Does anyone here successfully use the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt’s company? I saw they released updated versions this week. They look nice, and I like the idea of spending $160/year as a commitment strategy. I’m less sure if they’d work well for someone who likes to fiddle with their processes and systems a little too much.
I’ve just finished his Free to Focus book and I love the idea of the FFP, but I want to use GoodNotes on the iPad for my planner. I really wish they would release PDF templates, but I doubt they will because of the subscription model they have.
I haven’t looked at the new version. I bought the older version of the planner, journal, and notebooks. The planner looks like it would be perfect for him, but not for me. The page templates just didn’t work for me.
I like elements of bullet journaling (Carroll’s book is excellent), the Passion Planner (which I see has gone a little bullet-journaly), and journaling.
To that end, I’m contemplating having a custom planner made by Agendio. It looks like it would be less expensive than the FFP, but hard to tell without customizing. I really don’t have (want to take) the time to design a custom planner though.
Maybe I’ll look at the new iteration of the Passion Planner.
Edit: if you think the FFP is for you, you could always start with a single planner, rather than committing to a whole year.
IMO, much of what Michael Hyatt teaches are common sense techniques that have been used by successful people throughout history.
I still own a well worn Franklin Planner that was given to me by my employer in the late '80’s that I used for many years. It was my calendar, my to-do list, my contact list, etc. And each morning, I moved my unfinished To-Do’s to a new page and started a new day.
The FFP has the advantage of always being distraction free. Some people need that, and are unable or unwilling to turn on Airplane Mode when working on their iPad/iPhone etc. For them, it may be a good solution. I use an iPad.
OTOH, one reason I prefer reading on a Kindle is the lack of distractions.
I enrolled in the two Free to Focus courses and have been using the Full Focus Planner from day one. I just ordered the new executive version of the planner.
The one thing that I don’t like so much about the FFP is that it is a bit heavy to carry around, so I am using very similar GootNotes templates from Graceful Planner that I found on Etsy when traveling light with my iPad.
But apart from that I still use the FFP in conjunction with the F2F process. Maybe too much praise but it gives me a sense of calm and focus that makes my life so much better :-).
I’ve been tempted but have some of the same concerns listed here. One, it’s a big thing to drag around. Two, it is somewhat expensive if it doesn’t quite fit my processes. Three, as nice as writing on paper is, it isn’t searchable.
Tom Solid’s Digital Journal is an interesting thing to look at; it is a yearlong PDF journal that can be imported into various apps like GoodNotes. The 2019 version is now very cheap since the year is almost over so I bought it to take for a test run.
But, again, maybe too complicated? Maybe not quite the way my mind works?
So what I think I’m going to do for 2020 is make my own. It’s easy enough to design something in your word processor of choice, save to PDF and import into GoodNotes. And the nice thing about that is that if there’s something you want to add, change or delete you can just go ahead and do it.
Plus, you know, free.
(BTW, someone closely involved with this site shared some of his own on his website… )
Well, I ended up cancelling $160 worth of subscriptions to make room, and bought this with a $10 off coupon I found on Twitter. We’ll see how it goes! Thanks for weighing in, everyone.
@cornchip I’m curious to know how you’re liking your FFP.
I’m on the same (digital) page. I noticed that (at least some of) the contents have been published to Issuu:
Aside: Planner tools and concepts are always neat, but I hate when people try to lay claim to fundamentals. “Ideal Week” is trademarked? Really?
It’s challenging. Writing down the weekly and daily big three have immediately confronted me with how much I let the day decide what I do. I haven’t had a lot of weekly reviews where I’m recording 100% completion on weekly goals. So my annual goals are languishing (which they were before, anyway.) I thought I had some drive towards my goals before but this has made it pretty clear I really didn’t. I think that attention on that deficit is really helpful.
On the daily pages, I’m using the left side (time-blocking/calendar, big three tasks, other tasks with light bullet-journal-type columns), and daily ritual checklists more than I’m using the right (notes.) I’ve no plans to move away from digital notes for this.
Carrying it around has been no issue and it’s very nice to have on the desk. My favorite video was Michael Hyatt personally demonstrating how to wear in the spine and binding a bit so it lays flat; his career in book publishing is paying off here! I bought the subscription that will send me a different color every quarter and am looking forward to the variety. I don’t at all like that “Full Focus Planner” is visible on the front in gold, even if the type is high quality.
Support/community has been okay. The month overview is set up for the planner’s quarter to begin on the first (the rolling quarters are a lot more flexible.) Since I received the journal several days into October, I contacted support so I’d receive the second planner in 2.5 months instead of 3 so I can set it up for use beginning 1/1. They were accommodating. Their new Focus on This podcast does a phone call with a planner user in the last 10-15 minutes that I’ve found helpful and interesting (I skip straight to it.) I haven’t interacted with the official closed Facebook group for planner users. I really wish they’d set up a Discourse forum. Though maybe I’m glad they didn’t since I could see the group being full of weird hacks and complaining about limitations. I’m not trying to shoehorn in a complicated system or replace OF, Notes, etc., so I don’t want to be tempted by other people doing that.
