In my last post, I promised a peek into my planning process—welcome to the first installment in that series! Since we’re about to head into November, now is the perfect time to give you a look over my shoulder as I set up my planner for a new month.
It all starts with my monthly goal planner and habit tracker My monthly goal planner is my roadmap for the month. It’s where I put down everything—big or small—that I want to accomplish in those 30 days. I designed it with lots of open space at the top to allow for some freedom in how you approach your goal planning. My favorite way to use that space is to divide it in half and use one side for concrete, one-time goals, and the other side as a reminder of my daily or weekly habits.
For one-time goals, I’ve found that 12 goals per month works well for me. I like that I can divide them up into 3 goals per week, which feels pretty doable. When thinking through what I want to accomplish each month, I focus on 4 categories: life, health, learning, and work. Here’s a breakdown of what all those mean:
Life: things that make your day-to-day life functional, like chores, errands, obligations, and any other regular maintenance.
Health: things that keep you happy and healthy, like exercise, time with friends/family, doctor appointments, mental health work, meditation, or fun activities.
Learning: things that keep you sharp, curious, and always improving, like learning a new hobby, work/personal development trainings, or research to improve on another goal or prepare for a career change.
Work: things you do to earn money (or that you hope will someday earn you money), like regular work, side projects, leveling up in your career, or starting a business.
With these goal categories in mind, I try to make sure I have at least a couple goals for each, to ensure I’m balancing my time well. If all 12 goals are chores and errands, I’m not setting myself up for a very enjoyable month. I color-code each category (yellow for life, green for health, orange for learning, and pink for work) so I can easily see the breakdown—and because I like adding some extra color!
Once I plan out those 12 goals for the month, I break them down across the 4 week boxes at the bottom. This helps me ensure I’m distributing everything across the month and not suddenly trying to get everything done during week 4 (although let’s be real, sometimes that’s just how it shakes out).
The last bit is to bring in my regular chores from my habit tracker and distribute them into my 4-week breakdown. I shared some details about how I use my habit tracker in this post if you’re curious—basically it’s a framework for planning out when I’ll do certain chores and other repeated activities throughout the month. I used my habit tracker from October as a guide for when to schedule things in November to help keep everything on track.
Once that’s all filled in, I now have a full plan for when I’m going to tackle each of my goals for the month—all on one simple page!
Stay tuned for future posts about how I break all this down even further in my weekly and daily plans.
Want the printables I mentioned in this post? You can shop them in my Etsy store!