Our lives are plagued by busyness. And in our busyness, it’s easy to lose our way, forget something, and then forget something else as we circle back around to get the first thing!

For women with busy lives, however that may look for each of us, having a planner for organization can bring a bit of structure (and if we’re being honest, sanity) to our world of busyness. So in the spirit of productivity, I’ve rounded up some of the best types of planners for productivity, home, work, and budgeting as well as some advice for choosing the best type of planner and using your planner for maximum productivity. Time to do some planning! 

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Importance of Planners for Organization and Productivity

To be a better organizer and planner, we first have to first understand the benefits of organizing and planning to motivate us. The best example I have is going to the supermarket. 

This past weeked, I blew my grocery budget because I went inside with a vague list, took a lot of detours, and ended up with a lot of stuff I didn’t intend to buy. Not only that, but when I put everything in my fridge, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d bought way too much food. Since a lot of my purchases were fresh foods, I knew somethings would likely go back before I had a chance to eat them.

But with a planner, I can clearly plan out my meals for the week and make a list for what specifically I need to get from the grocery story to supply those meals. I end up staying under budget, not wasting food, and still having delicious meals.

Do planners really help?

Yes! Planners really help. Planners are a valuable tool that helps me get (and stay) organized, keep tracks of tasks and goals, and increase my overall productivity by providing a central location for all of the things that keep me busy.

No matter what type of planner you use, as long as you’re using it, it’s bound to help you control the craziness (and maybe save you money).

Why are paper planners better?

I am a firm supporter of paper planners. While I have a friend who swears by GCal and who is probably cringing as I write this, I have to say it: the best types of planners are paper planners!

There is power in writing things down and seeing them in a visual format.

Our brain is more likely to remember things when we write them down, and even more, if we forget, we can just glance back at our planner to remember. Physically checking off tasks and tracking goals is more satisfying if done in a paper planner than electronically. That motivates us to be more productive!

Secondly, paper planners are better because they allow you to go off script. If you’re using an electronic planner or calendar, you have to stay within the limits of the application that you’re using. With paper planners, you can write in the margins, customize with colors and stickers, add your own sections, replace sections, etc.

It’s really a canvas where they’ve given you a bit of direction, but you can adapt it to fit your busy life in the best way for you.

Lastly, we spend so many hours on our computers and devices between work, streaming services, and chatting with friends. It gets draining staring at the screen all of the time. That’s why I recommend that your woman’s daily planner be a paper planner, the best type.

Choosing the Best Type of Planners for You

Picking out the right type of planner can be a daunting task. There are lots of options, and choosing the wrong one, while it isn’t detrimental per se, it does usually mean that the planner won’t get used.

So to avoid that, I’ve compiled a list of the best types of planners for women, young professionals, and new adults who often find themselves at the intersection of work and life balance. But before you pick the best planner for you, there’s a few questions you may want to ask yourself so this planner doesn’t end up collecting dust on the shelf with the others. 😉 

How do I choose a planner?

When choosing a planner, make sure to do your research and look closely at the product photos and descriptions. As you look over those things, there are a couple of things that you want to be sure to consider. 

  • Type of Planner = Main goal. When sorting through all of the types of planners, the most important thing is to sync the type of planner you choose with the main reason why you’re investing in a planner. Do you have a lot of work deadlines to keep track of? Are you tracking your personal goals and new year’s resolutions for the year? Do you want to be a better organizer or planner? There are specific types of planners for each of these, so make sure you nail down your main motivations for wanting a planner.

