Hi planner friend! If you’re looking for the latest version of this post (full of 11 planners for 2016), it’s RIGHT HERE! You may still want to check out both, because each one has a few different planners. I hope you enjoy these reviews!! Thanks for visiting!
Planners. I love them.
I love getting organized, and color-coding, and writing everything out. I love planning for the year and setting goals and working toward something.
And, so, I love planners, because that’s where I get to do all of those things!!
But go to search for planners on google, and you’ll come up with a billion different options. There are a few that stand out, a few that people have compared with others, but when I searched, I could not find a comprehensive review of planners, something that compared more than 2 planners at a time.
So, I give you the Ultimate Planner Review!
I gathered 6 different planners, all of which are highly esteemed in the online world, and set out to find the best planner for myself, and the best planner for you! The one that’s right for you may not be the same one that I’m in love with, so each planner will include the pros, cons, an overall summary, and a recommendation of what kind of person might love that specific planner. And photos, of course!
Ready to find your perfect planner? Let’s do it!
I’ve used the Erin Condren Life Planner for the last three years, and loved it. I love everything Erin Condren, really, from her Functional Family System to notepads to iPhone covers to lesson planners & more! I LOVE EC. So, naturally, I’ve always chosen the Life Planner for my planner. I color code my entries according to their category (each member of the family, homemaking, blog stuff, dōTERRA stuff, meal planning), and organize my days that way.
I don’t love the way each day is divided, especially now with 2 kids, a blog, and a business to run! But in the past, the colors & cuteness have more than made up for the growing lack of functionality in my own life. Take a look!
- It’s beautiful, bright, and colorful! Plus, you can personalize it with your name & even photos.
- It’s thorough. With the weekly layout plus a monthly calendar, it’s easy to organize and chart your schedule. There’s also a place for a perpetual calendar, contacts, pages for notes, and more.
- Freebies! This comes with a ruler/bookmark & personalized gift tags and play date cards in the back. Love it.
- Extras! You can purchase coordinating pens, a pen holder that sticks onto the last page of the planner, and a cute band that will hold the planner together. And EC makes all KINDS of products, including a family planner system, calendars, iPhone cases, and more, so you can actually purchase everything you need in the same color scheme and pattern, so your whole life is coordinated.
- Nice section at the bottom for meal planning.
- Great space on the side for weekly notes and goals.
- Currently, you can only purchase the planner in the morning, day, and evening format. If that doesn’t work for you, this planner isn’t going to work for you.
- It’s pricey. But if you’re a new customer, you can save $10 when you order through this link & sign up for her email updates.
- There is no place for yearly goals, or other planning features, and ideally there needs to be a few more pages for notes in the back.
As much as it pains me to admit, the EC Life Planner just doesn’t fit my life right now. The divisions into morning, day, and evening are no longer the way I organize my day, and it’s just turning into a big to-do list each day. I need something with a little more structure & space. However, I’m changing a few things up and turning this Life Planner into my new Blog Planner! I need less space for blogging info, and having a separate planner for writing & blogging will help me stay better organized (I think). I’m excited that I still have a reason to use this planner, and am looking forward to getting more organized in my writing.
Who Might LOVE the EC Planner?
- Stay-at-home moms
- Working moms
- Anyone who already has a set structure for the day and doesn’t need help with that
I was really excited about the Plum Paper Planner. It’s very similar to Erin Condren, but gives you four options for the weekly planning pages!! Plus, it also includes a full page of notes at the beginning and ending of each month, AND you can add is EXTRA note pages and a monthly cleaning page. Win! I absolutely LOVE how customizable this planner is – Plum Paper has done a great job of catering to every type of person.
I ordered the pages that included a long vertical view of the day, with no divisions, thinking this would work well for my color coded to-do list. It totally does, but still leaves me with just that – a to-do list. I really love the weekly and daily checklist, but there wasn’t any designated space for meal planning.
- Four options for planning pages. (WOW!)
- Full page of notes at the beginning and ending of each month, with option to add more!
- Option to add the monthly cleaning checklist into the month as well.
- More affordable than the others, PLUS they are offering a 10% discount to KaysePratt.com readers if you use the code KAYSE10 – yay!!!!
