Picking your perfect planner is important. If you find one that “fits” you will it will help you set goals, keep your life organized and help you create a life you love. Pick the wrong one, and you won’t use it at all. So, let’s talk about your options:
A paper planner has changed how I view my life, and has made it so much easier to see my life from a “birds eye view”. If you’re a person who enjoys writing things down, I think paper planning might be for you!
BTW, if you’re really looking into getting into a routine, I have a course called Family Routines that is meant to help simplify family life.
What to consider when you’re picking a Mom Planner
Size of your planner
There are a lot of planner sizing options. I loved this post that kind of showed the different sizes.
If you want to haul your planner with you, you’d want something smaller. If it’s just for your desk, you can certainly go larger.
Also, you don’t want more planner than you’d use!
The sturdiness of the planner
Do you need a full binder, or is a small booklet enough?
BTW, I don’t let little people in my planner write or draw. it’s a personal choice but my kids know my planner is OFF LIMITS.
What you want your planner for?
Planning can be used for a lot of things:
- Monthly, weekly and daily planning
- Creating to-do lists
- Taking notes if you attend events, etc.
- Making and keeping up to date with goals.
- Keeping documents you need with you
- Meal Planning
- Financial Planning
- Health/fitness planning
- Crafting — using washi tape and stickers.
Or, frankly — anything else you want to write down!
Decorating your planner?
Yup, this actually fulfills a real need in my life. I used to scrapbook and LOVED combining patterned paper and other media. Then, I sort of stopped and I have missed it.
I LOVE using washi and stickers to make the week look great.
I also really like putting positive statements of encouragement too. It just reminds me to not be afraid and to have hope — which is sometimes easier said than done being a mom (or, frankly — a human).
BTW, I tested all of my favorite pens for planners and gave you all my best ideas in that post!
**In looking around the internet I saw a lot of very “cutsie” planners for “moms” — but I want you to get one that works for YOU. I also don’t tend to love those cutsie ones, so as I share the ones I like — you’ll see that in my picks.
Can a planner really help you stay organized?
For me, yes. I LOVE looking at a month at a glance, and my planner is fundamental to my business. I honestly don’t think I could run it without it.
Does it organize my house or drawers? No. but it does keep my LIFE organized, and I can think more “big picture” vs “day to day” — which is a real problem for me as a mom (getting stuck in the “mire” of the day)
Best planner for moms 2020
I tend to buy just a year in advance. You can get most of these planners starting around September the year before, which is good — since I tend to plan about that far out).
Best Planners for different types of moms:
Best planner for Stay at Home moms
I would encourage you to think about ALL you do. All the goals you’re keeping track of for kids, and families, etc. Meal planning and finances might be your area of control as well. Don’t pretend like you need any less of a planner than anyone else, as your mom has a lot of “wheels in motion”
Best Planners for Working Moms
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- Will your work have a separate planner, so wil this be just for your home life?
- Do you prefer putting a lot of things on your computer so you can access them from anywhere?
- If the planner is going from home/work — how much do you want to carry-around (and make sure that it’s sturdy!)
Best Planner for homeschooling Moms
Will you want to plan your curriculum in the planner, or are you more likely to do it online?
There are a lot of teacher planners out there that you might like. Happy Planner has one, as do many other brands.
Best Planner for Goal-Oriented Moms
If you’re looking to achieve goals I think The Perfect Notebook is a good option. They sent me one, the paper quality is good and it is a LOT about daily organization and also being very goal-driven. I mostly like how much you can customize it and make it work for you. I feel like I will be taking this one to conferences with me.
Best “Free-Form” Planners
The Happy Planner leaves you lots of room to make it work for you.
They offer both vertical and horizontal spreads.
They offer blank wide spaces for you to fill in as you need.
The Happy Planner is the one that I currently use (and since I’ve used it for years, I can speak to the pro’s and con’s quite well):
Pro’s of the Happy Planner:
- A lot of room to decorate or just make it your own
- Available at craft stores, so you can look at it before you buy
- Lots of inserts that fit, so you can personalize!
