by Anna Walker


One of my goals this year was to stay organized.  It's even one of the things on my to-do lists day after day and year after year. However, I realized that I didn't have the right tools. I mused over those on Pinterest with their colorful boxes from the Container store, creative cabinet racks, custom spaces for wrapping paper and notions, and life planning systems by Erin Condren, Passion Planner, Emily Ley, and so on.  THESE people were organized. They recognized that it wasn't just about schedules and keeping things neatly put away, it was about organizing the organization-whether it be themselves or family of four. So I got busy.

This week's post is about organizing your time and your life... simplified. My mother was the epitome of organization.  Everything had a place, and if you put it back after you finished using it, there was no need to search for it. It was a system that always worked.  As I grew older, I realized that it took discipline and intention to put things back up.  How easy it is to toss the clothes on the chair, leave the dishes in the sink (which was a sin growing up) and haphazardly letting the day get by you by marathon tv watching and "pittling". So I created some strategies. Over the next few weeks, I will share my top three.


The first, organize my time. I have used planners for most of my adult life.  After the introduction of the smartphone, I traded my Covey System and Dayrunner in exchange for keeping everything in one place-calendar, contacts, notes, etc. However, I realized I have to write things down.  It wasn't enough to see it digitally, I had to put it on paper.  

A friend visited my office one day and she had a great planner.  I also consider her to be the epitome of organization, so I wanted what she had. My quest began.  I looked at every planner on the market and decided on the Erin Condren (which she had). There is a EC cult following that I never knew existed! I love anything personalized and multi-functional, so this was for me. It is a calendar and goal setting planner with lots of accouterments such as a dashboard for jotting down quick thoughts, a zippered pouch for holding loose items, and a sleeve for storing cards and such. There are a multitude of accessories for more personalization-love it! I never knew the importance of  washi tape, pens and stickers. But these became a part of my tool kit. I still keep my smartphone for important dates and schedules, but I use my EC for notes, goal setting, follow up items, holding greeting cards and business cards , etc. Visualizing my goals and jotting down information in one place has helped tremendously.  

We are familiar with tips on time management, but I encourage you to find the right tools for you to manage your time wisely.  Happy organizing!


Of course this section will highlight my top three planners and their benefits.  These are my personal favorites, no endorsements for any.

ERIN  CONDREN ($50-$75)

The Erin Condren Life Planners are spiral bound 7.25" by 9.25" customizable weekly planners that can run for 12 months (January-December) plus the months remaining in the current year. Each day is separated into sections for morning, day, and evening, with a short section for notes at the bottom. It also includes a list for weekly goals and notes. It comes with a section for thought of the day, a two-sided folder, zipping folder, and pages of labeled and blank stickers.

HOWEVER: The planner features morning, day, and evening formats only. It can only be ordered online, and there is no place for yearly goals, or other planning features. It's somewhat pricey to discard each year, but once you sign up, there are discounts and sales. The heavy laminate cover seems durable. It is not a true goal planner, you have to insert your own questions each month.


Passion Planners come in two sizes: 5.5" by 8.5" and 8.5" by 11" and are faux leather book bound. It includes a passion road map, long term goal setting sections, mind map review, and area of focus monthly. Each month, you will answer questions such as,
❊ What were the three biggest lessons you learned in this past month?
❊ Review your planner for the past month and assess your priorities.  Are you happy with how you spent your time?  If not, what steps can you take this next month to adjust them?
❊ How are you different between this past month and the month before it?
❊ What or who are you especially grateful for this past month?
❊ Name three things you can improve on this coming month.  What are concrete actions you can take to work towards these improvements?

HOWEVER: It is more rigid and not customizable. 


The Tools4Wisdom planner is 8.5" by 11" spiral bound.  It is a 4-in-1 daily/weekly/monthly/yearly calendar, which includes a two-year planning calendar, mindmap section, personal life progress journal and planning questions like:

  • What are the goals for the month?
  • How does completing those goals add value?
  • What are the major steps to accomplish those goals?
  • What are your objectives and priorities?

The planner includes helpful sub-categories, such as "innovation," "health - body," "health - mind & soul," "family & loved ones," "growth," "career/business," and "finance." 

HOWEVER: Only on size is available,  it is not customizable.