These are hands-down the top 6 planning tools and systems I use to organize my whole life. I'd be lost without them! They help me keep up with everything, be more productive and stay sane even when life gets crazy. Do you use all of these things to organize your life?

The 6 Planning Tools & Systems I Use To Organize My Whole Life

January is definitely one of my favorite times of year because everyone is talking about organizing and planning – two of my absolute favorite things! I’ve been reading all the blog posts, listening to all the podcasts and flipping through all of the magazines in an effort to soak up all of their organizing wisdom. How about you?

While I am always discovering new ideas for organizing and planning, all this talk about organization has had me thinking about the fundamentals. No matter how crazy and busy life gets, there are a few tools and systems I always fall back on because they truly help me organize my life – every single day of it.

So while I often share specific ideas for planning and organizing here on the blog, I’m going back to the basics today. If you’ve been around this blog very long, you know I’m a huge advocate for creating systems to stay organized! I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple weeks and my ability to stay organized really boils down to six key tools and systems. Without these six things, I’d be completely lost!

These are hands-down the top 6 planning tools and systems I use to organize my whole life. I'd be lost without them! They help me keep up with everything, be more productive and stay sane even when life gets crazy. Do you use all of these things to organize your life?


This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure for information.

What I Use To Organize My Life

My Weekly Routine

Creating a weekly routine is the foundation that everything else is built on. Without one, I’d definitely not be very organized! Establishing good routines is crucial to keeping me on track and making sure I can keep all the balls in the air. We experienced a lot of transition this past year and my weekly routine fell by the wayside a few times which was not good! While it is okay to let go of your routine on occasion, it made me so anxious because I had this constant feeling like I was forgetting something. And I definitely didn’t stay on top of things very well without a routine to keep me on track! (I wrote an entire book on this topic because I’m such a believer in the power of weekly routines!)

Further Reading: My Proven 5-Step System For Creating A Daily Routine

I sooo needed this post! What a practical approach to creating a daily routine. I love that she emphasizes making time for relaxing and socializing! Also genius goal setting tips. Seriously, you need to pin this post. This girl is a master at time management, and she just spilled her entire step by step process for creating a schedule and managing her time. Love the printables!

Google Calendar

I would be lost without my Google Calendar! It syncs across all my devices so I never forget an appointment or meeting. I also use my calendar to track things like birthdays and anniversaries, due dates, special occasions, meals, shopping lists, blog posts, workouts and more.

Further Reading: How I Organize My Week For Maximum Productivity & Focus

Struggling with time management? Organize your schedule with Crush Your Week: The Complete Guide To Designing An Intentional Weekly Routine. This isn't simply an ebook, but an action guide packed with practical advice and helpful worksheets.

A Paper Planner

Although I am obsessed with my Google Calendar, I’ve also discovered a love for beautiful paper planners. I use my Inkwell Press planner to plan out the upcoming few days. I use it as a place to write down my daily to-do lists and time block things, especially on the weekends when I have more free time at home to work on projects. I also keep all sorts of lists in my planner such as reading lists and blog post ideas. While my digital calendar keeps track of all of my upcoming commitments, my paper planner is where I really zero in on my day and plan out my priorities and to-dos.

Further Reading: Organizing My New Inkwell Press Planner (Tips From A Planner Rookie)

I love paper planners! This is a great tour of the Inkwell Press planner and how she's using it to stay organized. Time to get around to organizing a planner of my own!



A Budget

Organizing your money is just as important as organizing your belongings and your time! I started tracking our budget in YNAB a couple years ago and it has been such a game changer. It’s completely changed my relationship with budgeting and I now eagerly wait for the next paycheck to hit our bank account so I can log into YNAB and organize our money! I’ve never been a numbers gal, but YNAB makes so much sense to my brain. It’s an awesome feeling to be on top of your finances and know exactly where all of our money is going.

Further Reading: How Our Budget Empowers Us to Live on One Income and Still Find Wiggle Room for Home Projects

Budgeting felt like a diet, restricting and limiting. And then I found You Need A Budget budgeting software. YNAB has made budgeting simple.

A Meal Plan

There’s no question about it – our house runs the smoothest when I make meal planning a priority. Planning lunches and dinners for the week and making sure we are stocked up on groceries saves so much time and keeps me sane! I hate the feeling of getting home from work and having no idea what we’re going to make for dinner so planning ahead is crucial. Having a meal planning system in place is such a lifesaver in our house!

Further Reading: 10 Brilliant Meal Planning Methods To Make You A Meal Planning Rock Star

This happy kitchen is full of whites, blues and greens. Shows even small kitchens can look pretty!

A Goal Setting System

Lastly, I am a huge believer in the power of setting goals. They can really give you a sense of purpose and help you see the bigger picture. I can all too easily get bogged down in the daily grind and end up wasting time and energy on really trivial things. Having bigger goals in place helps me step back and see the bigger picture. And the key is breaking those goals down into small tasks or habits that I can incorporate into my weekly routine. My working on my goals every single week, I really do make meaningful progress on the things that are most important to me! I used the Powersheets Goal Planner for the first time this year and cannot say enough good things about it – the workbook really helped me dig deep and create meaningful goals for the year and I’m so excited about the monthly check-ins!

Further Reading: Why You Should Have 90-Day Goals (And A Goal Setting Worksheet)



When I think about it, my ability to stay organized really does boil down to these six systems. I use them every single day!

What planning systems and organizing tools could you not live without? I’d love to hear!

Happy planning,


P.S. Want to know what else I love to use to stay organized? Take a look at this list of my absolute favorite organizing tools and products. 

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure for information.

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