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Behind the Scenes: How I Set Up My 2022 Planner

Reading time: 11 min.

If you are *also* a little bit nosy about how other people plan—I think you’re going to like this one! 😉 Back by popular request, I’m taking you behind the scenes and showing you exactly how I set up my 2022 planner,—crazyyy that we’re already talking about that!!

I started using the Full Focus Planner in Q3 of 2020. At this point in time, I’ve been using this planner for about a year, but my hope is, no matter what kind of planner you use, that you walk away with tips to figure out how to set up your 2022 planner and make your paper planner work more for YOU.

How to set up your Full Focus planner | Ashlyn Writes

If you’re interested specifically in this 2022 planner, you’ll have a little bit more information to help you decide if it is the one for you or not!

Okay, let’s jump in!

P.S.—click here to shop the 2022 Full FOCUS planners & get 10% off with code “ASHLYN10”



Pick your tool.

So the first thing you’re going to do is get your tool, your planner. Now, I mentioned, this is the one I love. It is the Full Focus Planner. Let me back up and just go ahead and say, I am a tech-loving person. I live and die by my Google Calendar, Asana, and Plann, which is the app that I use to schedule out social media. But dang it if I don’t love a good paper planner.

I love the dopamine hit when I actually check something off and cross through it. I feel like if everything were digital, my life would feel so much more cluttered. 

When I can look at things on paper, when I see my daily to-do list outlined, I feel sooo much better about what I can take on and what I can *actually* get done.

2022 planner how to-ashlynwrites

It has been a full calendar year since I’ve been using this type of planner. I’m going to go ahead and address the elephant in the room, because if you’ve looked into this planner at all then you do know that it is quarterly. So for the full year, you get a stack of them. You can do like a subscription to it, or just try one-off. That’s what I did. I just wanted to try it, see if I even liked it.

When you first get this planner and unboxed it and open it up, it’s blank so you have to set it up for the upcoming quarter. That was probably my biggest hangup on trying it. It was an obvious con for me at first. Over time, I’ve flipped it into a pro. But you also get the fun vibes that come with getting a new planner and the new, fresh planner smell. You get to sit down and set up your planner four times a year, which is kind of nice. Maybe I’m a little bit nostalgic for all the times in the nineties I got a new planner for Christmas. I got to set it up—it was usually a horse planner. 😉

Anyway, research suggests, and we know this—writing things down helps you retain information so much better. It forces you to slow down and be mindful. 

Now, I use a tool called PowerSheets. I’ve used them every year since 2014, and this is what I use to track out my goals and dreams. If you have looked into this planner, I know some people want to use either PowerSheets or Full Focus. I actually use them both together. It doesn’t bother me. There is some overlap, but to me, they go in tandem. You’re never going to walk into my office and not see those two things. Even if I’m traveling, I bring my Full Focus Planner with me and my whole PowerSheets, or at least a page out of it. These are the tools that just keep me focused on what I actually want to do, what my goals are. Otherwise, I squirrel brain off somewhere far away. 

If there is one thing I’ve learned from our copywriting agency client, Laura Smith, it is that the best planner is the one that actually works for you, the one that you’re going to use. 


Prep work fot the next quarter.

The next thing I want to do is show you how I do the prep work for my planner at the beginning of a new quarter. Right about the time I’m doing my PowerSheets monthly planning or quarterly planning, I’ll pull out the Full Focus Planner too- I actually do like the ritual of sitting down and being able to sketch out the months in here, fill in the dates all the way through.

I usually do it after the kids are asleep and I just get to light a candle and get a cup of tea and go through this. I will link some videos here and down below on how I use PowerSheets to set both my business goals and my personal life goals. 

Powersheets review ashlyn carter of ashlyn writes

But by the time I pull out my planner to go and set it up, I have already processed through what I want, what I’m going after. As Lara Casey says, who I want to be when I’m 80 years old. So that work is done in PowerSheets. You could use this to do that as well. 

Related: My Daily Routine: A Day in the Life of a Copywriter

Set up your dream week.

The next step of the puzzle though, before the new quarter kicks off, whether that’s 2022 or just a new quarter in the year is to go through and set up what I call my dream week. In the Full Focus Planner they call it your ideal week—same concept. 

🚨 🚨Here is the red flashing light kicker on why I love this planner so much and why I ended up falling more in love with the concept of having to set it up every quarter 🚨🚨

I’m a mama of two small kids, and I run a small business, and I’m married and want to be involved in my community and my family. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but kids’ development is constantly changing. What I’ve found is I was setting up my year and then I wasn’t giving myself flexibility and one quarter may completely look different from the next, I may need to move launches around to accommodate for that

So the option to be able to go in every quarter and set up has just been so much more encouraging for the stage of life that I’m in because nothing’s set in stone. I literally get a new, fresh start every single quarter to set things up. 

A couple other things, I always fold up my time stewardship vision statement. That’s something from my Art of Efficiency course. I fold that up and I put it at the front of this. It’s basically a vision statement that reminds me I do have enough time to do the things that I need to do if I prioritize appropriately.

—>I’ll show you the ideal week portion of this.

I first sketch this out though on paper. That’s why I like that there is a paper space to do this inside the planner. And once I get that locked in and to my liking, I’ll then translate it and put it into Google Calendar. And this has been really helpful. This may be a tip for you. 

