11 Things To Know If You’re Considering Using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner System

Earlier this year I purchased an annual subscription to Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner system. Every quarter I get a beautifully made hardback planner optimized to run Michael Hyatt’s life, and potentially mine.

That’s not a shot at Michael, he’s a friend, and his system is great, but when adopting a system you have to take into consideration who built the system.

It’s Adaptable

If you have to make 100 phone calls a day, then there’s a system created specifically for people who make a lot of phone calls. If you have a schedule that varies from week to week, there’s a system created specifically for you. Hyatt’s FFP system (easier to type that than Full Focus Planner) was created based on his system. It is adaptable, but it won’t be perfect for every person who tries it. No system is.

The Complaints

As a member of the private online community of FFP customers, I’ve seen the same issues come up dozens of times, resulting in many users becoming discouraged, having trouble implementing the system, and blaming the FFP for their frustrations.

To be fair, some of their criticism is legitimate, and Hyatt and his team have already made changes to the planner after getting thousands of pieces of feedback.

What bothers me though, is how critical people are of the FFP when their grievance is unfair or inaccurate. So before you:

1. Quit using the planner
2. Get discouraged and blame yourself for “doing it wrong.” 
3. Dismiss it as something you can’t use

Remember these 11 ways to improve your experience with the FFP.

1. Read/Watch The Instructions

Hyatt has created detailed instructions explaining each aspect of the planner. It uses unique terminology that won’t make sense to you unless you watch the video tutorials they’ve created. They’re also short enough that you would be well served to watch them more than once. This is a system you’ll be using every day so take the time to learn the lingo.

2. Step Back Before You Dive In

The system will help you reach your daily and annual goals. Your daily goals don’t have to relate to your annual goals. Don’t expect to open the planner and fill it out in 10 minutes unless you’ve done some deep thinking about your annual or quarterly goals.

3. Lower Your Expectations

The first time my kids were able to stand up on their own I didn’t buy them running shoes. I knew they needed time to learn to balance; then they’d take small steps, fall, cry, push themselves up, and repeat the process. You’re not going to master the FFP in one week or probably even in one month.

Unless you were already using a similar planning and goal setting system, then there’s going to be an adaptation period. You won’t run, you’ll crawl. It starts by buying the planner system, watching the tutorials, then writing annual goals and habits you want to build.

It’s a process, and you won’t have it figured out right away.

4. Don’t Hide it

Out of sight is out of mind. If you don’t keep the FFP with you, then you won’t use it. You should keep it in the same place on your desk, not in a drawer or in your bag. When you sit in a coffee shop, put it on the table next to your laptop, even if you aren’t planning on “using it” while you’re there.

If you want to make it part of your routine and allow it to help guide you through the day then keep it visible. The fact that it’s attractive helps too. You won’t want to hide it.

5. Fill It Out

After watching the video tutorials, you should fill out the annual goals, habit goals, ideal week, and daily rituals. As you fill these out, you may have the same thought I did. “I’m dreaming. I’ll never reach all of these goals. I’ll never build all of these habits. I’ll never have an ideal week. I’ll never achieve these daily rituals.”

Here’s some good news. You’re not just dreaming, you’re planning. The difference between dreams and goals is a plan. You probably won’t achieve everything you hope to achieve, but you guarantee failure if you don’t set a goal and make a plan.

I’m not an over-achiever. I’m an under-achiever, and it haunts me. I am haunted by what I haven’t achieved with the time God has given me. That’s one reason I started using the FFP system. I use it poorly, but I use it.

I’m an under-achiever and it haunts me.

I’m not an over-achiever. I’m an under-achiever, and it haunts me.

6. Get Back On The Horse

If you use it for a few days and then don’t use it for three weeks, open and start again. When my kids were learning to walk, and they fell, I didn’t declare to my wife, “Our kids just aren’t walkers. They’re destined to be crawlers. Let’s go buy some quality knee pads because they’re gonna need them.”

No, I encouraged the progress they made and the attempts they tried. This is a new system. It’s a new habit. Don’t quit. Build it and get back on the horse when you fall off.

The first quarter I used my planner I used about 10% of it. I gave it to my kids to draw in. No guilt. Just a fact. I’ll do better next quarter.

7. Go Annual

Commit. Invest. If you dip your toe in the water of FFP, you are likely to pull your toes back out. Don’t get one. Buy the annual subscription, and they’ll send you one every quarter.

It’s cheaper to get the annual subscription, and it’s a sign of your commitment to yourself. It also gives you something to look forward to. It’s a new start every quarter. You can give that last quarter’s planner to your kids like I did and do better on the next one.

Also, getting stuff in the mail is fun, and the packaging is legit.

8. Don’t Try To Make It Do Everything

The FFP won’t automatically track your calorie intake, mileage, blood pressure, daily steps, and ping you when you’ve got an email. Buy a smartwatch if that’s what you need.

The FFP will help you achieve what you set out to achieve. It probably won’t be the single place you keep all of your meeting notes, grocery lists, journal, brainstorming, blog posts, and the thousand other things that you keep track of.

The FFP will help you achieve what you set out to achieve.

It does a great job at what it sets out to do. When I get frustrated in the online community is when people want the FFP to do everything for them. Even Hyatt doesn’t rely solely on the FFP for his productivity. He uses Todoist, a multi-device app/service that tracks tasks.

9. Skip Some

Here’s an example of an area you can skip. There’s a section for restaurants to try on the weekend. My family eats at four restaurants. We don’t try restaurants. I cross out that section of the weekend optimizer and have no guilt about it. That’s not where my family is at right now. We try to game the Culvers menu to spend $20 and feed five people. We’re not trying to get reservations and a babysitter every weekend. If that’s your thing, go for it. If it’s not your thing, then cross out that section in the entire planner and move on.

10. Trust It

That sounds like a Star Wars reference. Trust the force, Luke!

There are parts of your life you’ve never considered optimizing or tracking. Rest, relationships, diet, recreation are all areas that you can track and set goals around in the FFP. If you’ve never thought about those areas of your life, then consider starting now that you’ve got a FFP to help you focus on them.

Michael and I at a recent Free To Focus Live Event

11. Don’t Try To Be Michael Hyatt

I say this with a great deal of respect for Michael. Again, I know him personally and am writing these words assuming that he’ll be reading them. I have a deep respect and admiration for Michael as a father, husband, business owner, Christian, and friend. He excels at virtually every area of his life. But you’re not Michael Hyatt, and neither am I. He’s built this system over what I’m guessing is 30–40 years.

His system is his system, not yours. Don’t try to build the exact life or business that Michael has built just because you’re using FFP. Take time to pray and consider what you’re supposed to achieve using the FFP. Michael doesn’t want us all to be clones of him; he wants us to reach our unique God-given potential.

That’s what we all want, isn’t it?