Best Planners for Moms
Let me guess. You're a busy mom with loads of stuff to do and not enough time to do it.
How do I know? Because I've been there too. I've struggled with productivity and learning how to get it all done without losing my sanity.
My planner is my secret weapon. Our brains are not meant to house all of these tasks and thoughts. Planners help you free up brain cycles and learn what you should be doing.
When it comes to planners, there are thousands (if not more) options out there. How's a busy mom to choose? I've got you covered!
These are the best planners for moms. Each one has something different that makes it special, but I've also included a quiz to help you get through it all.
This is a monster post because you deserve the best information when it comes to picking out a planner that you're going to use every day. To make it easier, I've included a quiz and quick navigation to help you discover the perfect planner for you based on your needs.
The Top 6 Dated Planners
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These planners are the best of the dated planners. Some of them start in January, while others start midyear. There's even one (Purple Trail Planner) that you can pick the month to start yourself online.
The benefits of a dated planner include not having to write the days in yourself. It might seem like a little thing, but I was shocked when I switched from a non-dated planner to a dated one and how much I loved the switch.
It's a little thing, but it makes a huge difference! The following list are my favorite planners for moms so I hope you enjoy!
If you've looked into planners at all, it's hard not to have already heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner. It's an amazing planner and works for many busy moms.
This is a high quality planner with loads of customization options. Plus, there's an entire line of accessories and "extras" that you can purchase as well.
I really like this planner for moms that are looking for something that they can make their own. I don't want to spend hours creating spreads, but I really like how I can spend some time customizing this to be what I want.
The accessories are awesome too! I love the protective shell you can get and I love that the stickers fit in the boxes.
The vertical layout makes this one of the best planners for working moms. You can use the boxes for different areas of your life (home life, work life, etc).
If you're a busy mom with loads of things that you need to do everyday, then this just might be the planner for you.
This high quality planner has daily pages instead of weekly layouts. With both an hourly schedule and a to-do list with check boxes already done out, it's really easy to just grab this planner and go.
You don't have to spend hours customizing this planner or looking for stickers. That being said, if you like to use your planner for a more creative outlet, this might not be the planner for you.
If you came to me and said, "I just want a nice planner that I don't have to spend time customizing to track all the stuff I have to do!" then this is the planner I'd tell you to get.
If you want a personally designed planner, but you want it to come ready to go (as in you don't want to do the decorating), this is the planner for you. Not only can you chose what month to start in, but you also can customize nearly every aspect of this planner.
Do you want a special cover? You can do it with PurpleTrail. You can even add your own pictures to your cover.
Do you want special pages added to your planner? You get to pick four of the 18 options. Yes, you read that right. 18.
Need a budget option? Then this is the planner for you!
This simple grab-and-go planner is great for moms that just want a simple planner and don't want to spend a lot of money.
With weekly inspirational quotes, grocery lists, and menus, this planner was built for moms managing a family. You can tear the grocery list off when you're heading to the store so you don't have to drag a planner with you.
The first thought that comes to mind for this planner is the little planner that could. It's smaller than some of the other planners on here, but packs a big punch.
This isn't a flashy planner, which makes it great for working moms. With the daily layout, it's perfect if you have a lot to do.
Half of the page is dedicated to your schedule and the other half is for a to do list. I really like that you don't have to sacrifice one for the other!
You can choose a six month option for this as well which keeps the bulk down, making it perfect for on the go.
This planner in and over itself is bright and colorful. It's also a bit more affordable than some of the other planners on this list. It's a great grab and go type planner for those that don't have a ton of stuff to put in their planner every day.
Because it's smaller and has a hard cover, it's great for throwing into a bag or purse. There's not a lot of customization which is great for those that don't want to be overwhelmed with options. And the stickers are awesome and fit with the style of this planner.
The Reminder Binder packs a punch when it comes to colors! There's nothing neutral about it. It's fun and playful (but not the most professional looking) so I'd recommend for a mom that wants a smile, but maybe isn't trying to take the board room by storm.
This is the best mommy planner out there.
The Top 3 Undated Planners
Maybe you decided to start using a planner in an "off month". Not many planners start in March, and it can feel like a waste to pick up a planner that starts in January. Plus if you wait until July, the next month that planners usually start in, you're missing out on months of planning.
