the groove.
  • If you’re comfortable with writing the tasks, start using all the icons listed on the bottom left and the right side of the daily planning pages. Complete the schedule too, making note of not only your meetings, but also when you plan to do certain tasks or projects.
  • If you’re an experienced user of the daily pages, get help to identify your daily Big 3. (I teach this in my course, but I also offer small group coaching each week. Most people struggle with this.) Identifying your Big 3 is both a science and an art. But it’s also the biggest advantage of using your planner.

Weekly Previews

Of all the sections of this planner, this section seems to be the one most new users feel intimidated by. But with some easy tips to start, you can feel confident fairly quickly.

The key to using these pages is to think of it in two chunks:

  • a review of your past week and how it informs what you do this coming week, and
  • making a solid plan to move towards your personal and professional goals in the coming week.

To plan the coming week, you’ll need to get a grip on the three criteria for establishing those weekly goals. Each week, I see people in my small group coaching session having a little trouble finding those three weekly goals, but then achieving them the following week!

Quarterly Preview

This goes back to the Big 3. Identify your most important goals for this quarter. And be sure to register for my Quarterly Planning Session! If you’re a member of the Friday Accountability Mastermind Group, you can come for free!


You probably realize you can use this for any notes that make sense to you. I like to write ideas that are on my radar.


I neglected the Index in my Full Focus Planner for years! So if you’re a complete beginner, this section might not be your priority. But don’t ignore the Index’s power for long — read more about how to use the Index to provide explicit organization and help you find your own thoughts better.

I would be a flaky, shaky wreck without my Full Focus Planner. These are just some quick and easy tips to start, but hopefully you can implement them to make your planner work for you!

What planning tweaks help you get the most out of your time?

Learn how to use your Full Focus Planner to help you get more done every day, every quarter, and every year! Sign up for my 3-hour online Full Focus Planner course and find the keys to your success.

This post was first published on my Medium blog—follow me there for the most up-to-date entries!

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