Remember when you were in elementary school and were given an agenda book to keep track of all your homework, etc.? I’m sure my third-grade teacher, Ms. Ackerman, had no idea what she was starting when she handed me that first plastic-coiled and dated notebook. For me, it was the beginning of a great love affair with agendas, planners, and notebooks. And I know I’m not the only one! Moms all over the country love filling out their planners and organizing their busy lives.
But which planners are best for moms in today’s demanding, hectic, ever-changing society, you ask? Good question. There are many different planners on the market, but a few stand out as fantastic tools for helping women navigate life and motherhood. Check out these amazing options of the best day planners for moms.
IN A HURRY? HERE’S OUR TOP PICKS…
- IN A HURRY? HERE’S OUR TOP PICKS…
- 1. Passion Planners
- 2. Erin Condren Planners
- 3. Freedom Mastery Law of Attraction Planners
- 4. Happy Planners
- 5. MomAgendas
- The 7 Best Brands
- Frequently Asked Questions
- And the verdict is…
1. Passion Planners
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This planner is perfect for the entrepreneurs and go-getter moms as it not only has extensive space for planning out your weeks and months, it has a strong focus on goal and intention setting. Fill out the Passion Roadmap section and the specific Passion Plan, and you’ll be ready to tackle whatever your heart desires.
Weekly layouts are vertical and lines are drawn for every half hour from 6:00 am until 10:30 pm, which enables you to keep a detailed account of your daily activities. Each week has two or three motivational quotes found beside the Sunday column. There are two boxes on the bottom of the left page, one for listing your work-related to-do list and one for your personal to-dos, and the “Space of Infinite Possibility” on the right-hand page is a great spot to jot down notes, write your own thoughts of gratitude or motivation, or simply doodle!
There is a full month spread at the beginning of each month, as well as a “monthly reflection” spread at the end of the month. This helps you to study your activity and thoughts in relation to your Passion Plan and goal setting. At the back of the book, you’ll find around 20 blank pages for note-taking. Some of these pages have a light dotted print to make bullet journaling easy, but some are plain and clear.
Different formats of this planner are available (dated, undated, academic calendar), but all contain a vertical layout with nearly the exact same content. It’s very plain on the inside, with no fancy designs or bright colors, but there are some gorgeous cover options available. If your handwriting is at all large, the small, thin lines in the daily vertical columns won’t be easy to use. Also, these planners can only be ordered online, so if you suddenly realize you need a new one for whatever reason, you can’t just stop at the office supply store to pick one up.
- Passion Roadmap helps break down your goals into manageable steps
- Monthly reflections encourage you to reframe goals for the new month
- Different formats available: dates, undated, academic
- The plain, neutral interior can be boring
- Its bigger size means it doesn’t always fit easily in a purse
2. Erin Condren Planners
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Erin Condren LifePlanners are very popular and very beautiful! One of the best perks is that the cover is interchangeable; you can easily order new ones and never get bored with the same ol’ design or quote on the cover. This line of planners even offers different layouts for different needs. If you prefer a vertical layout, they have it. If you prefer a horizontal layout, they have it. If you prefer to have everything laid out by the hour, they have that too. There are options for a neutral interior so that you can customize and decorate as you want it, or you can choose a colorful interior that’s already full of designs. You can even choose which color you’d like the coil binding to be. It really is one of the most customizable planners on the market!
Along with the agenda book itself, Erin Condren planners come with a small “perpetual calendar.” This is a handy accessory that could be used as a gratitude journal, to record birthdays and anniversaries, etc. Erin Condren’s Life Planner also comes with tons of cute stickers to help plan and decorate, including shopping bags, kitchen utensils, speech balloons, and some that say things like “Happy Birthday,” or “To Do.” There’s also an entire page of pretty labels included.
The paper is nice and thick, both the front and back covers act as a wet erase board, there are simple, lined pages included, and dotted pages for bullet journaling. Towards the end of the book, there are a few coloring pages too. So much to do!
