Finally Get Organized – Our Essential Time Management Tools for Parents
You feel frazzled and pulled in a dozen different directions all day long. You want to finally get organized but it seems impossible.
Manage your children’s schedule and your work schedule is like two full-time jobs. And then the meals need to be planned and you need to shop for the groceries.
You want to work on developing social and emotional skills with your children and have better routines for your days. The children need to gain more independence because you’re raising them to be adults.
There is just so much to keep organized.
The truth is we need to set aside time to figure out what tools we need and what systems will help us so we can get organized. Using the right tools can make it easy to stick with staying organized.
I know when you scroll through organizational products, it can be hard to tell the good from the bad. So I’ve compiled a list of my absolute favorite time management tools for parents.
Most of these products I’ve personally used and loved. Those I haven’t used, I still wholeheartedly recommend.
Check out this list of Essential Time Management Tools for Parents and finally get organized!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links; read more here.
The Best Planners for Parents
I’m a planner junkie. I’ve used a ton of different planners starting in fifth grade. I remember getting my first crisp notebook in Mrs. Seaver’s class and feeling the satisfaction when I’d write down my homework and cross off my tasks.
Day Designer Flagship Planners
Last year, when I was managing two kids and a pregnancy, a household, and being self-employed, I needed a daily planner with lots of space to map out my days.
My planner was gong to Starbucks and the library with me while I worked, so I also needed a super durable planner with a hardcover.
It was helpful to get things off my brain and to be able to cross items off my list. I use the Day Designer Daily Planner because it has tons of space for both my schedule and my tasks.
I like that it has a space for my top three tasks – or Must Do tasks. These are where I prioritize the items for my work, household or health that are important but not urgent. There are also prompts for the urgent: Due, Dinner, Dollars, and Don’t Forget.
I have used the Day Designer Weekly Planner in the past when I wanted to see my whole week at a glance. This is incredibly helpful to see how the family’s priorities are scheduled out over a whole week.
You should check out the Day Designer Free Printables. You can print out copies of the Daily and the Weekly planner and try them out to see which is the right fit for you.
Mead Weekly Planners
During less busy seasons of my life, I have used the Mead Weekly Planners. When I was pregnant with our second child and caring for toddler with developmental delays, this planner had plenty of space.
This planner is fantastic for busy moms who don’t need an hour-by-hour schedule. The layout had plenty of room in the margins to list three major goals for the week.
In the Mead Weekly Planners, the daily sections have sufficient space to plan out the days. I liked to plan the days loosely based on what I hoped to accomplish in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
There was sufficient room to track all of my to-do items in the notes section, and the weekly spread meant I didn’t have to recopy unfinished tasks from day-to-day.
Blue Sky Planner
I’ve used Blue Sky Planners before and I was so tempted to purchase this Parent Planner by Blue Sky.
This planner has perforated meal plan and grocery lists you can tear out, take grocery shopping with you and then post in your kitchen so everyone knows what for dinner.
It also has an hourly schedule for every day with space to organize tasks by family member or category. There is a a monthly budget section, too, so if you’re looking for a comprehensive tool to get organized, this planner has it all.
We use separate planners for meals, groceries and budget (see below) as these are shared tasks in our family.
Planner accessories can be the key to finally getting organized as a parent. A sticker or a color coded pen can mean the difference between an appointment or task being noticed and completed.
I like the Momentum Planners & Stickers shop on Amazon. There is a sticker for almost anything you can think of!
Here’s what I’m using in my Day Designer Planner:
- birthday present stickers: remind me about family birthdays
- camera stickers: reminders to take photos for the blog or to work on my Shutterfly photo albums.
- coffee cups stickers: when I work from a coffee shop.
- cardio stickers: when I exercise
- scale planner sticker; building the habit to weight myself daily a fun reminder.
Instead of a to-do item, stickers make tasks a ta-da item. These stickers are are affordable and I consider purchasing them a nice treat to celebrate my success.
Happy Planner Stickers
I have an unhealthy amount of Happy Planner stickers pads. These are a great value for the quality and quantity of the stickers you get in a pack.
Seriously, stickers make me more like to plan, and planning is key to my success.
These are one that are helpful for parents:
Papermate Flair Pens
Having a great pen can make a world of difference, too, when you need to buckle down and plan. Papermate Flair Pens have a fine tip, are affordable, and come in a variety of colors.
The Papermate’s felt tip makes planning fun and creative too. The multiple colors allow busy parents to color code for various tasks or family members.
Tools for Managing Your Printables
Managing all the printables is necessary for busy parents to finally get organized. With all the specific printables available on PrintableParents.com, we need a way to use and store them in a functional manner.
A thicker copy paper is the best bet for most of the printables available on PrintableParents.com for a few reasons:
- it makes the printables stand up to repeat use,
- it helps them stand out more from other paper,
- pens and markers don’t bleed through.
HP 24 lb printer paper is more durable than standard 20 lb copy paper. Regular copy paper is great for single use items like printable coupons or forms for school.
Clipboards are the key to holding printables day-to-day. They hang on the wall when they are not in use to maximize your vertical storage.
This Bloom Letter Size clipboard is so cheerful. I routinely use it when my husband and I plan our weekend or when I’m keeping track of Facebook sales.
- Related: A Simple Strategy for Better Weekends – free printable
- Related: 12 Steps to Selling Your Stuff on Facebook – free printable
The Saunders Recycled Aluminum Clipboard is a very sleek looking silver clipboard. It looks cute with both color and black and white printables. When I’m doing a project using my What’s Next printable, I tend to grab this clipboard because it is so durable.
The Five Star Flex Notebook is excellent for storing goal and project sheets. These notebooks use a standard three hole punched and fold over like a spiral notebook.
With these flex binders, you won’t need to buy a new hole punch. You can still shuffle papers around for maximum flexibility.
We also use a few household planner pads. If you share these tasks in your family, it makes sense to have them available for everyone to see.
The Knock, Knock Meal Planner is my favorite meal planner. I like how there is also a space for dinner and other meals. It has a heavy magnet and can stick on the fridge.
The Post it Weekly Planner is great for more open-ended meal planning. It has plenty of space for all the side dishes with meals.
The Knock, Knock Grocery list is my favorite grocery list because it is so comprehensive. Like the meal planner, it also has a heavy magnet and stays on our fridge.
This list has prevented tons of martial disputes in our family as everyone can check off items when we’re close to running out.
The Must. Eat. Now grocery list is also thorough and user-friendly.
I have also used one of the Grocery List sheets as a master list and highlighted what we when use on a routine basis. This makes it easy to place grocery order and double check I haven’t forgotten anything. I created a free printable grocery list here if you like a larger one.
Parents can Finally Get Organized
Being mindful with our time and tasks is the key to organization. First, get yourself a quality planner. Then check out the other planner essentials, order your favorites, and take the time finally get organized.
What are your favorite planning essentials?