Life Before and After Using the Full Focus System
Life Before and After Using the Full Focus System

89: Life Before and After Using the Full Focus System with Sarah and Cynde

Create clarity and confidence. Be intentional with your time. Recognize how you can turn obstacles into opportunities. These are the pillars of my coaching practice.

In this episode, two of my clients, Sarah and Cynde, share how they reached those pillars and changed the way they approach their lives by adopting the Full Focus System.

I share some valuable insights at the end, so this is one you’ll want to listen to all the way through!

In Today’s Episode We Discuss: 

5:35 – Cynde’s productivity problems before she found the system

8:22 – How Sarah planned before and after adopting the system

15:26 – How Sarah’s perspective on goal setting has changed

19:39 – The difference between using the Full Focus System vs. other solutions

21:14 – How using the system helps Sarah avoid procrastination and create more time for herself

24:45 – Sarah and Cynde share accomplishments they recently achieved by using the system

28:30 – My invitation to help you make things different this fall and elevate your game

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 Life Before and After Using the Full Focus System

The Full Focus Planner

Full Focus for Fall Masterclass (Limited Spots) – Starts August 11th

Schedule a Call with Andrea Liebross

Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:

85: “How to Combine Planning and Scheduling to Move Forward in Your Life and Business”

84: Creating a Breakthrough: How to Decide, Implement and Evaluate

Andrea: 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.

Hey, Time to Level Up listeners. Welcome back to the podcast. Today I've got something a little different for you. I've never recorded a podcast like this but I wanted to share with you how two of my clients have changed the way they approach their day, their week, their month, their year, really ultimately how they approach their lives. I am not being dramatic in saying that, I'm not being dramatic in saying that by adopting this Full Focus system, they have really transformed the way they think about themselves, what they want to accomplish, how they use their time, what is important to them.

So often in my coaching practice, I remind my clients that the four pillars of my coaching are helping my clients create clarity and confidence, helping them be intentional with their time, and helping them recognize how they can turn obstacles—which some might argue are not real—obstacles into opportunities.

What these two clients, Cynde and Sarah, have done are really all four of those things. They have gained confidence, they have gained clarity, they have figured out how to be intentional with their time, and they have turned obstacles into opportunities. As you listen today, recognize that by employing the practices of the Full Focus system, which I've mentioned before, they truly are achieving these four things.

I'm going to give you, my listeners, the opportunity to do the same through a masterclass series that's going to start on August 11th that lasts for about a month. You can find the details of that masterclass at But really, if you have thought about, “You know what, my number one problem is really how I'm using my time and staying on track, not forgetting things, and actually creating something, being productive,” this little masterclass may be a really easy way for you to dip your toe into some coaching.

I want to encourage you to listen to this podcast in its entirety. Don't cut it short because at the end, I share some really valuable insights. This is one you're going to want to listen to the whole way through.

Before we get started, I want to share with you something that Sarah texted me after we recorded this interview. She said, “The Full Focus system is like having a cheerleader at the end of the week that sees how much you've accomplished and sees your dreams come to reality right before your eyes because you're planning what your life is going to look like and you are making it happen. It's a built-in cheerleader.” If you want a built-in cheerleader, then I think you need to learn how to create that cheerleader, how to use that cheerleader to its fullest.

All right, here we go. As I mentioned, this is more of an interview-style podcast and I really have combined snippets from the interviews of these two different people, Sarah and Cynde. The reason I did this is because, why I chose Sarah and Cynde, Sarah and Cynde are totally two different people, they're in two different seasons of life, but both have adopted this system and created some change.

Here we go. I'm going to point out seven different things to you. Here's the first one: I asked Cynde what were the problems that she faced before she found the Full Focus system, and here is what Cynde said: Andrea: Cynde, tell me how would you describe your productivity before you started to use this Full Focus planning method.

Cynde: Scattered at best. I felt like I would start one task and then go down a rabbit hole with something else and come back and be like, “Oh, wait, no, this is what I wanted to do.” I'd find at the end of the day, I felt like I spent a lot of time at my computer but didn't have a lot to show for it.

