Monthly planners can be used for a variety of purposes, such as tracking monthly goals, tasks, and activities. Or even keeping track of your monthly expenses, savings, and income.
Keep reading below for 9 ideas for what to write in a monthly planner for a more successful month.
1. Monthly tasks
Many people track what they need to accomplish on a daily or weekly basis, but if you have tasks that only need to be completed once per month, a monthly planner is a great place to track this.
Monthly tasks could include cleaning that only needs to be done once per month, work tasks, regular monthly appointments, etc.
Create a section in your planner for these monthly tasks where you can keep track of what must happen each month.
You can then refer to this page when writing down those monthly tasks into their scheduled day on your monthly calendar spread.
On the reference sheet, it can be helpful to write the date that you last completed the task. Otherwise, you may find it more beneficial to write the next date that you want to complete that task.
Include a notes section so that you can write down anything that was either different during the last completion of the task or if you know that there will be something different needed the next month.
2. Monthly goals
Setting monthly goals is an important step in using your monthly planner.
Monthly goals could include weight loss, drinking more water, getting more sleep, working less/more, making more money by getting that raise, spending less time on social media, planning more fun events for your children, and so on.
These goals can be big or small. I would suggest having some of both so that you will easily be able to accomplish some of your goals. This will give you the motivation to work towards the bigger goals or the harder to achieve goals.
A monthly planner can help you reach your goals by providing a more detailed overview of what needs to be done to accomplish your goal by the end of the month.
If your planner has extra lined pages each month, that is a great spot to write down your monthly goals and be able to track them.
On the lined pages, write January through December along the top of the page(s), and then start making a list of the goals that you would like to accomplish.
Once you have the list that you want to accomplish for that month, put them in the order of priority by numbering them from most important to least important.
Write in the date that you would LIKE to complete the goal by under that month and then if you met that goal, highlight the date in green. If you didn’t meet the goal, highlight the date in red and then put a new date to meet that goal under the next month.
Each month you may come up with more goals that you can add to the list.
Once you have the date that the goal was accomplished, you can then go to your monthly calendar spread and write down what you accomplished on that specific day.
Tracking monthly accomplishments will allow you to analyze your progress and compare monthly activity at the end of the year.
This is different from goals because goals are what you are HOPING to accomplish but accomplishments are the goals that you DID complete.
It is actually more important to view your accomplishments frequently because you will feel pride. This will make it more likely that you will push forward to feel that great feeling again.
If there is a notes section on the side of your monthly calendar, that is a great spot to write your biggest accomplishments for the month that you can provide write more detail on to view later.
Use planner stickers, markers, or drawings when writing down your accomplishments to make them stand out on the page.
If you have any pictures of your accomplishment, print out those pictures and paste them into your planner as a visual reminder of what you were able to do.
For goals such as weight loss, you may want to have a new picture of yourself each month so you can compare them to see the progress you have made.
It is so important to celebrate our successes. So come up with a system that will work well to keep you motivated.
Once you form a system, it will be easy to keep up with your progress for the month. When comparing photos at the end of each year, you will see what goals were accomplished and how much of a change you have made in your life.
4. Monthly activities
Do you get together with friends once per month? Or maybe you have a date with your spouse every month, go to the movies, or have a spa day.
These are activities that you may want to schedule into your monthly calendar to make sure you actually make time to do them.
Vacations likely won’t happen every single month, but if you know that you want to schedule one within the next 6 months, that is something you should put in your monthly calendar to make sure you take the time to plan for that vacation.
It’s best to book your vacation several months in advance to ensure you get the flight, hotel, etc… that you want.
Anything fun that you do for yourself, or with your family and friends should be tracked under monthly activities.
Since these are often positive experiences, they should be marked in your monthly calendar in a creative way to make them stand out.
I would suggest taking photos and including those in your planner. Whatever you choose, it should be different than what you chose to make your accomplishments stand out.
If using pictures, you will easily be able to flip through your calendar at the end of the year and see all of the amazing things that you did that year.
