August is here! I hope you enjoy a peek into my monthly planning process with this Plan with Me post. This is a new column on the blog that features planning and productivity thoughts and tips for the month.
Ah, August. 2020 has been beyond difficult. So many people are facing uncertainty and new challenges because of the pandemic.
My goal for the last two years has been to create a boutique media agency. I want a flexible business that I can use to support myself, but also use as a platform for things like my music and art. I started the tradition of a monthly planning session to check in with my goals and progress both professionally and personally. Usually, this is a day I set aside for review, catching up, and planning ahead.
Monthly business planning day
Some of the things I do during a monthly planning day:
- Catch up on business blogs and podcasts I follow
- Review my quarterly and yearly goals and adjust process
- Look over my weekly calendars and bullet journal for the past month and check for lost ideas or projects that need to be brought up to date
- Create an overview or snapshot of the upcoming month
- Work on editorial calendars (I like to work at least a month in advance)
If you’ve never tried a planning day at the end of the month, I highly recommend it!
One of my favorite business podcasts is by Racheal Cook. She does a fantastic job talking about work and personal life balance. In her most recent podcast, she points out that one of the best questions we can ask ourselves right now is, “How can I create my new normal?”
Thankfully, my business normal isn’t that different than it was before the pandemic. I write things, I create recipes, and I take photographs. Even though I do sometimes take on work for clients, my blogs are reader-focused rather than client based, and I create info products like eBooks and online courses. So, business continues (mostly) as usual.
Personal planning for August: creating a thrive list
However, one of the things Racheal mentions in her podcast is that she creates a thrive list to keep herself on track with her physical and emotional health. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough without a pandemic, so this advice was super helpful for me. I realized that yes, of course I am missing normal. I’ve been neglecting taking a day off every week because I’d rather focus on work than face reality. Not much work-life balance there!
I always sit down with my Silk and Sonder planner and a cup of coffee sometime during the last week of the month. Sometimes I do this on my planning day, sometimes not. These planners are so helpful for remembering to take time away from work. Each month has a different self care theme. It includes thoughtful journal prompts, coloring pages, and habit and mood trackers.
Silk and Sonder planners also have a wonderful review page that helps me step out of the hustle and get some perspective. It’s a perfect way to check in with myself about what’s going on in my personal life.
My thrive list
After I finished up my review page, I created a thrive list on one of the notes pages in my planner. Your thrive list is a place to jot down the things that you need to feel your best and do your best work. You don’t need to think about big changes, necessarily. The top three things I realized I needed-
- yoga back on my schedule (I broke my leg earlier this year and still haven’t made it a regular part of my routine again)
- make sure I take my daily vitamin (because I’ve been slacking, but it DOES make a big difference for me)
- reach out to some friends (and make some new ones) for some socially distanced coffee breaks or walks in the park
Of course, it’s all good and well to make a thrive list, but it’s not going to do you any good unless you make it actionable. So, I ordered new vitamins (#affiliate) because I was out; found a yoga mat that I’m actually inspired to use (#affiliate) (I needed to replace my old one), and created a profile on Bumble BFF to see if I could make new coffee friends. And yes, yoga is on my daily habit tracker to make sure I remember. ; )
If you want to give Silk and Sonder planners a try, please feel free to use my code to get 25% off your first order. (#affiliate). I’ve been using them for almost a year and love them!
What are your blogging plans for August?
So, before I go, let’s talk about some August blog planning things. I touched on my general monthly strategy at the beginning of the post. However, it’s also good to think about seasonal planning month by month. Three blog and social media hot topics for August:
- Back to school
- Outdoor gatherings (picnics, cook outs, etc)
- Organizing at home (because of back to school)
There’s a good chance that people need organizing tips more than ever. Some schools are still distance learning. Some people are still working from home. Homeschooling may be a hot topic. Home office and organization may be popular, too. The pandemic also means that upcoming Labor Day celebrations may look different than usual. Think about how to help your readers adjust to their new normal. (And consider sharing what your new normal looks like, too!)
But you know what else August is all about, my friends? August is a great time to plan for the winter holidays. If the rest of the year has been any indication, the holidays are going to be weird, unsettling, and expectation-defying.
Holiday content planning
August is a great time to get ready for fall and winter festivities- however those may look for you this year. Even if we may need new traditions (ugly holiday sweater face-mask competitions, anyone?), this may be a year that people need their family togetherness and simple celebrations more than ever.
What do you want the holidays to look like on your platforms this year? How can you help your readers celebrate even when it feels like the holidays are going to be a crushing black abyss of crushing blackness (sorry, you don’t have to be as emo as my baby teenage Bonnie side, but you get the point). Because if there’s one thing we are really going to need this year, it’s a way to connect with love, joy, and peace.
Thanks for taking some time to plan with me!
I hope you have a wonderful, joyful, and productive August. Maybe we can all remember to give ourselves some mental and emotional space by planning ahead and taking time away from our laptops. I know Chaucer and I have some fun hikes and park days planned, and hopefully there will be lots of tea and coffee!
All the best,
P.S. You might also enjoy my full Silk and Sonder review. Or, if you love to BuJo or art journal, you won’t want to miss my Archer and Olive review! The cute little notebook with the bee is from Archer and Olive, and I am so in love with it.