Each year, we put together the best planners for parents, and 2021 is no different. But after the year that was 2020, I have to admit I’ve hesitated longer than usual to take the plunge. What are we planning anyway? Will our calendars start to fill again? Do we dare be so optimistic? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably waited until the last minute too, and you may be thinking the same.
I decided to go with optimism, and put together my choices for the best 2021 planner for parents, with the hopes that we’ll all have lots to fill it with. If you’re with me, I’ve found 6 terrific planners for 6 different personality types.
You know, besides the cynic.
That said, I still suggest investing in some good pencils — and erasers — before we start filling them out. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s to be flexible with our plans.
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Our best 2021 planners for parents
Life Planner: The mega planner for the super-organized parent who loves all the extras
As a homeschool mom, I’ve been using Erin Condren’s teacher planner the last two years, and I highly recommend Erin Condren’s Life Planner as perhaps the best 2021 planner for parents who loooove to plan. Like, if you live for planning, this is your planner! (Also shown above.)
These are complete planners, with month views, week views, and a handy by-the-hour daily schedule, and it comes in all kinds of cool colors and designs. But more than that, this is the best 2021 planner for parents who honestly get a a kick out of using all the stickers, matching page markers, themed sticky notes, and all the other goodies. In fact, there are four whole pages of them included, plus countless more you can add to your order.
(Note that it’s available on Amazon at a significant discount from her own site.)
Poketo: The ultimate combination personal and professional planner
My sister owns a small floral design business, and when I mentioned to her over FaceTime that I was collecting ideas for this post, she yelled POKETO at me! I wasn’t sure what she was saying at first — then she grabbed her Poketo Project Planner (which was right next to her, of course) and started flipping through the pages to show me all the features.
If you thrive by setting goals and making detailed timelines, this is the planner for you. The legal-sized 2021 perpetual planner includes all the scheduling views you could want as a parent — from one-year-on-a-page to weekly spreads — but it’s the other features my sister was really raving about. If you do any sort of project planning, from running a small business (or building one), to writing a book, to volunteering with the PTA or even coordinating family events, you’ll get so much out of this simple format.
The MomAgenda Personal Portfolio: For the parent who doesn’t know what they need, as long as it keeps them organized.
Not everyone is a calendar fanatic, knowing just what exact features and page views you want. So we have an option for you too!
We’ve been raving about MomAgenda planners and personal portfolios for more than a decade now, and there’s a reason they remain a mom favorite. Not only are the portfolios stylish, durable, and modern, but they are so comprehensive, they give you room for the items you don’t know that you need…until you do.
The beautiful, reusable six-rind binder is filled with a weekly layout, including separate planning space for a parent and up to four other household members. Sections are divided by tabs, including meal planning (we love meal planning!), to-do lists, and notes, so you can keep them all separate from the calendar pages without losing those important thoughts you generally scribble down…somewhere.
It’s also nice that this one starts in January; if you haven’t checked out MomAgenda for a while, they started out with school-year planners that kick off in September. This is a terrific choice for starting the new year at least somewhat under control, making it easily one of the best 2021 planners for parents. (And not just moms.)
The Wellness Journal: A holistic planner for the parent who wants to focus on more than just a schedule
Another lesson of 2020 is that cancelling plans doesn’t necessarily give you more time for yourself. (Can I get an amen, parents with kids schooling from home?) If your focus for 2021 is about your dreams, goals, mental health, and an overall positive mindset, then The Quarterly Wellness Journal from Papier is for you. You will need four per year, because each journal provides 3 months worth of daily planning pages at a time — though do you get two whole pages each day. Beyond your schedule itself, use that abundant space to note your goals for the day, your self-care ideas, your meals, inspiration you’ve found…whatever works for you. This 2021 planner also provides space for body and mind check-ins which I think will resonate with a lot of us.
Extra bonus: The pages are undated. This way, you can start it whenever you want, and if you ‘re starting a little late, like me, you won’t feel “guilty” for wasting those early January pages. (Though we shouldn’t feel guilty about that anyway. Maybe make a note of that in your Wellness Journal!)
Jibun Techo: The minimalist, no-frills planner that lets you do a lot in a little space
The best 2021 planners for parents aren’t always the biggest with the most. In true Japanese style, the Jibun Techo diary from Kokuyo (also at very top) is a no-frills planner for the parent who doesn’t need all those extras. Each week offers 2-page spread with hours 0 through 24 marked vertically on graph paper. This not only keeps your organizer organized, but lets you use different colored ink to block off each kid’s activities or appointments in a perfectly small space.
(And yes, I get that using different ink for each child or activity is not entirely a no-frills kind of a planning technique, but that does let you do manually what the tabs on your iCal or other digital calendar do in a very satisfying way.)
Remarkably, there’s room in this compact planner to also record the weather, what you ate, or how you felt each day should fitness or wellness be among your goals for the year. For extra note taking, you also get pages of lists and blank pages in the back — all this despite an extremely thin size that makes it small enough to tuck into your handbag and carry it everywhere.
Note: These are in high-demand, so if you can’t wait for this one to come back in stock, look for it at small office shops like Baum-kuchen in California, which carries the entire Jubin Techo collection. Or check out this similar Japanese hourly planner.
Silk & Sonder: A monthly planner subscription for the parent who needs a little motivation to keep the planning going all year.
I’m all about making plans, but I tend to get tired of a planner after a while and can lose interest in seeing mine. So I’m fascinated by the idea of a Silk & Sonder 2021 planner subscription.The planner includes pages for bullet-journal style habit tracking, journaling, coloring, and more. But what’s really different is that each month, you get a new planner delivered to you in a theme like ambition or nostalgia to help keep you motivated.
They’re really beautiful options, and help you create focus around a certain topic each month. If you need to plan your whole year out at once, this isn’t the planner for you. But if you tend to abandon yours partway through the year, and like the motivation of starting with a clean slate 12 times a year, this could be exactly the planner that finally works for you .