It’s September and the smell of school supplies still lingers on the shelves.
I love the back to school season. For me, it brings crisp fall evenings, a return to structure and routine and whether you are a student or not, there is something about the start of a new school year that lets any of us hit the reset button in our lives.
For me, that usually means the purchase of a shiny new planner to help me keep my family’s busy schedule in order.
One way to keep life’s sweet simplicity in tact is to manage all of the must do’s in your life with some level of finesse and regularity.
As much as I would love to have a personal assistant to schedule my day and prioritize my activities, I have found that the aid of a well designed planner is a pretty good substitute, at least until I win the lottery!
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites and some fellow readers have shared with me — give one of these a shot and see how it simplifies your own busy life!
I’ll be honest. I have bought many a planner in my day — I’ve gotten cool accessories, pens and tons of extras, all with an end goal of being more organized and less harried in my everyday life.
Confession: some of those planners were used for a solid two weeks before their remaining 50 weeks of beautiful plans remained blank, dust covered, somewhere on my desk.
It wasn’t until I found a more practical approach to my planning — and a simple planner that worked for my own needs — that I realized how much freedom planning out my hours, days and weeks could actually be.
What I am telling you, dear reader, is that all planners are not created equal — and knowing the kind of planner you are and the kind of plans you need to track will make all the difference in selecting a planner that you will actually use!
Classic and practical: There are dozens of paper planners available in stores these days — and there are plenty of passable options available at the same stores where you would pick up your school supplies and other daily goods.
They come at a reasonable price point, are fairly standard and come in a variety of colors to match your taste. I have several, unused, in my desk that I have had the best intentions of using. Why did I waste my money?
Either they had too many options or, in my case, not enough of the right options to make the planning part any fun. I bought myself a snazzy new planner from The Happy Planner company this summer and I already feel more organized. This planner was customizable from the size, the types of pages I needed and offered several accessory sticker packs that will, as both a mother and college student, streamline some of my most common tasks and appointments that I have on a regular basis.
Yes, I am aware that I am a 40-something-year-old woman confessing my love for stickers but this is definitely a game changer for those of you who want to get organized but don’t have the extra time to write everything down! If you want to get even fancier, Erin Condren offers additional customization for your planner, including the ability to order your own snazzy custom cover!
Visit their online stores at and
Keep It Simple: If you just aren’t going to use all those calendar pages – or if you are into setting goals instead of schedules, the Best Self Journal is a great option.
The journal is set up in three sections for daily, weekly and monthly and each of those is broken up into 13 week chunks for optimal goal check-in. Another great option, especially for those that get tired of writing, is the Simple Journal Planner.
It has no dates and each page is lined with grid paper instead of lines — making it a great planner for creative types and those that want to add sketches, pictures or other means of note taking or planning.
You can find them at or
Point, Click. Plan: I do a lot of things online these days – my banking, food shopping and nutrition tracking are all just a finger click away on my phone or desktop.
While I still like the feel of the planner and pen in my hands, there are many planners who need everything to use the latest technology to link everything in their lives together.
While most of my online planning is done via my Google calendar and Docs account, I also love the look of the Any Do app.
It is free for basic use and a premium account is also affordable — you can add to do lists, grocery and meal planning and project management with a few mouse or finger clicks.
Another option, Teux Deux, gives you the look of a traditional paper planner on an online interface.
You can create custom lists — or use their templates — and it gives you that wonderful ability to actually check things off, which we know is one of the most satisfying things to do!
You can sign up for a free trial at
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)