Focus On This Podcast

98. Pro Tips: Persuading Your People to Try the Planner



You’ve found a transformational tool in the Full Focus Planner, but you’re confused why stakeholders in your life don’t share your enthusiasm. You want to be able to pursue goals together, improve your teamwork, and get on the same page. But how do you persuade them to give it a try?

In this episode, Courtney and Blake answer the often-asked listener question about how to get your people on board with the Full Focus Planner. They offer 4 tips for persuading your friends, family members, boss, or coworkers. They help you remember what was hard when you first started but also why the results are more than worth it—so you can offer the same transformation to those close to you. 

In this episode, you’ll discover—

  • Possibility questions to ask that cast a vision for a different future
  • Why treating it like an experiment lowers pressure and increases buy-in
  • How to proactively remove obstacles to starting the planner
  • The power of creating rhythms of using the planner together


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Episode Transcript

Blake: Welcome to another episode of Focus on This, the most productive podcast on the Internet, so you can banish distractions, get the right stuff done, and finally start loving Mondays. I’m Blake Stratton, and here with me virtually is the one and only Courtney Baker. How are you doing, Courtney?

Courtney: I’m good. How are you doing?

Blake: I’m doing wonderfully. I’m still in rehab. I was playing fierce and competitive pickleball on my vacation. I played for nearly five minutes before injuring myself beyond repair, so it’s a new pickleball record for me.

Courtney: Did you have to stop after that five minutes?

Blake: Oh, 100 percent I had to stop. I stopped walking for the rest of that day.

Courtney: Wow!

Blake: Anyway, thoughts and prayers, everyone. Send them to me.

Courtney: Yes. You and I do need to play some pickleball. We’ll keep everybody posted on how that goes. That would be a blast. We have Verbs in there, too. Let’s see if he has played tennis. That can translate to pickleball. I think everybody is wondering, “Why is Blake doing the intro to Focus on This? Where is Verbs?” Blake, can you give everybody an update on where our friend, Verbs, is?

Blake: Please, don’t unsubscribe. He is going to come back. He is on sabbatical. At Michael Hyatt and Company, we do sabbaticals. Really, everyone gets a sabbatical (“You get a sabbatical, you get a sabbatical, and you get a sabbatical!”) every three years, so Verbs, the Michael Hyatt veteran that he is, is on a sabbatical, and I have no doubt, Courtney, that while he is gone he is going to attract the attention from Justin Bieber and Usher and people who want to recruit him for his breakdancing prowess he has developed.

So I hope he comes back. He’s missed on social media and in our Facebook community. Make sure he comes back because he’s a talented guy. Anyway, unfortunately you won’t get his genius wisdom and soothing, sultry timbre of his vocals on this episode, but I still think it will be worth a listen.

Courtney: Okay, so I have a public service announcement about this episode for everyone. We kind of didn’t want to do the show a little bit. I know a lot of you use the Full Focus Planner, and that’s awesome. We love that, and you are part of the community. You’re totally bought in, but there are also those of you who just listen to this podcast because you like some of the productivity tips we give and can find value out of the content that way, so we’re always really conscious that we don’t want the shows to feel sales-like in any way.

We really want it to be really incredible content for you all that really helps you move forward in achieving your goals, but here’s the deal. Sometimes you all ask for things that could kind of feel a little sales-like. Then, you ask again, and we’re like, “Dude, I don’t know if that’s a good fit,” but then you ask again and again. Finally, we break down, and we’re like, “We’re going to have to do an episode about this,” so just out of the gate, I want to give you the context for this episode.

Blake: Yeah. That’s why Courtney is mostly going to be talking about her new hip-hop album she is releasing. People have been clamoring about it, so that’s the topic for today. Courtney, give us a few bars.

Courtney: Well, do you like how I started laughing before you even said what it was? I just knew. I was like, “I just know what he’s about to do here. I don’t know what it’s going to be on,” but if you replay the audio, I literally start laughing before you hit the punch line there. Gosh! So, no hip-hop album forthcoming, but we are going to talk about how to get those people around you who you’re like, “I really want them to use the Full Focus Planner,” on board.

Seriously, we get this question all of the time. “How do I convince my boss?” or “How do I convince my partner or spouse?” or “I have this friend who I know if they would get on board, it would really be transformational in their life or in their work or in what they’re trying to accomplish, but sometimes they are harder to be convinced.”

