Sleepless nights. Early mornings. Rushed schedules. Kid activities. Limited work hours. Household tasks. Family time.
Life simply isn’t simple when you’re a mom and a business owner — which is why some degree of present and future planning is necessary if you want to get anything done.
However you plan your tasks and to-dos, it’s important to find a system that keeps you not only organized but also motivated and on-target. It can be super easy to lose your brilliant thoughts and ideas if you have no way to track them, and you can become easily overwhelmed if you have your to-dos prioritized.
So today, the MotherHustle panel and I are going to share some of our favorite PAPER planning tools. (Hey, I’m old-school. I survived college with an Ethernet cord, a flip phone with no Internet and no social media.) But don’t fret, youngsters: we’ll get into tech-friendly options another day.
Here are some of the paper planners we MotherHustlers use to maintain control of our daily crazy:
Emily Cretella: “When it comes to planning, I am a mixed bag. I’ve tried a bunch of online tools, but nothing keeps my days organized like paper planners. I’ve used a TON of them, but my favorite is Erin Condren’s LifePlanner.*
I love that you can select the layout of the pages so that it works for how you plan. I choose ‘Hourly,’ which means that each week includes a small to-do list area, and each day is broken into hourly slots of time (which is how I plan). By chunking out my day by project, I know how much time I have to work on something and when I need to move on to my next task. It also keeps my daily to-do’s realistic.”
Jen Hatzung: “The GET TO WORK BOOK not only helps me with my daily work and life to-do’s, but also it has sections for me to plan out projects and ideas. This helps me keep everything in one place. Mom-brain has become real, and I don’t have time to find 15 notebooks, so having all my big ideas in one place is gold! I love the look and feel of the planner as well.”
Illiah Manger: “I’m obsessed with my Levenger Circa* planner. Actually, you can make it anything you want because it’s fully customizable. I use it for client notes and sketches. I love hole punching sketches on tracing paper and moving pages around so I can chronologically look through the brand journey the client has been on with me.”
Kathy Dixon: “I use the weekly Simplified Planner from Emily Ley.* I noticed last year that my brain works in week-to-week increments, not necessarily daily. This planner helps me see if I am overloading my week. Old-school pen and paper work best for me!”
Stacy Firth: “I’m one of those people who geeks out about going to Staples to get new office supplies so this topic is very close to my heart. I am currently loving The Desire Map Planner from Danielle Laporte.* It gives me exactly what I need: a place to write my to-do’s and plan out my day, right alongside a spot to remind myself of my core desired feelings and what I’m grateful for– which is really the whole point, right?!
It’s a great combination of woo-woo and practical. Like, I can plan out my hour-by-hour work days, plus overall weeks and months in here, and it’s also gonna tell me when there’s a full moon or when Mercury goes retrograde so I can consider those things, too. It’s magical like that. (And yes, I already have my 2018 planner because I’m nerdy like that.)”
Emily Cretella: “Lara Casey’s PowerSheets are a great addition to a daily/weekly planner. I have both my planner and my PowerSheets stacked together at all times. Basically, PowerSheets help you set your goals and intentions, and they’re a great way to remind yourself of what you’re working toward. You check in and reset each month, and you can also check off your progress as you work throughout the month.
I have to admit: I always start the year strong with goal-setting like this, and then my PowerSheets become more of a running to-do list, but it’s still helpful to have goals documented. I know it will come in handy when I get back into goal-setting at the end of the year!”
Katell Schmitz: “To be honest, for me planners these days feel more work than help. I like to create a very detailed and color coded (important/urgent) checklist in Evernote and also use a weekly breakdown sitting on my desk like this one.*”
Abby Herman: “I’m the anti-planner over here! I mean, I DO use a calendar–Google–but I don’t religiously use a written planner.”
Kristi Montague: “And I’m the one with big plans to use a fancy planner so I start with one on January 1 every year but seem to misplace or forget to use it by February 1.”
*Amazon affiliate links to products we use and love.
She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.
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