Monthly goal planning is a perfect way to strive for a balance between the vision for the year and the chaos of daily tasks at work and life. Do you find yourself wondering at the end of each month where did time flies and what have I done? Then this post is just what you need.
In this post, I am sharing the monthly planning that I follow every month for more than 2 years and has given me much-needed clarity and focus around life and help get the most done.
What is Monthly Goal Planning?
Monthly goal planning is an activity performed at the start of each month to break down your big goals into smaller goals that can be attained in a month’s time. These are more action-oriented goals that can bring you closer to the bigger goal. With routine work and uncertainties, we tend to lose focus towards our bigger goal and get occupied in the routine work, monthly goal planning bridges the gap between the vision and big goal and routine daily tasks.
Benefits of monthly planning
Making a monthly plan provides many advantages some of these are discussed below.
Makes you Goal-oriented
With monthly planning, you can break down your bigger goals into small monthly goals, that let you work towards them more systematically.
As per Pareto Principle, 80% of the result is obtained by performing 20% high rewarding work. Monthly planning helps you identify and work on these important tasks.
Makes you focused
Since you are clear about the goal of the month you will be able to work with better focus towards the goals. It lets you focus more on doing work that is more important and helps you identify and work on highly rewarding work.
Makes you less anxious
The start of a new month is an exciting new opportunity to get things right. If you plan for the major tasks for the month you will be less overwhelmed.
You are able to plan and execute your work much better and feel less anxious.
Better tracking of work
Reviewing the previous month and planning for the new month allows you to track your work better and reflect better on the progress towards the goal. This lets you identify the enablers and the things that hamper your progress towards the goal. You can take these into consideration when planning for the month.
Productivity is not about getting many things done but doing the required things efficiently. With monthly planning, you are able to view things from a relatively bigger picture than each day. Hence plan works better and you do things efficiently.
How to plan monthly goals?
Planning monthly goal becomes quick and effective when done in a systematic manner consistently. Monthly goal planning can be divided in to below steps.
Step 1: Review previous month
I recommend starting by reviewing the previous month, this helps you identify things that helped you achieve your goals and complete your task effectively. You should also make a note of achievement in the month to boost your motivation. Next, you should review the tasks that you have missed to complete. Keeping a note of all the things that help you, allows you to plan your month more effectively and prevent you from making the mistakes that you made in your previous month’s planning.
Step 2: Focus of the month
Define the focus for this month. This brings cohesiveness to the entire planning. The focus of the month can be work-related or a personal priority.
For example, if the focus of the month is an event at work then you can plan all other actions of the month around it. Similarly, if the focus of the month is to prioritize mental peace then the planning should be in a way to allows you to have a break in between work and unwinding time.
You can also consider it as a theme for the month, all your actions and planning for the month will be based on making sure that this focus item is achieved. Setting a focus for the month helps me be more intentional towards the achievement of the focus item and the way I see things.
Step 3: Find your big 3
Next, you should find out three key tasks that will be significant for achieving your goals. This can be a breakdown of your yearly or quarterly goals. Or tasks related to the focus of the month or any project at work.
The Big Three should be
- Task big enough to be completed in a month.
- Should help you meet your big goal.
- These should not be your routine activities.
Step 4: Find major tasks for the month
Once the Big 3 are decided, you should identify small tasks that will be required to achieve the Big 3. Also, you should refer to your To-Do lists and calendars to find the important tasks that you need to do for the month. Some of the tasks can be repetitive for each month some may be specific for the month. List out the tasks that you should be able to complete in the month.
I suggest planning tasks based on the different roles you plan in life. For example, you can list tasks for your work or personal life or your side hustle.
It is not possible for you to plan all the tasks that will come up in the month in advance, so just don’t aim for it.
The purpose of having key tasks listed is to ensure you do not miss them as the month progress and you intentionally identify the task that brings value.
P.S. Here is spreadsheet-based schedule planner that is very convenient to use.
Google Sheet Work and Schedule Planner
With this schedule planner, you get a Monthly planner, weekly planner, and a To-do list to help you plan, and track your work easily.
- Flexible Planning: Plan your month, week, and day with ease, adapting to your unique needs.
- Prioritize Like a Pro: The Daily Planner helps you prioritize tasks, ensuring you focus on what truly matters.
- Auto Task Status: Watch as task statuses update automatically, keeping you informed and in control.
- Easy-to-Use: Our template is user-friendly and requires no advanced Excel skills.
- Save Time: Spend less time organizing and more time doing what you love.
- Stay Organized: Never forget an important deadline or appointment again.
- Increased Productivity: With efficient scheduling, you’ll accomplish more in less time.
- Access Anywhere: It’s in Google Sheets, so you can access it from anywhere, on any device.
- Check the demo video here
Step 5: Build a habit
Setting a new year resolution to do exercise daily or reading a book may not make you achieve the goal but planning them in small steps will definitely help you build a habit to exercise daily sustainably.
When you get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty- seven times better by the time you’re doneAtomic Habits by James Clear
So to plan habits at your monthly planning is a good way to go about building habits.
You can set a small habit to progress towards your big habit goal each month.
For example, if you want to form the habit of reading set your monthly goal to read 5 pages of a book each day and eventually progress to reading 1 book for the next month.
You can track your habit through a habit tracker too.
The best part of including habits in monthly planning is that you have set your intention at the start of the month to achieve it. Also, at the month-end review, you will be able to reflect on your progress towards the habit.
Step 6 List Things not to do
Finally, the last item for your monthly goal planning should be 3 things that you would not do this month. It may sound weird to you, as mostly we focus on only doing the things but believe me this is the secret sauce to great monthly planning.
There are tasks at work, house, or actions and habits that we intentionally or unintentionally do that either do not align with our vision or are counterproductive and reduce our efficiency to meet our goals. These can also be things that distract you or demotivate you or things that just put your mood off. Avoiding these will boost your productivity and your quality of life.
Know that just writing the things may not work like magic and you will not be able to stop doing them instantly, but it will certainly make you aware of it when you do them and intentionally avoid it.
Tips for effective monthly planning
Now that you are know how to do your monthly planning of goals here are a few tips to help you more.
- Tip 1:Timebox 30 min for monthly goal planning on the last day of the month or the first day of the month.
- Tip 2: Refer to your previous month’s plan for review and tick (√) those done, it will make review quick.
- Tip 3: Be realistic with the big tasks for the month, you may come across unexpected situations during the month so plan accordingly.
- Tip 4: Always keep a running To-Do List to make planning easier. You can read 10 Ways To Make An Effective To-Do List.
- Tip 5: Make a monthly task checklist, so that save time on planning the repetitive task each month.
- Tip 6:Take one habit at a time and plan for each month in small increments to make them less daunting.
- Tip 7: Be consistent with monthly planning even if you are unable to do all that was planned, trust me you will get better each time.
Monthly planning of goals can help to reduce overwhelm and allow you to work towards things that really matter to you rather than working on tasks as they come your way but are not important to you. With the monthly planning steps and tips shared in this article, you will be able to plan your monthly goals quickly covering all aspects of your life without spending a lot of time.
Don’t forget to use the schedule planner for easy monthly weekly daily planning
P.S. If you like to know more about planning or love planning you will surely like these