I’ve used planners and systems to help me plan for pretty much all of my adult life. I had one of those skinny pocket planners that were once all the rage and even was an early adopter of the Palm Pilot from the 90s. For the last few years, though, I’ve fully embraced The Full Focus Planner system.
In this episode, I discuss how this system can allow you to plan, schedule, and raise your productivity and happiness with whatever you choose to do on a consistent basis.
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
3:03 – Where paper planners have the edge over digital calendars
7:35 – Pain points you might experience as you strive to create a life you really love
15:00 – How the Full Focus Planner can give you practical answers for your problems
18:53 – One of the big differences between other systems I’ve used and the Full Focus Planner
22:21 – The five key practices of The Full Focus Planner system that’ll change how you live and work
26:52 – Quick overview of what I’ll cover in the four-part Full Focus for Fall Masterclass
How you manage your time is definitely a reflection of how you manage your mind. I hope this discussion around planning and scheduling, figuring out what you want to attend to, how to use tools to help you, but most importantly, how to use your mind to help you, I hope this was all helpful because this stuff helps me.
Join Andrea for Full Focus for Fall Masterclass.
Resources Mentioned In How the Full Focus Planner System Will Change the Way You Live and Work
Full Focus for Fall Masterclass (Limited Spots) – Starts August 11th
Schedule a Call with Andrea Liebross
Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:
You're listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, business life coach, Andrea Liebross. I help women in business commit to their own growth personally and professionally. Each week, I'll bring you strategies to help you think clearly, gain confidence, make your time productive, turn every obstacle into an opportunity, and finally overcome the overwhelm so that you can make money and manage life. Let's create a plan so you have a profitable business, successful career, and best of all, live with unapologetic ambition. Are you ready to drop the drama and figure out the how in order to reach your goals? You're in the right place. It's Time to Level Up. Let's do this.
Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm happy to be here with you. This is the second podcast I'm recording today. I'm on a roll. I'm on a roll all the way to take a few-hour break in between. Today on this podcast, I really want to talk to you a little bit about the systems that I use to plan and schedule, and generally, strategically up my productivity but also happiness with what I do every day, week, and month, etc.
This isn't really just about productivity. Although when I feel like I'm growing or moving things forward, I do tend to be happier. So, I say, they're very much intertwined. I think that it'd be fair to say that I've always been a planner, if someone's going to say put on a little nametag and says, “Hi, I'm a planner” or “Hi, I'm a procrastinator,” I think mine would say “Hi, I’m a planner,” probably since birth, but the way in which I've done it and the way in which I've planned has changed and evolved throughout the years.
To be honest, I was one of those first adopters of the kind of good old planner that used to look like a skinny little pocket planner kind of thing. I was an early adopter of the PalmPilot, if any of you remember that in the 90s. I had a PalmPilot. We had one of the very first iPhones. Also, I use what I call a Panda Planner for a very long time. I've been using planners and systems to help me plan pretty much for my entire adult life.
But in the last, I don't know, five years or so, I have become a full adopter of the Full Focus Planner, and thus, became a Full Focus Planner Certified Pro. But before I started using this planner, I would say I was productive but not nearly as productive as I am now. When I was using the Panda Planner, which is the planner I used most recently prior to this Full Focus Planner, I started to be able to “see” time in a different way.
By seeing that time, it was really helping me schedule, not necessarily plan. It was helping me schedule things into my day and recognizing what parts of my plan could actually come true that day, because I started to see time. Now, prior to the Panda Planner, I was just using iCal which I love, and in my house we have different-colored calendars for everybody. We have an Andrea calendar, we have a Rob calendar, we have a Brett calendar, we have Rebecca calendar, I have a work calendar.
Rob has a work calendar. We have a calendar called Rob and Andrea. We have a calendar called family. Then I subscribe to a bunch of other calendars and they all appear on my digital calendar which can look like a lot. But no matter how calendared or scheduled I feel using those digital calendars—and they are essential to my life, don't get me wrong—it is not until I actually started using a paper planner that I saw blocks of time in which I could create or do things.
For some reason—and like there's some science on this too—using a digital calendar, you just see what you have to do, you don't see what you can do or when you could do something. When I started to use both a digital and analog system combined, I was able to get really clear on what my goals were, which would then lead to me having a plan, which would then lead to me scheduling out the plan.
