Our Five Ring Circus: The Best Tools To Organize Your Life

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Best Tools To Organize Your Life

The Best Tools To Organize Your Life

As 2019 begins, I'm really focusing on staying organized. Juggling the schedules of 6 - soon to be 7 - busy people can be very overwhelming! I always seem to start the year off strong, and end up slacking at some point along the way. This year, I'm determined to organize my life, and stick with it so I'm not as stressed and overwhelmed!

I know many people prefer everything to be digital, but I'm a bit old school. I prefer a mix of digital organization tools and physical tools. I'm not ashamed to admit that I am firmly on Team Paper Planner and Wall Calendar! There are definitely some apps that I absolutely love, though!

Here are a few of my "Organize Your Life" favorites right now...

GoGirl Planner

I LOVE using paper planners, and switch it up every year. Although I'm still on the hunt for a bigger planner, I needed a small one that I could fit in my purse to start off the year! The undated weekly/monthly GoGirl Planner was perfect, plus the shiny rose gold cover grabbed my attention! It has monthly and weekly layouts for an entire year, and focuses on goal and habit tracking. I love the 3 ribbon page markers so I can quickly find my monthly and weekly calendar, and the pen loop!

GoGirl Monthly Planner

Papermate Flair Pens

I discovered Papermate Flair felt tip pens a few years ago, and they have been a staple for my yearly planners and calendars ever since! They come in every color you can imagine, which is perfect, because I color code my planners and calendars. Each family member has their own color, and we have a family color. I also have separate colors for bills due/paychecks coming in, birthdays, and more!

How To Organize Your Life

Traditional Tools

I confess, I do use the Notes app on my smartphone, but nothing beats a notebook, pencils, highlighters, and Sharpie pens! I love making traditional paper lists. My favorite notebooks are from Target, and I like to keep all of my writing utensils in a pouch.

How To Organize Your Life

List Pads

I start out each morning by making a list of what I absolutely have to get done that day, or at least, ASAP! I prefer using paper, and checking the items off as I complete them. I always pick up my mini list pads from the Target Dollar Spot. (And please excuse my handwriting. I always write my list at 6 AM after I wake up Dylan, and BEFORE I put in my contacts!)

The Best Ways To Stay Organized

Magnetic Chore/Responsibility Charts from SCHOOFFICE

I'm going to be honest. I can't always remember which child has which chore. All I know is that there were days last year when those chores didn't get done, and my kids still expected their allowance! (Sorry, but no!)  I was gifted four of these awesome magnetic Chore/Responsibility Charts from SCHOOFFICE, and they are so helpful! 

I particularly love the fact that they are extra large, so there's plenty of room to write on them. I hung all four on our refrigerator, along with the included magnetic erasers, and I used a magnetic pencil holder to hold the included dry erase markers. We only received them a week ago, but I love the fact that I can glance at them each evening and see what still needs to be completed. 

Liam's is pretty basic right now and won't change for a few months, but Dylan, Lexie, and Lily's charts are a bit more complex. IF they complete all their chores for the week, they will earn their allowance! Although we are still getting used to using the charts, I really do feel like they help our entire household stay organized and on track!

Magnetic Chore Charts


Here's where I get digital! I use my iPhone XS to stay organized each day. I keep the the organization apps all in one folder, so I can access them quickly!

Here are the apps I use the most to stay organized:

  • ClassDojo to stay in daily contact with Liam's teacher.
  • Fitbit - I log what I eat and check my weekly activity and sleep cycle.
  • Ovia Pregnancy - Yes, this is my 5th baby, but I love seeing his growth each week.
  • Weather - I have to know which clothing to set out for Liam and Lily the following day!
  • Cozi Family Organizer - Our favorite shared calendar app!
  • Calendar - I use this standard iPhone app for my own personal calendar for the things the rest of my family doesn't care about!
  • Notes - Another standard iPhone app that I use frequently for long term notes or to jot something down quickly when I don't have my notebook with me.
iPhone XS

Cozi Family Organizer

Although I use my paper planner the most, the Cozi Family Organizer app has a shared family calendar which we are utilizing frequently this year. There is SO MUCH on our schedule, and Dylan and Lexie are now old enough to add their own events to the calendar. All four of us have access to the calendar at all times on our devices, and have the ability to add to it. It has been so helpful, and even my husband uses it! It does so much more, like gives you access to a shared grocery list or to do list, but we use it mainly for the shared family calendar feature!