- Checklist each day for too 3 things you needed to do.
- No place for meal planning.
- No designated place for goal setting, although you could use the note pages for that.
Overall, this is an AWESOME planner, and is WAY more affordable than most of the other options I found. And for how customizable it is, the price truly is amazing. I loved the versatility of this planner, but I still needed something with a bit more structure. This could work well for a blog planner too, especially with how many note pages are in each monthly spread.
Who Might LOVE the Plum Paper Planner?
- Stay-at-home moms
- Working moms & Work-at-home moms might really love the hourly schedule layout for each day!
Oh, from the beginning, the Inkwell Press Planner had my organizer heart! It is SO VERY beautiful and very well designed. It’s got a space for everything! Plans & goals for the year, with a space to revisit those goals every month. Perpetual calendar & contacts included, plus a space for good books, movies you want to see, and more. Two options for the weekly layout. I LOVE THIS PLANNER.
I ordered the “flex” layout (which you can see below), with a space for meals, fitness, and home notes each day. There’s also a classic layout which is a vertical, hourly spread. With all of the extra awesomeness as far as organization goes (a monthly mission board! yearly goals! a book & movie list! COME ON!!), I really wanted this to be my planner. But for me, the daily space is just a little too small to fit everything that I need it to. And right now, I have to focus on functional. However, this might be the perfect planner for YOU! Take a look:
- Seriously, a space for everything you need!
- Two options for the weekly spread.
- Beautiful and very well made
- Personalized cover
- Section for fitness, meal planning, and home items on each day.
- Comes with a video series on how to set up your planner.
- $10 OFF your first purchase when you use my referral link!
- I could have used just a tiny bit more writing space each day. If this planner had a daily option instead of a weekly option, it would be PERFECT for me!
It’s so BEAUTIFUL, you guys, and at a pretty comparable price point too. I’d highly recommend this planner if you don’t need a ton of space for writing each day. I really think this is the perfect planner for students, or for anyone who really wants to get focused by setting goals for the year and checking in with them each month. (Also, they are soon coming out with a fitness log, a meal planner, and a journal, and I cannot wait for those things!)
Who Might LOVE the Inkwell Press Planner?
- Students (!!!)
- Anyone without kids
- Stay-at-home moms with very little planning necessary each day (I do not know these people, but maybe they exist somewhere…)
I’d heard great things about the iBloom Life & Business Planner for anyone who is both a mom and a business owner. Plus, Kelly Gore, who runs iBloom, always has good things to say, and seems incredibly sweet. I pre-ordered this planner, and couldn’t wait to get it.
I LOVE all the business planning pages. And, similar to the Inkwell Press Planner, there’s a space to set goals and check in with those goals each month. For businesses, this is a FABULOUS planner. I highly recommend it to anyone who is really focused on starting and building a business, first & foremost.
- LOTS of space for planning, setting goals, and project development
- Scheduled layout for each day which includes a to-do list
- Pretty colors, great quality paper
- Also comes in a more affordable, printable version ($30 instead of $50)
- Daily layout is very small, not a ton of room to write
- Planner is large – it’s the same size as a full size notebook (8.5×11)
- Strictly for those who run a business
Bottom line, this planner was just a little too much business for me. I run a blog and a business part time, and try to fit that work in around my family time, instead of the other way around. I couldn’t wrap my brain around using this planner every day, personally. I do think, though, that for someone who is more business-minded than I am, it would be a total blessing!
Who Might LOVE the iBloom Life & Business Planner?
- Working moms & Work-at-home moms with a strong business mindset!
My AMAZING friend Christy makes these planners, and she sent me one last week as a Christmas gift! She is the sweetest. She customized the cover for me, with a design I love and my name.
- LOTS of space for planning each day!
- Notes, to-do list, and 3 month calendars on every weekly spread.
- Bright colors, great quality paper.
- Created on the ARC system, so you can add pages!
- Planner is a bit large – it’s the same size as a full size notebook (8.5×11) However, this could also be a pro because it gives you PLENTY of space to write, which I love!
