Monthly Planning 101

Jun 08, 2020

Not to be too English, but can I talk to you about the weather?


Here we are at the beginning of June and it feels more like summer in the Med than Spring in the UK! The good news is that even though we haven’t been able to get away, we have had holiday weather and quite a few of us are even tan. I have to say that in over 20 years in London, I have never experienced such a glorious May!


So it is with lifted spirits that I greet the beginning of the month which is when I do a monthly calendar planning session as part of my Productivity System. Using a white board, sticky notes and a pen, I take dedicated time to plan out my weekly and daily actions so that they bring me closer to my longer-term goals. Do you have a goal setting and time management system in place? If not, then that can explain why you might feel like you run around super busy doing lots of “stuff,” but never feel like you’re getting things done. Unfortunately, this lack of system often creates an obstacle that keeps you from moving forward in your business in the time frames that you hope for.


Now, there are lots of systems available for planning and I don’t want to dissuade you from using something that already works for you if you do have systems in place. The truth is that planning is actually quite a personal thing and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. In fact, I believe that there is no one size fits all system that works for everybody.


When I started practicing as a Health Coach, I often spoke about bio-individuality in reference to diet. The idea behind this concept is that there is no such thing as a one size fits all method for eating - one person’s bliss can be another person’s poison. There are however, some basic principles that apply to most people and serve as a good guideline to get you started until you fine tune what works best for you. For example, filling 50% of your plate with vegetables during lunch and dinner.


I believe that finding the right planning system is similar to finding the eating system that works best for you. Some people use trello, some people use asana, some people swear by their pen and paper pocket planners. The important thing is to get some basic principals in place and then experiment to find the method that works best for you. That’s why I want to keep this training low tech. The beauty of the approach that I am going to show you is that it is simple, highly visual, deeply actionable and has a progress measure built in.


Ready to dive in?


Setting Goals


It all starts with goal setting. At the beginning of the year I have an annual planning session where I determine my goals and targets for the year. I then figure out what I need to achieve each month in order to hit those annual goals. That means I figure out what promotions, launches and content I need to deliver every month on the top level. It also means that I know when I am creating content and list building and when I am selling programmes and generating revenue. If you don’t have a set of goals or targets in place, then do not despair! We are only halfway through the year and you can make some awesome 6-month goals now! I will be running a workshop later in the year about how to set the perfect goal, so stay tuned for that…


In the meantime, try to give yourself some stretching but not too scary targets and allocate monthly tasks to make them happen.


Monthly Planning


Now you are ready to plan the month ahead. Take a look at the top level tasks you assigned for June and then spend about 15 minutes brainstorming everything you want to achieve in the month ahead. It is soooo important to tie your weekly and daily tasks into your goals and targets because if you don’t, you just won’t want to do them. They become chores and not the action steps that move you towards success! On the other hand, seeing how each task moves you towards a specific goal turns it into something worth doing. That is called motivation my friend.


Once you have finished brainstorming, group your projects or objectives into 4-5 main topics. For example, my top-level tasks for June are List Building, Course Creation and to Complete Outstanding Coursework. After brainstorming what I wanted to accomplish this month with tasks ranging from creating a Facebook ad for my FREE 6 Steps to Turboboost Your Productivity Guide and understanding Google Analytics to creating the modules for my Get Your stuff Done Course and focusing on LinkedIn, I created the following topics: Courses, Content Creation, Development and Health/Family. Do you see how my topics align with both my top level goals and my brainstorm?


Write it Out!


Ok, time for action! I use a white board, sticky notes and a pen, but you can use trello or another app if you prefer. I write the month and main objectives across the top of my whiteboard and then split the rest into three sections: To Do, In Progress and Completed. I start the month with the board completely clean of everything from the month before - it's always a fresh start!



I then use a different sticky note colour for each of my main focus topics and write down the individual tasks that need to happen to move my goals forward. I try to keep each sticky note as a task that requires no more than 2 hours of work. If it requires more time, I split the task into more manageable chunks. It is also ok to add more tasks as a project fleshes out or more things come up over the course of the month. I write out all my tasks, line them up and it looks like this:



Then, as I go through the month and complete a task, I move it from TO DO to either IN PROGRESS or COMPLETED. At the end of the month I collect all the completed sticky notes and put them in a clear jar that sits on my desk. In this way, I can “see” the progress I make as the year goes on!





I just want to take a moment to acknowledge how huge mindset is in all of this. No matter how many goals we set, systems we create and tasks we prioritise, if we tell ourselves we don’t feel like it, none of it will get done. Busting through that mindset block is gold dust and it is my goal to take you through to the other side with the course I am currently creating. In the meantime, if you can become aware of your resistance when it shows up and name it, you can begin the process of overcoming it. It is my big wish to help you want to achieve your goals and get excited about the challenges that lie ahead each day. It doesn’t happen overnight but if you stick with me, I will get you there!


So there you have it, monthly planning 101. Do you feel motivated and energised to plan the month ahead? The next 6 months? I challenge you to set up a monthly plan and post a picture in the comments below or in my Facebook group, Female Entrepreneurs Craving Time and Financial Freedom. Also, please reach out if you have any questions and I would love to clarify the process for you.


If you’re having a hard time figuring out what to focus on, then please download my amazing FREE guide,

6 Easy Steps for Female Entrepreneurs to Get More Done in Less Time

Inside this guide you will discover the 20% of activities that generate 80% of your results! So if you don’t know where to start, or want to zero in on what you already know, this guide will get you there!


Committed to your success,


Marina x


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