I'm here today because I want you to experience this same sense of clarity, groundedness, and enthusiasm I do each week and I believe comes from the power of having a system, like the Full Focus system, to get me where I want to go. We're going to go in depth into this Full Focus Planner and how to use it in August in the masterclass so that you can get the same things that I do.
But today before I even talk about any type of planner, I wanted to start by acknowledging what I see in many of my clients, what I see them experiencing, and what you probably are likely experiencing, if you're listening to this podcast, and the obstacles you're facing right now. If you can identify with any of these pain points, any of these obstacles, then I am confident that changing your mindset around planning and using a system—you don't have to use my system but you can use any system, a system like the Full Focus Planner—as the tool to help you, the mindset plus the system, that's the solution, the solution is a combo.
If you feel like you can relate to any of the five or six things I'm going to share with you, then I think you would be a great candidate for using this type of combo thinking of mindset plus system to get you to a place of greater productivity, which ultimately really why we're doing that is so that we can live a happier, more fulfilling life, a life we love, and help us create the life we love, not just create another to-do list. This is not about creating another to-do list. This is about you creating a life that you really love.
Let's get into it. Here are five/six pain points that I think a lot of you might be experiencing. Number one: Maybe you're listening to this podcast today because you're tired of to dos slipping through the cracks. You're tired of dropping tasks. You hate those moments of embarrassment or panic when you realize you’ve forgotten something super important. Or you don't want to let down your colleagues, friends, and spouse or kids by forgetting something.
A lot of you feel, I think it seems like to you, that when you're finally getting ahead, when you finally feel like you're on track, you find yourself fighting fires that should have been avoidable. You don't want to be left scrambling at the last minute to deliver something that isn't your best work or that you promised. You hate living with that perpetual sense that you might have forgotten something. If that's you, you are dropping a lot of tasks, tasks are slipping through the cracks. Is that you?
Number two: Maybe you're feeling a bit directionless in your life, in your career, in your day to day. Can you feel like you're simply going through the motions? It's like this season of life. Or you're watching time pass you by versus you controlling your time. You might feel like you want to be intentional with all your time and you yearn for that sense of purpose because you're ambitious, but instead, you feel directionless or not tied to the mooring, like the ship is constantly in motion, it never rests.
It doesn't have a place, it doesn't have a home. You don't know where you want to go or what you should be pursuing. Right now, sometimes it is hard to get out of bed excited for the day ahead of you because you lack that direction. Is that you?
Here's the third one. I bet that, at least, a few of you listening feel like a hamster in a hamster wheel. You are running at full sprint. It seems like you never get anywhere—or that's what you feel like—your to-do list never ever gets shorter and you start the day or the week stressed and you end the day or that week stressed and exhausted.
You know you are on the road to burnout but you don't know how to get ahead so you finally can find some rest. You're tired of trying harder and feeling like all that does is just put you farther behind, not farther ahead. You don't want to take the time to try to get farther ahead. You are stuck in too much busyness. I call that wearing the busy batch. Your name tag would say “Hi, my name is busy.” Is that you?
We’ve got drop tasks, lack of direction, too much busyness, which brings us to number four where maybe you're feeling held hostage by distraction, like in escapable distraction. You know what you should be working on. You actually had a plan. But you never seem to make any progress and there's always another email to respond to, another kid that needs something, another task that needs doing, and frankly, the work you should be working on feels overwhelming.
Even getting more organized feels overwhelming. Even making a plan feels overwhelming. Even tackling what is a big project feels overwhelming. All you want, all you crave is, “Please, please, just give me some momentum in the right direction.” So you, my friend, are suffering from inescapable distraction.
There are real distractions and then there are perceived distractions, and you somehow have both. Or maybe you are a person who has just put their dreams up on a shelf or you put a pin on it and you haven't taken the pin out. You want to get to there, wherever there is, someday, but day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, someday never seems to come.
You don't even try anymore because the dreams are so distant. You know what you want to do, but it seems like it's impossible at this moment. You don't even really know how to start if you were to start. You don't want to feel shackled, like in handcuffs to your current reality, but if you're being honest with yourself, you do kind of feel shackled to your current reality, like this is just the way it is.