Blake: It’s true. Some people don’t respond well to your Jedi mind tricks, but we do hear this a lot. When I talk to clients, a lot of times we work with people who have a business partner, and one business partner says, “I love the Full Focus System. I’m on my twelfth planner, but my business partner just hasn’t bought into any of this stuff, and that makes our strategic planning difficult,” and things like that, or, “I really want to get my family to kind of have a better schedule or not feel as chaotic at home, but my spouse is just not really a planner, so we don’t really connect on this.”

We really are trying to come at this from a place of being helpful for the relationships and communities and environments that matter most to you, and that’s really the posture, I guess, of this episode where we give these tips for how to… I would almost frame it this way. It’s less about how we can we get people to get our planner and more so about how we can facilitate better connection and unity with the people in your life who are in some way, shape, or form a strategic partner in your life and in your success and in your work.

Courtney: That is so good. I don’t know if you ever do this, Blake, and I feel bad even saying this, but sometimes the people close to you will recommend things to you like, “You have to listen to this podcast,” and just naturally, you’re like, “No.”

Blake: That’s a guaranteed way for me not to do it. As an Enneagram 4, I’m like, “You don’t get me. You couldn’t possibly understand me, and I didn’t think of it first; therefore, I can’t do it.”

Courtney: Exactly. Then, I’m trying to think of what sitcom it was. It was about a wedge salad. Blake or Nick, maybe one of you can remember. There’s a whole iconic episode where the wife keeps telling the husband about this wedge salad. Then, one day he comes in, and he’s like, “Guess what I had today! You have to try this. My co-worker told me about it. It’s a wedge salad. It’s the best thing ever.” She loses her mind. I wish I could remember what that was.


[Audio clip]


Phil: All right! That really looks good! Oh, here’s something that jumps right off the page. I tried this yesterday thanks to my good friend, Skip Woosnum. Claire, do yourself a favor and join me in a wedge salad.

Claire: You have got to be kidding me!

Phil: Just try it! You will thank me.

Claire: I have been recommending wedge salads to you amongst other things for years and you never listen to me. Then, some idiot suggests it and you can’t wait to try a wedge salad!


[End of audio clip]


Blake: It is season two, episode 16 of Modern Family.

Courtney: Are you serious?

Blake: It is called “Regrets Only,” and I will say that wedge salads are a hit in this house. Wedge salads are delicious.

Courtney: They’re amazing!

Blake: People don’t make them at home enough, and they are so simple.

Courtney: I think there is a natural part of us that… I don’t know why that happens, but sometimes we have this natural inclination to push back against those things, so hopefully today some of these tips will really help you kind of bypass that.

Blake: That’s right. We’re going to give you some tips to help bring your people on board as best you can, and I’ll just say from the start you can expect it to be a process. When Michael first started using the planner that he created or co-created, at least, when we launched the Full Focus Planner, not everyone with the last name of Hyatt was on board using it. It was years until some of his family members gave it a shot for themselves, so this is a universal thing. It’s not just you. It’s not just your boss or your spouse or whatever else. This is a journey of connection that we can all go on together, so with that, let’s get to some tips that will help you.

The first tip is to ignite their imagination. What I like to say is… I’ll go up to someone and just say totally unprompted, “In a world there is one man and one goal. Lots of chaos. He decides to win at work and succeed at life.”

Courtney: What is your success rate with that?

Blake: Uh, pretty low. It’s pretty low. I can’t figure it out, but it hasn’t gone too well so far. How do you ignite people’s imagination, Courtney? If you’re not using that voice, how could you do it?

Courtney: Well, I think you are kind of onto something there a little bit with just giving them the idea of how they could feel. Most people in general when they stop are like, “Yeah. I’m overwhelmed,” or “This is chaotic,” or “Things are a mess.” With people in general, I feel when you ask, “How are you doing?” they’ll say, “I’m just really busy.” They have it written all over their faces and their tones.

I think if you gave them the idea of, “What if you didn’t end each day with a to-do list just as long as when it began?” or “What if making time for your hobbies or one-on-one time with your kids was actually built into your day?” If you can kind of find the thing that is their pain point…what the problem is they keep running into…and try to show them how it could look or how it could be different, because I think a lot of times we just think we’re just stuck with this and this is just the way it is, but that’s not true.