Andrea: Gotcha, all right. I could see that. Sometimes, I sit at my computer and I'm like, “Oh, I should do this. Ooh, I should do that,” but then at the end, you're like, “What did I actually do?”

Cynde: Yeah, yeah, nothing was really finished.

Andrea: Notice, she felt like nothing was really finished. I think a lot of you listening can relate to that feeling. She also felt like she was going down rabbit holes. Sometimes I call another version of that is the shiny-object syndrome and it's a real problem. Just this morning, I was coaching a client who came to the call saying she wanted to get involved in a new business, a direct sales business.

As we coached about getting involved with that, while there is inherently nothing wrong with that business—and I myself have been in several direct sales businesses and I am all for other streams of income—if she became involved in this, it really would be a case of the shiny-object rabbit-hole syndrome, it would be just another thing to focus on.

When I asked, “Does this new business, new undertaking align with the goals you created in January when we got into what you wanted to focus on for the year?” She said, “No actually. This new opportunity does not align with what I wanted to focus on for the year.” This is another example of deciding what to work on today based on decisions that you have made in the past. She made these decisions six months ago and I think it's very powerful and freeing.

She had a system for making that decision just like Cynde was craving a system so that at the end of the day, she wouldn't just feel like she spent a lot of time on the computer, but she had something to show for it.

Here's the next thing I want to point out: I asked Sarah to share if she had considered any other solutions prior to adopting this Full Focus system and here's what Sarah said: Sarah: I had other planners and it just had the day, and each day or the week was planned out. Then it didn't go any further than that other than a calendar and planning or an affirmation on there. Then I'd have a separate board for what was going to be happening in that month or those three months for a quarter, what my goals were, and everything was in different locations.

When I first started using the planner, I just started using the day-to-day. I felt more organized and I knew where I was going because then you had planning out the week and you had to think about what did I do the week before and they ask you all of the questions, the summary for the week, and what are your goals for the following week, what are your top three. Even just learning what does the top three mean, what does that look like.

That evolves also for the top three things because you think, “Oh, top three,” it goes with your goals. Once I started using the basic, then I started putting in my goals and saying, “Oh, my top three are my goals.” Does that make sense?

Andrea: Yeah.

Sarah: Because you think your top three are what you're doing that week, but yet, once you have your goals, your top three and what you do during the week reflect. But then you have to bring other systems like when we do Monday morning or Sunday morning hour one, and then you say, “Okay, I need focus time, so where is my focus time each week?” Some days it might change depending, but you know that in a day, often time you have two focus times, two two-hour focus times or you try. You can flop them. So it evolved to being more organized. What does that top three then, how does that reflect your goals?

Andrea: What I think you should notice here is that as Sarah establishes her top three priorities for the day, what I call your daily big three, Full Focus has what really is a system of checks and balances built in because Sarah then asked herself if these three priorities aligned with what her weekly top three were and did they align with her overall goals; that is a system of checks and balances and keeps her on track.

We all know it is easy to fall off track, which seems like what she was doing when she was using her previous systems or lack thereof. Do you ever fall off track? What would be different in your life if you didn't? What if this fall you didn't fall off track? You set out with a plan and you made it happen?

Sarah also mentioned that other planners she had used didn't have all the components together in one spot; your day-to-day, your week, month, quarter, your annual goals, even there's a section about daily rituals. In this system, there was everything just in one place, it was not, as she said in previous systems, it was not all over the place, it was in one place.

While she first started using the system, she stated she started using the system, just the daily pages, not all the other parts, even with just using the daily pages, she started to see a little transformation and that it focused her. As she started to add in other elements of the system, her thinking became even more robust but yet simplified because once she established goals, she made sure the big three aligned back to the goals.

A client in Committed to Growth recently shared with me a picture of a notepad that she had found in the dollar section at Target and it was really pretty. I looked at the notepad closely and I think that notepad would totally help my client Emily in establishing a big three and then it definitely would help her to decide what she was going to do in each hour of that specific day.