It’s bright, fun, and functional. Christy also has planner sheets that are specific to students and sheets tat are great for bible study notes! She’s creative and will customize your cover to fit your style and colors. For anyone looking for an affordable, fun planner, Dreams2Inspire Planners are a great option!
Who Might LOVE the Dreams2Inspire Planner?
- Moms – both stay-at-home or working mommas
**Do a happy dance – after being sold out for months, the brand new Simplified Planner (for 2016) is available NOW!!! Don’t miss this launch – they sell out quickly, and you won’t see them again for a while. You can click here to get yours before they are all sold out!!**
It’s called The Simplified Planner for a reason. Instead of a monthly and weekly spread, this planner has a monthly and daily spread. And that’s it. There’s one page for your yearly bucket list on the front, and maybe notes in the back (?), but that’s all.
The daily pages, though, are awesome. From 7am-7pm, there’s a schedule by the half hour for charting your day. On the side there’s a to-do list with enough room for a realistic list of things you can do, plus a space for notes and the dinner menu.
- Daily pages are very thorough and easy to use.
- Monthly calendar has a generous amount of space.
- Actually simplifies my day by giving me a basic schedule/routine to check in with while accomplishing my to-do list.
- Sturdy pocket in the front cover.
- Lots of free printables you can add in & keep in the front pocket.
- No space for monthly goals, or note pages.
- Cover and coil do not make the pages very easy to turn. (Although with this planner you don’t really need to be flipping back and forth very often.)
I’m in love. I didn’t think I would be, but I am!! It’s the planner I didn’t know I needed. I love that I have a full page for every day. I’m working on establishing a morning and evening routine, and having the schedule broken down by half hour is LIFE CHANGING for me. The to-do list is big enough to put a bunch of things on it, but not so big that there’s no way I could accomplish everything. It’s very simple in colors, so I can still color code my schedule and to-do list without it clashing with the design of the planner. And there’s space for me to take notes and plan dinner. Overall, this planner truly allows me to simplify my days, which, in turn, simplifies my life. I literally cannot wait for January 1st so I can start using the actual planner instead of the printables. And I’m compensating for the lack of goal-setting space by using it with Lara Casey’s PowerSheets! PLUS, I’m also obsessed with Emily Ley’s Simplified Journal. More on that later. For now, all you need to know is that the Simplified Planner is a total win!
Who Else Might LOVE the Simplified Planner?
- All moms (me!)
- Anyone who would benefit from having structure/routines written out each day (me!)
SO MANY BEAUTIFUL PLANNERS, right?! I hope this review has been super helpful as you prepare for 2015! Each option is so awesome, I really don’t think you can go wrong.
PLUS, a quick list of my favorite planner accessories:
- Chevron Bright Washi Pack
- Solid Color Washi Tape Set
- Post-it Flags with On-the-Go Dispenser
- Paper Mate Flair Pens
- Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Ink Pens
WHAT I’M USING THIS YEAR:
Updated for 2016/2017 :: I’m pretty excited about my planner system for this year! For years, I’ve shared with you The Ultimate Planner Reviews, while answering questions and helping people choose their perfect planner.
And yet, I’ve still been on the hunt for mine.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found planners & systems I’ve really loved. But the “perfect planner” has eluded me.
It might seem crazy, but I’ve always wanted a planner that gives me a monthly, weekly, AND daily view. There are a couple planners that do this, but none of them are pretty, and they always sacrifice something else that I need (meal planning, notes pages, etc.).
I wanted a planner that could organize both my home life and my work life, and help me stay on top of both my daily responsibilities and my long-term goals.
And so, I set to work on the planner that I’m about to share with you. The Organized Life Planner. It’s what I’m using, and I’m 100% in love with it.
It’s also available for you right here in my shop. My hope is that it becomes a tool that you can use to simplify your life – getting everything down on paper so that you can actually clear your head, and make time for the things that matter most.
Ready to see it up close? Here we go!
THE ORGANIZED LIFE PLANNER
1. MONTHLY SPREAD :: Each month starts with your traditional monthly view. Huge daily boxes are provided, so you can write everything you need right there on the monthly spread! Plus, a space on the right for notes or goals you have for the month!
2. MONTHLY PLANNING PAGES :: Here’s where we start getting into the fun stuff! Every month holds 4 planning pages. Home Care, Personal Growth, and a 2-page Meal Planning & Shopping spread.
