Updated 1/3/19 | Published 1/12/18
These are hands-down the top 7 planning tools and systems I use to stay organized. Learn how they can help you organize your life, be more productive, manage your finances, and stay sane!
This is my most favorite time of the year! January is so refreshing and everyone is talking about organizing, goal setting, and planning – some of my absolute favorite things!
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. I often share specific organizing and planning projects here on the blog but thought we’d go back to the basics today and discuss the fundamental tools I use and recommend. I’d be completely lost without these 6 things!
Take a look through this list for ideas of tools and systems you can incorporate into your life to get organized this year.
This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure for information.
The Tools I Use To Get Organized
Creating a weekly routine is the foundation that everything else is built on. Without one, I’d definitely not be very organized! Establishing solid routines is crucial to staying on track and making sure you can keep all the balls in the air.
Scheduling every minute your week like this may seem overly rigid, but I have found that that structure actually creates freedom. It gives you peace of mind of knowing you have time for everything you need to do. And it gives you the freedom to use your downtime to truly relax without feeling guilty for not working on something more productive.
Creating a schedule you can follow week after week is the first step to a more productive, less stressful life. (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 would be lost without Google Calendar! It syncs across your devices so you’ll never forget an appointment or meeting. You can also use Google Calendar to track things like birthdays and anniversaries, due dates, special occasions, meals, shopping lists, blog posts, workouts and more.
And you can set up events and appointments with reminders so you’re always reminded of your grandma’s birthday in time to get a card in the mail or of your kid’s field trip tomorrow. It’s so helpful to be able to see all of your obligations in one central place.
Further Reading: How I Organize My Week For Maximum Productivity & Focus
A Paper Planner
Although I am obsessed with Google Calendar, I also love using a beautiful paper planner to plan out the week ahead. I use my Inkwell Press planner to plan out the upcoming few days’ appointments, schedules, and to-do lists.
A paper planner is a perfect place to keep track of daily to-do lists and time blocking. You can also fill it with lists such as shopping lists, reading lists, etc. While a digital calendar is a great place to track appointments, meetings, and other commitments, your paper planner gives you space to zero in on the day ahead and plan out your priorities and to-dos.
You can use this link to get $10 off your first Inkwell Press order (minimum order is $50). I’ve used Inkwell Press’s Coil Free Weekly Planner, A5 Binder Inserts, and the Daily Coil Free Planner. All of them are fabulous options!
Further Reading: Organizing My New Inkwell Press Planner (Tips From A Planner Rookie)
Organizing your money is just as important as organizing your belongings and your time! I started tracking our budget in YNAB several years ago and it has been such a game changer. It’s completely transformed 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.
If you truly want to be organized this year, you cannot overlook your finances. Find a budgeting tool like YNAB that works for you and commit to updating it and following it consistently this year. Trust me, it’s an amazing feeling to be on top of your finances and know exactly where all of your money is going!
Sign up for a new YNAB account using this link and you’ll get a free month!
A Meal Plan
There’s no question about it – your house will run the smoothest when you make meal planning a priority. Planning lunches and dinners for the week and making sure you are stocked up on groceries saves so much time and will keep you 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!
A Goal Setting System
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. It’s really easy to get bogged down in the daily grind and end up wasting time and energy on trivial things. Having bigger goals in place helps you step back and see the bigger picture.
The key is breaking those goals down into small tasks or habits that you can incorporate into your weekly routine. By working on my goals every single week, I really do make meaningful progress on the things that are most important to me!
I’m obsessed with the Powersheets Goal Planner and cannot say enough good things about it. Rather than setting goals in January and putting them on the shelf, Powersheets help you revisit and refresh your goals every month and a quarter so you stay focused and actually make things happen! There are lots of pretty pages of worksheets and reflection exercises to help you stay on track with your goals all year long.
Further Reading: Why You Should Have 90-Day Goals (And A Goal Setting Worksheet)
A Daily Journaling Routine
I benefit so much from my 10-minute morning journaling routine. It really is a fantastic way to ease into the day by gathering your thoughts and setting goals before you jump into the crazy day ahead of you.
If you feel like you are scattered and having a hard time slowing down to focus or if you just want to become more self-aware, journaling is a great way to slow yourself down and really reflect on things. Head to this post to see the exact journaling prompts I use every morning.
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!
Looking for more planning inspiration? Check out these posts:
- My Proven 5-Step System For Creating A Daily Routine
- Creating A 10-Minute Morning Journaling Routine For Self Reflection & Goal Setting
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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