Organize Your Life with Planners

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Productivity and organization are closely linked. The more organized you are, the more productive you’ll be. And planners are an excellent way to stay organized. You can choose from paper planners, digital planners, or a combination. Keep reading and organize your life with planners.

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Paper Planners

Paper planner enthusiasts understand the value of writing everything down and are a great option if you’re also looking to boost your memory, as handwriting triggers your brain’s natural learning process through the use of fine motor skills, touch, and sight. Of course, there’s also nothing like checking something off your to-do list!

We’ve got free printables for you! Check out our Free Monthly Planner. Other popular options are At-A-Glance and Day-Timer, which are well-known planner and organizer brands. You can choose from SO many options and styles and colors. This planner is a must-see! Some planners have inspirational quotes or sayings like Silk and Sonder’s self-care journals with science-based methods for combining writing and planning that help relieve stress and burnout. 

organizing life paper planner

There are planners for specific events or activities, including:

  • Academics– A planner or agenda designed exclusively for students is known as an academic planner. And are used in education at all levels, from elementary to college, and vary in design. A student planner has several functions, but mainly to keep track of class assignments, key dates, and individual goals. Academic planners also improve communication with students, teachers, and parents.
  • Family
  • Budgeting-A budget planner is a binder that you use to estimate and monitor your monthly income and expenses. You can start one with a simple notebook or purchase one like this. Seeing your actual numbers in writing becomes an eye-opening exercise in money management.
  • Business 
  • Projects
  • Gardening– A garden planner is a written record of what happens in your garden. You can store the contents of your garden journal in a ring binder. It allows you to insert calendar pages, pockets for seed packets, plant tags, and pages for pictures. Gardeners who keep journals can reflect on their previous years and make changes or expand their successes at gardening.
  • Wedding/Event Planner
  • Cleaning This one is editable!

Bullet Journals

Another unique and popular organizational tool is a bullet journal. Books are available to help you become an expert in this technique and an app for those who prefer that.

Digital Planners

organizing life digital planner


A digital planner is not the same as the notes app on your phone, tablet, or favorite cloud software. Instead, they are PDFs of traditional paper planners that can be imported into your favorite note-taking app, giving you the high degree of organization of a planner with the highlighted portable nature of digital items. 

The right Apps for Your Digital Planner (GoodNotes, NoteShelf, OneNote & Xodo are the apps recommended for using digital planners)

GoodNotes This one is for iOS, but GoodNotes for Android is FINALLY HERE! This app is unique because you can take handwritten notes on your iOS devices, and the app turns them into searchable data. You can categorize them, put them in folders, add images, etc.

NoteShelf Similar to GoodNotes, you can create handwritten, searchable notes. Even better, this one is available for both Android and iOS. And if you’re trying to help your family stay more organized, you can share notes in NoteShelf with them. If you’re a person whose handwriting is messy and hard to read,  NoteShelf can turn your handwritten notes into typed text. 

OneNote For Microsoft fans, OneNote is a great option. With OneNote, you can take a digital file and “print” a PDF that syncs across all devices where you have it installed.

Xodo Is another favorite note-taking app that allows users to create, edit, and annotate PDF documents. It is free on various platforms, such as Android, iOS, Windows, and the web. Some of the other features of Xodo include the ability to merge multiple PDF files, organize pages in a document, and convert PDF files to other formats. You can also access and sync your documents across different devices using the Xodo cloud storage.

There are other note-taking apps, as well. If you look for one not listed here, be sure it allows for pdf annotation.

Back to Basics – App Calendar/Planners

organizing life app planner

Fantastical Calendar is a popular calendar app for Apple’s macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS developed by Flexibits. It’s a multi-award-winning calendar app with powerful features. It includes natural language text parsing, full calendar day, week, month, quarter, and year views, tasks, time zone support, and more. Fantastical uses your iCloud calendars (and supports Google, Yahoo!, Exchange, and Facebook events) and presents you with a list of events and a day ticker. Drag the list or ticker, and the other view keeps in sync. You can try Fantastical for free.

Business Calendar 2 is a user-friendly and feature-rich calendar for Android users. It allows you to manage events and tasks within one app and provides six designed main views: Month, Week, Day, Agenda, Year & Tasks. This app is also incredibly customizable, from changing color schemes, default notifications, and a number of different widgets.

Cozi Family Organizer 

For busy families, this is a must-have! It helps organize and communicate schedules, grocery lists, to-do lists, meals, and more. With Cozi, everyone in the family is on the same page because it can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. Each person can also receive important reminders on the device of their choice. It’s Free to sign up.

Our Pick for Best All-around App/Calendar/Task Management

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Melanie

    I’m a BIG fan of bullet journaling. I love the ability to be a custom as you need, visually. Great suggestions!

    1. Denise

      Thank you! I’ve had a journal/planner since I was a teenager. Now, the choices are endless.

  2. Diane N. Quintana

    I love planners. I’m a paper person and so carry my planner around with me where ever I go. Digital is easier for some but I know myself and know that I like to see the entire month so that i can do a better job pacing myself when dealing with long term projects. It’s always good to have options to share with clients. Thank for this great review.

    1. Denise

      I’m glad you liked it. Finding something that works is the biggest hurdle!

  3. Seana Turner

    Cozi is wonderful if you have a busy household. I’m old school, and love my paper Filofax. I love that I can use it anywhere, whether there is wifi or not. During one of the recent tropical storms, we lost power for days. We cobbled together some charging, but knowing that my information was in my hands was comforting. That said, it is nice to be able to share calendar information with my grown children via Google. Seeing their schedules helps me know when not to bother them, and also helps me keep up to date on the various things they are managing. They can share (or not) at their discretion, and it is a privilege when they want to invite me in!

    1. Denise

      I, too, share with my children and use a combination of digital and paper (old school). There’s nothing like pen and paper sometimes- especially when there’s no electricity.

  4. Janet Barclay

    I used to use a Day-Timer for everything from my calendar and daily tasks to books I wanted to read and much more. Now that I’m digital, my information is scattered across a calendar app, task management app, and a few others. You’ve got me wondering if I should try consolidating them somehow…

    1. Denise

      For certain things, I still use several apps and try new tech whenever possible. Love that the post got you thinking of consolidating, though, as you are the tech wiz!

  5. Sabrina Quairoli

    I have used several of these, and they help keep me organized. You can even make a notebook in OneNote private, so a password is associated with that notebook. It’s great for personal lists.

    1. Denise

      Excellent tip. Thank you!

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