2022 planner how to-dream week-

We share that within all the employees of my business, we all have our own dream week. So then we kind of know what other people’s expectations are of when they’ll be on or when they’re off and with their family, etc.

Related: A Week In the Life | 3 Weekly Routines for Success

Add in standing events: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, regular meetings, and our launches.

Okay, the next thing I’m going to do in my planner setup is add in holidays, birthdays, standing events, anniversaries, vacations, and launches. I have done so many videos on how I plan out our marketing calendar for the year—you can watch here—It’s my Champagne Campaign system. You can watch those here or grab “Primed to Launch” if you’re interested in hearing about how I do that, but I’m going to take those and go ahead and put whatever quarters, upcoming launches inside this planner as well during setup. This means digging into the pages of themselves. 

A little trick I stole from my mom growing up, but she would always write birthdays in her calendar in red so I always write birthdays and anniversaries in a brighter color so I see them. I’m going to write things that are likely not going to change for that quarter in ink or I’ll use pencil for things that are tentative. 

2022 planner how to-ashlynwrites

Also at this point, I get a little bit extra and use stickers from PowerSheets and washi tape. I love the more neutral palette from Appointed, and I’ll use those in here as well ’cause it’s fun. You may know I do something called day batching. I’ve talked about it before. 

  • Marketing Mondays—copyrighting or client work and our team call
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays— product development, either enhancing the copy bar shop items or curriculum and Copywriting for Creatives or “Primed to Launch’
  • Thursday— meetings, partnership meetings, client meetings, customer meetings, anything like that is on Thursday. 
  • Friday—I’m doing admin and finances.

I talked about digital calendaring earlier. If you’re like me, there’s a lot of things that come up or events, invitations in Google Calendar, whatever you use that come up during the week so I do on Sundays as part of my weekly planning, I sit down and I make sure that everything that’s on my calendar now, whether it’s new client, sales calls or client meetings that have come up, partnership meetings, I make sure that all of that is reflected on the week that’s coming up. Usually, I do the week, like the next week as well, because I don’t like surprises. I don’t want to miss a meeting—you get it. 😉

Related:How to Batch Work & Organize with Themed Days

Next, I commit to monthly and weekly check-ins. 

Okay, the last piece of my Full Focus calendar setup is just committing to weekly check-ins and monthly check-ins. You never know what’s going to come at you during a day or a week so I have found weekly check-ins to be sooo helpful. 

I actually was doing them way before I ever used this planner. But the planner does give a great opportunity every week for you to check in. There’s like four pages devoted to it. Like I said, I’ve been doing this for years. So hi, ultra nerd. I have PDFs that I print out and I put them inside my PowerSheets. Actually comment below, let me know, do you want me to put those in the copy bar shop for other people to grab? They’ve been so helpful. 

Sometimes I use the pages in the planner to do my weekly planning, but usually I do use my monthly and weekly planner pages that I have and I’ll put those in my PowerSheets. It’s so helpful to actually look back on a week or a month and see, okay, what worked, what didn’t work, what did I even learn? 

Here’s another little bonus tip if you’re really into paper. I’ve used Val Marie Papers Prayer Journal for years at this point. This is kind of another piece in that puzzle I do every month. I have that out too. So I’ve kind of been able to see what I’ve been praying for that month, what’s actually happened, what I’ve been struggling with, and just being able to hit the pause button and check yourself is very powerful. Highly recommend. 


Okay, that’s exactly how I set up my planner for 2022! I hope that showed you a little bit of the Full Focus Planner—which I’m so excited to use again—but no matter what you use, I hope you were able to see and maybe glean an idea or two from this post that you can apply to your own life and business as you set up your 2022 planner.

I’ve told students inside the Art of Efficiency this before, but the trick with any tool, whether it is a planner or some kind of digital tool in your business, I have learned is at some point don’t just dip a toe in it, but jump in, get your hair wet. That’s the best way to see if you can make a tool work for you or not.

Again, whether it’s something like a HoneyBook or a planner, you have to really go in and try it before you decide yes or no, because there are a million tools out there that all kind of do the same thing. Just pick one and use it and make it work for you and you’ll probably fall in love with it. If you’re interested in hearing more about my rhythms and my routines in life, make sure you grab that day batching freebie download I have. It’s going to show you how you can better organize your time during any given week. 

➡️➡️If you’re ready to grab your own Full Focus Planner, then click here to grab yours— get 10% off with code “ASHLYN10”!  … yes, that is an affiliate link. I don’t ever recommend anything that I haven’t used in my life and business for at least a year. It’s been a year now. It’s sticking around. So I wanted to shout that out as well. 

All right, that does it. I hope this was helpful. Click that like button if it was and comment down below any other questions you have about how I plan my time or ideas that you have now that you’ve watched this. If you want to see a little bit more about a day in the life, then make sure that you watch the video that I’ve got teed up for you next.




How I set up my Full Focus planner | Ashlyn Writes

Reading Time: 10 Minutes Reading time: 11 min. If you are *also* a little bit nosy about how other people plan—I think you’re going to like this one! 😉 Back by popular request, I’m taking you behind the scenes and showing you exactly how I set up my 2022 planner,—crazyyy that we’re already talking about that!! I started using […]


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