But I think what that dollar section Target notepad was missing was why she was making those big three her big three and how they connected back to her daily goals. This Full Focus system is truly a system, it's not just a task list. When I say what are your daily big three, when I teach this to my clients, I teach them that those daily big three should be things that you have a little bit of resistance to but yet would help you move the needle forward.

You might have resistance about working out 30 minutes a day, that could be a daily big three. But if that's something that's already into your routine, then now you should pick something different because this daily big three is not just a task list, there is a section in the planner here in this system to elaborate on tasks but that daily big three isn't it.

Let's go into the third question that I asked. I asked Sarah if she had any doubts or concerns about using this system. In her response, I think you can see one of the doubts she did have. She was afraid of failing or of not achieving the goal or not having enough time to work on the goals. This is a common one. Actually not having enough time to work on the goals is I think the number one reason why people state they don't achieve them.

It's also a reason why women don't write down any goals, a lot of women don't write down any goals. But did you know that high achievers, 91% of them write down goals? If you want to be a high achiever, I suggest you start writing things down. Listen to what Sarah had to say, listen for her fear of failure, for her fear of not spending enough time on goals, all of that, and ask yourself is this you.

Andrea: Tell me about goal setting. What's your perspective on goal setting now? Or did it change from when we first started doing this? How do you write goals? What do you think about it?

Sarah: There are different categories of goals: The work goals, family goals, personal goals. Now, planning them out and thinking about, “Okay, what do I want to happen this quarter? What do I want to have happen the whole year?” Your goals aren't just, “Oh, what am I doing this week?” You kind of have a long term projection of what you want to experience, explore, or create, and then you can break it down by quarter, by week, by day. Then I found that by doing that, if that week, one of those goals didn't get addressed, it was okay because it was there and I would get back to it.

Andrea: Right, because you can't really work on every goal all the time.

Sarah: No. There's a season for the goal and within the quarter, the goal might not start right away. The goal might not take the whole quarter, and then it could be broken down.

Andrea: Okay. You got good, I think, at really recognizing what were the priorities for now, what might be priorities later, and what was the time you had available going to allow for in a sense. Because you only have so many hours in the day too.

Andrea: Go back to her statement “if that week one of the goals didn't get addressed it was okay”. She learned to recognize and she shifted her thinking to believing that not everything can be a priority all of the time. That was a true shift in mindset. It's so, so true, but somehow, our brain thinks that it can have everything a priority all at the same time. It wants to make sure we're always working on everything. That's just not possible, my friends.

This system really gives you the reassurance that you will have the time for everything eventually because you have carefully written out your goals using the SMARTER framework, which I will teach you, and there's a previous episode where I mentioned the SMARTER framework too, but you'll have just the right amount of goals for the time you have. That's part of what you learn when you start to adopt this system. Your fear or your doubt is erased and Sarah got to that point where she wasn't worrying about that anymore.

Then I asked Cynde, this is the fourth point, how this system has helped her. Here's what she had to say: Cynde: Actually, one of the things that was super helpful is that when I started using it, I went back and filled in my yearly goals, which I hadn't looked at in a little bit, that then like to be able to track every day, how I was meeting my goals, I really liked that.

Andrea: Sarah mentioned something similar.

Andrea: So true. Actually, what's interesting I think is using the planner helps you create more time, or using this system of thinking, to think the mindset plus the system actually helps you create more time, would you agree?

Sarah: Yes. Yes, because it's all based on you create those goals and you're always working towards it. It doesn't matter what the goal is, it's always front and center.

Andrea: Again, going back to having those yearly goals right at her fingertips was amazing. Then Cynde went on to say: Cynde: I think just if somebody's looking for a way to help themselves get organized, it's an amazing tool to put structure, to set your goals, to really laser focus on what you need to get done.

Andrea: What do you think the difference is between this type of system than using some other planner or just a big to-do list?

