PRODUCTIVITY TIPS
PRODUCTIVITY TIPS

The Best Planners for Working Moms: Finding Work-Life Balance

The Best Planners for Working Moms

Being a working mom feels like the ultimate balancing act that requires superhuman-like organization, time management, flexibility, and creativity. With so many responsibilities competing for your attention, finding work-life balance can feel like a trick goal that’s forever out of reach. As s female-led team, many of us working moms, we’re happy to share with yoy that there’s a tool that can truly help you navigate the chaos of everyday life: the trusty paper planner. Read on to discover our top recommendations for the best planners for working moms so you can reclaim your time (and sanity).

5 Best Planners for Moms

1. Weekly Life Planner

The Life Planner is a game-changer for busy moms. With its highly customizable covers and interiors, weekly planning pages, and vibrant designs, it's as functional as it is stylish. Plus, this best-selling weekly planner includes built-in goal-setting, productivity and habit tracking, and reflection sections to keep you focused and motivated (despite the endless distractions!).

We know too well that working moms need a planner that can adapt to your ever-evolving needs. That’s what we love most about the original Erin Condren LifePlanner™. It offers you so many ways to get organized your way, even if you need to change up your methods to tackle new challenges, schedules, etc.

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Weekly Life Planner

Take the weekly planning pages for example–you have so many choices, and you can use each layout in unique ways for optimal organization, including:

  • Vertical columns for planning your days in whatever categories work best for your planning style and schedule (morning/day/night or family/work/ personal, etc.)
  • Horizontal boxes with lines for those who love the structure of planning in full sentences
  • Hourly blocks that allow you to segment your schedule by time slots
  • And a hybrid weekly planning layout called “compact vertical” that combines the best features of vertical planning with the structure of horizontal lines.

2. Daily Life Planner

If you're looking for the ultimate in organization and productivity, look no further than the daily life planner. Whether it’s a Daily Life Planner™ Duo (two 6-month spiral daily planners) or an A5 Daily LifePlanner™ Ring Agenda (more on this versatile planning system below), a daily life planner offers daily planning pages paired with monthly overviews, allowing you to dive deep into your daily routines while still maintaining a big-picture view of your schedule. This particular daily planner has dedicated sections for hourly, daily, monthly, yearly planning, and more, plus it’s a powerhouse of productivity.


The Best Planners for Working Moms - Daily Life Planner and A5 Ring Agenda System

3. A5 Ring Agenda System

For busy moms who crave flexibility and customization, the A5 Ring Agenda System is the perfect solution. This standard 6-ring agenda system lets you choose between a weekly planner, daily planner, or undated planner inserts. With its modular design, you can mix and match inserts to create a planner that meets your specific needs. Choose from budgeting to meal planning and more with this customizable planner system. Plus, its compact size and durable ring binding make it easy to take with you wherever you go, ensuring you never miss a beat.

4. Monthly Planner

For moms who prefer a broader view of their schedule, the Monthly Planner is a fantastic option. With ample space for monthly planning and goal setting, you can visualize your schedule months at a glance and stay ahead of upcoming events and deadlines. And with its sleek and stylish design, this planner adds a touch of elegance to your workspace.

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Monthly planning and family organization

5. Family Organizer Book

We know it can be challenging to keep track of to-dos, appointments, and goals for yourself, let alone for the entire family! That's where the Family Organizer Book comes in handy. A family calendar planner allows you to get the whole family organized and on the same page (literally). It's a helpful tool for managing schedules, to-dos, and goals for multiple family members. This type of family organization planner allows you to add plenty of detail so you can plan everything in one place for the whole family to see. A family organizer book is also a great screen-free way to get the kids involved so they can contribute, feel included, and learn early organizational skills (your future self will thank you for that last one).

Learn more about the 11 Different Planner Types Explained + How to Choose.

How to Choose the Best Planner for Working Moms

Adequate Space for Entries

When choosing a planner, make sure it offers enough space for all your tasks, appointments, and reminders. Look for planners with ample writing space on each page, as well as extra note pages for jotting down important information. One of the most critical aspects to consider when selecting the best planner for working moms is ensuring it provides ample space for entries. As a busy mom, your days are filled with a multitude of tasks, appointments, and commitments, and having enough room to jot down all the necessary details is essential for staying organized and on top of your schedule.

