📝 Productivity

How To Plan Your Monthly Schedule Ahead of Time

Planning your month is a game changer for improving productivity and reducing stress levels. Here’s how to plan your month for success so you can get your schedule organized ahead of time!

Do you ever get to the end of the month and wonder if you’ve actually accomplished anything? It might seem like you’ve been working constantly, yet you can’t remember what you were even working on.

If you live by daily to-do lists, you might not be working in alignment with your bigger goals and priorities. It’s easy to get into autopilot mode and do the same things day in and day out without actually making progress on what matters.

Planning your month is a game changer for improving productivity and reducing stress levels. Here’s how to plan your month for success so you can get your schedule organized ahead of time!

That’s why I’m a huge fan of monthly planning. For the past year or so, I’ve gotten into the habit of planning my months ahead of time.

I’m someone who feels anxious and stressed if I’m not prepared, so this process has been a game changer for reducing my stress levels. It’s also helped me to stay on top of everything I need to get done and anticipate what’s to come.

I love seeing how other people plan their time, so I thought I’d share how I plan ahead and set my month up for success. I hope my monthly planning process inspires you to plan and organize your schedule ahead of time!

The Benefits of Monthly Planning


Maybe you’re wondering why you should plan your month ahead of time. Of course it’s not totally necessary, but here are a few reasons why you might want to try it:

You’ll feel like you have your life together

I’ve always been the type to plan ahead because it makes me feel prepared for what’s to come. I’m not a huge fan of winging it, and I try to avoid it when possible. Though things don’t always go to plan, creating a monthly outline can reduce unnecessary stress and make you feel like you’re on top of your game.

You won’t let things fall through the cracks

I  find that planning my month ahead of time helps me stay on track with my goals. Instead of going through the month on autopilot, I can take into consideration my long term goals and vision for the future. That way, I’m more likely to make progress on them.

You won’t feel rushed to get things done

When you have a plan for the month, it gives you a sense of what you can  realistically get done. By planning ahead of time, you can space out what needs to get done without feeling rushed.  After all, if you try to work on too many projects in the same week, it’s only going to overwhelm you.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

– Alexander Graham Bell

Monthly Planning Preparation


Planning your month is a game changer for improving productivity and reducing stress levels. Here’s how to plan your month for success so you can get your schedule organized ahead of time!

Planning Tools

Before you start planning out your month, it’s helpful to get organized with a few different tools. Here’s what I use:

  • A notebook to dump out ideas and plans for the month.
  • A monthly calendar to keep track of appointments. I prefer Google Calendar because I can move things around with ease.
  • A tool for managing your projects, tasks, due dates, and recurring tasks. I recommend Asana or Trello, but you can also use a paper planner like the Erin Condren LifePlanner (pictured above).

Recommended Products:

When to Plan

I like to plan my month the week before it starts. This gives me time to get prepared so I’m not doing it all on the first of the month. That being said, you can still plan the rest of your month now no matter how much time you have left in the month.

Monthly Planning Process


Planning your month is a game changer for improving productivity and reducing stress levels. Here’s how to plan your month for success so you can get your schedule organized ahead of time!

1. Review Goals

Before I start planning out my month, I review the yearly goals I’ve set for myself. You can read this post here about how I set and plan out my goals. Reviewing my goals helps me remember what I should be focused on so I’m planning tasks that align with my bigger priorities.

2. Calendar Overview

I’ll take a look at my Google Calendar for the month and see what I have going on. This reminds me of appointments, events, and dates I need to plan around that I’d probably forget otherwise. I’ll also use this time to look through emails and messages to see if I have any other appointments to plan for.

3. Content Planning

I usually plan my blog content out on a quarterly basis and then split my months into certain themes. When I’m planning my month, I’ll review what my monthly theme is and the content I have planned. I’ll then outline each blog post and rearrange my blog and newsletter topics into an order that makes sense.

4. Project Planning

I have a running list of projects that I want to work on, such as program creation, website updates, and promotions. I’ll take a look at the list and figure out which projects I want to work on this month or need to continue working on. Once I’ve decided that, I’ll break the projects down into smaller steps in Asana and set due dates for each task. That way, I know what to work on for each week of the month.

