Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a small compensation to help support my blog if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no cost to you.
The beginning of each month is like hitting the refresh button on life. You get a fresh start to set and accomplish new goals and make some changes to your daily habits.
I have created a list of 8 things you should do at the beginning of each month to be more organized and productive.
1. Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do at the beginning of each month is make a plan. Get out your calendar, planner, bullet journal, or phone and start filling in your schedule!
Check your calendar for items you have already scheduled, such as doctor appointments, events (weddings, showers, parties, etc.), vacations, and birthdays. Once you have filled in those obligations, make a plan for some “fun” time. That may mean date night, a weekend getaway, or a staycation. It is important to have things to look forward to each month because it will motivate you when you need an extra boost to make it to the weekend.
If you notice any weeks that seem busier than others, see if you can rearrange some things in your schedule so you aren’t so overwhelmed. It is important to have me-time and time to engage in your hobbies if you want to live a stress-free life.
If you don’t have a planner, I recommend the Clever Fox Planner! I have been using their planners for the past two years. There are pages for monthly and weekly planning and blank dotted pages in the back if you want to try bullet journaling! The Clever Fox Planners come in a variety of colors and you can use an undated version so you can start anytime in the year or purchase a traditional version with the dates filled in for you.
2. Set Some Goals
Look back at your goals from last month. What worked? What went wrong? Do you need to make some changes to maximize your time? Pinpoint the areas of your life that need improvement. Write it down so you can see it! If you didn’t quite reach a goal, that’s okay! You can try again this month.
Setting goals is essential to being organized and productive. You need to have something to work towards each month! You should set 1-3 short term goals each month. Maybe your short term goals are helping you meet a long term goal. But by breaking up long term goals into smaller, short term goals, you are more likely to be productive and stay motivated to finish.
Another reason I like the Clever Fox Planner is the goal setting section at the front of the planner. You can set your long-term goals for every aspect of your life, including financial, career, relationship, and health goals. You can use these goals each month when you are setting short term goals!
3. Make a Budget
Feeling financially stable is life changing. One of the biggest stressors in our lives is money, so set yourself up for success by setting a monthly budget.
Write down your monthly expenses-rent/mortgage, household utilities, phone, Internet, and groceries. Subtract the expenses from your income to determine how much money you have left for extras during the month.
Ideally, you should be saving part of your income each month. You never know when an unexpected expense will come up, so try to put some money in a savings account each month for emergencies. This means you may have to make some sacrifices so you have money left at the end of the month.
If you need to cut out some spending, look at your dining out habits. Are you stopping for Starbucks every morning before work? That’s $25 you can save each week! Start packing a lunch a few days a week instead of eating out every day. You are probably spending at least $10 a day at lunch, so that’s $50 you could save if you pack a lunch instead.
Another great tip is to look at the subscriptions you pay for monthly. Be honest with yourself about how often you are really using your Netflix or Spotify account. If you aren’t utilizing the accounts, cancel them for now! You can always re-subscribe later.
4. Declutter Your Spaces
You are probably more productive when your desk is tidy, so it makes sense you will be more productive when your home and car are tidy too!
If the season is changing, swap out the clothes in your closet. When you swap out, ask yourself how much you actually wear an item of clothing and consider donating it if you aren’t actually wearing it.
Toss out those beauty products that have expired or haven’t been used in 3 months. Check your nail polish collection and get rid of duplicate colors.
Check the fridge for expired essentials and make a list so you can replace them.
Throw away any trash in your car and give the interior some TLC. Wipe the steering wheel with a Lysol wipe, dust the dashboard, and clean the mirrors and windows. Take your car to a local car wash and use their vacuums on your floorboards and seats.
5. Clean Your Inbox
This may take a bit of time, but clear out old emails and messages in your email. Make a folder for important emails you need to save and delete the promotions you got at the beginning of last month. Those sales aren’t valid anymore, so why are you keeping those emails?
If you have emails you need to respond to, put those in a separate folder and schedule some time to go through them later.
6. Purge Your Phone Photos
If you are constantly running out of space on your phone, you need to set aside time each month to delete photos and videos from your phone.
Go through your photos (if you’ve never purged them, this will take awhile!) and delete any duplicates you have. Go ahead and delete the memes your sent to your sister three months ago too.
Now you can upload the photos you want to keep to a cloud, like iCloud, Dropbox, pCloud, or Amazon Photos. Yes, Amazon offers photo storage and it is free for Prime members! Prime seriously has so many member perks that you probably don’t know about, but the unlimited photo storage is probably my favorite! Just install the app on your phone and your photos will automatically upload when you open the app. You can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days.
You can also connect your phone to a computer and download your photos to your hard drive if you prefer. Then you could create folders for the photos and organize them by event, people, places, etc.
7. Set Screen Time Limits
Have you ever checked your phone to see how much time you spend looking at it each day? That is time you are wasting each day when you could be more productive!
If you have an iPhone, you can set app limits and schedule downtime. I give myself an hour of Instagram time each day, which is probably still too much.
I also set my phone to go into downtime between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day. This keeps me from using my phone at bedtime or in the morning when I should be getting ready. You can choose which apps are always available, even during downtime.
8. Choose a Book to Read
If you are guilty of getting in bed and scrolling through Facebook before going to sleep, I encourage you to try reading instead. You will have a better night sleep if you are not using a device right before going to bed.
Reading is not meant to be a race or a competition, so if you can only read a few pages a night, that is okay! You may only finish that one book this month, but it is still one more book than you read last month.
I recommend starting with self-help books, especially if you are looking to change your life. Self-help books are also usually light and uplifting, which is perfect for reading before bedtime.
If you struggle to feel motivated to read each night, you may need to pick a new book that is more interesting. You could also join a book club. Knowing you have a discussion on the book at the end of the month might motivate you to read each night.
Those are all of the things you should do at the beginning of the month. I know it seems like a lot, but once you start the habits, it won’t seem so overwhelming! Hopefully these tips help you become more organized and productive each month. Tell me which tip you are most excited to try this month in the comments!