For Step Five we’re going to explore your approach to monthly planning in your business and creative life. Using your quarterly plan as your anchor and guidance, I’m going to walk you through four steps to help you enter each month with clarity, focus, and direction.
Outlining your monthly priorities
Using your quarterly action plan as a jumping off point, outline your core goals, priorities, and areas of focus for the month ahead. Things I’ve learned in the process are:
- Try and keep it to 10 and under - any more than this and it can feel a little overwhelming
- Have a blend of nitty gritty business goals and priorities you want to honour in your life and creativity too
- Be brave enough to outline the priorities that truly matter to you - instead of the ones you may think are expected of you
- Be honest with yourself about your capacity for the month ahead - listen to your intuition and let that guide you when it comes to what you want to hold yourself accountable to this month
Write your master to-do list
One of my favourite tasks for warding off overwhelm in my business, and one I recommend to all my clients whenever they want to develop an intuitive workflow, is to create a master to-do list. A master to-do list is your anchor each month and week to working intuitively - it keeps you on track when you start to get distracted by the non-essentials along the way.
At the beginning of each month, outline:
- Your workload, deadlines, and tasks for the month
- A separate, step-by-step, master to-do list for any projects you’re working on
- To get extra focused, organise your master to-do list chronologically so it’s easier to spread out throughout the month
It sounds like a super simple approach to getting organised, but so many of us just leap into into our work without getting prepared fully beforehand. Since learning to work intuitevely in my business, my master to-do list each month has been my anchor to a more joyful, impactful, and productive workflow in my business.
Breaking your month down week by week
Next up is to look at your month as a whole and break it down week by week. Things to consider at first are:
- Any life commitments and responsibilities you need to honour in your schedule this month (maybe it’s a family occasion, or a holiday, or a wedding or special event)
- Any work commitments or events you need to honour and make space for too
Next is to take your master to-do list and break it down throughout each week of the month. Some tasks may be every single week - if for example you do client work on specific days each week, or if you have ongoing projects. But to prioritise every single thing you want to in your business this month, the best thing to do is to map out how you’re actually going to fit it all in and then decide when you’re going to do it.
Let’s take a typical month in my own business as an example. Say I have client work, a season of my podcast to wrap up, and a course like this one to launch too. If it’s a four week month, I may map it out like this:
- Week One: Clients + Podcast
- Week Two: Clients + Podcast
- Week Three: Clients + Finish Creating Content For Course
- Week Four: Clients + Prep Course For Launch
By deciding how I want to prioritise my workload throughout the month, I can feel focused and confident each week that I’m working on the things I need to work on. This also helps me honour the kind of lifestyle I want to live too. Say for example I knew the month was going to be very intense, I would build in a week where there was more space for rest too. Or if I knew that I would need to give my energy to a family event one week, I would schedule that in so it could be prioritised.
This process is how we work intuitively - by deciding how we want to tackle our workload, by leaving ourselves breadcrumbs and guidance to work from each month, and by planning in advance, we waste so much less time and we feel so much better while we make things happen too.
Outlining your core intentions for the month
The last step in Monthly Planning is to outline your core intentions for the month. This step is where you get to focus in on how you want to feel in your creative work and life for the month ahead. Ask yourself:
- What values do I want to honour in my work and my life this month?
- What mantras do I want to guide me as I navigate the month ahead to come?
- How do I want to feel in my business this month? How do I want to feel in my life?
- What do I want to make space for throughout this month and prioritise in my business, relationships, and home life?
I always encourage my clients to outline these somewhere visible - maybe it’s on post-its near your desk, or a page in your planner, or maybe on a chalkboard in your office. Keep these intentions close to you each month so you get to decide how you make things happen, instead of your business and life deciding for you.
Next up we’re going to explore how you can weekly plan in your business so you can build a daily grind that is joyful, impactful, and productive each day...