Ooh, Time to Buy a New Planner...??

back to school calendar coaches decisions erin condren fomo hotmess momguilt motherhood organization planner addict planning procrastination productivity sticker envy strategy systems teachers unboxing Aug 07, 2019

You know you’ve done it. You are scrolling through your favorite social media platform and you see one of your friends sharing an unboxing video and posting their new, pretty, bound-to-be-more-productive-than-yours planner. It’s colorful, she has a smile on her face, and you’re sure that your unorganized, #HotMess life could never be as focused and controlled as her’s is without that planner. Nevermind that she hasn’t written a damn thing in yet!

Yeah, Mama, I’ve been there. I’ve clicked the purchase button, had the planner delivered all to be highly disappointed that my friend who was toting a life of freedom and perfectly planned organization didn’t wave her magic fairy dust over my planner before it left the warehouse. I’ve been there, but I’ve also been on the other end of the FOMO purchase of a planner. The kind that gets me jump-started back to focusing on my season and what matters to me most. So, as much as I don’t want you to buy another planner you feel you don’t need but want, because you see one of my or a friends new planner, I do want you to be able to determine if it’s not only that you want it because it screams “YOU’LL BE LESS OF A HOT MESS IF YOU BUY ME!” I do want to encourage you if it's features will activate in you the potential you’re wasting by keeping yourself in the mediocrity of motherhood.

Recently, I purchased four new Erin Condren™ planners. I ordered the four main types I felt fit best within who I work with most. Moms. Moms who run their own businesses. Moms with school-age kiddos. Moms who rock the profesh on the daily at a day job. Moms who homeschool or take care of others. Moms. I purchased all four of them because I wanted to really get a good idea behind the features of each and how they could support moms in different seasons of motherhood. I also purchased them because I realized my season has been changing and with that my planner needs to evolve too. How my family works, how my time is spent in my coaching, and what I cared about focusing on has changed. When this happens, your planner most likely needs to change too.

Being a coach for moms and being a mom of two teenagers, it’s no surprise that one of the biggest difficulties we face is that we feel isolated and dictated by everyone else’s schedule. You feel like once you get a handle on one transition within your family, job, life or relationship, another change happens that puts you right back at square one. For many moms, the thought of having a magic bullet to keep you from throwing out all your best-laid plans is also like winning a trip to a tropical island where you can only take your best girlfriend! 

If I am wrong that the thought of controlling the week so that nothing gets hijacked for you doesn’t feel as exciting as winning a free vacation tell me your tips! It’s many times weekly I wish for a tropical island where no one but my bestie and a random celebrity I’ve had crushes on since I was a teen isn’t a wishful thought to escape whatever just derailed my life! If you spend just as much time wishing your schedule would stay the way you thought it was going to be as you do planning it? Mama, I’m your girl!

Let’s get off the island with Johnny Depp winking at you and back to your friend sharing with you her beautiful, bright-colored, ready-to-plan her little heart out planner and you think, “I need a new planner. I need that planner.” Before you push her referral link take a moment to see my three things to think about before you hit the checkout button.


Listen, if you’ve given something a fair try for at least a three-month spin but it isn’t making you feel all warm and fuzzy, or worse yet, it’s missing the mark on helping you confidently move ahead in your week or goals. It’s time for a new planner. Plain and simple. 

This one probably seems pretty obvious but for a lot of moms, spending that type of money on a planner for yourself took you spending some time on internally convincing yourself that it was okay to spend money on you and not your kids. I get it, and realize, like all of us moms who have been brainwashed to put our kids before ourselves, that you have iron wills of steel when it comes to self-sacrificing for your children. We’ve been generationally taught this is the “right way” to parent. That it’s selfish. What I want to tell you and it’s what I tell myself after a good try with a system I’m using that cost me money, is that it’s keeping me from being the best version of me for my kids! If I’m not organized, how the hell are they going to get it together? Maybe if we reframed this type of #momguilt from the self-sacrificing message we’ve received to what our kids really need to see we’d not feel so guilty about spending on what’s necessary for us. Our kids do what they see, and if they see you self-sacrificing all of their childhood instead of living your life on purpose. They won’t know how to live their lives on purpose either.  Ask yourself, what are you trying to prove by not showing them you’re an individual before you’re their mom?

My husband lives by this “if it’s not working fix it” mentality. I live by the mentality, “if it’s not working, find something that will”! It’s always made for a fun time when we do family renovations. In our lives as moms and every other title we hold, you know as good as I do, we ain’t got time to fix it! Mama, move on and try the next planner. It might meet the test. It’s worth it for them, but most importantly for you!