You can be a person, again, that drops tasks. Are you someone that feels you have your lack of direction? Are you too busy? You're stuck in busy? Do you have inescapable distractions? Are your dreams really distant? Or the last one, maybe you feel like you've got your act together, things are going well, but you can't create the growth that you want. You can't get ahead.
You want to stop hustling, you want to grow and evolve, and you know what you love to do, and you're doing it but you don't love the way you're doing it. So you're doing it but you don't love the way or how you're doing it. You are feeling like you are maintaining but never getting ahead and you can't get away from the day to day. You feel like people constantly need you. You feel like the boat is a float but it is not sailing with both sails up. This kind of thing is what I call you are craving the runway to freedom. Is that you?
I get it, my friends. Like I said, I have been there. I've been all six of these things. But what I realized was the first thing that I needed to do was change my mindset. I need to think about things differently. I needed some clear thinking, which we talked about in the last episode, to figure out what my priorities were. A lot came to me by doing that kind of thought work. I call that thought work. Clear thinking, cleaning up my mind. That was amazing.
But then the next piece of this is that I needed a better system. Like I said, I've used lots of systems in the past and they were all good in and of their own right, but the system I'm using now, I call my number one tool, is kind of a life coach on paper. When I started using the Full Focus Planner, I discovered that it really did have practical answers to all of the problems I was facing.
Here's what I mean by that. That planner has become a central storehouse for all of my tasks, so no tasks are dropped. In answer to drop tasks, I now have a central storehouse on paper and everything from meetings, to nights out with friends, to my workouts, to what we're eating for dinner, it all lives in a single place.
This system that I have, this planner is designed to give me visibility both of my day, my week, my month, and my quarter. In fact, I really now have a strategy for catching any of the obstacles that could get in the way, that could have tripped me up, and I catch them before they become a problem because I go through the questions that are asked in that planner. There are no more loose ends and there are no more fires. I have got a central storehouse for my dropped tasks.
I also now have the clear thinking I need and I have a way to create actionable goals that I actually can't wait to pursue. Anytime I feel like I lacked direction, I can use this planner to help me create some worthwhile goals. Most goal setting, my friends, fails miserably. A quarter of the people out there abandon their New Year's resolutions after a week and 60% give up within six months.
The average person makes the same New Year's resolution 10 separate times without success. What do these people have in common? They really don't know about the simple keys of goal setting, they don't know about the proven SMARTER goal achievement framework, because how you write your goals matters.
With my system, you will be equipped to set goals you actually like that are designed to get you where you want to go. That's the second way this has helped me solve any of the past problems I have had. It gives me a way in which to create worthwhile goals.
Here's the third way: It clarifies my priorities. Whenever I feel like I'm too busy, I can go right back to that planner, to that system. The bad news is the system won't magically check everything off my to-do list. Because really, to be honest, the key to breaking free from the to-do list treadmill isn't a completed to-do list. It's not even making a to-do list. It's taking control of what's on the to-do list. In order to do that, you need clarity.
When you work on what's most important to you each day, you start making the progress that matters most. In other words, you shift from trying to get everything done, to getting the right things done. The result of all of that is freedom. You shift from trying to get everything done to getting the right thing done. The result of that is freedom. The system moves the too much busyness problem into you having clear priorities.
Here's the fourth thing it does for you: For those of you who feel like you can't escape a distraction, this system provides consistent accountability. Inescapable distraction turns into consistent accountability. Now, you are the only one that can hold yourself accountable. But I will tell you that this system does a pretty good job with helping you along the way.
When you have a shorter, much shorter to-do list—remember, it's not about the to-do list—but when you have a shorter list, it's much harder to let yourself off the hook for switching to easier tasks. We have what I call a big three each day. It's a super short list, like that's the to-do list and it really helps you stay on task, not just switch to the easier tasks.
At the same time, it helps you break down bigger projects into manageable daily steps, which makes things seem less daunting. You have less reason to dread the big projects. When you start completing just three tasks in the right direction each day, you will build momentum and confidence. I would say that one of the big differences between this system and the other systems I've used is this concept of the big three.