- Price is right, often you can use a coupon and get it for under $20
- MANY styles so you can find one that inspires you!
- It has weekly spreads, and that allows me to just plan on days that I need vs wasting a lot of a daily planner.
Con’s of the Happy Planner
- I don’t love the rings — sometimes they break (they have metal ones, but I have heard they make the pages hard to turn)
- If you keep papers/folders in it long, they start to deteriorate and can fall out.
- Maybe doesn’t look as “professional”
Bullet Journals for Moms
If you really want a lot of options (VERY “free-form”), a lot of people love bullet journals. You can kind of just write down what you need to, and skip it when you don’t need to. It’s kind of the best of all worlds!
Best Structured Planner
If you are looking for a planner that has a spot for EVERYTHING you do as a mom, this is the planner for you.
For me, because I use Google for a lot of my actual calendering, it was a LOT for me. More than I needed.
However, I have a lot of friends who really like it!
The binding is nice, similar to Erin Condren (which I’ll talk about later), the price isn’t bad. It just has a spot for all the things. Also, if you’re a member of the LDS faith, they have a Mormon Mom Planner that has even MORE spots. 🙂
Best Beginning Planner for Moms
These usually just have pages for the MONTH but it is a great way to get started, and see if you like writing things down more.
A lot of them have some quality behind them and won’t rip like you’d imagine something that costs a dollar might.
Especially if you really just want to look at your month with a glance, this is a good option to start with!
Walmart planners can be very similar to the dollar store, but for a few bucks more, you can get daily sheets that allow you to plan a bit more.
Some people like to plan hourly, etc. If you’re considering planning, I would really strongly recommend trying one of these before you spend a ton on one of the other planner systems, only to find they don’t work for you!
I actually got a dollar store planner for the last half of a year, and then got a Walmart planner the next year and then slowly moved into the Happy Planner. It was a gradual change, and I didn’t waste a lot of money!
Best Binder Planners for Moms
Franklin Covey was my soulmate when I was in nursing school. I took many a nap on my planner and it came EVERYWHERE with me. I even held my credit cards in there, and didn’t have a wallet. It was serious love.
They have tons of different inserts, and you can also find off-brand inserts to put in their binders (or off-brand binders, to use their inserts in).
- Goal setting sheets
- Pull-out yearly calender
- Daily options
- Monthly Options
- Weekly options!
Honestly, it still REALLY appeals to me, but it’s just so starched and professional. I REALLY enjoy using stickers and washi tape in mine, so I stick with the Happy Planner. 🙂
Also, I don’t NEED a daily option for EVERY day of the week. I prefer pulling out another sheet of paper if I really need to do hourly planning and just having my regular planner as a to-do list for the day.
I actually have very little experience with Filofax. They seem to have rings that allow you to add things. In general, I see them as a bit “softer” than Franklin Covey, but allow you to do similar things.
I don’t see a lot of decorating with theirs though, as they are pretty cut and dry. I know that doesn’t matter to most people though. 🙂
Spiral-Bound Life Planners for Moms
Erin Condren planners is sort of the “thing” that brought planning back to life. At least, it’s what I first saw.
There is lots of room for decorating. Tons of options through Etsy. They are REALLY quality planners, and I love the feel of them. I just find the price tag a LOT for something that you only use for a year.
However, if it helps you enjoy life more and stay more on track, then huzzah — it’s totally worth it!
Pro Tip: If you think you’d like these, Michael’s usually has very similar planners (I don’t think the paper is as nice) for around $20 that you could try-out first.
Other Planners for Moms
Here are a few other planners I’ve heard good things about, but don’t have personal experience with:
Day Designer Planner: I like the idea of using your life to support your goals (designing your day, vs just making it happen)
If you have another planner YOU love — I’d love to hear about it — tell me in the comments!
If you liked this post, I’d consider checking out Family Routines, because getting into routines and actually USING the planner is the best option!