Previewing your months and weeks at the top of each month/week is a key practice in being proactive and intentional with your time. And here's the secret--it does not require a lot of time. You do not have to be type A or a particular enneagram number to do this and do it well. All you need is the know how and you are about to have that in the next few minutes as you read this post and, as a bonus, watch the video I've included for you below!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PREVIEW YOUR MONTH OR WEEK?
Previewing your month/week is simply beginning the month or week with an overview of what is to come. You do this before the month/week begins to be proactive. You will make note of appointments, meetings, dates, deadlines, birthdays, events, school closings, office closings and the like to see what lies ahead for the next 30 to 31 days.
I'm going to teach you a simple method below on how to do this with ease!
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PREVIEW YOUR MONTH/WEEKS?
Previewing your week offers peace, perspective and information to name a few things. Peace of mind knowing what is coming up, perspective to see what is versus how you feel. Your feelings are valid but they're not always based on facts. Previewing gives you the facts. And lastly, information about what is coming up that may lead you to alter, change or cancel some of the things coming up in your month or week.
THE TOOLS I USE
I show you and discuss how I use each of these in the video below.
To preview my month I use:
To preview my week I use:
As a side note, all of our planning products can be found here.
HOW TO PREVIEW YOUR MONTH
TONE. Remember those 4 letters and you're ready to plan your month.
Tone or Theme for the Month.
Define what your tone or theme for the month will be. This means write out what you want the month to feel like, what is your focus for the month, how do you want the month to flow. Begin with this as it will help you when you go to evaluate your month (the fourth and final step of previewing your month).
O'clocks are all of those things that have a time and date associated with them: meetings, appointments, events, deadlines, flights. Write out all of your o'clocks.
Tip: If you have a tentative o'clock put <<tick marks>> around them and when it becomes finalized circle it or if it is cancelled you can cross it out.
What is necessary? These are different from your o'clocks in that they may not be things that are scheduled for a specific date and time but they are things you want to incorporate and include in your month. Decide when you will schedule those into your month. Are there any projects at home or work you want to work on, for example?
Now that you've set the tone for the month, added the o'clocks and what is necessary it's time to evaluate. Does what you see written down feel good to you? Do you like the pace? Does what you see match or aid the tone or theme you set out for this month?
This is the time to move things around, cross things out or make note for how you want your months to go moving forward. Evaluating allows you to include what matters to you in your monthly preview. This step ensures that you also have included what matters to you in the month.
Have you made space and time for rest? for play? for whatever it is that matters to you.
And just like that, you've TONE'd your month and previewed it in four simple steps!
HOW TO PREVIEW YOUR WEEK
We're going to add one little letter to our TONE for your week and C-TONE the week.
Clear Your Mind.
Before you begin previewing your week, sit down and get all of the thoughts, ideas, worries and the like out of your mind. I like doing this first so that when I go into previewing my week my mind is clear and I am not feeling weighed down by thoughts and feelings.
Define and write out what is most important for you this week, set the tone. What is your primary focus this week and what do you want this week to feel like, what matters most in this upcoming week. There is designated space to answer this in all of our weekly previews both on the Weekly Planning Pads and Best Today® Guide.
Write out all of those things that have a time and date associated with them: meetings, appointments, events, deadlines, flights. Write out all of your o'clocks.
What is necessary in your week but not an o'clock. Examples of these may be your meals for the week or work outs.
Look at what your week looks like as is with the o'clocks and necessary items and evaluate and make adjustments as needed. Do you need to begin batching things like errands on the same day, meetings on the same day, etc... This is your time to ensure that your week has the space needed and flow that works best for you.
And just like that you've previewed your months and weeks with ease. Watch the video below where I explain how to preview your months and weeks if you're a visual learner and want to hear this explained in video.
Want to know which product works best for you? Take our product quiz here.