The Home Care page is a space to you to brain dump all the things on your to-do list for the month. You also have a place to write out your chore schedule. The right column provides space for detailing two home projects you’d like to complete, along with the steps you need to take to accomplish them. And then you’ve also got a space to jot down any special events coming up for the month!
The Personal Growth page begins with a place for you to plan out how you are going to make progress on your goals. These goals can be personal or business related – I usually have a few of each – and allow you to break down your progress into three steps you want to take toward each goal for the month. (This page, along the beginning of the weekly spread, pairs perfectly with PowerSheets, for any of you who use those like I do!) You’ve also got space on this page to detail a personal project you’re working on (I use this section to detail a business project for the month), along with planning for intentional rest for yourself, and ways to connect with your people.
The more I use this… the more I LOVE it!!” – Melissa F.
3. MONTHLY MEAL PLANNING & SHOPPING LIST :: Up next we’ve got a full page for planning out your meals for the entire month. You can use the dinner idea list to plan out every meal for each day of the month, OR simply create a list of 31 meal ideas for the month, that you can draw from each week. There are also sections to jot down breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas.
The next page is a shopping list, divided into sections of the grocery store. As you make your meal plan, write down the groceries that you need to purchase for each recipe, then tear this page out of your planner (the back is simply a notes page), and take it with you to the market! So simple, right? But it’s been a lifesaver for me!
4. LOOK AHEAD – WEEKLY OVERVIEW :: You can see the notes page on the left that backs up to the shopping list above. Then, on the right, we start getting into the weekly spread. This Look Ahead page is designed for that time each week (on Sunday afternoons, for me!) when you sit down and plan out your week. At the top you’ve got a weekly meal planning section – I pull ideas and plans from the monthly meal plan I made, and decide what’s actually going on the menu this week. Then there’s a small shopping list on the side for any extras you still need to pick up, like milk or apples.
Below, you’ll find a master to-do list for the week, both for home tasks and for personal (or business) tasks. This is a great place to brain dump, and clear your head of all the things you need to get done! Then, you can prioritize your lists, and make a plan to get things accomplished on the next few pages. At the bottom, there’s a small section to jot down that thing you REALLY don’t want to forget this week!
I’m in love! Thank you, Kayse for this AMAZING Planner! It’s the best planner I’ve ever used!” – Allison L.
5. WEEKLY SPREAD :: Here’s the meat of the planner – and also where you’ll notice how it’s not like any other planner you’ve used before!
The week is spread across 4 pages. It’s different, I know! But I think you’ll find that you love the space it allows you for each day!
The top half of the first page is a section for you to make a plan for the things that matter most. You have space to write down your three top priorities this week – these can be huge tasks, or just things you want to focus on during the week. You also have a space to write down three things (or people) to remember in prayer throughout the week.
The Weekly Tracker is a place for you to work on building habits and making progress on your goals. If your priority this week is to have a quiet time every day, you’d write that down here, and then check each day off as you are able to have your quiet time! I don’t know about you, but checkboxes are super-motivating for me, and I love this portion of the planner! (And this is the part that pairs well with your PowerSheets!)
Each day spans half a page. You have sections for your schedule, your top 3 tasks, your to-do list, your meal plan, laundry, daily chore, health, water tracking, and notes. I’ll get into this a little more in the close-up photo below!
6. WEEKLY REFLECTION :: At the end of each week, there’s a full page for reflection. You have space to look back at the week and jot down what went well, and what didn’t go so well, which really helps before you jump into another week of planning – you can figure out what you want to stick with, and what needs to change. You also have a spot to write out your best memory of the week, plus a little notes space for a brain dump at the end of the week.
I love the week in review! It not only gave me a perspective on this coming week when planning, but really made me think about last week and what I could do differently going forward. And it reminded me of what I was really loving about life!” – Jen M.
A Peek Into How I’m Using My Organized Life Planner
I love the planning space at the beginning of the weekly spread. It just makes my heart so happy, because it helps me stay on track with my focus, my prayers, and my habits throughout the week.