Blake: Essentially, what you’re doing here is an important part of selling anything. If you start by coming in hot with, “Buy this! Buy this! Buy this,” it usually doesn’t work, and since these are people we are assuming you care about, you definitely want to start by caring about them, which means knowing what they care about.

Let’s just say it’s a partner or a spouse or whatever and they seem overwhelmed, and you’re like, “Gosh! If you’d just use the planner you wouldn’t be so overwhelmed,” and you jump to, “Why don’t you just try using the planner? Let’s do a Weekly Preview together.” Well, if they’re already feeling overwhelmed and burned out, this will just come across as one more thing to do, which is the exact opposite of what they want. Igniting the imagination usually happens in conversation.

It is a conversation like, “It sounds like you’re really burned out. How’s it going?” “Oh, well, I have a million things to do on my to-do list, and every day I just feel like I can’t get ahead. I constantly feel behind.” This is something I love to do. This is what I do literally every day all day. I’m on the phone with business owners. I’ll talk to them for about an hour, and ultimately my job is connecting the right people to our coaching program, but I talk about our program for the last 15 minutes, max. The first 45 minutes is all about them going deeper and deeper and deeper, because, really, igniting imagination is just a process of clarifying what’s going on and what’s really the problem.

Only in that moment will people feel connected. They’ll feel trusting, and that’s when you can say, “Do you know what? I would love to see you have what you want. I would really like that for you, and I totally think it’s possible that you could do X, Y, and Z and not be burned out or you could actually have fun on the weekends and not feel like you have to work. I totally think that’s possible, and I would love to brainstorm ideas that would work for you.” That right there goes a much longer way than going, “Hey! I bought you this planner. You should do it.”

Courtney: Yeah. Actually, to that point, if we were really trying to be super sales-like with this episode, we could have just said, “Just buy everybody you know a planner. Just buy them.” Actually, we know a lot of times it takes more than that to get someone to use something. Before I can go any further, I have to say I don’t know what is happening today. I have a dog downstairs that is losing his mind. Then, I have a lawnmower outside, so for everyone, I’m sorry. The world is working together against me.


Back to some questions to kind of help you and guide you in igniting their imagination. What do they love but never have time for? What is that thing? How do they want to grow? How do you see the planner shaping their lives, specifically? If this is somebody you work with (a colleague or a boss), you might want to think about how this applies to business.

What would be the impact on profit? What long, dusty project might finally get done? You know that thing they’ve just been wanting and wanting and never get any momentum on. How could the planner spur efficiency or innovation? Those are some questions to kind of help you get in the right frame of mind when you’re thinking about this.

Blake: Yeah, and a good one to fall back on, just generally if you’re really just grasping at straws here… How do I know what someone might be interested in? Almost everyone I talk to is interested in achieving more while working less. Courtney, you’re our chief marketing officer. You can attest there is certain marketing copy that just continues to bring in book buyers and webinar attendees and email clickers and coaching clients. It’s the message that it is possible to achieve more while working less.

If you wanted to, a really basic thing would just be asking, “What would be possible if even next month every work week was 10 hours less than it is now? How would that change things for you?” You may get, “Well, in what world?” We actually have some basic stuff to ignite people’s imagination around this because this is something we help people do all of the time. In fact, I want to share a link here, Courtney. It sounds like it’s going to be a new line of Full Focus razors for our Full Focus Planner users. Which, maybe we need that. It’s like a single blade.

Courtney: We’re not going to distract you with those other blades.

Blake: Exactly! No. This URL is a great way to introduce tips and tricks for reducing your work week in terms of how many hours you have to put in. If you want to pass that link on to someone, that would spark their imagination.

Courtney: Again, the first tip was to ignite their imagination. The second tip is to treat it like an experiment. We’ve talked a lot about this on this show. I personally use this all of the time. It has invaded basically every aspect of my life, but rather than feeling like you have to sell them fully and completely on using the planner, all you really have to sell them on is just taking an experiment. You know and we know that it really can revolutionize their lives. They just have to give it a chance, so I think a lot of times when you can pitch it as not a permanent change but just a little thing you’re asking them to do, you can be a lot more successful.

Blake: One of the things we do, as a company, is train up entire teams. We’ll have trainers go into businesses and teach the principles of the Full Focus System to whole teams in the education space to non-profit space to the entertainment space and to the military. I mean, you name it. Industrial space and manufacturing and all of that stuff.

