My Quest to Find the Perfect Planner: Confessions of a Hot Mess Mama

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Truth – I’m not very organized by nature. 

I’m pretty laid back and messy. If you don’t believe me, take a look at my car or dresser – or ask my husband (he’d be happy to tell you allllll about how I leave my stuff everywhere). 

unmade bed with a computer on it

Despite my natural inclination to not keep my things organized, for the most part, my disorganization hasn’t extended to scheduling. I like to know what’s happening and when. I’ve tried keeping important dates on a calendar on my phone, on our refrigerator, or on a dry-erase calendar in my kitchen. This has worked for keeping our family organized but, lately, it hasn’t been enough for my own tasks and deadlines.

As a business owner working from home, it’s become necessary to get hyper-organized with my time. This necessity led me to seek out the perfect planner. 

I found many great planners by following recommendations made by friends and companies/influencers I follow. For the most part, there were two distinct types of planners: detailed yearly planners and quarterly “big picture” planners. I’ll share some of both below and if you read to the end, I’ll share the absolute perfect planner for me!

Yearly Planners

planners

Balance Bound Planner: This planner helps busy people create order, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care. There’s a vertical layout for each day that’s divided into four signature sections: work, self, others, and home. There’s also space for goals, meal plans, lists, notes, and more. Grab this planner for $39.

Life Planner by Erin Condren: A major perk of this planner is the extra pages for notes. You won’t need to carry around something extra to jot down meeting notes or assemble a quick grocery list. It also offers ample space for details on each day. You can use this planner to keep track of all of your bills, too. Being coil-bound, it’s easy to write on in your lap. When ordering, you can choose from 3 different weekly layouts. Most options start around $55. 

Simplified by Emily Ley: These planners are truly customizable. You can choose from 6 different cover options, a daily or weekly layout, academic year or calendar year, multiple sizes, and wire or book binding. Prices range from $48-$58

Desire Map Planner by Danielle Laporte: This planner is super cool because you can purchase the physical planner for $50 or an interactive digital version for iPad at $25. Planners are available in either a daily or weekly format and a dated or not-dated format. Free with each planner is the planner program – 3 foundational workbooks. 

Keepsake Planner by Thirty-one: I like the size of the monthly calendar pages. Each day is a good size to write in – which isn’t a given in all planners. It also comes with stickers that help with reminders and a bookmark to keep the weeks straight. You can grab this planner for an even $50. 

Plum Paper: These planners are great because they have many sizes, multiple layouts to choose from, and tons of cover options with customization. They also offer add-ons that cover everything from budgeting, meal planning, home businesses, blogging, social media and so much more. They even have customized options for teachers, students and homeschooling families. Prices start as low as $29 but can go up quite a bit from there. 

Quarterly Planners

planner, pen, and lit candle

The 90-Day Planner by BossBabe: I, personally, love all things BossBabe. I’ve been following them on Instagram for years and listen to their podcast regularly. This planner offers you the opportunity to break your goals into 90-day sprints. It’s ring bound, so easy to write on, and will fit right into your handbag. The price is $49.99 or you can order all 4 that you’ll need to get through the year for a discounted price of $170. 

The Results Journal by Kris Carr: You might know Kris Carr as the lady behind Crazy, Sexy Cancer or from her time on Oprah’s SuperSoul 100. This planner is more of a goals journal/planner in one. It offers a guided approach to cutting through the overwhelm and making strides towards your goals. It runs 13-weeks (roughly 3 months) and comes in at $25.99. 

My Perfect Plannerwoman's arms and a planner, cup of coffee, and a phoneDo Less Planner by Kate Northrup: After (not so) painstakingly researching all of the planner options, I decided that the Do Less Planner by Kate Northrup is the perfect match for me, my needs, goals and how my brain works. I’m a huge fan, already, of Kate and her teachings. I listen to her podcast, The Kate and Mike Show, every week and loved her book, Do Less

Even though this planner isn’t customizable like many of the previous planners mentioned, this planner completely meets my needs on its own. The thing is, Kate teaches about time as being cyclical as opposed to linear and that is something that has greatly increased my productivity. She also teaches about how women operate on a 28-day energy cycle dictated by the moon as opposed to a 24-hour cycle which is how many planners work. This planner helps you to plan your life and tasks around your energy fluctuations.  

Features: 

  • Yearly, monthly, quarterly/seasonal, weekly, and daily spreads
  • Durable and wipeable hard glossy cover
  • Interior pockets
  • Section tabs
  • Not-dated pages
  • Elastic band closure
  • Goal setting sheets
  • Time and Habit tracking tools
  • Spiral-bound
  • 7.5×9.5 inches

Price: Grab this planner for $50.

Since I’m always searching for the best-of-the-best planner, I’d love to hear about your perfect planner. Let me know in the comments so I can check it out!

My Quest to Find the Perfect Planner: Confessions of a Hot Mess Mama

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Julie McNulty
Julie and her husband, Mike, were both born and raised in Southern New Jersey, but recently relocated to Vermont! Though new to the Green Mountain State, it already feels like home and they love the swimming, hiking, and skiing. Julie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Theology. She spent the past ten years working with kids and teens but, these days, she's a part-time work from home/full-time mom to her crazy boys, Luke- 5 and Liam- 4. Julie enjoys reading big books, writing witty blog posts, cooking new recipes, indulging in celebrity gossip, watching trashy reality TV, and doing anything outdoors with her kids and husband. Julie is on the blog team at Hike it Baby and she is a branch ambassador for the Rutland/Killington, VT Hike it Baby branch. You can follow her adventures on Instagram, @catch_us_in_VT or at UR Basic Mom (https://www.facebook.com/urbasicmom/)

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