Over the years, I’ve turned into more of a creature of habit. When I started working at home about 10 years ago I realized that I needed a daily routine.
When I first started without one, I found myself being (and getting) really lazy and procrastinating on getting anything done – whether that be cleaning, making food, paying bills, etc. I mean, I’ve always been a big procrastinator, usually when it came to college and school because I was just not a fan, but it never seemed to spill much into my personal life.
Until I started working from home. Without a monthly checklist, I felt that time, goals, and life would just blur together and I would end the year not feeling like I really accomplished anything.
After a few months of getting behind in everything it was time for a change. Realizing that I was the only one that controlled when and how things got done was when I decided that having a daily, weekly, and monthly routine was the only way to keep everything afloat and on track.
My monthly routine has ebbed, flowed, and changed much over the past 10 years. However, I think I have finally found my perfect monthly checklist.
I’ve also come to really enjoy keeping a monthly checklist. Now that we’ve just started a new year and the beginning of a new month, let’s jump into see all the things I do at the beginning of the month.
Check and Update Our Finances
While the hubby and I do have a budget for the month, it’s not a completely serious budget. Meaning that we know where our money goes each month but we don’t run a zero based budget or are very strict about anything outside set expenses.
For example, we have about a $800/month budget for food for the family. However, some months we go over and some months we stay under. It’s just what happens.
This is where my monthly (and weekly) finance check comes in. I go into Mint and update all our accounts and see how much we spent in certain places and what we could cut back on or where we could save more or whatever. I also re-categorize all of our transactions to make sure they’re added to the right budget category.
Then I do a check of all of our credit cards to make sure we don’t have a fraudulent activity, etc.
Check and Update Excel Sheet
Since I work from home and all my income is 1099 income, I need to keep a detailed record of my personal finances for tax time. Right after I finish with our family finances, I go through all my different streams of revenue and update my personal Excel worksheet accordingly.
I also input all the expenses I had for the month and then put away a portion of what’s leftover into a savings account. This way when tax time rolls around I’m not scrambling trying to come up with any money that I might owe. It’s already all right there when I need it.
Clean Out My Inbox
Honestly, I really like to try and keep inbox zero and answer emails daily as they come in. However, some days/weeks it’s just not possible and I have to keep certain things (receipts, etc.) for later.
This is the time when I clean everything out and truly have inbox zero. I respond to all the emails that are still waiting for a response, delete those that are unimportant, and print and file away receipts and things that I need to keep to reference later.
I also do a quick scan of my spam box to see if anything fell through the cracks then deal with those that did and empty the box.
Plan Out Blog Content for the Month
I have a rolling list and calendar of ideas and things I want to write about. Whenever I think about a topic or recipe idea it goes on that list.
At the beginning of the month, I make a new calendar for that month and plan out the days I want to post on. From there I’ll choose the categories that I want to write about. Finally, I’ll fill in the days and categories with the topic ideas from my running list.
I also pick out recipes that I want to test for future months and recipes that I’ve already tested that are ready to be made again and photographed.
Set Personal Goals
The beginning of the month, invariably, is the time when I think about all the things that I want to accomplish in life. So I’ll take a few minutes and write down, or check progress, of some of the goals that I have.
For example, I really want to try and make more time with friends and have date nights with the hubby. So I’ll call of text some friends and see if they have time to get together this month. I’ll also schedule a date night or two with the hubby on his days off and get babysitters lined up for those dates.
Make a List
This is a general list for the house, family, and personal things I need to get done. I’ll usually just take 5 minutes to write down everything that I can think of that needs to get done this month. At this point I don’t categorize anything, just get it out and onto the paper.
After dumping everything, I’ll go back through the list and prioritize by order of importance. Then I get out our family calendar and schedule out all the tasks that I (we) have.
Update the Family Calendar
The hubby and I have a shared Google calendar on our phones but I also like to keep a paper calendar on the wall in the kitchen. I feel like it keeps it more at the top of our minds when we can see it every day while grabbing water, a snack, or making dinner.
I write down all of the shifts the hubby is working as well as any kids activities that we need to attend, financial meetings we have, family visiting, vacations planned, date nights, girls or boys nights, blog work I do outside the house, etc.
Clean Out the Fridge and Pantry
I hate how cluttered and disorganized the fridge and pantry get – like it literally drives me bonkers. No matter how much I try and keep everything in a certain place, clean, put away, and organized it always gets messed up.
So this is the time I take to get everything organized and back on track. I go through everything in the fridge and pantry and throw out any expired food or old leftovers while wiping down as much as I can.
After all that hard work, it’s time for momma to relax. Haha! Honestly, that whole list usually only takes me about an hour or two to complete.
Seriously, though… I am trying to be better at self-care so sometimes I’ll decide to take a nap while the kids are napping or treating myself to a kid-free shopping trip outside the house.
You can also go get a massage (which I would love to do), take a nice long bubble bath, or whatever it is that is going to make you feel more like you! Don’t feel guilty about spending a little time on yourself.
Even though I am bad at doing it, I don’t ever feel guilty when I am. But I really need to get better at allowing myself.
There you have it! All the things I do at the beginning of every month. What are some things you do at the beginning of the month?
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