Overall, it’s all about the forced attention annual/weekly/daily goals, on paper, the reviews, and the rituals and I think they’ve made something useful. I like it a lot.
Here is a link to the blog post about David’s GoodNotes templates.
Thank you for this thoughtful and balanced review, @cornchip. A clarifying question: are you saying the FFP is good at pointing out a lack of attention toward long-term goals, but not necessarily succeeding at helping you actually focus on them?
There has been no drastic/life-changing improvement does far (I’ve seen some benefit, but it could be just from the excitement of a new system.) However, long term, I feel the awareness of them changing what I commit to now, like the planner is helping my dailies become more focused over time as I make my future less cluttered, if that makes sense. It seems like I will become better at achieving the weekly/quarterly/annual goals as long as I keep them in front of me and tangible. Hopefully, anyway!
I think: big ship, small rudder
Changes take time to have an effect. I think that’s one thing that makes improving these processes so difficult. A small but meaningful tweak could begin to have a discernible effect in months. That’s a long time for a feedback loop
Big ups! Hope it is helpful to you.
Ordered some after reading free to focus as well. For me, the thinking model imprinted on every page would mean doing way too much on paper or twice (digital and analog). Since my main issue is time constraints, I was too afraid to jump ship cold turkey.
Is anyone in Europe interested to by 3 planners?-)
I have just received the last book in my subscription. I use a hybrid system of the FFP and OmniFocus. I’ve used bullet journaling and Franklin Planners both in my time. I will tell you that the FFP has become a key part of my planning effort. I think the weekly preview section is worth the price of the book by itself. I’ve found that having the quarterly goals (and actually writing down specific quarterly goals) along with doing the weekly / daily big 3 have been game changers for me. At the end of the each week, no matter how crazy my week was, I can look back and point to specific things I accomplished that week.
I used the FFP from about the time that it was first released for maybe a year or so. I didn’t use all of the sections of the planner faithfully, but I appreciated the ritual or writing out my Big 3 and other daily tasks. And it turns out writing down the daily calendar is also really helpful in thinking through my day.
But in the end, I stopped using it because I travel frequently and it was just too big/heavy for me to deal with. I wish there was something smaller.
I’ve tried using various templates in Goodnotes, but I don’t like writing on the iPad because my handwriting is bad and the glass makes it worse!
I’d recommend trying the FFP, but maybe being open to other methods. You could also easily replicate it by hand in a simple Moleskine if you wanted.
Im moving to an analog/digital hybrid system. I’ve had planners in the past (levenger, filofax etc) and oddly enough now I’m more organized digitally but I still tend to write things down daily on paper even though they are listed in todoist.
I picked up a hobonichi techo i’m loving the structure has weekly, monthly and daily pages. I don’t see myself embracing a bullet journal approach but I am a big list maker.
I was wondering if you could share a bit on how you constructed your hybrid approach.
Have you checked into Shawn Blanc’s hybrid system? He put the “most important” work, notes, brainstorming, calendar/schedule, etc. . to do for a particular day in a notebook. Anything with a future due date or not “most important” or that particular day stayed in his task manager, used to be OF, now Things, until he moved it to the notebook on the day he would work it.
Here is a very brief overview blog post published in 2015.
I have been taking his “All the Things” course he sells here. It talks more in depth about his hybrid approach.
Interestingly enough, Blanc just switched to all digital. He built and sells a robust looking “digital planner” which is a .PDF template to use in Good Notes. From what I understand, he has taken his hybrid plan and fully digitized it, though I haven’t look at the new digital planner for more details.
I’m an engineer, so while I fully appreciate Blanc’s hybrid approach, especially with the evidence showing that writing something down raises how much one retains versus typing the same information, I don’t like how his analog notebook started with a blank page. He would draw/line in his template everyday as part of the approach. I would much rather have a structure already on the page that I can fill out. But that is me and how I work/approach things. Maybe his new digital planner would be more my liking. But for now I have an unused FFP I want to try before I try something else.
I have a disc bound notebook that allows me to refill my pages. I also follow the approach that
Shawn demonstrated. Everything stays in OmniFocus but I move three tasks and one big rock project to my notebook. I already know what I want to do by looking at the notebook. I do to make the next decision after completing a task.
I will open my projects view to go in depth into a big rock project but that’s about it. The more time I spend outside my task manager, the more time I am a actually working on a project.
For structure, I printed out my own planner pages that fits me. It took a little experimenting for me to get my own structured planner pages but it works for me. I took inspiration from other planner pages until I found what I needed.
See how the FFP works for you. Then you might get inspired to make your own structured planner using a 3 ring binder or a disc bound notebook.