Well, June is almost over, which means it’s time to get ready for July! I can’t believe our summer is almost half-way over already! We just bought our above-ground pool this weekend! But, I guess it really is true. Since it’s the last week of the month, I am working on my monthly planning for July. I thought I’d share my monthly planning process with you, so you can set yourself up for an organized month!
My Monthly Planning Process
Full disclosure for those of you who don’t know me, I’m a big time planner nerd! I often say that I keep my whole life in my planner, and it really is true! You can read more about how I use my planner here, but today I’m going to focus on my simple monthly planning process. See for yourself just how easy it is to stay organized with a planner! I love my decorated weekly planning, but if I had to, I could get by with only my monthly spread and stay organized. So, what do I do every month to stay organized?
First, I fill in my monthly calendar of events.
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Every month, I sit down and write in every event that I have coming up. This includes birthday party invitations, social events, doctor’s appointments, vendor events or parties I’m working, etc. I also fill in any vacations or upcoming trips and mark those days off so I know I’m not available.
I keep my monthly spreads a bit more simple and un-decorated, but I do like to color coordinate and keep it looking neat. My monthly spread needs to stay extremely clean and organized for me to see everything easily, so I basically “pencil in” my entire month. I don’t use an actual pencil, though! Some of the things I use to make it easy to edit my monthly plans are:
- washi tape: to block of days or weeks, like for a weekend trip or a week-long event.
- removable event stickers from Libbie and Co on Etsy: these make it easy to remove canceled plans
- Pilot Frixion Pens: they’re erasable!
Then, I set my goals for the month.
This is the fun part. I love setting new goals. I love figuring out what could potentially happen in a month. And, it’s fun to check them off at the end of the month and see what I’ve accomplished!
Since I run a business, I set 3 goals that are business related and another 3 goals that are personal. I like to really prioritize these, so I’m not chasing a ton of goals and losing focus. Once these goals are set, I will write out a list of action steps that will help me reach them. I don’t want to turn this post into a goal-setting post, so if you want to see how I set and work towards my big goals, you can read this post for more information.
Finally, I fill out my budget for the month.
You were waiting for it, weren’t you? The dreaded “B” word. I think the word budget makes everyone cringe, including me. I’ve learned over time that by creating a monthly budget, I can stay in control of my money instead of letting my money control me. This does mean living within (and often below) our means, but it also allows us to keep our debt down and accomplish the really big things we want to accomplish.
So, every month I take a few minutes and work on our budget. I write down our monthly bills and expenses, and figure out our savings and debt goals. This helps us figure out our expendable income so that we can plan appropriately. If we have a tight month, it’s not really the time to plan a big project or vacation. I became a huge fan of budgeting a few years ago when we ended up in more debt than we could handle. My system helped us eliminate our debt when we had no money to spare, so I know it’ll continue to work now! You can read that full story here.
That experience showed me just how important it is to keep a budget, so it’s a priority every single time I sit down to work on my monthly planning!
Keep your process simple!
The number one thing I can tell you if you want to start using a planner to stay organized is to keep it simple! So often, we get on Pinterest and we see these elaborate spreads full of amazing art and hand lettering. It’s hard to not want to keep up with that, because they’re gorgeous. I love looking at those spreads and admiring the creativitiy behind them. I also really love decorating my planner. However, none of that is necessary. If you don’t have time for it, or if it keeps you from staying organized, then ditch it. Do what you have to do to keep up with your system consistently. This is your planner, and it needs to work for you!
Want more planner and productivity tips? Be sure to visit the Productivity section of my blog for the full collection!