Recently, I had a client share that she was using a system she used throughout her entire corporate career. Her home also ran on a similar system. However, after seeing others with pretty planners, getting creative, and looking like they were enjoying making their plans she felt jealous. Ever feel this way? (I get sticker envy all the time!) She shared that her system was detailed, spreadsheet worthy, digital and no color or life to it other than her color-coding of family members. As she explained, she realized it wasn’t the FOMO that was making her want to make a change. No, she WANTED to make the change but justifying it “just because” she thought everyone else’s was “pretty and colorful” didn’t feel like it was enough. Realizing that there was more to it than the color but that it was she wanted her planning to bring her joy again mattered! 

As a mom with children who are now adults, no longer high schoolers with full event schedules the details didn’t matter as much. Color, life, visuals to bring her joy did! It was time for her to find other places to enjoy being detailed. Her old system wasn’t necessary anymore. It had nothing to do with the fact that it wasn’t a good system or her just having “sticker envy”.

Ever feel this way, like your doing something just because you know it works, but you know it’s no longer necessary? Girl, just writing that sentence made me think, “every damn day!” You get in the habit of doing something, and it’s hard to make the switch. Hard to justify it, especially if changing it will feel more fun or use our creativity. That’s not allowed, is it?! To this I say, “here’s your permission slip Mama to move on!” Maybe you don’t throw away the old way but set it aside for a while. Purchase the planner that is going to be for this season. If it serves another area of your life, find ways to use that system you used before somewhere else. Being detailed oriented is a strength, doesn’t mean it needs to be a part of your personal planning for each week. 


I know this is where everyone who builds their own planners or uses the discbound or binder planner systems will hang me out to dry. In my opinion, a planner that I can reorganize and add too isn’t productive. To this, I call BS, all it does is give you a reason to keep adding and being distracted. Mama, I just don’t have freakin’ time to be continually adding and rebuilding my planner every week when I see something new. This is where I’ll say if you use a discbound or binder planner, more power to you. Maybe you’re saving “some” money but heck I’d be surprised if you are saving time. 

When you see a feature you don’t have in your planner, instead of adding it or realizing you can’t add it, take a few moments and think through how necessary it is to have that feature. And most importantly, will you use it?

This happened to me a few weeks ago. The Erin Condren™ Teacher Planner started showing up in my feed. I had a few colleagues in the coaching world say how they switched from the LifePlanner™ to it and was intrigued. Pages that would be great to break down blog topics for the week and a bigger breakdown of daily tasks and projects. I started thinking about all the ways this new teacher planner was going to up my game as a coach. I went to the website, designed it and added it to my cart and that is when I said to myself, “Go back Gena, you already use your current planner for some of this, will this really level you up?” “What are the other features that are in this planner that you don’t have right now?” “Will I still use or need my LifePlanner™?” “Could I use the Teacher Planner for more than my business? What other roles could it incorporate?

Hear me, Mama, take the time to study or investigate a new feature you think might help you be more productive and organized. It’s allowed, I give you permission. Not sure if you need that permission slip but there is just something about the pull of a new planner that makes us go crazy and not think it through! What you don’t have permission to do is getting stuck on a feature when it could be one easily done in the note pages of your current planner, or you look at the other ten features that come along with it and now they will remain blank. If you’re trying to up your time management and organization, I don’t believe in making a printout page is going to help you. Look at what is already out there, deciding if what else comes with a planner you’re FOMOing about will work for you. Doing a little research; that’s a game-changer. Planner company’s get way more input into designing a planner, so go with the new planner if one feature leads to four more and call it a day.

FYI: I did purchase the Teacher Planner. I am now using both my LifePlanner & Teacher Planner. I’ll share more in the future, but if you want to get my full insight on which of the four main Erin Condren™ planners will work best for your current season, check out my Plan for Your Season with Erin Condren™ training for 2019 at only $7!

My final thoughts on when it’s best to buy a New Planner:

Take an honest look and ask yourself if your season is changing. As moms, it can feel every day is a new season, I hear you on that Mama. What I mean is, are you seeing clear shifts in how you are creating boundaries for yourself? Do you need a different type of accountability than you had due to the level of activities your kids have or for where you volunteer? Or maybe you’ve noticed you’re moving into a season where you don’t need to be the one always on call like you once did. Maybe the reliability hat has changed it’s mind (think Harry Potter and the sorting hat - you actually have more control than you think you have.) This and the areas above will help you decide if you need to take the leap. I promise when you do, you’ll have a better chance of being in love with that new planner (or keeping your old one) than you have in the past.

For more tips on planning and doing it on purpose, join me on Sundays for my free Sanity Sesh Facebook LIVES, where I share hacks and tips for the first steps in planning your week. Sign up here for reminders.