On the downside, as sweet and appealing as the cover art options are, the book doesn’t look very professional. Many moms want to use their planners to organize their work, volunteer commitments, church events, AND their personal lives – as well as their children’s – so a professional looking planner is important. Also, the weekly spreads are laid out in a Monday through Sunday format, which some users may dislike. While other Erin Condren planners offer a hardcover option, the LifePlanner does not, and the soft cover is susceptible to scratches and general wear and tear. The coils that bind the book are quite large, and this can be inconvenient when trying to fit it in a bag or briefcase.
- Covers are easily changed; lots of beautiful, colorful options
- Vertical, horizontal, and hourly layouts available
- Covers are also wet erase boards
- Unprofessional appearance
- Monday-through-Sunday weekly layout doesn’t work for everyone
- Coil binding is flimsy and inconvenient
3. Freedom Mastery Law of Attraction Planners
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While quite similar to the Passion Planner, the Freedom planners offer both a bigger, weekly-focused planner and a smaller, daily-focused one. There are pages dedicated to identifying and creating your vision statements and personal goals, as well as a guided mind-mapping section where your larger life goals can be broken down into smaller, manageable steps.
The small book – called the A5 – measures 5×8 and focuses on how to plan each day in a way that helps increase productivity and goal reaching while also identifying the feelings, habits, and personal victories that help or hinder your progress.
Moms with several kids and jam-packed schedules will love the daily layouts in this book. Each spread contains several different columns and sections: a highlighted section for the day’s main goal, a block for a customized quote of the day, a lined to-do list, a “positive habit creator” box, and several lines for listing the day’s victories, lessons learned, self love practices, etc. All of this is in addition to the detailed timetable column, which goes from 5 am until 11 pm. It’s a great way to include all the little reminders needed to schedule and accomplish all activities that come with a big family.
Unfortunately, the A5 version of the Freedom Mastery Law of Attraction Planner only comes in an undated format. And since this book focuses on daily schedules instead of weekly, it only has enough pages to record six months worth of schedules. This means you’ll have to purchase it more often than if you went with a standard 12-month planner. The neutral inside of the planner is a stark contrast to the colorful, intricately designed cover – again, similar to the Passion Planner.
- Two sizes available
- Focus on feelings and habits as well as daily/weekly to-dos
- Hourly layout ideal for hectic family lifestyle
- Only comes in an undated format
- Limited to six months worth of space; will need to be replaced more often
4. Happy Planners
- This classic planner is 18...
- 18 months- dated (july 2018-december...
- Sturdy laminated covers
- Foil features included
- Unique monthly and weekly layouts
The name “Happy Planner” perfectly describes this incredibly customizable agenda booklet. Absolutely all of the pages are removable, thanks to the unique coil/disc-like binding system. The coil/discs are a thick plastic D-shape that make it easy to remove or insert pages, and you can even buy a Happy Planner-specific hole punch so you can add any paper you want to your planner. This means that the customization options for this planner are endless; if you don’t like the organization of the book, change it up! No need to buy a whole new book!
Happy Planners are available in either an 18 or 12-month format, and all have a flexible plastic cover. The cover is actually a pocket of sorts, created so that users can change out the cover design any time they like. Covers and other accessories are available at Michaels and other brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online, so picking up a new one and changing the look of your planner is incredibly easy. The Happy Planner website features many other additions you can purchase, including stickers, pens, etc.
The inside content of the planner is just as pretty as the available covers! Each page has beautiful script instead of all plain, boring fonts, and even the pages you use the least will have pretty patterns or quotes. The monthly dividers are made of a nice, thick cardstock and feature gorgeous inspirational quotes. Some dividers are even designed as coloring pages. Tabs are attached to each divider, so navigating your Happy Planner is a cinch. Alongside each divider is a page for recording “current” life happenings: what you’re reading, what you’re drinking, what you’re listening to, what you’re feeling, etc. This page also has sections to record any upcoming birthdays, important dates, and monthly goals.