5. Monthly expenses
A monthly planner is a great place to track expenses. While we spend money daily or weekly, we only receive bank and credit card statements monthly, so we should be tracking for the full month to see the big picture.
You may want a separate planner to track your expenses, as it can get cluttered quickly with your daily tasks and appointments.
Anytime you buy anything, make sure to keep the receipt and then write down the total of that receipt on the date of the purchase in your planner.
On a separate page or spreadsheet, keep track of your recurring monthly charges, such as electricity, water, tv, mortgage, etc, as these are important to include in your monthly expenses.
As soon as you receive your bill, write down what the bill is and the amount due on the day that the bill is due. Highlight the amount in green when paid so that you know to include it in your monthly tally.
At the end of the month, you will easily be able to match the expenses on your credit card statement and bank statement with the expenses written in your monthly planner.
Create a section at the bottom of your monthly calendar where you can total the expenses for that month.
6. Monthly savings
Creating savings goals each month will make it more likely that you will work towards cutting down on expenses and lowering fees.
Monthly planners are the perfect way to track monthly savings in one place.
When you begin tracking expenses, you will get a better picture of what you are spending each month, what categories (eg. dining out, entertainment) tend to take up a lot of money, and where there is an opportunity for savings.
Savings goals that you could include are:
- saving an extra $250 this month, with the idea being to increase this amount slightly each month
- increasing your income for the month by taking on more hours or asking for a raise so you can set more money aside
- only buying grocery items that are lower cost or on sale (meal planning can help lower costs)
- not buying any new clothing for the month
- track monthly savings or debt payments as they are made to give a better idea of where you are in your savings process
Savings should be tracked on a separate page in your planner, as they won’t be necessarily fit into a particular day.
Review your expenses and income from the previous month and write down which areas you want to improve in the next month. Those are the items that you should be tracking next month.
Once you calculate how much you saved on these items that month, you can write the savings total on your calendar page where you calculated your expenses and income.
Coming up with a plan to save more each month could mean you finally get to go on that dream vacation, pay off your mortgage, or get a new sports car.
Make sure that you have your ultimate goals clearly documented in your planner so that you can visualize exactly what you are going to do with the savings.
7. Monthly income
Income is usually one of the more predictable things to track. In a regular job, you will get paid either weekly, biweekly, or monthly, but the pay tends to be about the same each month.
In your monthly calendar spread, write down the date you expect to receive your payment and how much you expect to receive.
You can also create monthly income goals by tracking monthly work hours and income. If you get paid for working overtime, then you may set a goal to work longer hours to get paid more that month. This can then be added to your expected pay.
Create a section at the bottom of your monthly calendar where you can total the income for that month.
8. Time Management
Planners in general can help you manage your time better. It allows you to put everything down on paper instead of trying to keep everything in your head.
Being able to actually schedule time for certain tasks, activities, and appointments right into your calendar helps to visualize how much time you have available for these tasks, but also makes it less likely that you will overbook yourself.
You may also see a pattern of being really overscheduled at the end of the month and it is really overwhelming. So you may be able to shift some monthly tasks and appointments around to less busy times of the month.
If you would like more information about time management and how you can save time every day, check out this time management article.
9. Motivational quotes
Do you know the best way to stay motivated? Write motivational quotes in your planner each month!
Motivational quotes can help to keep your goals in focus. They serve as visual reminders of what you want to accomplish, and they remind you why it’s important.
Many planners come with quotes already included and they are often really great. However, adding your own quotes will boost your motivation because you will be choosing quotes that reflect where you are in your life at that moment.
You know what you like to hear to push you to keep moving forward. So only you can decide which quotes will work best for you.
Read more about planners here:
What to track in a daily planner
Why planners tend to be expensive
With this list, you should be able to create a plan that ensures your success, not just for the month, but through the whole year.
As the year progresses, it may be beneficial to change monthly goals or add monthly expenses and savings goals that are specific to you and your needs. Your monthly planner should reflect your current state and therefore should change often.
Try to make your planner more personal by adding art that you like, pictures, color, and quotes. This will ensure you are more effective and more likely to use it.