One of the most asked questions in the planner community is, “How do you use your monthly spread?” It seems for many the month-at-a-glance is often overlooked for a variety of reasons. If you are using your disc-bound planner for personal reasons, I see how it could cause you to think you are duplicating information if you write something in on your monthly view and then also on your weekly view. But keep reading as to why I think you shouldn’t overlook your monthly calendar.
If you are using your Happy Planner as a business planner you might want to also check out how I use my monthly view for blog planning in, planner tip #4, How to Use Your Happy Planner as a Blog Planner.
As a planner, the goal is to be organized, focused and to stay on task. So, logically we tend to pay more attention to our weekly schedule and layout. But, don’t overlook (or underestimate) your monthly calendar view. It really is a great tool to use in managing your to-do’s and life in general. It gives you a quick snapshot or overview of your month which ultimately helps to better organize your weekly schedule.
One way to ensure you don’t ignore your monthly view is to –jack it up! I admittedly didn’t use my Happy Planner monthly view mainly because after decorating my week(s), the monthly view just seemed too boring. But then I found the monthly view sticker kits from Jump to It Designs. I absolutely love their kits, themes and functional stickers. I’ve been shopping with them since June 2016 and not only do they have superb customer service, I have been happy with every single sticker I’ve purchased from them.
The first monthly view planner sticker kit I ever used was in September (How to Fix Pre-Decorated Happy Planner Pages) and ever since then I’ve been using my monthly calendar views regularly. One of the features I really like about the monthly planner sticker kits is the sidebar notes section. I use this area to list my top three monthly goals that I’d like to accomplish and having a decorated sidebar just makes it that much nicer to go back and reference this box on a regular daily basis.
Shown above is the November ‘cornucopia’ monthly planner sticker kit. I love the autumnal feel while still giving me that seasonal vibe for Thanksgiving. You can never go wrong with the golden yellows, browns, rich russets, greens and warm orange colors for the Fall season. Even with the date sticker covers, I still have lots of room to write in what ever I’d like.
I’ve pulled together a list of 25 reasons why you shouldn’t overlook using your monthly planner spread. Getting better at productivity means using the tools you have at hand. One other tip I’ll share with you that couples with using my monthly view is create a daily routine. Each morning I pull out my planner and add in any new calendar information or deletions, plan out my day based on my goals and work tasks; then I set about getting my daily to-do list done. This process really does work.
25 Ways to Use Your Monthly View
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- When bills are due (great for budgeting!)
- Pay dates
- Work schedule
- Class schedule
- School Events
- School Assignments
- Meal Plans
- Project due dates
- Family events
- When you get your period (for all you girls out there!)
- Steps / Miles (walked or ran)
- Television movies (such as during Christmas time, the 25 Days of Christmas)
- An inspiring quote each day
- A memory a day
- Track online orders
- Planner challenges
- Planner release dates
- Favorite brands release dates
Now when I plan, I start with my monthly layout then go onto my weekly spread. My weekly spreads tend to lay out all of the above, that are relevant from my monthly calendar, along with my weekly goals and even some inspiring quotes. You can see most of my planner spreads on Instagram @BehindtheDesigns.
The key to utilizing the monthly view is to use it for pre-planning or forward planning, as some call it. Then, when it’s time to set up your week, you simply reference your monthly view and transfer the relevant data over to your week. It’s also okay if your monthly view gets messy; it should be messy because it’s just a “holding” spot for all your life events and happenings and things are bound to change.
Shown above is another November monthly sticker kit from Jump to It Designs called ‘woodland scene’. Although November is most recognized for the Thanksgiving holiday, this woodland scene was too adorable to pass up. Another thing I really love about their stickers is they are repositionable. So if an appointment changes I simply pull up the sticker and put on the new date.
Recently, Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI) has introduced a MINI planner. It’s all the rage right now as the perfect size to carry in your purse. In the next blog post, planner tip #6, I’ll show you 6 Different Ways to Decorate the Mini Happy Planner Weekly Pages using your existing stickers (and even ‘non-mini’ stickers). To keep continuity between my classic and mini Happy Planners, I tend to make my spreads match.
If you are inspired to start using your monthly spread don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!
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Disclosure: I received free stickers from Jump To It Designs Inc. It was of my choosing to blog about these stickers and all opinions expressed are completely my own.