A great solution to this is an undated planner. These planners are ready to go whenever you are. You have to write the dates in yourself, but that's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
The Panda Planner is a great option if you want something that's done out for you and you're looking to accomplish specific goals.
It uses daily spreads that walk you through not only your schedule, but also your priorities and daily reviews. It can be great if you're looking to become super productive!
The monthly and weekly views also have lots of space to review your time and to make sure that you do better next week.
If you're looking for more information, I also did an entire Panda Planner Review.
The Daily Greatness Planner - Parents Journal
I bought this planner on a whim and I'm loving it! This is less of a planner and more of a journal.
Essentially, you plan out your intentions as parents. Then you break down your intentions to tasks and plan them along the next 90 days. There are lots of areas for review to see what's working and what's not.
Each week has a theme and it's all centered around parenting. This journal is perfect for people who feel like they need to step it up with their parenting.
This is an awesome little planner. The perfect undated planner, it features goal tracking, monthly and weekly reviews, and a great layout that lets you track everything you need to get done.
You can express creativity in this planner or you can use as is for time savings.
The cover colors can be a bit bright but other than that, it's a great option!
The Top 2 Bullet Journals
Some of the great things about this planner include ready-to-go index pages and pre-populated page numbers. It makes it a lot easier once you start bullet journaling to not have to remember to write down the page numbers.
The downside is that the pages themselves sometimes can bleed. So honestly it really all depends on what pain you're using.
These planners are pretty standard. They don't include page numbers or any sort of pre-done index page, so they are truly able to be customized in any way that you want.
You can choose what type of paper layout you want including grids, dot grids, plain lines, or blank pages so these are perfect if you want different layouts.
It's also extremely easy to find the Moleskine notebooks. I found them all over the place without even really looking. There are also a variety of covers and sizes in terms of the number of pages.
The Top 2 Printable Planners
Printable planners can be a fantastic option for busy moms. They can be printed at home or at an office supply store.
This gives you a lot of options and terms of how many pages you carry around it once and how you bind them.
You can use a standard three-hole punch binder if you want or you can have them bound somewhere else.
You can also print these as many times as you want. If you purchase an un-dated printable you can print them year after year. If you haven't dated one but you make a mistake, you do have the option of reprinting that page.
You also can print and carry around with you just what you currently need. You don't have to worry about bringing around a year's worth planner.
This planner is perfect for a busy mom! It's a dated planner that is more traditional in that it's the most similar to the planners you can purchase that are already printed. However, this planner is easy to print in different sizes and comes with a few different options, so it's a solid choice.
The 12-Week Goal Planner by Jennifer Anastasi
I had to include my own planner in this post! This 12-week planner is undated so you can start it at any time that you want.
What is a Planner and Why You Need One
As moms, we tend to hold a lot of information in our brains. That information can be very helpful but it can also be overwhelming.
Some of the things that we track are not only our own tasks and schedules but also those of our children and possibly even a spouse.
As modern moms, we juggle quite a few things. We always have multiple balls up in the air, and it's no wonder that we feel overwhelmed. One of the best ways to stop feeling overwhelmed and stop feeling as though we're reacting to life rather than living it is to set goals and make plans to follow through with them.
Setting goals and breaking them down into manageable tasks can help you feel as though you're moving toward a destination. You define the life that you want and you work to get to it.
However, it's easy to get sidetracked from these goals if we don't write them down and break them down into tasks to accomplish every week. It's very easy to put these goals on the back burner or not to put them at the forefront of your mind.
Having a planner with all of these things in it will help take some of that burden off of you. Let your planner take some of the work!
You can use your planner to track your schedule and the schedule of anyone else that you are in charge of. You can also use the planner to jot down memories to put your thoughts down on paper and get them out of your head.
I don't know what I would do without my planner. I used to feel overwhelmed and feel as though I was constantly forgetting things. I felt as though I just couldn't keep up and quite honestly there were times where I felt as though I was a failure.
Once I got a planner I started to write down all of the things that I needed to get done for a particular week. At the end of the week, I started to look back at all of the things that I had accomplished and realized very quickly just how much I was doing.