You may have heard me mentioned it in other podcasts but we're really going to get into it and the Full Focus Planner masterclass in August. You can find all the details for that at andrealiebross.com/fullfocus, you better rush and sign up if there are any more spots. I'm not sure there are at the time this is released, but I was limiting spots because I want to be able to give you hands-on help in there. So go check that out.
Last piece here. If you're someone who has dreams that are sitting on the shelf or put a pin on it, if you're someone who has dreams sitting on the shelf somewhere, you better get ready to dust them off. I think this can kind of be scary, a little bit scary. This is you committing to dusting them off.
This system is designed to turn your dreams into goals. It turns those priorities into goals and then turn the goals into actionable steps, so they're not just like, “I wish I could do this,” you are doing it. Day after day, week after week, month after month, you will make measurable progress toward what you want to create in the future. Measurable is part of writing good goals. They need to be measurable.
I want you to imagine a world where you didn't have to wait any longer to make that dream a reality, to make that goal achieved. You can start tomorrow. You can also have a way in which you can keep putting one foot in front of the other regardless of what's happening around you. It is no exaggeration to say that this Full Focus Planner system, the full focus system has changed my life. I mean, that is the power of the system.
The power of the system is the goal achievement and productivity framework with some thought work, mindset work, and clear thinking mixed. That's what I call my secret sauce. It's not just the system, it's a mindset plus the system. It's built to empower you, empower five-key practices that kind of will change the way that you work and live for real.
The five ways it provides a solution is it gives you a central storehouse, helps you write worthwhile goals, helps you clarify your priorities, provides consistent accountability, and an actionable plan.
But here's the whole system in and of itself. First key practice of the system is goal setting. Simply put setting better goals takes you in the right direction. If you want to get good at goals, then you need to join me in August. When you have goals you're working toward, you'll be clear about what matters most and excited, wow, excited about what the future holds. That's why you'll learn how to write SMARTER goals. The E stands for excited, the R stands for risky, the other R stands for relevant, so they won't be delusional either.
Second thing this system does is it helps you create constraints and you're like, “I don't want to be constrained.” But constraints or boundaries force you to be creative and force out-of-the-box thinking. It helps you figure out, “How am I going to get this done given the situation I'm in? Given the fact that I've got two kids, or given that I'm working a nine to five job?”
Perhaps, most importantly, it helps you force prioritization and it helps you get clear about what matters so that you can be more productive. That's why you'll master in this system, in the masterclass, the tools that we call the quarterly big three, weekly big three, and daily big three.
The next two practices are really reflection and planning. We integrate these two practices of reflection and planning into the secret sauce, into the system, into mindset because we think our learning from the past should shape our strategies and decisions for the future. The past is a teacher, it is not a fortune teller.
We get to create our own future strategies, but we can use the past as a teacher and really reflection, the reflection piece is what I love about the past. This planning system is designed to help you capture lessons simply from the past and shape your future behavior accordingly. We've distilled these practices into what we call the weekly preview and the quarterly preview, that reflection piece.
Last episode, we talked about going into your house, your mind house, and one of the rooms is memories. Remember those memories are only thoughts? It helps you, “What am I really thinking about the past? What did I learn from the past so I can move forward.”
Then the last practice is automation. No, I'm not talking like robot machine automation. I'm talking about you kind of automating or creating rituals in your every day living. This is the key really to completing daily tasks and prioritizing yourself care, kind of little automation in the self care while you simplify your life.
Self automation is really about creating habits, and the planner will teach you how to leverage habits as you create daily rituals and an ideal week. If you are someone that says, “I wish I had a routine,” then this is for you.
Here are the five keys: Mastering goal setting, creating constraints, consistently reflecting so that you can plan the future, and automation. First of all, if this sounded like you and these are the things you crave, then this Full Focus Planner could be the tool that you need to bring yourself and your business to the next level, to restore the balance you crave, to live out the commitment you've made to yourself.
I want to coach you through how to get the most out of it. I want to coach you through that because we all can say, “Yeah, I'm going to do this,” but when you have a coach, a guide, or a Sherpa to help you along the way, what does it do? It speeds things up and it makes things stick.