While the customization options for this planner are very fun and very convenient, all of the colors and designs make this book a rather non-professional looking planner. The binding coils/discs and the plastic cover make it feel somewhat cheap, even though it is colorful and pretty. You can buy “deluxe covers,” but this means you’re paying an extra $20-ish on top of the cost of the planner itself.
- Pages can easily be added or removed
- Interchangeable cover options
- Beautiful interior pages with quotes, coloring pages, etc.
- D-shaped coil binding is large and awkward
- Professional-looking deluxe covers are expensive
This is one of the few planners specifically targeted at moms. They’re available as a hardcover or softcover, with a spiral binding, bookbinding, or a three-ring binding – like a portfolio. MomAgendas have somewhat plain covers. Some of the spiral-bound books have a patterned page underneath a velum-style cover, but the patterns are very basic: thick chevron strips, small polka dots, or a subtle lattice print. The planners with book-type bindings and the portfolio/three-ring books have covers with solid colors that can be either plain or have a snakeskin-like texture. Not only is this snakeskin texture a beautiful, uncommon type of cover, but it also makes the planner look very professional.
A unique feature of the MomAgenda planners is the section of pages to help with organizing specific aspects of a parent’s life. There’s a few pages where you can jot notes and plan ahead for life in the following year, pages to list movies and books that you’ve already read/watched or that you want to read/watch, pages to record gifts you’ve sent or received, pages for “entertaining resources” (florist, wine deliveries, etc.), several pages for party planning, and pages for vacation ideas and planning. You won’t find specific planning pages like these in other planners, so this really makes the MomAgenda stand apart from others.
Another small detail that you don’t often see in planners is the fact that each date block in the monthly calendar is lined, allowing for easy, neat activity and event tracking. The weekly spread pages are ordered from Monday through Sunday. The vertical layout includes one large block with lines and five smaller lined blocks.
One thing you might miss with the MomAgenda is having the times written out for each day. Whether its hourly or half-hourly organization, being able to write down your commitments and activities exactly when they occur during the day is very convenient, but with this planner, you’ll have to write the times in yourself. Another downside to this brand of planner is that it’s rather pricey for being so basic. The base price is $24 (for the Desktop Spiral-bound option) and the cost soars as high as $75 (for the faux-leather Personal Portfolio option).
- Different styles of covers and bindings available
- Perforated list for groceries/weekly menu
- Detailed back section for recording important lists and information
- Very plain looking interior
- Expensive for how basic it is
Planners Save Lives!
An obvious statement is that a planner can help keep you organized. If you have three kids and each kid plays one sport and one instrument, that’s six different lessons/classes you have to transport them to each week, and planning meals and playdates and car appointments and yoga classes and shoe shopping around these pre-scheduled events is tough to do! Writing it all down in a planner can definitely help to keep your daily/weekly/monthly to-do lists straight.
Stay-At-Home-Moms Need All The Help They Can Get
As any stay-at-home-mom will tell you, having important information in a safe, convenient place is VITAL to running a household. Having a convenient, well laid out planner is a great way to corral all the details of your family’s lives and have it at hand all the time. Kids’ health information (hello allergies and medications!), spouse’s work phone numbers (for when your cell phone dies – it happens way more often than you’re willing to admit), names and addresses of your kids friends (for playdate convenience), birthdates and anniversaries (so you can by gifts ON TIME)… you get the idea.
Time management is an issue that every mom has to deal with, whether or not you’re a member of the outside workforce. A planner that has time slots for every hour or half hour can allow you to record all the tasks you have to accomplish and see how they can all fit into your day. If you make a simple list of chores, plus work times and family commitments, it can seem a bit overwhelming! Designating a time for each task and estimating how long each will take can go a long way to make your day run more smoothly. It can also help you from trying to overdo it and pack too much into one day! We’ve all been there.
The portability of a planner is something that shouldn’t be overlooked! You might have a giant family calendar on the wall at home where each member of the family writes all of their commitments, but that’s not going to help you when your doctor is running late, and you can’t remember what time you have to pick your son up from band practice. Some smaller planners will fit right into your purse, which is the utmost in convenience, while some of the larger planners may not fit the pocketbook but are easily dropped into tote bags or simply tossed onto the passenger seat of the car. Really, a planner is even more reliable than a calendar or organization app on your phone, since you don’t have to worry about the battery life of the paper or whether you have enough data left to check the time of your in-law’s Christmas party.