My planner unintentionally had become a time tracker for me. It was easy for me to see that I had stretched myself too thin once I actually looked at how many tasks I was checking off every week.
I also could see where I was focusing my energy. I started to realize that there were some tasks and some things that I was spending time on that I could let go of without guilt.
Now I use my planner to make sure that I don't over-plan my weeks, and I use it to keep me on track and on schedule. I don't miss things anymore.
Having a planner isn't going to automatically make sure that your laundry gets done or that your important work projects are finished on time. But it will make sure that you don't forget any of your work projects and that you have an idea that maybe you should do some laundry.
Having a good planner can make all the difference. I've rounded up the best planners for busy moms so you don't have to go around searching for them.
Different Types of Planners for Moms
When it comes to different types of planners, there are two major categories that can be broken down. The big ones though are paper or online.
There are pros and cons to both, but what it comes down to is personal preference. If you're always on your phone and feel like you don't want to carry another "thing" around with you, online will most likely work best for you.
That being said, you may want to actually write things down or have access to everything offline. Or maybe you want to use your journal as a hobby as well.
There are a lot of great benefits to both, and it's going to come down to which one works best for you. If you're not sure, I'd try starting with a free online planner. If you don't like having it online, then maybe it's time to invest in a paper planner!
Ah, the paper planner. I used to think that the paper planner was going to join the history archives, but it turns out, some things are just better on paper.
I'm a big fan and use a paper planner. There are so many options out there and many are geared towards busy moms.
Paper planners are perfect for expressing a bit more creativity and for those that don't like depending on a computer or phone for things.
Dated planners are great because everything is already done for you. You just open it up and you're good to go.
You don't have to use another calendar to look up what day of the week each month starts on, or when holidays are. Everything is already set up so you just get it and go.
What about if you want to start a planner in March? Most planners start in January and a few start in July. So if you want to start in an off-month or you want to try out a journal before you commit fully, sometimes the undated planners are the way to go.
Sure, you have to write the dates in, but it's not a big deal or a huge time waster. I started with an undated planner and it was perfect for me at the time.
Also, some of the "themed" planners or journals are undated so they can be started at any time. Most goal planners are undated, which is great once you decide to go after a goal. There's no waiting for the start of the month!
Bullet Journals are the new "thing". And for good reason too!
A bullet journal is an empty journal that you set up yourself for a custom experience. You follow a system using dots and other symbols to create spreads.
What makes bullet journals so nice, is that you have complete control. You get to customize exactly what you want. There are so many examples on social media of bullet journals that it's easy to get inspiration.
That being said, it's easy to get overwhelmed with bullet journals and they do take a lot of time to set up yourself.
If you're looking for a completely custom experience and have the time to create your own system, bullet journals are most likely for you.
When you hear talk of printables, that means that you download a digital file and print it out yourself on your home printer. Another option is to take it to an office supply store such a Staples and have them print it for you for a small fee.
You can print these over and over again. If you download an undated printable, you could use it year after year.
Printables are a fantastic economy option. There are many printable options out there so it's easy defined a planner that will work for you.
Maybe you're more of an online kind of mom. You like being able to keep everything on your phone or tablet and access it anywhere.
There are some great apps out there that can help you keep track of everything from multiple locations!
Here are a few of my favorites:
6 Benefits of Using a Planner
If you have a calendar layout that you use, it's effortless to see exactly where you need to be. Tracking things like appointments, meetings, or anything else you have to do makes it easy to see an overall picture of all the things you have coming up.
There are different options for calendars (surprising right?). You have the traditional calendar with the days of the weeks and everything laid out in a grid.
Then you have the bullet journal type calendar where you write down all the days in one column and your appointments in a second column. It's simple and a different way to think about your time.
Using a planner for scheduling makes it great for keeping track of various tasks and projects. Whenever I have a large project I'm working on, I like to break it down into manageable tasks.
By creating these checklist, I'm able to clearly see what the next step is and work towards the goal of finishing the project. I love having multiple areas to track projects so I can easily organize everything that I need to get done.
