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Closing Out Your Month Strong

A topic that I believe is often underappreciated is closing out one month, year or goal, before moving on to the next. So in honor of the end of Summer and August, let’s talk about how to close out your month strong and set yourself up for September. When I get to the last day of the month, and the first of the next, I make sure I set aside some time for reflection and planning. The first thing I ask myself is, what did I accomplish? Often we get so busy in our daily lives that everything we did during the month becomes a blur of daily to-do lists, errands, and repetitive tasks, and it’s hard to put a finger on what actually happened. Which is why my first step is to identify what DID get done so I can celebrate my wins. It’s also very eye-opening to see what was accomplished so that I know that what I had been doing every day was actually getting me closer to my goals and that I was focusing on priorities rather than just reverting to autopilot mode and doing busywork that accomplished nothing other than spinning my wheels.

My next step when I am closing out a month is to reflect back to make sure that everything I have been focusing on has been in alignment with my vision and my values. It is crucial that your vision, values, and actions are all working together toward a common purpose. In my course, The Emotional Empowerment Project, I teach values to exercise what helps to put everything in perspective and keeps us in integrity. That way you don’t wake up one day and realize your dreams have slipped away and your priorities have been completely out of focus. To me, this piece of the puzzle is at the center of making my life fit together in harmony. If I lose sight of my vision, fall out of my values, or don’t take the necessary steps to move forward to reach my goals, then I am not feeling fulfilled and like I am following my purpose. So make this one a priority and do regular check-ups.

The third key in transitioning for me is planning ahead for the next chapter. There is so much less stress and anxiety in planning ahead rather than flying by the seat of your pants. You’ll feel more in control and mentally prepared for what’s ahead, which means you’ll stay on track for those long term goals without having to rush at the end of the month to play catch up. To do this, I take 3 steps. First, I do a brain dump. Write everything on paper-your ideas, plans, and to-do lists. Just take everything and put it down, and then you can prioritize it in three categories. Things that need to be done by you and are more urgent, things that you want to get done at some point but aren’t time-sensitive right away, and things that are someday tasks or can be done by someone else. Then I take my calendar and put everything down that has a specific deadline, and assign times to everything else. Whether you are a paper calendar person or prefer an online calendar as I do, the most important thing is that your system works for you and holds you accountable. And finally, I make my to-do lists. You can do this on a task manager app, or write it in your notebook or datebook. The key for me is to have a running to-do list in order of priority with no more than 10 items on it so that I don’t get overwhelmed and I can check things off as they get accomplished. There are many options out there, so again my find what works for you or what you already have.  Smartphones and planners all have to do list options, so open one up and start using it. 

When looking at monthly goals, I like to look one last time at that big vision, then break it down into smaller pieces. So go over your goals, give yourself a deadline, and then work backward to give yourself a list of what needs to be done monthly, weekly, and daily. I prefer to give myself an outline for each week and then days things will get done, that way as the schedule changes I have the fluidity to move things around. But if you have more of a set schedule, putting things in time slots may work best for you rather than a daily approach. The point is to increase your productivity, decrease your stress, and to stop yourself from feeling like you are on a hamster wheel going nowhere. If you are stuck and feeling like you need support to get a plan in place, I’m offering free 30 minute unstuck strategy sessions where I help you get the clarity about why you’re stuck, and together we will put together a plan of 3 ways to get yourself unstuck now. To book your session, click here.