How To Plan Your Month Ahead of Time So You Can Make the Most Of It

How To Plan Your Month Ahead of Time So You Can Make the Most Of It

There's something about springtime that kicks motivation into high gear. After a winter spent hibernating and with Netflix and your favorite fuzzy blanket (and great-smelling candles) suddenly the sun is shining for more hours every day and tiny buds and blossoms are everywhere. 

"In like a lion out like a lamb" is a famous proverb about the month of March, and we've now officially entered the "lamb" part of the month (hello, chirping birds!) which means it's time to start planning our month.

If you don't usually plan your month ahead of time, now is the perfect time to start. After doing it once, you'll realize just how much more you can get out of a given month when you've done some intentional mapping ahead of time. Here's how to do it.

Your Planning Prep Work

Yes, planning requires planning. So before you actually start making your monthly plan, make sure you have the following things in order:

A few spare hours to devote to monthly planning. If you're distracted while you're planning, you're not going to do it right—or at the very least, you probably won't do it as well as you want to. So make sure you have a few uninterrupted hours (ideally on a weekend day) to spend some time laying out exactly what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it.

A "brain dump" space. A space to "brain dump" is crucial to monthly planning, because it can help you get any stray thoughts related to goals, your social life, work, and more out of your head and onto paper, providing an important first step to the planning process. Whether it's a notebook, your journal, or a Word or Google doc, make sure you have an official brain dump sace.

A planning tool that works for you. Silk + Sonder's monthly wellness journals are an amazing place to plan your month, because they have everything you need: A calendar, spaces for tracking habits, moods, finances, meals and more. But if that analog style doesn't quite work for you, feel free to go digital—a Google doc or work management platform like Asana is just fine. 

How to Plan Your Month

Now comes the fun part: Planning your month! Here's your step-by-step guide.

1. Do a brain dump

As mentioned above, you'll want to start your planning process with a brain dump. Take a moment to review any goals or intentions you set at the beginning of the year. How are you doing with those? Have any fallen to the wayside? Are there any goals or intentions that might not seem as important as they did in January that you want to nix? Is there anything really specific that you want to tackle in the month of April?

2. List out any concrete plans or obligations

Next comes looking at anything pre-planned. From work obligations to social ones (wedding season is right around the corner, after all), list out anything you've already committed to in a place where you can easily access it.

3. Get really clear on exactly what you want to accomplish this month

Now that you've done your brain dump and understand exactly when you're busy, figure out the biggest three things you want to accomplish this month based on any bigger goals or intentions you might have.

You can break these down by life category. For example, maybe at work you want to do everything you possibly can to work toward that big promotion. If you made a plan to read a certain amount of books this year and realize you've fallen behind, maybe this is the month when you watch less TV and read more books (the more specific you can get with the number, the better). If you've been trying to save money, figure out the exact amount you want to save and how you'll do it.

4. Make a weekly plan

You know exactly what you want to do in the next month, so now is the time to map out exactly how you'll do it. What will you do each week to work toward your promotion? How many pages will you read each week? What will your lifestyle look like week by week to make it so that you can cut back on spending? If you can map your plans out down to the day, that's even better—but that's a big ask, even for the most organized among us, and it doesn't leave a lot of room for being human. 

What Are the Benefits of Monthly Planning?

The biggest benefit of monthly planning? It reduces decision fatigue, making it easier for you to actually stay on track with your goals. If you already know exactly what you're going to do on a week-by-week basis to accomplish exactly what you want to accomplish this month, you won't spend time thinking about it an finding excuses not to do it. That's why solid monthly planning is key.  

The Best Time to Set Up Your Monthly Plan

The time to set up your monthly plan is ... now! If you do your planning the week before a new month starts, you'll be totally clear-eyed and motivated as you head into the next 30 days. So if you have time this weekend, take out your journal, your calendar, and any planning tools and get to work. You want regret it—trust us. 

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