Cynde: I guess it's the mental work that goes into planning. I mean, like setting up your plan is so much more than putting all your tasks on a calendar or making a to-do list, it's if you can think about your why you're doing it or what's most important, that's the mental work that goes into being your best you I think.

Andrea: It's really more of the thinking and mindset behind it that makes this system different than just having a planner or a to-do list. You kind of hit the nail on my head, so it's mindset plus systems is all in this Full Focus way of approaching things.

Andrea: For Cynde, this system is way more than putting tasks on a calendar. We mentioned this in the podcast about planning and scheduling. Notice Cynde said that the Full Focus system really has a component of thinking that takes you to consider why you're doing what you're doing and what's important. I call that the mindset aspect of the system.

I think that is another thing that makes this different than the Target notepad (no offense, Target). There really is thinking that goes behind everything you do. This doesn't take a long time once you get the hang of it. This isn't like, “Oh, my gosh, this is just another thing I have to do; figure out how to plan.” No, it becomes second nature.

For Sarah, the system was a way to not procrastinate. Do you procrastinate? Any procrastinators out there? Here's the fifth thing: Sarah uses the part of the system that looks at hours in the day and allots a set amount of time to get something done. This is really what I call creating constraints and here's what Sarah said: Sarah: Yeah, because endless time is when you procrastinate. So once you say, “Okay, this is how much time I'm giving it,” and then you just get it done, I just did that trying to make the Instagram posts for the workshop. I would spend days doing something and I'm like, “Wait a minute, this is not right.” I should just say I have a focused time and that's what's getting done. So then your brain sort of goes on, “That's good enough. That's perfect. I like that,” instead of taking three hours to figure out what color I want to put on as a background.

Andrea: Or thinking, “It could be better if I did this. It could be better if I did that.”

Sarah: Right. I think really zeroing in on those constraints and putting it down to how many hours you're going to spend and what is it that you're going to actually do.

Andrea: Yeah, zeroing in on the constraints and putting it down to how many hours you're going to spend on X task, X project, that makes a difference. All right, here's the sixth thing: I am a big believer in our ability to create more time for ourselves and that concept of constraints leads to it. This is what Sarah had to say: Andrea: So true. Actually, what's interesting I think is using the planner helps you create more time, or using this system of thinking, to think the mindset plus the system actually helps you create more time, would you agree?

Sarah: Yes. Yes, because it's all based on you create those goals and you're always working towards it. It doesn't matter what the goal is, it's always front and center. Then you start putting in, “Okay, what are your hard appointments? What your hard appointments are, what's your work appointments or your workload or whatever,” and then you allow the specific amount of time. I think that's the key is to say, “Okay, I'm giving myself one hour to do this.”

Andrea: So that constraint is important.

Sarah: It's very important because if you just say, “Oh, today, I'm going to do this,” well, it usually will take you all day because you'll have a coffee, if you're not going to work or if you come home from work, and “Oh, yeah, I'm going to do that,” and then you spend some time talking to someone and then maybe someone will call you or text you and you didn't do it.

Andrea: Yeah, so you don't get distracted by the phone call or drinking coffee all day. You actually decide “Today I'm going to do this and this is when.” That's so powerful, which leads us up to the magic number seven.

Now, at the end of my calls with them, I had planned to ask each of them what they have been able to achieve because of adopting this system. I'm sure they could have given me amazing answers and you already I think can see what they've been able to achieve. But what was interesting is that I didn't even have to ask that question because throughout the conversation, they just shared some wins they had experienced that day, what they had achieved that day as a result of this system. I'm going to share them with you.

I want you to notice that Cynde's win that day is very much business-oriented or professionally-focused and Sarah's is more personal or home-focused but they both are things that they achieved, they both are wins for them. Neither of these wins would have been possible without having the mindset and a system to establish what to focus on, what their priorities were for the year, the month, the week, and the day. Hearing what they had to say all within the flow of my conversation with them made me so happy. This is why I do what I do, this is what I want for you. What do you think? Here's Cynde: Cynde: Hey, can I share something with you real quick?

