• Laura McDonald

Planning Tools for 2020 and Beyond!


I love to plan. Hand me a new planner and a pen that glides across the page, and I’m in my happy place.

As we head toward the end of the year and prepare to start a new decade (wow!), here are some of the planning tools I use that you may want to consider adding to your arsenal.


1. Full Focus Planner

I have used multiple planners during my professional career, and have recommended other planners to friends and colleagues. However, the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt has helped to increase my productivity each day, and is my new go-to for daily use. The planner is laid out in a quarterly fashion, so one planner book covers a single three month time period.


The planner guides you through prep work each week, asking you to identify:


  • Your wins from the previous week;

  • How far you made it working toward goals from last week;

  • What you will keep, improve, start or stop in the next week;

  • Your personal and professional events in the coming week;

  • Your weekly “big three”;

  • And more.

The prep work can take as much or as little time as you prefer, but really helps guide your actions in the coming week. The concept is to identify the three major accomplishments you would like to make in a week, and then to map your “big three” accomplishments each day to help you achieve them. Taking a step back, these all feed into your accomplishments for the quarter, and then into your year.


Working with multiple clients while managing a household and instructing three courses at Georgetown College this semester leaves me feeling fragmented some days. This planner, however, has helped me to identify and work toward the tasks that are most critical to create a day of success.


Check out the Full Focus Planner website, which includes videos to showcase the planner features.

(Note: No affiliate links included. These tools are ones I use and like with no financial gain.)


2. Powersheets

Ready to tackle the new year/decade, but aren’t sure where to start? I love Powersheets from Cultivate What Matters!


The Powersheets focus on prep work, allowing you to identify the areas of your life you want to cultivate in the coming year. This is very much a “whole life” approach, and not specific to the workplace, including topics such as personal health, family and relationships.

I have used the Powersheets for the past two years, and will be starting my third in the coming weeks. Much like the Full Focus Planner, the concept is to identify the key areas of success in your life, and then create habits that map to your goals.


On a personal note, one of my 2019 areas of focus was to create more intentional family time, as I felt my work life was bleeding into family time more frequently than I liked in 2018. I can honestly say that setting this intentionality at the start of the year helped guide my daily decisions, and I feel like I successfully achieved creating more focused time with my family this year.


It works! Check out this website to see the Powersheets, including sample pages and more information about the content included.


3. Morning Learning Ritual

A common theme I’m sure you’ve gathered from me is that I love to learn. I’m a huge fan of finding ways to learn more about my craft and about business ownership… especially ways that don’t take up a ton of time.


Each morning, I receive an email with a brief training video from two resources. Both of these are geared toward leaders, with some specific marketing content, as well. If you’re looking for a way to increase your knowledge without eating into your packed to-do list, I encourage you to sign up. The best part is, both of these are FREE!


Darren Daily’s site says it best: DarrenDaily is a global movement of 350,000+ high-achievers who are committed to #BetterEveryDay. These are unusually driven strivers who join Darren each morning to receive a specially created video packed with one BIG idea, delivered in under 5-minutes, that gives them a success advantage that day. Then day-by-day, 260 days a year, these small improvements compound into massive transformations and significant success. (Sign up here.)


Business Made Simple is a daily marketing or leadership tip from Donald Miller, author or The Story Brand. His tagline is “if you confuse, you lose,” and he spends time helping you create clarity in the workplace and in your marketing messaging. Learn more and see a sample video here.


In the coming weeks, I’ll share additional free resources for continued learning. If you have a favorite planning or education tool you use, share it on Facebook!

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