You can treat almost anything like a project. Housework? That's a project. De-cluttering your house? That's a project. Meal planning and prepping for the week? You guessed it! Project!
By thinking of things as projects (even recurring projects), you feel a great sense of accomplishment checking things off that list and finishing something. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments.
Having goals is fantastic. But having goals without a plan for getting them done is a recipe for disaster. You need to have a plan to finish your goals. there's no other way around it. Using a planner to keep track of all of this can help.
I specifically created a goal tracker to help me figure out how to get my goals done. It's amazing how quickly things can turn around when you use a goal tracking system.
By writing down concrete steps every week to work towards your goals, you can live a more intentional life. You live the life YOU want, not the life that seems to be handed to you.
It's no secret that I believe in the power of brain dumps. It's so easy as a mom to get overwhelmed, and sometimes it feels like this paralyzing task to dig yourself out.
Using a brain dump as a tool for time management, can help you get out of the rut that you're in. It gets everything out of your brain and onto the paper.
I love planners that have extra pages for things specifically like brain dumps. It's so much easier to empty your mind every week.
It takes less time and helps keep you organized. Planners with space to do that always a go-to in my book.
With all the things that we have going on in our lives, having an organized system is essential. Using a planner is one of the best ways to get organized.
I even use my planner to help me organize the rest of my life. I treat things like de-cluttering, and getting my closets cleaned out as projects that go directly to my planner.
Because I'm able to see everything I have going on in a week, I'm able to look at my list of things to do our projects to complete, and easily see what can fit into the time I have left.
This lets me avoid over planning. Organizing my planner like this also helps me to feel that sense of accomplishment when I get things done.
Peace of Mind
How can a planner give you peace of mind? Easy! Do you ever worry that you're going to forget something? Or that you're going to drop the ball on something important?
These worries and fears are easily overcome once you have a planner that you get used to using. If you make it a habit of writing things down (or adding them to a app) then you take that pressure off of yourself.
Having that peace of mind is one of the great benefits of a planner.
Still not convinced? I wrote an entire post on 6 Benefits of Using a Planner.
10 Things to Look for in a Good Planner
When it comes to planners, not all of them are created equal. Not all features at the same and not all moms are going to plan the same way. The trick is to learn what's going to work for you based on what you want to use your planner for and your lifestyle.
When it comes to planners there are many features. Some features will matter to you while others don't. It all comes down to your lifestyle and how you plan on using your planner.
What seems to work best is finding a planner with features that will work best for your particular lifestyle and planning needs.
You need to think about the practical aspects of your planner. For example, if there's not enough space for you to write down your individual tasks then is that really a practical planner for you?
Do you carry a very small bag? If so you want to look for a planner that you can easily take with you.
Do you need a hard or soft cover? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself.
At the end of the day, you want the planner that you're going to use. This isn't the planner that you hope to use, it's the one that you will use.
It's simple to get caught up in an Instagram spiral. Don't go down that rabbit hole. Find the planner that will work best for you.
Type of Layout
There are different types of layouts for planners. There are daily layouts, which have a page (or sometimes two) for each day of the week. Then there are weekly layouts that give you two pages (usually) with an entire week laid out.
If you are doing weekly planning, there are typically three main types of layouts.
You may have an hourly layout with each day broken up into hours. This is great for busy moms with lots of appointments.
Another popular layout is the horizontal layout. These layouts are fantastic for memory keeping or gratitude journals because there's more space to write.
The last popular layout is the vertical layout. It's similar in style to an hourly layout, only there are no time slots. This is great if you use a lot of lists.
The trick is to find the layout that works for you. I don't have a lot of appointments, so the hourly isn't the best for me. I've tried horizontal and just didn't love it for all the lists that I make daily. So the vertical layout works best for me.
Have you used a planner in the past and maybe felt as though it was okay but could be better? A lot of this comes down to being able to customize the planner to work for you.
For example, some people like vertical planners while others like horizontal. Being able to pick your layout might be very important to you and you may want a planner that allows you to customize your layout.
There are so many things that can be customized in planners so it's important to realize which ones are critical to you and which ones you can live with the default option. Typically the more customized options the higher the price tag.
Ah, price. At the end of the day, you have to set a budget. It's important to spend what you're comfortable with.