Calendar Overview

A clear and easy-to-read calendar overview is essential for staying organized. Whether you prefer a monthly, weekly, or daily layout, make sure it suits your planning style and allows you to visualize your schedule at a glance. Consider your personal planning preferences and workflow when selecting between monthly and weekly calendar overviews. Some working moms may prefer the big-picture perspective offered by monthly views, while others may prefer the detailed planning capabilities of weekly views. You may even find value in having both views incorporated into your planner for maximum flexibility.

Durability and Aesthetics

Your planner should be durable enough to withstand daily use while still looking stylish. Look for planners with sturdy covers and binding, as well as designs that reflect your personal style and taste. A well-made planner should have a strong and secure binding that holds the pages together firmly. Spiral bindings, coil bindings, and stitched bindings are all popular options known for their durability and longevity. Avoid planners with flimsy bindings that are prone to unraveling or falling apart, as they can compromise the integrity of your planner and lead to lost or damaged pages.

Portability

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Portability

For working moms, portability is a key consideration when selecting the best planner. A planner that is easy to carry with you wherever you go ensures that you can stay organized and on top of your schedule, even when you're on the move. Consider the size and weight of the planner. Opt for a planner that strikes the right balance between functionality and portability. While larger planners may offer more writing space and additional features, they can be cumbersome to carry around, especially if you're frequently on the go. On the other hand, smaller planners may be more compact and lightweight, making them easier to slip into your bag, purse, or backpack without adding unnecessary bulk.

Learn more about Choosing the Best Business Planner for Owners and Entrepreneurs.

Functional Layouts

When it comes to choosing the best planner for working moms, the layout is a critical factor to consider. A functional layout is essential for maximizing productivity, staying organized, and effectively managing your time.

If you need more help finding your perfect planner take our Planner Quiz!

Here are some key aspects to look for when evaluating the layout of a planner:

Daily, Weekly, or Monthly Views

Consider your planning preferences and workflow. Some working moms may prefer daily views, allowing for detailed planning and scheduling of tasks hour by hour. Others may prefer the week, month, or daily views, providing a broader overview of their schedule and allowing for long-term planning and goal-setting.

Clear Sections for Tasks and Appointments

Look for planners with dedicated sections for tasks and appointments. Clear separation between these two categories makes it easier to prioritize your workload and ensure that important deadlines and commitments are not overlooked.

Space for Notes and Reflections

A planner with ample space for notes and reflections allows you to capture ideas, jot down thoughts, and track progress on goals and projects. Look for planners with dedicated note pages or sections for brainstorming, journaling, or recording important information.

Customizable Sections and Inserts

Some planners offer customizable sections and inserts, allowing you to tailor the layout to your specific needs and preferences. You can decide whether it’s a week, month, or day spread. Look for planners with interchangeable covers, additional inserts for tracking habits or expenses, or customizable dividers for organizing different aspects of your life.

Intuitive Design and Navigation

The layout should be intuitive and easy to navigate, allowing you to quickly find the information you need and make updates or changes as necessary. Pay attention to the placement of key sections, the clarity of labels and headings, and the overall flow of the planner.

Functional Accessories and Add-ons

Consider whether the planner offers any functional accessories or add-ons to enhance its layout. This could include stickers for highlighting important events or tasks, bookmarks for easy reference, or pockets for storing loose papers or documents.

Learn more about 7 Classic Planner Layouts + Creative Ideas for Every Lifestyle.

Tips to Maximize Your Planner Usage

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Tips to maximize your planner

Set Realistic Goals and Priorities.

As a working mom, setting realistic goals and priorities is essential for effective time management and maintaining work-life balance.

Here's how to ensure your planner supports this crucial aspect of organization:

Identify Your Priorities.

Take some time to reflect on your priorities both at work and at home. What are the most important tasks and responsibilities you need to focus on? By identifying your priorities, you can allocate your time and energy more effectively.

