The end/beginning of the month is an opportune moment to take a snapshot of what you accomplished last month and to take stock of what you want to accomplish in the upcoming month. I understand that time is more of a continuum and that the flow of events doesn’t necessarily pause until a certain calendar date passes, but picking the last or first of the month for focused planning is something that many of us do.
The Franklin planner has a monthly index in two places. The front side of the first sheet in the monthly calendar is an index. There is also an index on the first sheet following the calendar on your daily filler pages. I think it is valuable to note some of the significant things you recorded during the month so in the event that you may need to refer back to previous months you will be able to quickly find the information.
Master Task List
The first of the month is ideal for taking time to consider all of the things you want to accomplish in the upcoming 30 days. Franklin has a “master task list” on the back side of the monthly calendar. This task list is broken into two columns – one for personal and one for business. In my vernacular, I think about the “business” column as my “professional” list as I’m not a business owner. I use that same term with my students as we learn about things that aren’t necessarily technical content, but more employability/success related. Professional encompasses more that just business/work related things. It may include civic engagement, organizational effectiveness, etc.
The beginning of the month is the time to build up that big old list of goals or tasks that aren’t necessarily tied to a specific time. If you’ve been using a planning system like this for very long, you likely will have items added that you thought of several months earlier, thus the master task list is a tickler file. For example, I remembered in May that my driver’s license expires in November, so I went immediately to the master task list in November and made a note to “renew driver’s license.” Now I don’t have to worry about that slipping through the cracks. There are many things like that throughout my life, so if I make it a point to always write those things down then maybe I won’t miss them.
The monthly calendar is really the launchpad for this system. The original Time Power system and Hyrum Smith’s Franklin planner system made a big point that the only calendar you should use is the one in your planner. That may have worked 10-30 years ago, but it doesn’t really cover it all now. I use the monthly calendar in my planner for most things, but I also have a Google calendar that compiles several organizational calendars in one spot, so I always review my electronic calendar and transfer scheduled items to my planner if the event directly impacts me.
As you can see above, not everything from my electronic calendar is in my planner calendar, however, knowing that there are other things going on in my profession can keep me from scheduling stuff on top of other’s events.
I’ll wrap up my monthly planning with some time focused on the upcoming week. This is the point when I transfer events from the monthly calendar to the daily pages and consider what the flow of my week might look like.
The monthly planning time is very valuable. If you are one who decorates up your planner, this could be a great time to do that. I’ve been using a habit tracker over the past few months and this is the time when I might make a new one, but I think I’m just going to incorporate that into my daily pages so I won’t be doing that this month.