  • Basic Layout & Pages: Now that you’ve got your main goal or motivation for a planner, think about the basic layouts of the types of planners that you’re considering. What pages do they include as standard? Are these pages that you will use often, frequently, rarely, or never? While there is always opportunity for customization, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you don’t want to.
  • Presentation of Dates: Most types of planners (but not all) include some calendar pages or pages with dates. These planner pages are helpful for tracking goals, remembering deadlines, planning activities and vacations, scheduling events or meetings, and keeping track of homework assignments. However, dates in a planner can be represented in many different ways. 
  • Dated or Undated: Some types of planners automatically come as undated, so that you can use the month/week/day pages for any month/week/day you desire. However, if you are planning to use this planner for a time period that’s pretty common then you may want to get a dated calendar. School year planners typically run August to July, while calendar year planners will be January to December.
  • Size: Size is often overlooked as an attribute for a planner, but it’s one of the most important. Size refers to the physical size (pocket planner, full page width, desk planner). When thinking about choosing the right size, ask yourself where you plan to use the planner and if you plan to take it on the go.
    • If you want to take it on the go, you may want to consider a pocket planner.
    • If you will be using the planner somewhere with a lot of space, like on a desk, then perhaps you can accommodate a bigger planner. 
  • Customization: Depending on how artsy you are (or not), the planner’s level of customization is something you’ll want to consider when choosing between different types of planners. Some planners give you the liberty (and encourage you) to personalize the planner, design the pages to fit your lifestyle, and add in additional planner features. Others are pretty straightforward and don’t need much customization for them to be functional.
  • Colors: I love planners that stand out and are a unique expression of who I am. That’s why I love the beautiful design of Bloom planners. On the other hand, if you’re using this planner for work or taking it somewhere where you’ll be seeing clients, you may want to keep to standard or muted colors.

So now that you know everything to consider when choosing a planner, here are the best types of planners for home, organization, goal setting, productivity, work, and young professionals.  

Best Planner for Home and Work

  • Petite Planners from Erin Condren: These small planners are perfect for people wanting to use them on the go, but they are still packed with features. Includes fitness tracking, finance and budgeting, goal planning, meal planning, and daily and monthly planning pages.
  • LifePlanner from ErinCondren: A straightforward planner design with tabbed calendars and space for yearly, monthly, and weekly planning. Also has monthly quotes, productivity pages, extra notes pages, and space for your contacts. Lots of unique designs to choose from and the ability to customize!

Get $10 off your first purchase of $40 or more from ErinCondren with the code: RAKUTEN10.

  • Daily Planner from TheLamare: This women’s daily planner from Etsy is simple, elegant, clean, and easy to use. It has space for you to track habits, set weekly goals, determine your weekly focus, and summarize and review your week. The daily pages also have a gratitude and self care section, to do lists, and notes space.

Best Planner for Goal Setting

  • Ultimate Acheiver’s Planner from Clever Fox: Clever Fox claims to have a proven formula to help you achieve your goals using their Ultimate Acheiver’s Planner. I have to admit that it is pretty decked out! Some of the featured planners include: quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals, affirmations, gratitude journal, habit tracker, daily routine tracker, and colorful stickers. It is undated, which means you can start achieving your goals at any time!

Vision Planner & Calendar from Bloom: As the name suggests, this planner is meant to help you turn your visions and dreams into real accomplishments. It has pages in the following categories: personal growth, work, fitness, finances, health, school, and fun. Take advantage of the 20 life coach pages and monthly vision boards to make your dreams come true!

  • Clever Fox Pro – Weekly and Monthly Planner: If you’re looking for a planner that gives you a lot more on top of the weekly and monthly planner pages, consider this one. This planner helps with “live planning” and organization by giving you dedicated pages for setting your goals, creating a vision board, brainstorming your goals for the next 1, 5, 10, and 20 years, reviewing and adjusting goals, and becoming more aware of your dreams and desires. This is undated, so you can start anytime.
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Best Planner for Budgeting

  • GoGirl Budget Planner: This budget planner offers a great solution for anyone who wants to get a better handle on their finances. It has dedicated pages for creating a financial plan, monitoring debt, setting a budget for the holidays, and tracking savings. It helps you track expenses and reflect on the past month, too. 

Budget Book 2.0 from Clever Fox: Perfect for all of your budgeting and personal finance needs. This planner helps your manage your finances by having dedicated pages for tracking income, expenses, debt, savings, bills, and payments. You can set your budget easily before the month starts and then review your progress throughout and at the end of the month.

  • Budget Planner from Legend Planner: One of the best planners for budgeting and finance, this planner helps you make smart, practical financial goals and achieve them. It includes dedicated pages for tracking bills, setting a holiday budget, monitoring debt, planning and recording expenses, and reminding yourself of important bills and financial milestones.