I use the priority section a little differently each week. In the photo below, I used it to detail the three things I REALLY wanted to make happen that week. I needed to finish shopping & filling out paperwork for Emily to start school, I needed to get enough sleep so I could start waking up earlier, since we were going to have to leave for school before 7:30am each morning. And I was super behind on laundry, and determined to put an end to it that week!
I use the prayers section to write down the 3 things I want to keep praying for throughout the week. Since this page is open on my counter all week long, it’s wonderful to have a visual reminder to pray!
The weekly tracker is my favorite! I use this section to write down the things I am really working on making into a habit – the things that are essential for me to get done each day. I don’t always fill this section up, as you can see, but it’s flexible enough to hold up to 7 habits each week.
And here’s a typical daily view! What I love about this planner is that I have enough space to really write out the nitty gritty of each day, but I also get the benefit of a weekly overview, simply by turning one page!
I always fill out my to-do section first, right there in the middle. From that list, I pull 3 top tasks for the day. (Okay, I’m seeing that that didn’t actually happen on the day I photographed – of course! It looks like on the day pictured, I wrote down the 3 things I knew needed to happen, and then used the to-do section to record all the other things I wanted to do.) I love the top 3 section because even if I get nothing else done that day, finishing those 3 tasks helps me feel like I really did accomplish something!
From there, I move to the far right column. I plan my meals, and then move onto the next squares. Laundry is always on ongoing tasks, so I write down exactly what I’m going to do that day – maybe it’s a load of darks, or maybe it’s putting away all the clothes I folded yesterday. Then I write in my daily chore, from the master list I have in my monthly spread! I like to focus on one chore a day, and then things don’t build up quite so much.
After that, I write down one way I am going to work on improving my health that day. Maybe it’s tracking my food, maybe it’s a specific workout, maybe it’s going on a walk with the family. I also plan one way I will intentionally rest each day. As a busy mom, this is SO important! We must rest & fill our tanks if we have any hope of serving our families well. And then, I check off the water boxes as I go along my day.
Next, I plan out my actual schedule for the day. Everything pretty much revolves around meals in this house, so I’ve divided the day up into morning (after breakfast), afternoon (after lunch), and evening (after dinner). A few of the girls in my planner test group also write in the hour on each of the lines, in case you prefer a more hourly schedule!
I use the notes space differently each day, though I usually write out one verse from the passage I’d read that morning. I like having Scripture in front of me all day long – especially when I feel like I might lose my patience with the kids! (Which is always…)
At the very beginning of the year, there are pages to help you find your focus for the year, and then set your goals. At the back of the planner, there are plenty of notes pages in two styles – one set is lined, and one set is a dot grid. This is the perfect place for all of your lists, especially if you love the bullet journal, like I do! Add your lists to the back of your planner, and there you’ve got it – everything in one place!
My hope is that this planner will be a valuable tool in your home! Here at Intentional Moms, we’re all about making time for the things that matter most, and I really believe this planner will help you do that. There’s a space for everything, which means that you get to write it all down and clear your head from everything you’re juggling. Once you’ve done that, it’s so much more simple to make space for the things that are really important to you. Faith. Family. Life together.
And the cost? The Organized Life Planner is just $12 for the dated version (or $15 for the undated version)!!
Want to customize your planner? No problem!
Because I know each of you has totally different needs, Planner Packs are now available for just $5! Planner Packs are focused add-on packs that give you the opportunity to make your planner your own. These can be added to your order, and you’re free to add on as many as you’d like!
- Financial Pack – covers budget, expenses, debt, and savings.
- Fitness Pack – covers meal tracking, weight loss goals, schedule, and progress tracker.
- Homeschool Pack – covers curriculum & wish list, field trips, weekly planning and yearly overview.
- Blogger Pack – covers editorial calendar planning, goals, projects, expenses, etc.
- Bible Study Pack – covers Bible Study, journaling, and prayer requests.
- Memories Pack – provides a place for you to write down funny things your kids say, milestones they hit, and more.
- Working Mom Pack – helps working moms merge their work & home lives, all in one planner.
So, tell me – which planner is your favorite?
If you enjoyed this post, don’t miss our home management series! Practical inspiration for your home and your heart that you can implement right away!
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