Any working mom knows that having a plan is essential to getting things done! I love to plan, and although I
sometimes often get caught up the details of the actual follow-through, I feel that planning is a natural strength of mine. I love the feeling of accomplishment that a finished plan brings! Here are a few of my favorite planning tools that I currently use together to help my days and weeks be more productive:
- Erin Condren Life Planner – While I’ve gone almost fully digital in other areas of my work, I still do best with a paper planner to track my daily/weekly to-do’s. I think visual types need the “in your face” sort of reminder a paper planner gives. I’ve used lots of paper planners over the years, and this one is hands-down the most useful! They’re a bit more pricey than I would normally spend on a planner, but there are coupons online you can find (I got 20% off last year), and I truly feel like its benefits have been worth the money. I love that each day has three separate spaces, and while they are labeled “morning, afternoon, night,” you can use them however you think best. I’ll do another post on how I use my planner to break up my to-do’s into different categories of my life to help me keep track of it all!
- Google Calendar – To keep track of events, appointments, and reminders, in addition to my paper planner I have used Google Calendar for a really long time – probably 10 years now. I also use several Google apps for work and teaching purposes, and I share them often with teachers and with my students. I joke that Google should pay me to promote their products, because I’m a huge fan! The main reasons I prefer this calendar over other digital versions is that it’s super easy to use, syncs with my iPhone, and (my favorite) allows for creation/sharing of multiple calendars across multiple users. So, I have separate calendars with different colors for personal events, work, and my kids, and my husband and I share our calendars with each other, so we can easily see what the other has going on at a glance. Brilliant and best of all… FREE! A must-have for busy families with multiple activities.
- iPhone Reminders App – This is just the built-in app that allows you to create various lists, with sharing features. I currently have a general Reminders list (which I use as an extension of my daily to-do’s listed in planner), Groceries/Shopping (shared with husband), To Buy (running list of things I need/want to buy in the future, such as gifts), and Honey-Do (my sweet husband requested this one… now the jury’s still out on whether he ever looks at it, haha!). So, whenever I run out of a food item, I put it directly into the Groceries list, and whoever is at the store first can see and purchase it. Also, my favorite feature is that you can set a pop-up or email “reminder” for any list item to occur at a certain time, place, or both. Perfect for those like me who have perpetual mommy brain!
- Sticky Note Goals & To Do’s Printable – I am a sticky note enthusiast – I love them! But I have found that they tend to lose their stickiness, get lost, etc. I used a different sticky note list for awhile last year that had spaces for daily, weekly, and monthly to-do’s, but I felt like I was wasting time re-writing my monthly to-do’s each week. So, I made this version, which doesn’t have labeled categories. It’s on the bulletin board over my desk, and I currently have four sticky notes on it – one with my exercise goals for this week and one for each class I’m teaching this semester to keep track of grading and action items.
Other Digital Planning Tools I’ve Used in the Past:
Disclaimer: I received no compensation for any of the products listed above. I’m just passing along quality and useful products in hopes of helping other busy moms!