Can I see a show of hands–who loves New Year’s Day because of the fresh start? Okay, good. I knew there had to be a few of you out there.
But for me, it’s not just January 1. I feel that way about the beginning of every new month. Heck, I like Mondays, for crying in the sink! Yes, I know, I’m odd.
Now that I’ve confessed, I’m going to walk you through my monthly planning process. You can view the entire process on video here (don’t worry–I sped up the video), or follow along with me in this post.
*This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided…and I only post products I’ve tried and believe in.
My planning process always begins with laying out a monthly grid. After years (and years) of experimentation, I know that my brain requires this traditional month-at-a-glance view.
In addition to the grid, I add a mileage tracker down the right side of the page to track business mileage. Since my dashboard is on the fritz, I enter the trip info on the appropriate day, then go back and enter the actual mileage at a later time with the help of Google Maps.
After entering the dates, I add photo stickers from my Polaroid ZIP printer on the appropriate birthdays. Next I enter appointments, reminders, and commitments. Generally I use the following color code:
Pink–events where I’m away from home alone
Orange–family commitments, whether at home or away
Blue–recycling, and also any appointments of James’ that I want to track
While this isn’t a necessary part of the planning process, I am currently taking part in the Zen Art Challenge. This challenge gives you one tangle pattern to learn and complete each day. It’s a very doable, therapeutic art goal.
That said, I set up my challenge pages immediately following my monthly calendar.
Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals & memories
Part of my love for New Year’s Day is creating new goals. But January 1 goals tend to be overwhelmingly large. To avoid simply giving up on these goals, I create a B.H.A.G.s page each month where I record my “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” for that month.
Please note: I dream big. Very rarely do I completely fully achieve the month’s goals, and never all of them. But progress is progress, no matter how small. Without goals, I’d be a lot more lazy and unfocused.
The areas I focus on are: courses I’m creating, blog goals, family and home, social media, health, and Premier. There are so many other categories I could add, but again, I’m all about things being doable. After I’ve created this page, I’ll mark it with a colorful page tab from Beyond the Paper Flower for quick and easy reference.
To the right of my B.H.A.G.s page I leave a mostly blank page to jot down memories for that month. Sometimes I doodle a picture, write a note, or print a photo with my ZIP printer.
This month I’m trying something new and keeping a food log. My goal is to see how my eating affects my energy levels and mood, as well as to see how well I do on feeding myself. For someone with chronically low blood sugar, I don’t always make mealtime a priority.
Since the beginning of my bullet journal journey, I’ve been maintaining a tracker. Here I note how I’m doing on certain habits, chores, and hopes. (I’m not even going to show you July–it’s a sorry sight, especially after the successful month of May and a decent June.)
Make it pretty
Yes, my planner *must* be pretty. The act of decorating it with hand lettering and watercolor pencils is therapeutic for me, and it brings me joy as I accomplish my tasks or look back on the past.
The tools I use to prettify my bullet journal are as follows:
Stickers from Beyond the Paper Flower
And, for those who are curious, I use the Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid notebook in the A5 size.
Update the index
After I’ve created all my new spreads, it’s time to update the index. I’m generally pretty good about keeping up with this, but one last check is always a good idea. It saves time when I need to reference something in the long run.
Get to work!
That, my friend, is the final step. Use the plan. Implement the plan. Accomplish the plan. Otherwise, all we’re doing is coloring. Which is not in itself a complete waste of time, but let’s call it what it is.
I’m curious–what’s your monthly planning routine? Tell us about it in the comments below.