5. Weekly Outlines

If I want to get SUPER on top of my game (let’s be honest, I don’t always do this), I’ll make an outline in my notebook for each week. In my outline, I’ll include my top three priorities for each week so that I know exactly what to focus on. Of course these things can change, but you can never be too prepared, right?

Do you plan your months in advance?


I hope this post has encouraged you to try monthly planning and see how it can work for you. It’s been a game changer for increasing my productivity and reducing my stress levels, so I hope it helps you too. I’d love to know how you plan your months if you have your own method!

Catherine Beard
Hey, I'm Catherine! I'm a mindset & self-care coach, blogger, and the creator of The Blissful Mind. I’m here to help you enjoy less burnout and overwhelm in your life so you have the time, energy, and confidence to pursue what matters.

23 Comments

  1. I do plan my month ahead, mainly in terms of blogposts and big appointments. However, I find that often a lot of things come up during the month that I didn’t anticipate. So I find it hard to stick to a structure sometimes. I would love to see an article about protecting your schedule when dealing with flexibility and uncertainty, if you have any thoughts on that.

    1. That’s a great topic, Lizzy! I think I’ll write about that in an upcoming post. I haven’t mastered it by any means, but I’m definitely better at sticking to things than I used to be :) Thanks for reading!

  2. I’m going to start doing this myself . I am a huge fan of this blog and all your tips have been giving me extra motivation. I have a huge thing coming up and I’m praying I get in. I know this is going to be a huge help. Even if I don’t I know this tool will still be a huge help so thank you!

    -sabrina

  3. Catherine, thank you for another excellent article. I haven’t taken a montly approach before but based on your advice, I’ll start setting this up for March.

  4. Oh my goodness, this was so relatable! If I don’t have a plan laid out, go weeks doing “productive” things and then look back to realize I wasn’t really getting anything done. I’ve realized that part of my planning process has to be narrowing down my tasks. Otherwise I’ll spend all my time trying to do SO MANY little things that I don’t get any really progress made. It’s so hard to know what to focus on to make real steps forward though ;/ I think having a monthly plan would help with that SO MUCH. I also liked what you said about having a theme for the month. I know you were talking about your blog content, but I think that could definitely apply to just things we want to do in life in general.

    1. I’m totally with you that it’s hard to narrow down what to focus on. Since I set my yearly goals, I just keep going back and asking myself if whatever is on my to-do list actually aligns with the goals. I think that helps me make decisions more easily!

  5. Great advice and resources!

    I’d also like to recommend inkwell Press planners and calendars. OMG! I love them. Very goal oriented with beautiful designs. They have monthly “mission boards” to check in on yearly goals. inkwellpress.com

    Another great one is Passion Planner. They help you make a “Passion Roadmap” and have monthly reflection pages too. passionplanner.com

    Thanks again for all your recommendations!

  6. I just came across your blog recently and have finally had a chance to really learn more about what it’s all about and I am loving it! It’s so inspiring and I’ve actually started using Google Calendar to create an hourly planner and never realized how much more productive I have become. I look forward to reading more!

    Emily

  7. Hello Catherine! I loved your advice on this topic. I realized that throughout the month I lose track of the important things I should truly focus on. I think it really just is a matter of organization and jotting down tasks and deadlines as a reminder. Very much needed post. By the way just found out about your blog and I’m loving it! :)

  8. Love receiving your blog posts … So inspirational! I do you use a diary/planner and have just moved from a weekly view to a daily view to try and help me be more productive with my time (I do still prefer a paper version!). I might just try planning a monthly in advance, I’ve been doing this weekly but find the weeks just come round to quickly (!) and finding I’m having to plan the next week again. Simple tweaks can make a difference 😊

  9. Thank you Catherine! This is what I have to start doing because I often find that I don’t plan enough time for the bigger projects I have going on until they’re only a few days away which leads to more stress than I need in my life.

    Roughly, how long does it take you to plan your entire month out?

  10. I never used to like the idea of planning everything and was handling things as it comes. It resulted in not moving ahead of completing many important things. Some of them just stayed there for more than year or so.
    From past one year, I have started planning and started with weekly goals. It was a productivity changing experience for me.
    Later on, I started moving things to Google calendar and now, I have started scheduling all the tasks itself on calendar. The only thing that I’m yet to do is, have my goals in place. Hopefully that will be done by this month. Your content is apt as the name of your blog “The Blissful mind”. Keep sharing

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