I am going to write today about something that’s the sole reason I have the margin to have a full time career, start this blog, do CrossFit, do life coaching, and still have intentionally amazing time with family. It’s not because I’m just that flexible; I’m not! The sole reason I have been able to truly and measurably be so productive is 3 simple words: Full Focused Planning.
What is “FFP?”
Full Focused Planning (or what I like to call “FFP”) is something that Michael Hyatt (https://michaelhyatt.com), an incredibly productive leader, developed and our entire church staff was challenged to try. At first I didn’t think it was viable for me until about a year after I started in my current role and was drowning in a sea of endless “to do” lists that didn’t seem to move the mark. I am mostly digital (typical millennial I know) but I could not shake the fact that I just wan’t moving the mark the way I knew I could. So, I finally took the plunge and trialed this Full Focused Planning for an entire quarter. My goodness, what a difference!
There’s a lot of science to handwritten over digital and I’m a firm believer now. I use a hybrid system where I keep a very small list of tasks digitally but my actual planning is all handwritten. I use this notebook (https://www.padandquill.com/leather-journal-cover-medium.html) and hand write everything myself. Just FYI, the “whiskey” color is sweet! Let’s dive into what my “FFP” contains. This will be just a simple and brief description. I can do a more in depth post later if you tell me you want one.
Weekly Big 3
All of us should have annual goals we want to accomplish. I know I have at least 10 for 2019. I divide them by quarters and never allow myself more than 3-4 per quarter. We just started quarter 4 of 2019 and I’ve got 4 more left. So far, I’ve accomplished all of my goals! It helps to focus on only a few each quarter.
The Weekly Big 3 are only 3 things you can do this week that will move the mark closer towards accomplishing this quarter’s goals. Each day you review these and be sure your daily tasks are designed to move the mark. The key here is to absolutely refuse to let tons of “other tasks” that are not vital to overcloud your schedule. That’s the pitfall of many people who can’t move the mark on their goals. They simply allow non-important tasks to dominate their day. Just say “NO.”
Daily Big 3
Once you have your Weekly Big 3 you then tackle each individual day. Each day you should begin by listing only 3 things you can do today that will move the mark on your Weekly Big 3. These are your Daily Big 3. These are priority over everything else! If you need to have “other tasks” to get done in the day, limit yourself to a max of 4. That may not seem like a lot but it forces you to triage your calendar and you are free to buckle down on the big rocks! This has really helped me as a chronic “too many irons in the fire” type of person. When I had to actually think about only 3 big things to move the mark, I could no longer just mindlessly write whatever I wanted down for me to do.
Michael Hyatt also teaches you to use some amazing tools that help maintain that pesky inbox and follow ups. They are called “rituals” and that’s where you open email and empty that long inbox. Each start of the workday I have a “Workday Startup Ritual” that involves reviewing my Life Plan, my Weekly Big 3, my calendar, emptying my inbox, and my Daily Big 3. Then to end the day I do a “Workday Shutdown Ritual” which means the workday stops and you don’t take tons of junk home. Here I empty that inbox (again), make those follow up calls, be sure my Daily Big 3 are complete, and write the next day’s Daily Big 3.
That’s a very brief start to how I stay highly productive and am able to have some great margin to focus on big ambitions. Try this out and tell me what you think. Head over to Hyatt’s website to learn even more! He’s a great teacher.