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Using a monthly calendar for long term planning

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Planning on a monthly calendar isn't something a lot of people write about because it seems like common sense: write things down on your calendar. But when you're handling work, school and a social life it's hard to balance big picture projects with your day-to-day obligations. Today I'll be showing you how to map out your month for long term goals.

planner, planning, erin condren, personal planner, personal, organization, productivity, organized, planning, planner community

I'll be doing my planning in my Personal Planner shown above. I did a review and giveaway of Personal Planner earlier this week which you can read here. Or enter the giveaway below, it's open until August 20.

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Get it together

Before mapping out my month I like to make sure I have my work schedule, any plans and any big assignments on hand and ready to go into my calendar. I also like to make sure I have washi tape, highlighters and colored pens when organizing life and school. I also like using this stamp kit from Studio l2e. For more about my color coding system you can read my post here. Once you've got a rough idea of your month, it's time to get it all on paper.

Work on obligations big to small 

I like to start with the things that take up the most of my time, which is typically work and school. When planning with long term goals in mind, you should first see where your head is going to be the coming month before you can get your goals down. I have a pretty regular work schedule, so I normally fill it in a month at a time. If you work off a weekly schedule, simply write in your shifts as soon as you get them each week.

From there I'll add things like trips and birthdays and other personal things. Next I'll add big projects due for school, then I'll finally add in my goals.

Plan your goals big to small

Ok, so you've got your schedule down for the foreseeable month, this is just a rough idea of what kinds of things are going to be occupying your headspace in the next few weeks. Now it's time to think about your long term goals. At the beginning of the year I like to write out my big goals, then break those down into smaller, monthly chunks. For example, my goal of reading 24 to 36 books this year can easily be broken down to "Read two to three books per month."

Splitting up them up makes your long term goals much more manageable. I've also found giving myself a range makes it a little easier to not get discouraged when I'm not perfectly on track. The Personal Planner has a perfect notes section on the monthly spread for goals. For August, my monthly goals included...
planner, planning, erin condren, personal planner, personal, organization, productivity, organized, planning, planner community
1. Take my nephew to build a bear for his birthday // Spend more time with family this year
2. Schedule a guest blogger during my vacation // Grow my blog this year
3. Read two to three books // Read 24 to 36 books this year
4. Workout three days per week // lose 15 lb this year

Write in your goals small to big

Ok, stick with me here. At this point you know you obligations like work and school. You also know your monthly goals. Now we've just got to make sure you finish your monthly goals in between your obligations. Now's the time you fill in things like "read 50 pages of book" or your workouts for the month. For really big projects/goals like that artist presentation I've got coming up, I'll tend to look for a free day I can devote to it.

Now there ain't nothing to it but to do it. Remember, planning is suppose to be a tool to help you get things done, not this huge time suck. You can use your planner as much or as little as you need, but with a little organization you can map you long term goals easily and effectively.

I received compensation in exchange for writing this article. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

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  1. Love your tip on working from big to small. It's a great way to see figure out what you want the big picture to be at the end (ex: reading a certain amount of books). And using that big picture to break it down into more doable and less overwhelming tasks. I'll try it for my planner this year!

    -Kim :)