Pro Tip: To avoid pushing self-care down your list while taking care of everyone and everything else, write it down in your planner as a daily priority (we’re serious). When you prioritize self-care, you put yourself in the best position to more effectively tackle whatever the day throws your way. Learn more about Best Self-Care Tips and Tools + How to Create an Ideal Self-Care Routine.

Set SMART Goals.

When setting goals, make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). Break down larger goals into smaller, actionable steps that you can incorporate into your daily or weekly plans. For example, instead of setting a vague goal like "Get in shape," break it down into specific actions like "Exercise for 30 minutes three times a week."

Learn more about How to Set Goals Step by Step: A Roadmap for Success.

Use Your Planner for Goal Setting.

Your planner can be a valuable tool for setting and tracking your goals. Use the goal-setting sections provided in your planner to write down your objectives, deadlines, and action steps. Review your goals regularly and update them as needed to stay on track.

Prioritize Your Tasks.

Once you've identified your goals, prioritize your tasks accordingly. Use your planner to list your tasks in order of importance and urgency. Focus on completing high-priority tasks first, and delegate or defer less important tasks as necessary.

Be Realistic About Your Time.

Be honest with yourself about how much time you have available to dedicate to various tasks and activities. Avoid overcommitting yourself and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given day or week. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it bears repeating, remember to factor in time for rest, relaxation, and self-care (while it seems like it takes time away from your to-dos, it actually helps improve time management and productivity – trust!).

Celebrate Your Progress.

As you work towards your goals, celebrate your progress along the way. Use your planner to track your accomplishments and milestones, no matter how small. Recognizing your achievements can help keep you motivated and focused on your long-term objectives.

Learn more about the Best Planners of 2024 to Achieve Your Goals.

Establish a Consistent Planning Routine.

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Establish a planning routine

Creating a consistent planning routine is vital for working moms to effectively manage their time and responsibilities.

Here's how you can establish a routine that works for you:

Designate a Planning Time.

Set aside dedicated time each day or week for planning. Choose a time when you can focus without interruptions, such as early in the morning before the day gets busy or in the evening after the kids are in bed. Consistency is key, so stick to your chosen planning time as much as possible.

Choose the Right Tools.

Select a planner that fits your needs and preferences. Whether you prefer a paper planner or a digital app, make sure it aligns with your planning style and provides the features you need to stay organized. Experiment with different tools until you find the one that works best for you.

Review Your Schedule Regularly.

Take time to review your schedule regularly to ensure you're staying on track with your goals and commitments. Use your planning time to update your to-do lists and calendars, review upcoming tasks and deadlines, and make adjustments as needed. This helps you anticipate any potential conflicts or bottlenecks and plan accordingly.

Break Down Tasks into Manageable Steps.

Break down larger tasks or projects into smaller, more manageable steps. This makes them feel less overwhelming and easier to tackle. Use your planner to list these steps and schedule them into your calendar, spreading them out over time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Prioritize Your Tasks.

Once you've broken down your tasks, prioritize them based on importance and urgency. Identify the most critical tasks that need to be completed first and focus your time and energy on those. Use your planner to list your priorities and allocate time for each task accordingly.

Learn more about How to Start Planning: 15 Tips to Start a Planner.

Include All Tasks and Commitments in One Planner.

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Keep all tasks in one planner

As a working mom, keeping track of various tasks and commitments can be challenging. However, consolidating all your tasks and commitments into one planner can simplify your life and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Here's how to effectively manage all your responsibilities in a single planner:

Centralize Your Planning.

Choose one planner to serve as your central organizational tool. Whether it's a physical paper planner or a digital planning app, having all your tasks and commitments in one place allows for better organization and coordination.

Combine Work and Personal Life.

Integrate both your work and personal commitments into your planner. This includes work-related tasks such as meetings, deadlines, and projects, as well as personal commitments such as appointments, errands, and family activities. By having everything in one planner, you can see your schedule in its entirety and avoid double bookings or conflicts.

Use Different Sections or Categories.

Organize your planner using different sections or categories to distinguish between different areas of your life. This could include separate sections for work, family, household tasks, personal goals, and self-care. Color-coding or labeling each section can further streamline your planning process and make it easier to find information quickly.

Utilize Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Views.

