Review: Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner

Productivity September 26, 2017

If you’re like me, there’s a pretty good chance you’re always on the lookout for new, innovative ways to become more organized and productive. That’s why when I first heard that Michael Hyatt was creating the Full Focus Planner, I knew I had to give it a try.

As a designer and web developer, I’ve done a pretty wide assortment of sketches, concepts, and wireframes on just about every notebook in existence. What stood out about the Full Focus Planner, however, is that it’s more than just a notebook or even a traditional planner—it has an actual strategy and methodology behind it.

Here’s how Michael describes it:

I’ve personally used and tested dozens of planners. None of them met my expectations or standards.

As a result, my team and I have been working for months on a planner that combines my proven goal-setting process with my daily productivity system. It’s the missing link that ties your daily tasks to your yearly goals so you’re constantly making progress.

I said, “Let’s take the frameworks from our goal-setting course, 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever™, and our Free to Focus™ productivity methodology and combine them.” Over 30,000 people are already using these two systems to accomplish more than they previously imagined. Now there’s a single tool that fuses them together and multiplies your effectiveness.

This approach is how I work, day by day, week by week, and quarter by quarter. My new Full Focus Planner connects the dots and lets anyone put this approach to work for them. It’s like an insurance plan for achieving your goals.

After a little over a month of using the planner regularly, here are my key takeaways:

A Specific Productivity Method

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to productivity tools (especially apps—more coming on this in the coming months) is that they just throw a whole host of tags, folders, filters, templates, flags, stars, along with the kitchen sink your direction. This leaves you to devise your own method for actually becoming productive.

The Full Focus Planner isn’t like that.

Unlike so many other productivity “tools,” there’s a practical system woven throughout the notebook.

Within each section, keys dictate specifically how to use each section and what symbols to use to differentiate between various statuses or notes.

Full Focus Planner: Keys

Full Focus Planner: Question

The planner even comes with a set of tutorial videos that walk you through every aspect of using the notebook.

The Daily Big Three

Believe it or not, this simple section is my favorite part of this entire planner.

For any given day, I can have a pretty wide number of projects (each with their own set of tasks) going at once. For this reason, it’s essential that I’m focused on each critical project to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

Full Focus Planner: Daily Big 3

My task management software helps with this, however, taking the time to select among everything three main things to accomplish for the day is a great way to narrow things down to the essentials. This has helped me take a more “bird’s-eye” look at all my projects to ensure that, if nothing else, the most important tasks are moving forward.

Scheduling Out the Day

Up until using this planner, my calendar consisted only of appointments scheduled with my clients.

The Full Focus Planner actually gave me a different way of utilizing a schedule that I had never before considered. While I do add my key appointments to the planner, I use this section primarily as a “roadmap” for everything to accomplish that day.

In other words, I allocate specific time chunks each day for my “big three” to ensure, not only that I’m focusing on key projects, but planning as to when and for how long each of them should take.

It’s rare that a project ever takes exactly as long as I expect, nevertheless, having a plan to begin with has proven endlessly helpful when prioritizing projects.

Daily Notes

I’ve seen comments around the web that some wish the notebook had more pages for notes (each day has one page). However, I’m not personally of this opinion.

As of now, the bulk of my sketches, wireframes, and even meeting notes are done on an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. That way they all sync with Dropbox or Evernote to ensure they’re on hand should I ever need them in the future.

In the planner, however, I only record things I want to review at the end of the day:

  • Tasks, projects, or ideas to add to my task management software
  • Meetings or appointments to schedule
  • General notes that are action-oriented

By keeping only these types of notes in the planner, I don’t have to sift through pages of phone meeting notes to locate things of importance, just a single page (or often, just a half-page) of writings that need to be processed at the end of the day.

Weekly Review

This is yet another seemingly simple yet endlessly useful part of this notebook: the weekly big three.

For most everyone, quite a bit can take place in a week. That’s why it’s not the worst idea to take a look back over everything that’s been accomplished, not only to see if anything has indeed fallen through the cracks but any possible areas in which to improve.

Full Focus Planner: Weekly Big 3

As with other areas of the notebook, the Full Focus Planner has a list of things to review at the end of every week:

Full Focus Planner: Review Weekly Projects

The Design

It would be pretty much impossible for me to do a review on this planner and make no mention of the design.

This goes largely without saying, however, the planner itself has been incredibly crafted, inside and out.

Here are just a few of the design features that stood out from the planner:

Full Focus Planner
Two different colored ribbon markers. This works great for marking the current day as well as a specific page to which you refer back often.
Full Focus Planner: Typography and Layout
Finely-crafted typography and layout.
Full Focus Planner: Pocket
A pocket for storing business cards, receipts, and other important paper items.

The Verdict

So, I think I know what you’re thinking—that’s all well and good, but should I buy the planner or not? My answer to this question is an overwhelming yes. I subscribed for a year of planners, however, if you want to give it a try to see if it works for you, it’s also available for purchase as a one-off planner.

The idea is that you use one of these planners each quarter, so if you purchase the yearly subscription, you would be sent a new planner quarterly.

Any productivity method is only useful if executed faithfully, however, my experience with the Full Focus Planner has been nothing but positive and I’m confident it will be for you too.

Question: have you used the Full Focus Planner? If so, what’s been your experience? If not, what do you use? Feel free to leave a comment to let me know—I would love to know your thoughts!

11 thoughts on “Review: Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner

  1. Great review, Thomas! I completely agree. Even though I’m a little biased since I work on Michael’s team, I’ve become committed to using the Full Focus Planner daily and can’t imagine going back to work-life without it.

    1. It’s become an essential part of my daily workflow as well. After using a number of productivity tools throughout the years, I would never see myself switching to anything else.

  2. The Focus Planner never arrives, so you end up paying for nothing. And when you inquire, you get no response. That’s my personal experience.

    1. Nikolai, Blair from Team Michael Hyatt. That sounds like an awful experience, and one vastly different than what we strive to deliver. We’re so sorry to hear it. Our team would love to investigate this further for you. If you will, email me at [email protected]. I’m hopeful we can turn your experience around! -Blair, Team MH

  3. My big question is how do you work on year-long projects if you start a new book each quarter. I always have 3-4 year-long projects at work, plus a personal one.

  4. I started using the FFP January of this year. It coincide with how my employer wanted me to walk into our weekly meetings with my top three goals, achievements and concerns listed out. Q1was a bit rocky with it but now I have the hang of it,really see a difference in my productivity and he had me purchase 5 to hand out to other employees. Great product!

  5. I’m curious about what it’s like to have a quarterly planner. How does it work when you have to schedule something that’s 6 or 9 months in advance? I imagine there’s a space to note it in an annual view . . . but, do you have to remember to transfer it to next quarter’s planner?

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