It's not just the planner you need to think about. If you fall in love with the beautiful spreads you see on Instagram, it's easy to drop loads of money on a planner just to find out that the stickers you loved aren't included.
You want to set yourself up for success. Spend what works for you and make sure you explore all your options.
There are fantastic planners out there at all sorts of price points, so it's easy to find one that will work for you.
Level of Detail
What level of detail are you hoping to get into it in your new planner? If you, like me, like to have very detailed breakdown of the tasks that you're doing, you're going to want to make sure that you have enough space.
There's nothing worse then getting a brand new planner only to realize that there simply isn't enough space for you to plan the way that you intended to.
On the other hand if you have a lot of blank space that you never fill up and you don't have the desire to be creative in your planner, then do you really need all that space? In that case you may not want a larger planner and a small planner may work best for you.
A lot of people like to use their planners as a creative outlet. There are so many different ways to be creative in a planner.
Between all the different pens, stickers, washi tape, and others, there are many different ways to decorate a planner.
Some planners are easier to be creative in then others. You'll want to look at how much blank space is in each planner and how much space you'll have to be creative.
Colors and Designs
Another thing to think about is what type of colors and designs are looking for in your planner.
Some of these planners are extremely bright and colorful. These planners can be fun and can bring a smile to your face. That might be something that's really important to you.
On the other hand, maybe you're a working mom. Maybe in your professional environment, you don't want a journal or planner with a bright cover.
You may want something more subtle. Or maybe you just prefer neutrals.
You need to make sure that your planner fits in with your entire lifestyle not just one part of it. Planners work best when they travel with you to the various parts of your life.
Your planner becomes the unifying thing that you have that ties everything together.
How much time do you plan on spending with your planner? Is this something that you want to use as a hobby and not just a time management tool?
For someone that plans on spending a lot of time and being innovative in their planner, something like a bullet journal may be the best option.
Bullet journals allow you to customize to get exactly what's going to work for you but they do take a lot of time. If you don't have that time, then you need to find a pre-made planner that works best for you.
Finally, let's talk about size. Some planners are just plain larger than other ones.
In some cases, bigger is better. If you plan on getting deep into details in your planner, a bigger size will give you more space to work with.
That being said this planner should come with you everywhere you go and some of the larger planners may not fit with your lifestyle. Taking size into consideration is crucial.
Where to Buy a Planner
When it comes to buying a planner, you have two main options. First you can purchase online. Or if you're not a fan of online shopping, there are several stores that sell planners as well.
The important thing is to make sure that you know what you're buying. Check the packaging if you're in store, or check online to make sure that you have the options you want and that you're getting what you think you're getting.
If there are a lot of customization options, you want to make sure you have the right one. Nothing is more disappointing then getting home and realizing you have the wrong planner.
There are several options for online purchasing. First, there's always the company website. This is where you'll get the most options and customization.
I'm a fan of buying directly from the company, especially if I'm going to be purchasing other accessories. Most of them offer customer loyalty programs that can really add up!
Amazon also had quite a few options (in some cases that's the only place you can purchase). In that case, you want to make sure that you're getting a genuine product. Also, make sure to double check the dates if you're purchasing a dated planner!
If you'd rather go to a store to purchase a planner, there are a lot of options out there. Most office supply stores carry planners.
If you're looking to be a bit more creative, craft stores are stocking up on planners these days. You can purchase planners and all of their accessories (think pens, stickers or tape) when you buy your planner.
Most craft stores have online coupons, so my pro tip is to check it out! Make sure you read the fine print though. A few different companies are not included in these discounts.
Tools for Planners
So maybe you've picked your planner at this point. Maybe you're still thinking. That's OK. It's a big choice!
The thing is, it's not just about the planner itself. There are accessories out there that can enhance the experience.
I used to scoff at planner accessories. And then, I got my first set of pens. They wrote so nicely...
And those stickers that I didn't think I needed in the back of my planner were going to waste so I used a few. And then bought a sticker book. And then a few more. And then started making my own...
There are many different tools that you can use when decorating and using a planner. Some more practical than others...
There are so many different types of pens that you can choose to use for your planner. The big things to think about are colors, ease of writing, and bleed.