Across the board, people are dealing with the same types of overwhelm issues regardless of industry, and what doesn’t work is to go into those places and just say, “Everything you’re doing is wrong. Here’s this new book. I want you to use every part of it right away for the rest of your working life.” That’s really daunting.

The most successful situations we’ve had are when the leader says, “This has really changed my life.” I remember we were at this one organization, and I thought the CEO handled it so well. He said, “This tool has doubled my productivity this last quarter.” He was relatively new. He had just been using the core.

“I feel so much more rested at the end of the day. It has really changed my life, and I see you guys feeling tired. I see you feeling overwhelmed, and I want you to feel fulfilled and enjoy working here, and more importantly, I want you to enjoy your off time as well, so I bought all of these planners for us, and I want us all to commit to doing this just for this quarter. Just for this quarter, let’s commit to setting a Daily Big 3 and a Weekly Big 3 and using this tool to help us do that. At the end of the quarter, there is no requirement to keep using it if you want to use your own system thereafter.”

He just gets everyone on board and treats it like an experiment. The buy-in from the team is so much greater because they know there is a set time period. It’s not everything all at once. If you’re a leader and you want to get your team on board, definitely take this tip to heart. Treat it as an experiment, because otherwise people will feel boxed in or that you are forcing their hand, which no one really likes to feel that someone is trying to micromanage them. Treat it like an experiment.

Courtney: The third tip is to remove the obstacles. Sometimes objections are just a reason to say, “No,” but sometimes they are sincere. How can you proactively remove those for someone to try the planner? One might be that you actually get them a planner. Maybe you find a way to create time for their Weekly Preview. For example, this is somebody who is on your team who reports to you.

Maybe you could encourage them. “I want you to take the last hour of your day on Fridays to do your Weekly Preview,” so in a way, you’re also giving them that time if that is an objective they would have. Maybe you move back your first meeting so that they can have time to set their Daily Big 3. The idea here is just how you make it as easy as possible to get started.

Blake: Yeah. I think for a lot of us when we first start using the planner, there are real obstacles that are just habitual things. It’s like a train that has already left the station in terms of our habits, and the planner is essentially a new habit to be created, so there are going to be some types of obstacles or limitations in the way just because someone’s momentum is going in that direction.

Before you just try to get someone to use the planner, think back to when you first started. What was hard about it? What was an obstacle that kept you from diving in? I know for some people it’s just the sheer amount of tools in the planner itself, and it wasn’t until someone said, “You could just start by setting a Daily Big 3. Just start really small.” Just having that permission helped remove that obstacle.

For others, it’s just remembering to do it. Listeners, what was it for you when you started? I know a lot of you may not have used the planner yet, but if you do, when you first started, what was hard? What was an obstacle? How did you overcome it? That will really help inform, first, the graciousness with which you need to give the person you’re trying to get to use this planner, and, secondly, some creativity around an obstacle they may have.

Courtney: The fourth tip is to become a partner. There will be some people who want to try it on their own, but we’ve really seen value and really incredible things happen when people work together in using the planner. I know for me and my husband that has certainly been true, and obviously within our company it is very true.

I think any way you can be a partner in helping someone use the planner and even using the language of the planner together is so helpful. It really reaffirms the things they’re trying to install in their lives. When you have someone say, “How is your Daily Big 3 going?” or “How are your goals going?” that really helps move them along especially as they’re onboarding to the system.

Blake: One word of caution with this tip is that there is a difference between being a partner and being a manager. This is especially helpful if you are literally the person’s manager and they work for you. That’s a different story. You can come in as accountability. “What is your Big 3?” but if this is a friend or if this is a partner or someone else and you are not their boss, there is no better way to turn someone off from continuing using it or to really take this nice experiment of a new way to think about productivity and turn it into a source of angst within your connection with that person.

If you’re like, “What’s your Big 3 today? You didn’t do it?” You have so much expertise. Even if it doesn’t feel like you’re an expert yet, if you’ve been using this for any length of time, you’re going to be a lot further along. Something that helped me with that, if that’s the type of relationship, is to level the playing field a little bit by creating something where there is a sharing. Rather than a checking up on, do something where it’s more of a sharing thing.

