How to Plan Your Month Ahead of Time

Do you ever struggle with fitting in your most important tasks and activities? You know those things that light you up? Or do you get to the end of the month and wonder if you achieved what you set out to do?

If so, you may like to keep reading as today I am going to talk about planning your month ahead of time or monthly planning if you prefer!

 

Why Plan Out Your Month Ahead of Time?

Before I start, I just want to say, monthly planning is a part of a system for me. That system is made up of yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily planning as well as my vision, mission, values, goals and intentions. Now with that being said, let’s get back to monthly planning and the benefits of planning out your month ahead of time.

1. Less Stress and Overwhelm

When you take the time to plan your month ahead of time, you feel more in control of your day-to-day tasks, appointments and activities. You won’t need to waste unnecessary time and energy wondering what you need to you, which can increase stress and overwhelm.

And when you have your income and expense planned out in relation to your money, it also has the added bonus of feeling safe and secure.

2. Helps You Focus on Your Priorities

Having your month planned out in advance, can help you focus on what matters most to you in your life and make any adjustments if required. For example – during your monthly planning session, you might notice that a lack of time with your family and friends. Since spending time with family and friends is important to you, If you know this in advance, you can make adjustments to your month before it happens.

3. Helps You Manage Your Energy and Money

Have you ever noticed how much extra energy and money different experiences can cost you when you leave things to the last minute? Being prepared in advance, can help you limit and may even save you money!

4. Avoids Overcommitment

Have you ever said ‘yes’ to something and wish you hadn’t? Don’t worry you are not alone! By planning ahead and seeing your tasks, activities, special dates and appointments planned out, this can help you avoid overcommitting yourself.

5. Increases Accountability Levels

When you have a monthly plan, it can help avoid those missed meetings as well as keep your commitments to your self and other people.

 

What other benefits of monthly planning do you have? Feel free to share them below!

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

 

How to Plan Your Month Ahead of Time

Are you convinced monthly planning can help you increase your personal effectiveness and self-management? If so, following is an image about how I plan my month ahead of time. I generally complete this process the week before the month starts 🙂

1. Read Mission and Vision

Before I start the planning process, I read over my mission and vision. This helps me stay on track and focused.

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” ~ Brian Tracy

2. Review Values

Reviewing my values, helps to make sure I am living in alignment. My values have become clearer over the years, which is why I continue to review them.

3. Review 90-day / Quarterly Plan

I then review my 90-day / quarterly plan. I am a big fan of quarterly planning as it feels manageable for me. My clients also say it is a good time frame.

“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.” ~ Napoleon Hill

4. Review Projects

Each quarter, I focus on 3 main projects and I review them each week. I can also add actions to these projects during this time.

5. Review iCal Calendar

For many years now, I have put my appointments in iCal (yep they are colour coded to my values). I have also put all of my expenses, birthdays and other important dates in there.

6. Check Monthly Review Sheet

My monthly review sheet helps me to stay on track and make any adjustments if I need to 🙂 It is different to the process I use for my end-of-year ritual and weekly planning review.

7. Check Project Manager

My project manager already has my top 3 projects in there (as I did that in the 90-day planning process). Subsequently, a number of steps are already in there. I have up to 3 steps for each project in my project manager, unless it is a course I need to complete as those steps tend to be a bit more linear.

8. Check Task Manager –

Again, my task manager (which is the same tool as my project manager) already has outlined my yearly, 6-monthly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily tasks. This took a little to organise, however it saves my time and energy.

9. Decide on Priorities

Throughout this process, my priorities for the upcoming month become clearer, or they have already been identified  when I do my 90-day / quarterly plan.

10. Schedule Priorities

I then schedule the priorities in to my task manager – again if they aren’t already in there.

 

Over to You…

Do you plan your months in advance? Is there any thing else you would add to the monthly planning process?

I hope this post has given you some insight in to my monthly planning process. Do you think this is something that might work for you? This process has definitely helped me increase my effectiveness and self-management (including managing my stress levels).

Feel free to share your process below or ask any questions 🙂

 

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