Best Planner for Professionals

  • Daily Planner and Calendar from Bloom: This planner and calendar features monthly views with space for notes and weekly spreads with space to list out weekly priorities. It includes inspirational quotes for each month and monthly challenges and reflections. It’s a straightforward planner with beautiful designs (and my personal favorite).
  • Weekly Planning Pad from Bloom: If you’re not looking for a bound planner book, a planning pad is a great option, too. This weekly planning pad gives you a lot of the same features of a planner but on a pad where you can tear off the pages as you use them. You can set your weekly priorities, write a to do list, track habits, and still use the spacious weekly views.
  • CREATE Blog and Editorial Planner: As its name suggests, the CREATE planner is made for editorial work and entrepreneurs. Whatever your business goals, it’s a productive tool to support you in your endeavors. Some features of the planner include a framework to help you set your goals, space to plan each quarter and month, and dedicated pages for your content and marketing strategy. Keep all elements of your business in one place.

Related: How to Challenge Yourself and Be Challenged at Work

Best Planner for Work and Personal

  • Daily Undated Passion Planner: While I’m not personally a fan of undated planners, this planner is pretty close to changing my mind. This daily planner has very detailed daily pages to help you get the most of your day. The pages allow you to set an intention for the day, organize your activities into personal and work spaces, track activities and appointments by the hours, and gives you empty space for doodling. As an added bonus, there are pages to help you set and track your overarching goals for the month, too.
  • Ultimate Planner from Bloom: All of the best planners from Bloom have been combined into one ultimate planner! The features in the planner are incredible: undated calendar section, weekly planning pages, to do list planning, blank notes and sketch pages, dotted grid pages, and a coloring book section! (Check out their designs; their covers are my absolute favorite out of all the planners on this list.)

If you’re looking for something smaller to use on the go, try the Mini Weekly Planner from Day Designer. It’s built to help you manage your daily tasks and tackle your to-do list. Also I love the cover!

2021 Mini Weekly Planner: Wildflowers

Best Planner for Productivity 

  • Annual Passion Planner: This planner comes in different sizes (small, medium, and large) and has very detailed weekly pages with times for every day so you can plan your activities and tasks. There are also some blank pages and blank dotted pages for you to customize. Because of the detailed scheduling and tracking, this is one of the best planners for productivity.
  • Weekly Pro Planner from Legend Planner: This planner was built for increasing productivity by helping you prioritize and use your time in the most effective ways. Some features of this planner include space for personal and work to-do lists, goal tracking for the year/month/week, weekly planning, weekly reflections, dedicated goal pages, monthly reviews, and much more. 

You can’t be productive without getting organized first! For those of you who like undated planners so you can use them to fit your schedule, then this planner from Day Designer may be for you.

Best Planner for Writers

  • My Brilliant Writing Planner: This planner is designed with the author and entrepreneur in mind. It was recommended to me from my writer’s association, and I definitely understand why. It’s decked out with tons of features specific to writing novels, including pages for personal visions, goal creation, brainstorming and project boards, task lists, daily logs, and inspiration to keep you motivated to write that book!

The tailored pages and features make this one of the best planners for writers because it’s easy to track your writing goals and set a writing focus.

  • The Momentum Planner: While not designed for writing in particular, this also comes recommended from my writer’s association. It is a beautiful, faux-leather planner that is perfect for productivity and setting your writing goals for any length of time, as it has yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily planning pages. Besides how stunning the planner is, the structured pages help you finish your projects, track your progress, and stay on target. You’ll get that novel/memoir/book/story written soon enough!
  • CREATE Blog and Editorial Planner: I mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. As its name suggests, the CREATE planner is made for editorial work, including writing and blogging. If you’re a writer building your brand or a blogger building your business, this planner is a productive tool to support you in your endeavors. Some features of the planner include a framework to help you set your goals, space to plan each quarter and month, and dedicated pages for your content strategy. Keep all elements of your business and brand in one place. Happy Writing!

Related: The Best Professional Career Advice I Ever Got from a Writer’s Conference

Best Planner and Journal

Thought you would have to decide between the best planner and best journal. How about the best of both worlds with a planner and journal…

  • Dot Journaling Planner & Calendar from Bloom: This undated, dot journaling planner has a sleek, beautiful marble design. It has monthly spreads (with tabs) and weekly views with space for you to really customize it to track what you want. There are also additional dotted journal pages throughout. Best of both worlds when it comes to journals and planners.