We are going to do a four-part masterclass series starting August 11th on Zoom, and what we're going to cover in there is the goal setting, weekly and daily planning, creating routines, automating things, learning how to translate your priorities into your actions. We're going to do this over a series of four consecutive Thursdays, 12:00 NN, Eastern on Zoom, and then I'm going to have what I'm going to call office hours on the three Tuesdays that fall on those weeks. Thursday will be our learning session, Tuesday at noon, Eastern will be our office hours. All of it's going to be recorded and you're going to have lifetime access. I know, craziness.
Next question I got too, was “Will the planner be included or provided?” and the answer to that is no, because there are several styles and they all are good. It really depends on what you want, what was going to work for you, what size, whether you like bound or coil, or what kind of paper you like, there are lots of different choices. That's why I am setting the registration deadline to be August 5th so that you will have time to get your planner by August 11th. You’re going to order your own planner. I do give you a little discount code on the registration page.
You are probably wondering, “What's the investment in all of this, Andrea?” The investment is $697. But for podcast listeners like you, I am going to offer you $100 off that investment. You just need to use the discount code “podcast” to take $100 off when you get to your shopping cart. If you go to andrealiebross.com/fullfocus, click on access the registration form, enter your info into the registration form. When you get to the payment part, put in the discount code, all lowercase “podcast” to take $100 off that investment.
Think about it, for around $500, you are going to get yourself a very organized and stress-free fall season and beyond because you have access to all of these tools for a lifetime. You're going to get a new system to put into place and you're not just going to get a new system that you're going to put on the shelf, you're going to walk away with a new system that you already have started to put into place once the masterclass series is over.
We're going to put it into place as we go along. This isn't something for you having to relearn after the course is over, you're going to learn it in the course. That's why I'm doing the coursework and the office hours, combination of both.
Think about it, you can probably spend around $500 just in takeout alone over the course of a season if you didn't have a system in place to plan out what you were eating. Think about it. You might spend $500 alone on three trips to Target if you haven't thought about what you really need and hadn't planned it out. You might spend $500 alone on babysitters if you haven't thought out strategically when you could access some different types of help. $500 in the scheme of things, not that much. You're getting so much for that investment.
You are getting peace of mind, most importantly, you are getting certainty in that what you want to work on will be worked on, and you are getting accountability inside your system. What do you need to do? You need to register via andrealiebross.com/fullfocus, you need to enter in the discount code “podcast”, all lowercase. That's what you need to do first and you need to do that by August 5th because we are going to start the next week, August 11th.
Then you need to get yourself a Full Focus Planner. If you want one, you don't have to have one even to attend this masterclass. You can take all this learning and use it and put it into spreadsheets. I don't care. It's really the learning, it's not the planner. This isn't about the planner. This is about mindset and systems. That's what you're getting.
Those are your action steps. Register in the next couple days. August 5th is only a few days away. If it's past August 5th, you can still check to see if there are spots available. You need to get yourself on a Full Focus Planner, or at least, a notebook where you're going to start to put some of this into play. You will get all the links and the calendar, subscription to a calendar for this, and Zoom links, and everything you need in a series of emails once you register.
Hey, if you've got questions, feel free to message me and I'm happy to answer. As you can tell, I am super passionate about this. I am passionate because this helps people who are constantly dropping tasks, who feel busy, who feel like there are too many distractions, who have put their dreams on a shelf, who feel like they don't have a direction, and the people who feel like they do have their act together, things are going well but they just can't create the traction or the growth they're looking for.
This is a tool that helps all of you and I can't wait to share it with you. This is a true step in leveling up your game. This is a true step in committing to your growth and creating your own runway to freedom. This is for all of you. This isn't a one-type-only deal. I really look forward to sharing this with you. I am passionate about it. I will start sharing it on August 11th. Get registered by August 5th, and I will see you there. Have a great week.
Thanks for listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast with me, your host, Andrea Liebross. If you know someone who could benefit from listening to this episode, I encourage you to take a screenshot and share it with them. Okay. Now, what about you? You've listened to the podcast, and if you now know that you're ready to upgrade your life, upgrade your business, upgrade you, then stop being only a listener and start being a liver living that upgraded life. Head over to my website and schedule a call. Right there on that call, we'll start changing the way you think and act so that you can have the freedom to achieve the impossible in life and business, and have the resources to do it. You deserve an upgrade. Let's do it.
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