January is sprinting to a close and the heart invasion of February will soon be upon us. Why do I look forward to my review on the 31st if I review each Friday? I employ the process of small improvements (also known as kaizen) each week. Monthly review is where I step back to evaluate the impact of each of those modifications. It is also when I take a few moments to look at the larger view, accomplishments (or not), and the financial reports.
Why don’t I do this on the last Friday of the month during my regular review? It requires a shift in my mindset and other than the large annual review I like my Friday sessions to be standard. I schedule time on the last working day of each month to work for this.
I use a blank month form to fill out the significant events that happened. Did I secure a new client? Was a deadline met? When did my routine get disrupted due to illness, scheduling surprises, or weather? The details are filled in on the appropriate day. This helps me see the ebb and flow of the month. In the eighth column, I review the most important thing that happened that week, most often new clients and sent invoices.
This is my favourite part. I flip through my planner and work logs to review the changes I implemented and ponder if they are working–or not. Some small modifications I made this month are to my whiteboard and to a return to a single highlighter colour.
These are successful changes.
In the evening when I scoop the litter box in the basement I jot a note if I worked on a project. This improves upon than my previous system that was more a list of the to-dos for each week. It required me to completely redo the whiteboard each week. It’s now obvious which projects I neglect!
While I love the visual continuity grey and black brings to my pages, I need to figure out a plan for the rainbow collection of highlighters. Yesterday when I tidied my desk, I found another grey highlighter to use in addition to the brush pens I’d favoured. To my surprise, the different shades don’t bother me.
I also returned to drawing my daily doodles of the weather and tea and coffee.
Two changes that need refinement are sketches of time-blocks in my planner and a two-column format for my logbook.
Nuts and Bolts
Finally I look at the parts of my businesses that are integral to making them a business! How many billable hours did I work? Did I invoice clients? I also make sure to download all account statements and update everything for the accountant.
Do you review each month? Or do you dread one part and avoid it?
The planning grid is now available!