Hoorah! The start of a new month! Even better it is February. I love February because the weather starts to get better, flowers start to appear, nights are lighter, mornings are lighter, there are usually more pancakes (yum!) and there is something about a 4 week month that greatly pleases my sense of symmetry.
I also love the start of a new month because I get into my bullet journal, reflect and plan. Here are 5 things I ask myself to aid my planning for the new month.
1. How much progress did I make on my goals from last month?
I didn’t achieve all of my goals for January, but I surpassed my goals in some areas so overall I’m pleased. I think my goals last month were realistic and I liked that I made sure they gave me the flexibility to have a couple of days where my productivity wasn’t 100%. That leads me to question 2.
2. What can I learn from last month’s planning?
Leaving myself flexibility (both in terms of calendar space and mindset) really worked for me. I’m not beating myself up about a few bad days or not having achieved all of my revenue goals. I know I didn’t achieve them because a new opportunity came up for further work later in the year and I prioritised that. In terms of my yearly goals, there was great progress so I didn’t rigidly stick to my plan for January because I had the bigger picture in mind.
In terms of my fitness goals, I think I was a little easy on myself last month so I’m stepping it up a notch this month.
3. What 3 things could I do this month to get me further towards my goal and vision for the year?
You may recall my yearly vision is Relaxed and Confident. I’m using this as my guide to my yearly goals and that is keeping me super focussed. It is massively helping me filter out the things that do NOT get me near my goals. I am a people pleaser. My natural tendency is to say yes to everything asked of me. When I can relate everything I do to my overall goals, it is much much easier to say no to those extraneous tasks.
4. Am I putting the important things first?
Have you heard about the college professor who asked his students if a large jar, full of golf balls, was full. They said yes. He then poured lots of pebbles in and asked again if it was full. They said yes. He then poured sand in and asked it if was full. They said yes. He poured a pint of beer in.
He told them the golf balls represent the things most important to you like your family, closest friends, health and passion. The pebbles are things like your job, your house. The sand is all the other stuff, the small stuff. If you put the sand in first there is no room for the important things. The beer, of course, represents that there is always time for a beer with a friend even when Life if full.
I love this analogy because it helps me to remember that no matter how successful my business is, nothing would matter without those closest to me or my health. (I’m not always in agreement with the beer analogy because sometimes getting out of the house to see someone may take away energy you need for yourself when you’re very depleted!)
I have a set number of evenings in a week that I won’t work and a set number of weekends a month that I won’t work because I want that time with my family. In some circles that makes me unusual. Some entrepreneurs wear their long hours and lack of days off like a badge of honour. If that works for you, that’s fine and I am not knocking that. But I know I don’t want to do that so sometimes I have to remind myself to ignore the siren call of working all hours and tune into my family time instead.
5. Have I left enough time for me?
I am an introvert in that I need time along to regain energy. I love interacting with people, I love talking and hearing about other people’s lives. But I need a bit of time for me to re-energise. Some months I book a spa day, some months I make sure I have some time to myself just reading. I know if I don’t have that time I get grumpy. That’s not good for anyone. Even if it is just half an hour a week, my time to myself, not working, just relaxing is key to my balance, vitality and wellbeing.
So they are my 5 questions that help me plan for the month ahead. I hope you find them helpful. If you’re a fellow bullet journaller and you have some beautiful layouts to share, I’d love to see them! (Especially if they are Pinable in Pinterest where they would feature on my Get Organised Board).