If it’s a friend, maybe you’re just getting together for coffee once a week and just asking, “How is your progress toward your goals? Here’s what I’m doing. Here’s where I’m falling short.” It’s just a conversation. I know for my wife and I, before she ever used the planner, I said, again to treat it as an experiment, “Hey! I really like doing my Weekly Preview. It has been super helpful for me, but I would love for us to feel connected about where we want to go week to week.”

I think kind of the hook point was, “You know how sometimes we’re having dinner, but all we’re doing is talking about logistics of the day? I would love to not have to do that and just focus on us and what we want to connect on rather than feeling like we have to take care of logistics, so what if we just tried to have a logistics time and we could do a Weekly Preview of sorts together?”

That was the introduction, so she gets to hear, “I didn’t complete all of my Big 3 this week,” and it’s not this sort of me checking up on her type of thing. Now, she’s better at using her planner than I am, so if anything, the roles have reversed. Does that make sense, Courtney? It kind of leveled the playing the field there.

Courtney: I think that’s really wise, and I will just say as someone who leads a team, the way I do this is actually… I want to show that it is important and I really value these tools for our team, but I don’t want to micromanage it. I want people to feel the autonomy to do their work the way they see best, but the way I’ve done that is by making sure our team has blocked off time for their workday startup and shutdown. That’s important to me. I want to make sure everybody has that space.

That’s a really small thing, but it says, “This is important. It’s so important that the time is blocked on your calendar.” I think there are things like that, if you’re thinking about this for your team, you can really easily do. I was actually just telling Blake and Nick, our producer, about this. I was doing a thing related to our quarterly goals with our team of making sure they had their goal related to their work visible in their office. I was going to give a $100 gift card to the most creative place they made that visible. It’s less of, “I’m going to check in did you or did you not?” and more of how I show the importance of these things in your work.

Blake: I hope these tips have been helpful as you are listening. We really believe you can unleash new levels of collaboration with the people you live with and the people you work with when you are using the planner not in a silo but together. If you’re trying to get someone on board, remember to ignite their imagination first. Encourage them to treat it like an experiment. Help them remove the obstacles of those practical things that can stand in their way. Lastly, become a partner. Join them on that success journey. Courtney, do you have any final thoughts for the folks listening today?

Courtney: I should have saved my last thought to being my final thought, but I think anytime you have someone who you think could benefit from this tool to also… I don’t know. I’ve been on this theme lately. Go into it with a lot of grace. You may not be able to… We’ve obviously given you some tools, but you may not be able to be successful.

They may not take your advice, and that’s okay. Have a lot of grace for them. They may come back around to it a few months from now. I think it’s really important that we lean that way and not into the way of shame or that they should be doing these things. You really want them to engage with this because they want to.

Blake: Absolutely! Can I share a bonus final thought? I guess it’s kind of along the same lines.

Courtney: I don’t think so.

Blake: All right. Cool. Well, thank you, everyone, for listening to…

Courtney: No! You have to share! It’s probably going to be amazing. Probably.

Blake: Thank you for becoming a partner in my final thought. I guess it’s a similar idea, but I think there is no better way to convince someone close to you to use the planner than your life transforming. You don’t want to be the person who is giving workout advice. “Bro, you should totally not be doing that exercise, and you should really be working your delts like this,” but it’s not like they’re Arnold Schwarzenegger or Chris Hemsworth, to make another reference to our mutual celebrity crush. It’s really inspiring.

I guess that’s maybe the final thought. If nothing else, inspire by controlling what you can control, which are your own results with the system, because if they are so great, eventually they won’t be able to be ignored, and the people around you will be like, “What happened to you?” That’s just one last encouragement. Ultimately, you have to control what you can control.

Courtney: That is an incredible final thought, Blake.

Blake: All right, everybody. Thank you for joining us on Focus on This. As Courtney says and Verbs would agree, if he were here, this is the most productive podcast on the Internet, so share it with your friends. We just told you how to share it with them, by beating them over the head with it. No. Share it with your friends. Say, “Hey! There is this great podcast that is super awesome,” and so on and so forth. That would be a convincing way to share it. Right, Courtney?

Courtney: That would be.

Blake: It’s super great. Yada yada.

Courtney: Yada yada.

Blake: Remember to join us in the Full Focus Planner community on Facebook. Courtney, let’s do this again next week. Let’s come back next week and let’s run it back. Let’s give them another great episode, but until that time…

Blake & Courtney: Stay focused.