Check out this blog for more details about how planners are essential for stay-at-home-moms.
Types of Planner Layouts
So now that you’ve been convinced (it really wasn’t that hard) that you need a planner to help control your life, you’re wondering which format would best meet your needs. The options are: horizontal, vertical, or hourly, and each have their pros and cons.
Horizontal spreads are the ones that show each day of the week as a horizontally laid rectangular block, either lined or unlined. You usually have four rectangular blocks on one side of the spread and three on the other, as well another block or smaller blocks used for notes, lists, etc. This type of format is great if you need to write more lengthy tasks or details, so you can contain it all to one long line instead of two or three shorter lines. You can easily still split the daily rectangle into two separate spaces if you prefer, dividing up your day and listings. Overall, this format helps keep things extremely neat, clean, and simple.
There are some downfalls of planners with horizontal layouts. Some books with this format don’t have much extra room for note taking or habit tracking, etc. In order to fit in this extra space for notes, some planners will combine the weekends into one block, which obviously gives you less space when planning your Saturdays and Sundays. Also, most horizontal planners don’t include the hours written into each bock, and therefore offer less options for detailed planning.
On the other hand, vertically designed planners have columns for each day instead of blocks, usually with three on one page and four on the other. It’s easy to write short, simple tasks down and to make longer, vertical (obviously) lists. Some people are list-minded and tend to organize things in a top-to-bottom manner anyway, so a vertical format makes complete sense. Many people find this layout to be easier to understand at-a-glance too, finding things to be clearer when organized this way. As an added bonus, there are far more options for planner-specific stickers and accessories for vertical planners than for horizontal ones!
However, some may find that it’s easier to waste space with a vertical planner. If your list-like entries are few, the bottom of the column doesn’t get filled and just stays blank and ominous. On the opposite extreme, your column can seem overly crowded too if your days are particularly busy ones. With little space in between lines, the lists can get rather messy. You might find yourself using a lot of abbreviations and scrawling, which isn’t great when you need to glace at the page for vital information!
This fantastic video shows all forms of the Erin Condren planners, including the benefits and challenges of horizontal, vertical, and hourly layouts.
Planners that are organized by hour, or even by the half-hour, are an essential implement for detail-oriented, meticulous moms. If you’re like me, you need to write down and fill as many hours as possible with necessary tasks, because otherwise there’s too much time to procrastinate! It may seem silly to some, but there are people – like me – who need to write as detailed a schedule for themselves as possible, or nothing gets done.
The Expert Weighs In
Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, calls habits “the invisible architecture of everyday life.” Rubin has written extensively about habits, how many people struggle with internal expectations (self-imposed), and one of her suggestions is to seek accountability measures.
Especially for those of us who are prone to lengthy bouts of procrastination, planners are a great way to keep yourself accountable. Sometimes all it takes is to write down on a certain day, at a certain time, that you will send that letter, or make that appointment, or finally finish that project. If you write in your planner that you’re going to spend Thursday evening from 7 until 9 pm planning your parents’ anniversary party, then you’re more likely to do it than if you didn’t write it down. Using a day planner that has the hours included in the layout makes it easier to keep yourself from slipping into distraction, indecisiveness, and postponing things until you’re driven crazy by your own procrastination!
Listen to this podcast and hear Gretchen and her sister explain why writing things down is so helpful.
The 7 Best Brands
Michael Leip, the founder of Panda Planner and self-proclaimed “Champion of High Fives,” created his product to help him manage his mental health, physical health, and the challenges faced by a struggling entrepreneur. The resulting planner – made with recycled cardboard and vegan leather – has helped many people worldwide to find the happiness and the life balance that the panda symbol represents.
