Focus and Healing: 10+ ideas for monthly review and monthly planner set up

I can’t believe it is about to be May. So many things happened this month. Here are my reviews, planner set up, and recommended ideas.

Monthly Review

I usually do a monthly review before moving to next month’s plan.

#1 Work/Projects’ Review

It includes 3 pieces:

  • The overall analysis, and an encouragement note to my self;
  • A chart with the lines showing the status of each project;
  • Action plans for each project.
50+ ideas to inspire your monthly review and monthly planner set up
My monthly review on projects

This month is so difficult. Two of my projects didn’t do well. As the environment is out of control, I have to make decisions to focus on projects I have the most advantages and passion. 

That’s why I will narrow the list down to only 2 for the next month. It is not an easy choice. But I have to. 

I know there are a lot of sayings that people should never give up. But after days of careful thoughts, I begin to understand that if all my projects aim to the final goal, it doesn’t matter whether I kind of give up some of them along the way or not. 

If I spend out all the time, which may be still not enough, to cover all the projects, I would feel exhausted with no self-confidence. 

Take tiny movements and get back quickly to the status of “control “, is vital under stress. 

For the action plan part, I strongly suggest writing only one sentence to describe the actions you would take for each goal. 

Why use only one sentence in the action plan?

Because that would make you think through whether the actions you take would be practical. You have to think through the logic, the feasibilities, and the resources. 

If you have so much space to write about it, believe me, you will never think it through. And for the first day of next month, when you look at the plans, you still don’t know which movement to take.

So, only one sentence, only a few words. Write down the most potent actions and stick to them.

#2 Hobbies Review and Gratitude List:

Work and making money are not the only things we can do as a human being.

50+ ideas to inspire your monthly review and monthly planner set up
My Hobbies Review and Gratitude List

Here are some of my reviews:

For working-from-home parents, check out Amazon and pick some for your children. They divide the audible materials into categories: Littlest Listeners, Elementary, Tween, Teen, Literary Classics, Folk&Fairy Tales. 

  • Museums: I love museums. I go to museums every month. This month, however, I spent a lot of time on the museum’s website. Many of them provide incredible virtual tours with excellent explanation videos. I introduce some on my previous post 3 No-Cost Indoor Ideas to Cheer You Up in the Boring Lockdown.      

Art is healing. Immerse yourself in art. The lousy news happening almost every day is numbing our hearts. But when we are looking at the beautiful masterpieces, we feel alive, our emotions become active, and we become to have a belief in the whole world again. 

  • TV Shows/Movies/Piano: this month, my favorite, however, is a South Korean cooking variety show called “3 Meals A Day”. The show was conducted in villages, so I learned some recipes using very simple and limited foods.

  • Something New?

Even in a hectic time, I still force my self to learn or learn about something new. In April, I started blogging, learning about leather crafts, trying themed photo shooting

Want to pick up something new to start next month? Here are some ideas:

53 Best Indoor Hobbies – This is the only guide you’ll need


This List of 50 Low-cost Hobbies Will Excite You

  • Gratitude List: 

It is crucial, especially now.

Why we need a Gratitude List?

According to Amy Morin’s article in Psychology Today, there are 7 benefits provided by a daily gratitude habit:

  1. Improved relationship
  2. Improved physical health
  3. Improved psychological health
  4. Enhanced empathy and reduced aggression
  5. Improved sleep quality
  6. Improved self-esteem
  7. Increased mental strength

While you can keep a gratitude list daily, in your monthly review, try to do it again, and it’s not a simple repetition. 

Why? Because after you review the works and hobbies, you may feel lost or depressed. And then a Gratitude List will cheer you up. So you are better prepared to move on to the planning part for the next month.

If you want, you can use a full page for the gratitude list.

What to write on the Gratitude List? 

Here are some articles on how to find what to be thankful for:

60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

What’s On Your Gratitude List Today?

Implementing Gratitude: Everyday Thanksgiving

Now, let’s move on to the monthly planner set up.

Monthly Planner

In my monthly plan this May, I have mainly 4 parts.

#1. A monthly plan spreadsheet

50+ ideas to inspire your monthly review and monthly planner set up
My monthly plan spreadsheet

Typically, I divided it into two parts. 

The upper one is a simple table where I can track the weekly priorities for my projects. 

It’s clear to help me to follow the milestones for each project. So for May, I have two projects to track.

The other part is the calendar, where I can mark out the important dates and take some notes.

I didn’t do a weekly plan spreadsheet set up while making the monthly plan. My ideas of how to make the weekly or daily set up are just changing… So I leave them blank now.

For a monthly calendar spreadsheet, you should make it functional. Ideally, it shows clearly your focuses, key dates, and critical notes you should pay attention too. 

So it is a quick and useful reference every day in the following month.

#2. A Habit Tracker

I pick up the lemon theme this time to make it sweet and energetic. I love bright colors!

50+ ideas to inspire your monthly review and monthly planner set up
My habit tracker

I am going to track only two habits next month. I decided to track only two, because, again, FOCUS. I just found that for some habits, I will never forget about them already, so I don’t need to track them in my journal. For some new habits, tracking too many new habits now will drive me crazy…. 

I don’t have too much room in my brain now, so let’s make the habit thing easier… Only two habits. Enough.

So my two habits to track are taking exercise and going to bed early. 

Here are some everyday habits to track for your reference: 

  • diet
  • sleep
  • physical activity
  • social life
  • stress levels

#3. Several blank pages for free writing

Why we need free writing in crisis?

There is a proven conclusion that freewriting is healing. Through freewriting, we can work through our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

In a crisis with anxiety and pressure, writing provides us the opportunities to talk whatever we like, which are important before we begin our new month.

  • We may found it hard to express our pressure or worries to our partners or parents. Then use the pages to express all your stress and concerns. It is ok.
  • We may want to capture the happy moments that we can still remember, so write them down, and they will spark your joy for a longer time.

It is better to find a quiet place to write on these pages, for at least 15 minutes. Have a cup of tea or light a candle. That is the moment for your own.

I spent one hour on this. I just kept writing and writing. Then I felt released.

Photo by Alina Vilchenko

#4. A Name Page

Using a blank page, write down the names of the people who you miss so much during this pandemic.

  • Is there anyone that you quarrel with before the lockdown, and you thought you would anyway have the opportunity to make a face-to-face apology to him/her? But now it seems impossible at least for many days?
  • Is there anyone that you can only see their faces through virtual conferences, but you miss so much the feeling of sitting right beside them?
  • Is there anyone you can’t forget that you can only cry over at night alone, wondering whether they are ok in the pandemic but don’t dare to give them a call?

Maybe the most important lesson taught by the pandemic is to treasure what we own and treasure people around.

Life is so short. Life is full of accidents. 

Keep this lesson in mind. 

Try to have no regrets.

Write down the names lingering in your mind at the beginning of your next month.

Take actions right away once the pandemic is over. Or even before. 

So here are my review and plans.

Try to do your monthly review and plan. I hope these ideas help.

It is not an end. It is only a pause.

We can have a better month in May.

Take care.

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