Andrea: Yeah.

Cynde: I just got an award. Jen Kennedy nominated me for the Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council. It goes to one person in each state around the Gulf of Maine and I got it this year.

Andrea: That's so exciting.

Cynde: Because of everything that's happened with Jen in the last year, I'm so flattered that she nominated me. I was like, “I can't wait to tell Andrea this.”

Andrea: Here's what Sarah had to say.

Sarah: I wasn't going to do it this year because I thought I missed it last week. But this morning I woke up and I was writing in my morning pages because I wanted to bake something and I just said, “You know what, I'm going to get cherries because I'm just allowing things to happen.”

Andrea: Yes. I have my whatevs sweatshirt on today, see, so, whatever you wanted to do, you just do.

Sarah: Exactly, and I was like, “Okay, universe, bring me the cherries,” and I was like getting cherries, I was like, so I picked 23 pounds. It's two buckets.

Andrea: Cynde received an award, a nationally recognized award, and Sarah picked 23 pounds of cherries because she had created space in her calendar to do whatever she wanted to do this morning, and because Cynde had chosen to truly focus on educating the world on oceans and whales and has done that throughout the year, because of their focus and deliberate and intentional decision making, they both achieved something today and people notice.

Sarah focused on leaving space in her day to do what she wanted to do, and that morning she had the space to go pick cherries. Cynde really put up some constraints, said no to some other projects, and focused in on what she wanted to do over the past year, and she did it and people noticed. Both of these achievements aligned with their goals, both of these achievements empowered them, both of these achievements will lead them to even more greatness.

In August, I want to teach you this system. I'm inviting you to learn this system. It is more than a planner. It's a mindset and a tool that together create the Full Focus system. It's not about the pretty planner, it's not about the kumbaya and all the stars being aligned and rainbows, daisies, and unicorns, it's about you taking care of yourself, training your brain to think differently and be intentional about how and where you spend your most-valuable resources, your time and your brain power. Where are you going to spend your brain power?

Ask yourself: What would be different this fall if I really did embrace a system? You were confident that you would actually embrace the system and make it happen because you were getting yourself the support you needed to ensure it would happen. You enrolled in the masterclass series taught by me, and I would teach you the system and give you the space to practice it under guidance.

We're going to have learning lessons, office hours, and workshops, all there for you to help you elevate your game, elevate your life, and in turn then, you're elevating the lives of all of those around you. You're becoming a better contributor. When you're happy, everybody else is happy. I want to personally invite you to join us in the Full Focus Planner masterclass at

We will meet on Zoom for four learning lessons and three workshop-style office hours over the span of a month. It's all going to be recorded. You might be saying to yourself, “Oh, that's a lot of time,” how ironic, right? But is it a lot of time for the time you'll get back? Or you might be saying, “I can't make one of the sessions. We're going to be on vacation”, that excuse, it won't fly because all these sessions are recorded and you have a lifetime access to them.

Ask yourself: Do I like the excuses that I'm coming up with to not do this? Do these excuses align with my goals? I'm going to go with no. To register, go to the masterclass tab at the bottom of my website and when you get to the registration page, you can use the discount “podcast”, all lowercase, to take $100 off the registration fee. That's your reward for listening all the way to the end.

For the cost of two or three trips to Target, you can get a whole new look to your day, to your week, and month, which creates a much better feeling and life. That's pennies for a new lease on life, my friends, why wouldn't you do it? It's been life-changing for Cynde and Sarah, and me as well, and thousands of others.

Even Forbes Magazine named this system the number one planning and productivity system in 2020 or maybe 2021. Are you ready to embrace it? Because I would love to see you there. Remember, until next time, it's always time to level up. You've only got till August 5th to enroll in this class so you better check it out today. See you next time.

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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I'm Andrea

It’s my goal to help bold, ambitious women like you achieve the right mindset and solid systems through coaching, education, and a bit of unfiltered humor. I believe every problem is solvable and every dream is possible IF you make it all simple, doable and FUN (yeah, fun, remember that?).