Find Scheduling Zen


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  28 comments   :  13,138 Views

By Arianne Cohen of Woman's Day

If your personal goal list is anything like mine, somewhere between “get back to what I weighed in high school” and “find happiness” is “get organized.”

Unlike those other goals, though, getting organized only takes a few hours. What you need is a planning system. And at the center of it is the perfect planner. It will boil down all your scheduling chaos into two forms of information: appointments and to-dos—all in one handy place. The trick? Using it. Here’s your guide to finding a system and planner that you’ll use and love.

Which Planner is For You?

Do you prefer paper or electronic? Is it just for you or does your whole family need access? Once you decide, follow these tips.

I’m a Paper Gal
Go with: A sleek planner with a durable binder or cover. Simple and affordable.

Make sure that: It’s lightweight and fits in your purse, and that you love it enough to use it a dozen times a day (that’s more than 4,000 times a year).

We love: The Planner Pad Organizer, an ingenious slim planner that takes you from all your to-dos into a neatly planned seven-day schedule, in two pages per week ($24.99 to $26.99;

I’m an Electronic Gal
Go with: A calendar and task-management program that runs on both PD As and computers (most do), so that you can pull it up wherever, whenever. You can plan appointments, prioritize your to-dos and set reminder alarms.

Make sure that: It’s set to sync to another device regularly, even if you don’t use it—that way, you always have a full backup.

We love: Though it’s maddeningly frustrating that the cheapest PDAs now come with cell phone contracts, they are fantastic. We like the T-Mobile Sidekick LX, an organizational machine. It’s not only a phone, but it also fully syncs with organizational programs, or lets you use many online organizers ($49 with a two-year contract or $199 without a plan;

As for computer planner programs, there’s a reason the business world uses Microsoft Outlook: Email, contacts and schedule are all in one place. ($140 at, but comes free with many PCs.) For fewer bells and whistles, we like Google Calendar, a free online organizer.

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  • 28
    I use paper and also use the calendar on SparkPeople and on my Yahoo homepage.I am truly covered and I don't usually forget things. - 4/20/2011   10:11:54 PM
  • 27
    I love the Cozi app for my smartphone. I downloaded the free one. It's great. You can set a schedule for everyone in the family and have it email you reminders to any family members. It also includes a to do list, shopping list, and journal - great for snapping photos of the kids and make notes of the event on the goal. I also found a website the other day called Lots of organizational lists you can send to your smartphone. I love the housecleaning lists. Breaks each area of the house down and what to do. Awesome. Check it out. - 4/19/2011   9:05:52 PM
    No need to BUY something. Google Calendars are free and it will email you alerts and you can share your schedule with others so spouses/children can view and sync schedules. - 4/19/2011   5:09:22 PM
  • K__IERRA123
    Cozi for the family, and paper for me. I don't mind the paper entries. - 4/19/2011   4:50:21 PM
  • 24
    We use google's calendar for personal/family scheduling. It is free and online, so we can access it anywhere. My husband and I both input events and each member of the family has their own color. It cuts down on my husband and I forgetting to tell each other about dates and changes since we both have access! - 4/19/2011   4:43:51 PM
  • 23
    I like using my paper datebook; it has a monthly view and daily views. I use my daily views as my journal as well as scheduling events. I also keep track of my food, exercise, water, medicine and vitamins intake in the daily view. It works great for me. - 4/19/2011   4:15:22 PM
    I love Mozilla Thunderbird. It's just like Microsoft Outlook, but it's free! I use it for emails and the calendar. I couldn't live without it! - 4/19/2011   1:25:47 PM
  • 21
    I'm a paper girl. I keep everything written down. - 4/19/2011   12:45:32 PM
    Electronic! I sync my iPhone with Outlook at work, Outlook at school, and Yahoo for my personal stuff! I love that my phone has one calendar with entries from all three sources in one place! - 4/19/2011   11:12:09 AM
  • 19
    Paper! Although I do use SparkPeople's reminder calendar all the time! - 4/19/2011   10:32:34 AM
  • 18
    A combination of both actually. I like trying to save paper by doing it electronically, but something about holding an actual piece of paper in my hand, helps! - 4/19/2011   10:00:32 AM
  • 17
    Definitely electronic. I used to have a Palm Pilot, but when the iPhone came out, I got me one-a those! I am the calendar-keeper in my house, and with four teenagers and a husband who travels frequently, I'd be lost without my electronic calendar. I check it many times a day! - 4/19/2011   9:42:48 AM
  • 16
    I'm an electronic gal - that way, I can keep my entire family posted on upcoming events and when you have teens and young adults in your house, that is a must! I use Microsoft Outlook and it's synced with my phone. When I have to make a follow-up visit at the doctor, I can access my calendar and know which days are good and which are out of the question. - 4/19/2011   9:25:57 AM
    Call me old fashioned, but I like a paper calendar.

    - 4/19/2011   9:21:56 AM
  • SUSIEH11
    Great article

    welcome to - 4/19/2011   2:30:09 AM
  • 13
    Paper. I got organized years ago with the method from Pam Young & Peggy Jones "The Slob Sisters" as they used 3x5 cards in a rotating file. With five children it worked for me & saved a lot of money. I have A.D.D. so I needed to write everything down. - 4/19/2011   1:42:47 AM
  • 12
    I'm really bad - I don't use anything. I count on my memory plus I try to tell my mom whatever I have planned so if I can't remember if I've planned something, I can call her... :) - 4/18/2011   10:43:43 PM
    I use the calendar on my cell phone as my organizer. I can set it up to remind me of my tasks/appointments ahead of time. - 4/18/2011   9:27:35 PM
  • 10
    We use a combo of a spiral paper planner and a big dry-erase calendar. Works for us best. I don't like "being on my phone" for everything, so I write everything in my notebook (I LOVE the "Manic Mommies Engagement Calendar") and transfer to the dry-erase board so it's more accessible at home. - 4/18/2011   6:12:25 PM
  • 9
    I love my PDA but also have paper lists that I have on my desk. - 4/18/2011   5:38:36 PM
  • 8
    Paper for me! I like writing things down. Very portable and easy for me. - 4/18/2011   5:29:50 PM
  • 7
    Paper. I can post copies everywhere to remind me - 4/18/2011   5:13:45 PM
  • 6
    i have an android and i love springpad. its mainly a not thing but i can use it any where with any. its awesome - 4/18/2011   4:50:02 PM
  • 5
    paper...hard to get away from it. I do use my BB for work but not so much for personal reminders. I always write it in my planner...its hard to type/text while im being told dates and time. I can do it after I wrote it down..but not at the same time... - 4/18/2011   4:34:34 PM
  • 4
    Paper is the way for me!! I usually have at least 2 different planners - 1 for work and 1 for everyday and the 1 larger one for everything!! This way I can't forget!! - 4/18/2011   3:43:00 PM
  • 3
    For the iPod touch/iPad/iPhone crowd I highly recommend Awesome Note! Love the satisfaction of clicking a task done! - 4/18/2011   3:40:06 PM
    Would be lost without my BB! - 4/18/2011   3:02:50 PM
  • 1
    I LOVE my Planner Pad! - 4/18/2011   2:35:12 PM

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