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Full Focus Planner in my setting

The Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt and his team is the best productivity tool I have added to my locker in many years. A few weeks ago, I was posting photos on social media of my Daily Big 3 in my Full Focus Planner and a number of friends have enquired about the Planner. So, I thought you might like to know! This post is part three of a three part series. You can read the first post here and the second post here.

How I Use the Full Focus Planner

As a spiritual leader, I need something that reminds me to look up from the minutiae of leading a church, to see the long term goals God has for me personally, in my relationships and for my ministry. This can only happen with a certain amount of forward planning and reflection. The Full Focus Planner gives me a framework for this, and helps create the time and space to do it.

Annual Goals

In the Full Focus Planner, these are split between achievement goals (where there is an end to aim for) and habit goals (where you are trying to build a pattern of behaviour). I have a number of habit goals which help me to develop spiritual maturity, like ten minutes of Christian meditation every day. I am also trying to lose weight so that I can better meet the demands of ministry. And I have a number of achievement goals such as working towards tools that can help my church evaluate its ministry and the investigation of various community links.

Michael’s framework is that these should be read every day, reflected on every week and updated and amended every quarter. This helps to keep them in my mind and to prompt me to work towards them. So, for example, this year I have managed over 100 days of Christian meditation every morning and made contacts in the community which will lead to better engagement in the days ahead.

Rolling Quarters

This is a “bird’s eye view” of my calendar. I only put the “big rocks” in, but this overview helps me to see where I am going to be very busy and where there might be some space. That helps me when organising special events, for example, be they personal or ministry-related. It helps to ensure that events are spaced out as much as possible.

Ideal Week

No week in ministry is ever ideal, but the framework of an Ideal Week allows me to ensure that all the big rocks (for example, sermon and worship preparation, visitation and so on) are all structured into the week. It also helps me to make sure there is enough margin in an ideal week to deal with the unexpected.

I must admit that whilst I write in my Ideal Week into my Full Focus Planner at the beginning of every quarter (which does allow me to reflect on it and tweak it if necessary), most of my work on my Ideal Week takes place in my Apple Calendar. I have a calendar dedicated to it, and my Ideal Week (which looks slightly different each week of the month) has lots of recurring task appointments in it as my ideal week. Then when single events or meetings or the unexpected comes along, I can move those recurring task appointments to other times when I can work on them, and ensure I don’t miss an important task when things get a little messy!

Daily Rituals

These ensure I start and end my day well. I include things like meditation and Bible study, reading devotional books and blog posts, along with prayer and reading fiction. My Workday Startup Ritual and Workday Shutdown Ritual give me time to plan and commit to each day and to check my progress at the end of it.

Daily Pages

I complete the day’s Daily Pages during my Workday Startup Ritual. They help me to commit to the appointments on my calendar (as I write them out), list the tasks I need to complete during the day, and from them to choose my Daily Big 3, those top three tasks that will help me towards my annual goals, or are the most important tasks that need to be completed today. This helps me to be effective by focusing on those tasks over and above any more mundane tasks that might take up my time. It is not often that I get to the end of the day and not completed my Daily Big 3 because I have been too busy on less important tasks.

Weekly Preview

This is probably the most important time in my week. The Weekly Preview helps me to look back at my progress and to tie up any loose ends. It also helps me to look forward into the next couple of weeks and to plan them carefully. Michael encourages you to learn from your progress (or lack of it) and to adjust your behaviours as necessary. For example, I realised that whilst I was meditating every day, it was more effective if I did it as soon as I got up, rather than getting involved in other things. So I made the adjustment and felt the benefit. The Weekly Preview also gives you opportunity to plan out your weekend and to commit to your Weekly Big 3 for the coming week: the three most important things you should do to move forward on your annual goals.

Quarterly Review

When you’re in the middle of ministry, it’s easy to lose sight of where God wants you to go. The Quarterly Review gives me time and space for reflection on progress towards my goals, to adjust them where necessary and to celebrate them when I have achieved them. It takes time, but it is worth the investment.

Conclusion

Having worked with Michael’s framework for a few years now, I wouldn’t be without its principles. The Full Focus Planner confirms and enhances those. I’m signed up to annual subscription, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I have no doubt the Full Focus Planner makes me a more effective spiritual leader.

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