Planners. I love them. I love getting a new one every year, the shiny possibility of it. If there was a single thing that I could credit for keeping me sane(ish) and (mostly) organized, it would be my beloved planner. And as schedules fill up with events and activities with the start of a new school year, August is the perfect time to get a leg up on keeping track of ALL THE THINGS. But not all planners are created equal, so to maximize the benefits of this great organizational tool, it’s important to take the time to consider which one will be the best fit for you and your particular planning wish list.
Choose the planner that’s right for you. Do you want an academic or calendar year planner? A lot of moms think in terms of the school year, in which case an academic planner (which typically starts in August and ends in July) will be ideal. I’ve found that my brain just operates better with the academic year. But if you prefer to start fresh in January, then get a calendar year planner. Also consider whether you prefer a weekly or daily format. I like to have my entire week on a two-page spread so I can see what’s coming up, but if you like a blank page every day or have a lot of items on your to-do list and schedule, a daily is the way to go. Note: all of my picks below have monthly views, so rest assured that you’ll also be able to see the entire month at a glance in each.
Use it. Like most organizational tools, an unused planner isn’t effective. Take the time to set up your planner; I like to add birthdays, anniversaries, and any trips or appointments that I already have scheduled to my planner as soon as I get it. Then as things come up, add them to the monthly view. Use your weekly or daily pages to brain dump important to-dos, meal plan, and whatever else you need to keep track of in a given week (workouts, cleaning schedule, water log, etc.). Most importantly, keep it out and check it daily.
Some great planner options include:
Recollections Creative Year. These 18-month weekly planners from Michael’s are pretty much copycats of the much pricier ones you can buy from Erin Condren, which I’ve used in the past. Sure, you can’t personalize them, but for the price tag, it can’t be beat. And they come with a lot of stickers. Enough said.
Plum Paper. Plum Paper offers all sorts of layouts, including teacher and student planners, a variety of cute covers, and the ability to customize everything from the text to the binding. You can also add extra note or meal planning pages and coordinating stickers. Basically, you can create your dream planner.
May Designs. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person addicted to planners probably also has a notebook problem. And May Designs offers a plethora of agenda layouts, adorable covers, and best of all, personalization options. Slim and durable, you can easily throw a May Designs notebook into your into your purse or diaper bag. They’re also perfect if you bullet journal.
The Emily Ley Simplified Planner. I’m using the weekly Simplified Planner for the second year in a row and love the simplicity of the layout and the portability of the weekly. And the covers are gorgeous. She also has a spiral bound daily. FYI: the academic year planners are sold out, but the calendar year planners go on sale Sept. 5th.
InkWell Press Daily liveWell Planner. The liveWell Planner is undated, making it perfect for someone who likes a fresh page each day, but at your own pace. And the quality of the InkWell paper is a pen snob’s dream come true. They also have a weekly format, available via the InkWell website and through Office Depot.
Day Designer Flagship Planner. The Day Designer is known for its extremely organized daily layout pages. If you’re a person who likes to have a place for everything and everything in its place, this is the planner for you. Day Designer also just released an undated daily version that also has weekly views. And if you’re lucky, you can snag one of the more budget-friendly weekly planners they did in collaboration with Blue Sky at Target.
While some may argue that the paper planner has become obsolete in a world of smartphones, I would beg to differ. Studies have proven that you’re more likely to remember something if you write it down, and having your family’s schedule, appointments, and to-dos in one place is invaluable. So get a planner, grab your favorite pens, and get your organization on.