Should you go paper or app? And what agendas are best for your family's busy schedule?
Mom calendars, family calendars, agendas for mom... there are so many options for keeping your life organized. When you are seeking the right solution for you, it's key to find one that really fits you.
"Many times, when people struggle with time management it's because they are using the wrong tools. With the instant availability of so many productivity apps, we feel pressured to use one of the many digital to-do lists out there. While these may work for many people, the most important quality of a time management system is that it works for you," says productivity expert Emily Schwartz, author of The Time Diet: Time Management for College Survival and the soon-to-be-released The Time Diet: A Recipe for Time Management.
We might have smartphones, netbooks, tablets and Wi-Fi, but for some, paper planners just work better. "Some people enjoy the freedom of a paper agenda. With just the stroke of a pen, they can circle things, star things, cross things out, or write in the margins, without being limited to the programing of the app," says Schwartz. If that's you, just go with it.
Busy moms managing kid and work schedules love Erin Condren planners, which are highly personalizable and come with a variety of useful features — like a pocket for storing important papers, two-page per week layouts, room for goals and more. (ErinCondren.com, $50)
Another popular agenda for busy moms, momAgendas have a convenient two-page per week layout and also have space each day not just for your to-dos and appointments but for organizing the kids as well. There's also space for important contacts, planning and more. (momAgenda, $43)
We've come a long way from the days of Palm Pilots. These days, electronic planners are fast, easy and sync easily with all our devices. Plus, they are packed with features. "Digital calendars offer the ability to sync with multiple devices, sound alarms when tasks are due, and collaborate with other users," says Schwartz.
Busy moms — and busy folks in general — really like Cozi's family organizer, which has a lot of functionality. It's a website, an app and a shared calendar across platforms. There's also room for shopping lists, to-do lists and a journal. (Free)
This used to be just a web-based calendar service that let users share calendars and view them from anywhere. But now, there's an Android app for Android users and ways to sync with other devices. It's a basic shared calendar — which sometimes is all you need. (Free)
The bottom line in planners is that you have to choose the device that's right for you. If you prefer paper, that's OK! Stick with it. But if the features and syncing of electronic organizers suit you better, then go with it. "You will get more done if you are constantly reminded of what you should be doing. That is the purpose of the agenda. It helps you remain mindful," says Katie Hughes, Ph.D., founder of Dance Yourself Fit, LLC and the inventor of Slip-On Dancers, a product that converts running shoes into dance shoes.
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