Take advantage of the various views offered by your planner to manage different timeframes effectively. Use monthly views for long-term planning and goal-setting, weekly views for detailed scheduling and task management, and daily views for day-to-day prioritization and time-blocking.

Read more Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Planner Tips.

Regularly Update Your Planner.

Make it a habit to regularly update your planner with new tasks, appointments, and commitments as they arise. Set aside time each day or week to review your schedule and add any new items. This ensures your planner remains accurate and up-to-date, providing you with a reliable reference for your day-to-day activities.

Color-Code Entries for Easy Identification.

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Goal setting and color-coding

Color-coding entries in your planner can be a powerful organizational tool, particularly for busy working moms juggling multiple responsibilities. (Side note, color-coding is just plain fun, helps you tap into your creativity, and is its own type of therapy.)

Here's how to effectively use color-coding to enhance your planning process (while having fun):

Choose a Color-Coding System.

Decide on a color-coding system that works for you. Assign specific colors to different categories or types of tasks, such as work-related activities, personal errands, family events, and self-care. You can also use colors to represent different priorities or levels of urgency, with brighter colors indicating high-priority tasks and lighter colors for less urgent ones.

Use Highlighters or Colored Pens.

Invest in colorful writing tools like a set of highlighters or colored pens in your chosen colors. Use these tools to color-code your entries in your planner, making it easy to visually distinguish between different types of tasks and commitments. For example, use one color to highlight work-related tasks, another color for personal appointments, and so on.

Consistency Is Key.

Be consistent in your use of colors throughout your planner. Assign the same color to the same category or type of task each time to avoid confusion. This consistency will help you quickly identify and interpret your entries at a glance, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors.

Experiment and Adjust as Needed.

Don't be afraid to experiment with your color-coding system and make adjustments as needed. If you find that certain colors are too similar or that your system isn't working as effectively as you'd like, don't hesitate to switch things up. The goal is to find a system that works for you and makes your planning process more efficient and intuitive.

Learn more about How to Find Your Planning Style.

Involve Your Kids in Updating the Planner.

Incorporating your children into your planning process not only helps lighten your load but also teaches them valuable organizational skills and fosters a sense of responsibility. Here's how to involve your kids in updating your planner:

Designate Family Planning Time.

Set aside dedicated family planning time where everyone can come together to update the planner (or you can use a separate planner as a joint family organizer book, or even get a kid's planner for mommy-and-me planning time). This could be a weekly or monthly family meeting where you review upcoming events, schedule activities, and assign tasks. Make it a fun and interactive experience by incorporating games, stickers, or rewards to keep your kids engaged and motivated.

The Best Planners for Working Moms - Plan with the kids

Assign Age-Appropriate Tasks.

Give each child age-appropriate tasks and responsibilities related to updating the planner. Younger children can help decorate the planner with stickers or drawings, while older children can assist in writing down appointments, events, or tasks. Encourage them to take ownership of their contributions and feel proud of their involvement in keeping the family organized.

Learn more with 10 Tips for Getting Kids Organized.

Encourage Input and Creativity.

Invite your kids to share their ideas and preferences for family activities, outings, or special events. Let them contribute to the planning process by suggesting fun activities or themes for family gatherings. Encourage creativity and innovation, and be open to trying new things as a family.

Lead by Example.

Be a positive role model for your children by demonstrating good planning habits and organization skills. Let them see you using your planner regularly and involving them in the process. By modeling effective planning behaviors, you show your children the importance of staying organized and prioritizing tasks.

Celebrate Achievements Together.

Celebrate achievements and milestones as a family to recognize everyone's contributions to the planning process. Whether it's completing a project, reaching a goal, or successfully organizing a family outing, take time to acknowledge and celebrate each other's efforts. This reinforces the importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving shared goals.

Learn more about Top 5 Family Organization Tips and Tools.

Finding the right planner can make all the difference in achieving a work-life balance as a mom. Whether you opt for the Life Planner, Monthly Planner, Daily Life Planner, or A5 Ring Agenda System, remember to choose one that aligns with your needs and preferences. With the right planner by your side, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges of juggling work and family life with confidence and ease. Here's to finding the best planner for working moms and taking back control of your schedule (and peace of mind)!