Cozi Family Organizer

Fitbit Versa Smartwatch

I didn't think I would use a Fitbit much, but I LOVE it! Although it's mainly used to track my activity for the day, it does sync with my phone. It's so helpful to have access to weather, emails, and texts while I'm working out, or see incoming phone calls. It also syncs to our calendar and gives me event reminders, along with traffic updates so I can get to where I'm going on time! I also use the timer and alarm feature all the time

Fitbit Versa Features

Google Home Mini Smart Speaker

Grant got a Google Home Mini for free just before Christmas and my entire family loves it! Every morning, I ask for the weather, we ask it questions all the time (like how old is Kirk Douglas), Lexie used it for measurement conversions while doing her homework, plus it's linked to our Spotify account, so we can request any song at any time. We can also vocally adjust volume, skip to a new song on our playlist, shuffle play, stop, and more.  It's particularly helpful when I hear, "Hey Google. Play Baby Shark." We love it so much that we just might have to upgrade to a regular Google Home soon!

Google Home Mini

2019 is off to a fairly organized start thanks to all the items I mentioned above! Yes, there are still stressful moments and not so perfect days, but when I'm organized, life runs much more smoothly. An organized mom is a happy mom!

The Best Tools to Organize Your Life! From Traditional to Digital, and everything in between! #Organize #Organization #Lifestyle #HealthyLiving

What do you use to stay organized?

Time for a link party! Blogging friends, share your post below and meet your hosts! 

Stefanie at Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Facebook
Erin at Simple Purposeful Living / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest
Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest
Lindsay at Lindsay’s Sweet World / Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter
Jaclyn at Coffee, Pancakes, and Dreams / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest
Keri at Keri Lynn Synder / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest

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  1. I love those flair pens. I love a good organizational tool and I am a mix of technology and pen and paper too!

  2. I love that magnetic chore chart!! I just got an Erin Condren planner for the first time and I love it! Glad to join you ladies this year for the Wednesday link up.

  3. We have a Google Home Mini and it has come in handy a few times. Did you know it can play madlibs? I'm a pen and planner girl too. I should probably get a pouch for all my lose pens!

  4. These are great tips. I do like to use the notes app when I'm out and about, and for grocery lists.

  5. Great post! I don't use my phone for too much when it comes to planning, but I definitely have a paper planner where most things are written down. Then my family has a calendar that we all can look at and add to if we want. I like the idea of the e-calendar you can all edit - good plan when you have kids, I imagine! Every Third Thursday of the month, I co-host Keep It Together (planners, scrapbooks, anything memory keeping) if you'd want to link up this or any other future post that fits!


  6. I just got a Versa for Christmas and I love it. I love your background to your watch. I love a good app on my phone for staying organized. I wish I used a planner more, but I usually use my phone in notes and my calendar on there.

  7. Ooooh I just love posts about organization! And I love paper planners! I'm paper all the way. Although that Cozi Family Organizer sounds intriguing.

  8. This post speaks to me on so many levels! I'm a list-maker by nature, and I often get bogged down by ALL THE THINGS we have to do - especially with baby and a deployment on the way. I'm a huge fan of having a notebook, as well as a wall calendar, and I'm only JUST starting to use my iphone calendar for reminders, too haha color me late to the game ;)

  9. I love those Flair pens too! And I also use a combo of digital and paper planning - I'd be lost otherwise!

  10. I'm still old school, too, and decided to go the cheap route this year as far as calendars go. I bought mine - and new pens! - on Amazon for less than $7! Woo hoo!

  11. I live by my planner, too! Juggling 4 jobs, 2 kids, and a military husband is no joke. It’s a wonder I can remember any appointments! Ha. I do love ClassDojo though for keeping in touch with the kids’ teachers! So helpful. Great post!


  12. I use the "Notes" app on my iPhone probably more than anything else -- it's so simple but it just works for everything! I love that they've updated it so that you can do a little more formatting with the text -- makes making to-do lists and bulleted lists so much easier and organized now! :)

  13. Gosh - you have some great tips here! The pen one is great - it is something we do at work and I could do with replicating at home. The duties magnet list is brilliant - I think Liam has more on his plate that Caspar for sure - this would be an invaluable Mum-tool! You def get the most organised blogger award! Joanne x

  14. The Cozi Family Organizer App sounds amazing! I really have to try that out. Right now most of my organizing is still using paper calendars and to-do lists.


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