One of my most popular resources for busy moms is the free notebook system set-up guide. If you haven’t checked it out yet, this needs to be on your priority list. I truly believe that in order to gain traction on your personal growth journey, you need a way to organize yourself. After trying literally hundreds of planners and never finding anything that works quite right, I decided to create my own. I’ve been using my MAP Book for 6+ years now and I won’t ever go back (even though I still enjoy walking down the stationary aisle at Target). In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how you can do easy monthly planning in your MAP Book to get proactive this month, instead of reacting to life as it comes at you. Here we go!
In January every year, I purchase 4 notebooks – 1 per quarter.
I sit down in January and set up the table of contents in all 4 notebooks, so that I won’t have to do it again later in the year when it’s time to switch notebook.s On the first two pages, I put the table of contents. Then, on the next three pages, I label each page with the months. So in my first quarter notebook, I label “January”, “February” and “March”. Then, in my quarter two notebook, I label it “April”, “May” and “June”.
The neat thing about having a monthly list in the front of each notebook is that after you’ve done it for one year, the list generally stays the same. For example, my list for December 2021 is going to be pretty similar to December 2022. It mostly includes birthdays, holidays that my family celebrates and deadlines that tend to happen every year. This helps with easy monthly planning because the following year, you more or less can just copy the list into your new notebook.
At the beginning of the month, my first step is to review the list that I already wrote at the beginning of the year. Then, I add anything that may have come up in the meantime.
After I have reviewed my list for the month, my next step is to do a reflection wheel. I first learned about this reflection exercise from Sara Cotner at Feeding the Soil. This exercise is one of my favorites and I have been doing it for almost a decade now. I have a print-out of a wheel that I tape into my notebook.
On the wheel, there are different categories of my life, such as work, parenting, personal growth, physical space, exercise and nutrition. I give myself a rating in each category and then below the wheel. Next, I write a few action steps that I think would improve certain areas of my life. For example, in October, I wasn’t sleeping well. One of my action items was to research and purchase a new pillow. I did that in October and already, my sleep has improved tremendously. Done and done!
The first item on the agenda is a celebration of our financial achievements of the year. For a few years, that was a successful maternity leave or paying off a loan. Other years it’s a trip or a big home purchase that we’re celebrating. More recently, it’s been a successful first full-year in business. We try to celebrate and acknowledge the financial successes of the year to start the conversation off on a positive note.
Now, I take any action steps that I created from my monthly wheel and add them to my monthly list. Now, I have a list of comprehensive things that have to get done this month, that I can refer back to all month long.
I like to take a second here to break anything down into smaller steps that I possibly can. For example, if it’s my niece’s birthday, I may have to talk to my sister about what she might like. After that, I will more than likely make a purchase, need to wrap the gift and get a card. By breaking this down into smaller steps, I am able to quickly insert each action step into my weekly plan later.
Whew, monthly planning always feels easy until I go to explain it to someone else! Here is my monthly list for December 2022 to help you see that easy monthly planning is possible once the routine is established.
December 2022 Monthly List
December reflection wheel
Elf on the Shelf
Plan birthday trip
December yearbook page
A1’s birthday page
A2’s birthday page
In your MAP Book or on another piece of paper, create a list for the next full month. Write down anything that you can think of that needs to be done that month, feel free to use a calendar to help you. Think of holidays, gifts that need to be purchased, bills that need to be paid, people that need to be called. Add to the list as needed and refer to it often to help you get consistent with the monthly planning system!
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on Spotify or YouTube so you don’t miss next week’s episode about using your monthly plan to create a weekly plan in 30 minutes or less. There’s a reason that I’m baby-stepping this, we’ll work together to narrow your focus down to one week at a time
If you want to connect between episodes, be sure to give me a follow over on Instagram – @sharonlegercoaching. I would love to support you on your personal growth journey!
If so, be sure to share it with a friend – this helps busy moms like you to find me!
And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: