The Monthly Momentum Planner
Strategic planning, done correctly, pushes the ball forward in a meaningful way.
The Monthly Momentum Planner helps you get your arms around the monthly level of perspective, the crucial and first level where we really see creative momentum start to happen. It's also the level of perspective that many of us haven't figured out yet. Think about it: you can probably easily plan your day and maybe your week. But the month might get away from you. The key focus of the Monthly Momentum Planner is to help you chunk your monthly projects down into weekly goals. It works with the Weekly Momentum Planner and the Daily Momentum Planner.
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How to Use This Planner
Watch this video walkthrough of the monthly planner, and/or read through the step-by-step guide below.
This planner serves as your monthly dashboard. Use it when you’re planning your month and review it throughout to make changes as needed. Start with the left side of the planner first, as it’s mostly about your constraints.
This Quarter's Projects
This Quarter's Projects is the spot to list projects that all go toward a certain goal, and that contain a bunch of other projects. Fun fact: the English language doesn't have a word for "big project" like it does for big house (mansion).
(Note: If you're using the Yearly and/or Quarterly Momentum Planners, you will be able to simply transfer your quarterly objectives from those planners to this one.)
For instance, "Write the Awesomesauce Ebook" is a (probably) month-sized project that's broken down into component week-sized projects like "Write Chapter 1 of Awesomesauce Ebook." The week-sized project "Write Chapter 1 of Amesomesauce Ebook" is broken down into discrete tasks. While we're on categories and organizing, you may find it useful to associate the levels of actions with timeframes. So:
Objectives are broad goals that relate to years and maybe quarters.
Projects relate to quarters, months, and weeks.
Tasks relate to days.
To be clear, I'm not saying that projects take weeks to accomplish (usually it's longer) — rather, I'm saying that projects should be the main focus when you're doing your weekly planning.
Yes, these conventions violate GTD (Getting Things Done) principles, but I've found that they're a lot easier to understand and use. OK, so now that you've got the skeleton of your month laid out, you can move onto...
This Month's Projects
Below the aforementioned block is space to write down what goals or projects you plan to work on during the month. The little numbers do not necessarily directly align to the numbers in the "This Quarter's Projects" block. However, the goals/projects that you put in here should relate to those quarter-sized projects you listed.
For instance, let's go back to the month-sized project "Write the Awesomesauce Ebook." That's a great objective, but thinking about writing it won't get it written. Writing it will get it written, and to write it, you have to allocate some time to it. Otherwise, it just becomes a bee that sleeps during the day and stings you at night.
These blocks may frustrate the hell out of you because there are only five slots. They are intentionally limited, though, for two reasons: 1) to keep overwhelm down, and 2) to force help you make meaningful stuff the priority. Time and resources are finite - make 'em count.
This is where you'll list this month’s time-bound events (like regular reviews, birthdays, appointments, etc.) along with the corresponding day of the month on which they’ll occur.
Here’s where you’ll list the projects you didn’t plan for, likely stemming from priorities shifting or opportunities arising. Decide if these are projects that you can punt until next month, or maybe next quarter — and once you do, transfer them to that new planner page.
The Monthly Dashboard is where you’ll list the (no more than) five projects or priorities for each of the weeks of the month. These might include scheduled events, focus blocks for project work, or other significant tasks that will take a day or part of a day to accomplish.
Get Inspired with the Monthly Momentum Planner
Strategic thinking, done correctly, helps you push the ball forward in a meaningful way because it helps you project effectiveness further into the future. Effectiveness comes from linking today's action to this month's objectives — that way you can work "in the trenches" with the confidence that it's worthwhile. Want more? Check out the Weekly and Daily Momentum Planners.
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