But if not, here are two great dotted journal options.

  • Dotted Journal from Clever Fox: This isn’t a planner, but it’s a dotted journal that comes in a whole host of colors. Planners aren’t for everyone, and if you’re looking for less structure, this journal may be for you. With a simple index and reference page, this dotted journal can be anything you want it to be.
  • The Hustler’s Classic Notebook from Hustle Co: This stylish journal is perfect for bullet journaling! You can get the journal with lined pages, blank pages, or dotted pages. It comes in blue and black with a built in pen holder, durable cover, and a built in pocket for storage.

Which is better bullet journal or planner?

It depends! When deciding between the two, just ask yourself, do I want the structure already built in (planner) or do I want to have the freedom to put in the structure exactly how I want it (bullet journal)?

If you want to be a better organizer or increase productivity, I’d recommend a planner for you. Planners provide more structure than a bullet journal, which makes it easier to stay organized and track tasks and deadlines. It helps overall productivity because you know what you’re supposed to be working on next.

Now, if you want to find something to keep track of lists, jot down your thoughts and ideas, or sketch/draw/write, I’d definitely recommend a bullet journal. The beauty about bullet journals is that they have the freedom to be whatever you want. There are many more opportunities for customization.

Whereas a planner has the structure built into it already, you get to decide the structure of the bullet journal.

If you want to have three pages of your favorite quotes, then two pages with a calendar for the month, then four pages of book ideas, and sixteen pages of grocery lists and meal plans–AND you want to customize how each page looks yourself, then a bullet journal is right for you.

Organizing and Using a Woman’s Daily Planner

There are many different types of planners to choose from, but how do you organize and use a planner? That depends on the reason why you bought the planner. My experience comes from using a woman’s daily planner from Bloom, but I’ve used it in many different ways.

Here are a couple of examples that will help you in organizing your planner.

  • Home Life: Use your planner to meal plan, track finances, plan vacations, and remember important dates for you and your family. Set aside fifteen to thirty minutes every week or month to fill out the planner for that week or month and catch up on any tracking that you need to do. Add any new finance transactions, write down any new events or plans, plan out your meals for the week
    • However, I’d recommend that as activities or events are scheduled, write them down ASAP, so you have a record of them and don’t accidentally plan over them.
  • School: Use your planner to track your assignments. At the beginning of the semester, I recommend that you take all of your syllabi and write down the due dates of all of your assignments and your tests.
  • Work: Use your planner to track individual appointments with clients, mark dates for training, plan your vacation, be conscious of when coworkers will be out of the office, remember project milestones (and plan the celebrations of those milestones). These are just a few ideas of how you can use your planner for work, but there are many more.
    • For example, when I taught English, I used my planner to keep track of my classes, when the kids were on internships, my school breaks, and my lessons.

How do I organize my daily planner?

I use a pen color scheme to organize my daily planner. I assign each color to a different category and make sure to use the right pen when I write down items in my planner. For example, I may assign finances and bills the color green, work deadlines the color blue, plans with friends and family purple, and vacation orange. 

Another way to organize your planner is by using the dated pages in the planner. I always organize my monthly items at the start of each month so I have a big picture view of the month. I typically use the calendar month to organize recurring events or events that occur over multiple days (like a vacation or conference). 

Then, you can further organize your activities and tasks with the week or daily planner pages. These will give you a more detailed picture to the puzzle per se. This is perfect for scheduling time to write, exercise, relax, go grocery shopping, or meet up with friends.

 As you continue to use different types of planners, you will find the best organization method for you.

Some of the planner’s pages you will probably use while others you won’t as much. That’s okay! Above all, you should organize your daily planner to fit your lifestyle and your needs.

What is the best type of planner for home or work that you’ve used?

Leave me a comment below!

Don’t miss this! More posts about Working and the Young Professional Lifestyle:

Featured Images: Content Pixie from Pexel, created with Canva (1); Bich Tran from Pexel, created with Canva (2 and 3).

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