The Passion Planner was born in 2012 when its founder, Angelina Trinidad, found herself a college graduate without a plan. This past year, Passion Planner was listed on Inc. Magazine’s list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. These days, the folks in the #PashFam have a “Give One, Get One” program where they donate a planner to a worthy person or cause whenever someone buys a planner from their website. Also, the planners are made from faux leather and therefore vegan-friendly.
This stay-at-home-mom turned entrepreneur began selling her note cards and stickers to friends back in 2004. She’s since been featured on the Ellen show, Family Circle Magazine, The Today Show, and Good Day LA. The company now has two distribution facilities and hundreds of employees for a product list that includes planners, notebooks, writing tools, stickers, address and gift labels, calendars, stationery, and even lunch bags. Not bad for a woman who started by designing during her kids’ naptimes!
Freedom Mastery is a company whose mission is to provide inspirational tools that help people live their most productive and fulfilled lives, areas that the founder, a meditation instructor and life coach named Frederik Talloen, certainly knows about. The books are covered in faux-leather covers, and the company has partnered with Trees for the Future, planting three trees for each planner sold. Their goal is to plant over one million trees within three years.
The Happy Planner is made by a company called “me & my BIG ideas,” the brainchild of a mother-daughter combo who started with stickers in a garage and now have a 41,000 square foot corporate headquarters and a range of high-quality products. Mom and daughter still work together to inspire their followers to “embrace the positive,” “plan a happy life,” and to “live creatively!”
Nina Restieri is the brains behind this popular planner brand, a woman who craved something stylish and functional to help manage her work and family life. Her first line of agendas sold out in three days! Since that initial success in 2005, the company has experienced tremendous growth as they diversified both their staff and their products. The planner products feature imitation leather covers, providing a luxurious feel without harming animals – or paying a premium!
Another family business with a desire to create quality planning products, they’re now led by the second generation of planning entrepreneurs! They offer a range of products, including parent and fitness-specific planners, calendars you can color, and a few luxurious accessories. Thanks to their recycled paper and soy-based inks, Blue Sky books were listed as one of Green Oklahoma’s “Best Eco-Friendly Planners” in March of 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a planner?
A day planner is a notebook-style book laid out like a calendar where users write down many aspects of their daily lives in order to keep it well organized. They are often called day planners, agendas, schedulers, personal diaries, or simply just calendars.
How do you use a planner?
Planners can be used in many ways, for many purposes. They can be used to organize your tasks at work, either in a list format or written into the daily blocks of the calendar. They can be used to keep track of scheduled events for yourself and your family or to organize meals and chores for yourself and your family members. The uses are endless!
Who uses planners?
All kinds of different people in different walks of life use planners. Students use planners for their schoolwork. Parents use planners to keep track of their family activities. Office professionals use planners to organize their work days.
What types of planners are available?
There are many different types of planners. A few popular types include books containing monthly spreads, weekly spreads, or even daily spreads. Some planners focus on the user’s goals and aspirations, like writing a book or training for a marathon, while some focus on home-related tasks like grocery lists and chores.
Where can I buy a planner?
Buying planners online is easy and there is an incredible selection of different styles and brands available. Planners are also available to purchase at many stationery stores, office supply stores, and even craft stores in most communities.
Why should I use a planner when I can use my phone?
Smartphones can be great tools for organization, but many people still prefer a paper planner. It’s difficult to find one app that has all the same features as a planner. Instead, you may end up using several apps for the same purpose. Many people find that the physical task of writing things down is both cathartic and helps with memory. Also, you don’t have to worry about the battery dying on a planner!
And the verdict is…
It’s hard to choose just one winner for the best day planners for moms. Every woman’s life is different and the needs and wants of each mom varies, depending on her lifestyle and many other factors. The Passion Planner is best for the entrepreneur mom who needs a boost to help reach her goals. The MomAgenda is the best planner for busy moms who make frequent trips to the grocery store. Erin Condren planners are best for moms who love being creative, and the Law of Attraction planner is best for moms who want to get to know themselves better.
No matter what kind of mom you are, a planner could be an invaluable tool. Go get one and find out how to make it work for you!