If you have a lot of different people or activities to track, it can be easy to color code. In that case, using colored pens are perfect.
If you're using a planner with a thick paper you don't have to worry about bleed. However, you do need to worry about bleed if you have thin pages.
Bleed is when you write on one side of the paper and it shows through on the other. This is also known as ghosting.
For some people, it doesn't matter but for others is a deal-breaker.
You also want to consider ease-of-use. Different people prefer different pens based on how they write.
You may like a smooth pen or a gel pen perhaps. It's all up to your writing style and what you prefer.
I have a love-hate relationship with stickers. At first, I thought they were wasteful, and I didn't really see the point. Then I got hooked.
Stickers are a great way to give you a consistent look and too quickly create spreads that are beautiful and consistent. I love how easy it is to apply a sticker as a label or to cover up a blank space in my planner.
You have two options when it comes to stickers. You can choose general stickers or you can choose stickers that are specifically created for the planner that you're using.
Some of these planners have box sizes that are not standard, so using those stickers can be nice if they fit into a box perfectly.
Washi tape is a tape that is colorful and slightly thicker than normal tape. They can be used for decoration among other things.
Whenever I'm using some type of hole punch, I like to use washi tape to reinforce the paper you can also use washi tape to cover up a mistake.
They come in all sorts of colors and patterns. It can be fun to collect them!
Sticky notes are another great accessory for your journal or planner. Sometimes you aren't ready to commit something with a pen. In that case, a sticky note is a great way to write something down and move it around wherever you may need it.
Some of the companies that I've linked above have a fantastic selection of planner specific sticky notes that can be used in any planner.
If stickers are too colorful or just not your style, another way to get a consistent look is to use stencils. I found with stencils, most of the best ones can be found on sites like Etsy.
It's easy to use a stencil for things like banners or to do lists. I personally use stencils to create check boxes for my various list.
What exactly is a dashboard? A dashboard is usually a thicker piece of paper or even plastic that can be moved from one week to the next.
Dashboards have information on them that you may want to use more than once. For example, you may have a menu planning dashboard. Every week you would write down what your menu for the week would be, and it's always accessible when you open up your weekly or even daily spread.
I really like whiteboard dashboards to keep things consistent and to keep track of the things that I look at every week. These can also be used for a running to-do list when something may not necessarily be done during the span of one week.
More Tools to Help You Stay Organized
Planners are fantastic organizing tools but they're not the only ones. If you're looking for a complete organization solution there are few other things that can help keep you organized as a busy mom.
Family Wall Calendar
The family wall calendar is a staple in our house. If you have older children or spouse, it's fantastic to be able to see everything laid out at once.
With a wall calendar, everyone has access at all times. Growing up this was essential to our family because it gave the children more responsibility. We knew when we were busy and when we were free and were able to somewhat dictate our own schedules.
Paper To Do Lists
Another great item is a paper to do list. Planners are only really good for one person.
Sometimes having a pad of paper with a to-do list is a great option for writing down a quick list that may be more than one person is going to need to look at.
We use to do list pads of paper in our house for household projects or for when more than one person is working on cleaning the house. It gives everybody the option of looking on the to-do list and picking the next thing they want to do and it's an easy way to keep everyone informed of what's been cleaned and what still needs to be done.
Another great organization tool for a family as a menu board. This work especially well if you meal plan at the beginning of the week.
You use the board to write down what each meal is for every day of the week. Then the entire family can see at a glance what's being prepared for dinner each night.
Command centers are one of the top organizational tools for a family. A command center is one area, typically in a kitchen, where all of the "stuff" goes.
There might be folders for school projects and homework assignments slots from mail coming in and going out, calendars, menus, whiteboards, cork boards, etc.
Hopefully after reading this massive post you found a planner that works for you and you have a plan for getting organized going forward.
With so many great planners out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed but what it all comes down to is breaking down the features that you're looking for and using the process of elimination.
It's also okay to try out a planner and realize that it's just not the right planner for you. There's plenty more to choose from!
If you'd like more help and getting organized you can check out my post on From Overwhelmed to Organized: 7 Steps for Taking Control of Your Life.