Monthly Planning Session: January 2023

I’m trying something different for 2023, and I think it’ll be a good experiment. At the end of the month, I’m going to do a snapshot like I put in the treatment tracker booklet, and then I’m going to set my goals for the next month based on that snapshot. I’m not going to look really far into the future, I’m just going to think about the coming month.

I think this could be interesting for a bunch of us to do together, so I’ll detail my process in this post and you’ll be able to download a printable at the end of the post that will give you somewhere to keep track of what you’re hoping to accomplish each month.

A pinnable image with a cat, some people performing different chores, and the dates written below.

End of December Snapshot

I have about four major categories that I use for my planner. I split some of them into sub-categories, mainly because I like my small containers.

Now, in the treatment tracking booklet, the symptoms get rated out of 5. For this, I’m not rating each area of my life. Rather, I’m writing down a sentence or two that describes the current state of affairs in each category or sub-category.

I decided not to actually rate each category because I feel like this is an entirely subjective activity, so it’s not likely to provide any truly meaningful data. I’ll be able to see how things change over time without the numerical rating because of my next step.

Once I have my descriptions written, I go back and write down a few things that could improve that area of my life. These are the things that will help me see how I’ve improved (or regressed) in each category.

Overwhelmed!

Writing everything down like this is great, but also overwhelming. There’s so much to do! But I don’t have to do all of it right now. That’s the thing. This is just the jumping-off point. I’m nowhere near finished the planning. But since it is overwhelming, I’ll set it aside and move on to something else.

January’s Important Events & Appointments

While my overwhelming chart is taking a break, I can pull out my monthly calendar and my phone, and start copying events and appointments so they match. I’ll just do January right now, since that is the month I’m worried about.

Back to the Chart

Okay, time to go back to my chart. First I’ll go through the things that I can do to improve my life, noting whether each item is a project or a habit.

Project: A one-time thing, though it may take a long time to complete.

Habit: Anything you need to do regularly, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.

This helps even more with the overwhelm of the chart, because I only need to choose ONE daily habit to track this month, and I only need to choose one project per category. It’s totally manageable after all; one habit and up to six projects (max) are way easier to think about!

Reminder Time

Now I need to be able to keep these things front & centre. I’m a Visual processor, so I’m going to use pictures (with words alongside) to illustrate my goals. I’ll divide things up on the page by category because I’m a Micro processor too. I’ll keep that page in my planner but have it where I can see it whenever I open it, just because posting it on the wall would be weird for my family.

Visual: Make a poster or fun page in your planner

Hidden: Write it all out in your planner

Micro: Do the above for each life category; don’t be afraid to have sub-categories!

Macro: Put everything together in one place

Following Through

Now I have my plan for January… how do I intend to make sure the plan happens?

That’s where my weekly and daily planning come in.

I think I’ve noted before that I’m good at making plans but struggle with following through on those plans. That has absolutely not changed! My current medication makes it easier, but it’s still not a given. What I’m hoping is that this approach will help me follow through, since everything will be smaller and more immediate. I should be able to have small successes, which will help me continue to work on things.

That’s the idea, at least. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Planning

I’m expecting to do my weekly planning on Saturday, hopefully in the evening. I’ll start with the assessment of the previous week, to get that in my head, and then I’ll move to the next week’s schedule.

The first things I’ll put into my week are things that are (or should be) set in stone. That means transferring things from the monthly calendar and then writing in breakfast, lunch, and dinner on each day (because I forget to eat, I have to put these in). Hopefully I’ll be able to figure out an errands day at this point, too. Once I’ve got those foundations, I want to schedule time for me to “Follow my Whims” every day, as well as decompression time. Both of these are vital for me, both because I need to be able to just do whatever for a while and because, as an introvert who is homeschooling an extrovert, I need time to myself every day. These are self-care, and I need to care for myself better. Once that is all in my schedule, I am going to try time blocking again.

Time Blocking?

In case you haven’t heard of it, time blocking is basically like a loose schedule, kind of like what you have when you’re in school. One reason why I think this could work well for me (and for other ADHDers) is that it encourages loose scheduling.

When I’m making a schedule, I’m tempted to get really detailed and break out every single thing I need to do and assign it a time. Then if I get a duration wrong or something unexpected happens, my whole schedule is out the window. Time blocking forces me to be more general, because it’s more like “From 9-10 a.m. I’ll work on house-related tasks.” So what I do isn’t prescribed, it’s up to me to do whatever I can during that time period.

Meal Planning

Don’t forget about meal planning! I have that on my weekly planning page for a reason! I’ll make sure I do that once all the scheduling is done, since then I’ll know what days we need quick meals and what days we might be eating out, etc. Then I can make my grocery list for whichever day I’ll be running errands.

Daily Planning

Nightly I’ll do my assessment of the day and then plan the next day. My Goals and gravy will come from my chosen projects for the month, and of course my habit is from that work as well. I’ll fill out my daily planning page so that it’s easy to see what to do as I move through the schedule from my weekly page.

One thing I’m hoping to start is a monthly YouTube video. That could be a “plan with me” kind of thing, or it could be on a topic. What would you prefer? Let me know!

For now, go forth and use this week’s printable to create your plan for January. Good luck everyone!

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