The Best Planner Reviews+ Tips to Get More Done in Less Time

Always feel like you are running out of time? Work smarter, not harder with these effective tips and tricks to get more done in less time that I’ve curated for you right here.

Feel like you are always running out of time? These 20+ tips, tricks and resources will help you work smarter, not harder so you can get more done in less time, be more productive and efficient and achieve your goals on time and even ahead of schedule!


Note: This post may contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links may provide a small commission to me at no extra cost to you. Refer to my Full Privacy Policy and Disclaimers here.

Why do you need to get more done in less time? Let’s take a little poll and tell me in the comments, which of these sounds like you:

  • you feel like you are always behind or running late,
  • you feel like you are always doing things for your work and family that you run out of time for yourself,
  • you feel like you don’t have any time for fun or the things you WANT to do or
  • you feel like you aren’t achieving the goals that are most important to you

I understand, I do. And if you’re like me, these are all reasons why I’m always looking for ways to be more productive and be more efficient. I read all the productivity books I can get my hands on, pore through planners in search of the perfect planner, and constantly revise my planning and organizing system so that I maximize my productivity and efficiency. And I’m here to share my knowledge and findings with you so you can get things done so you can have more fun and achieve your dream life.

There are 5 main topics we’ll cover and then all the tips and tricks and resources are the links within the topics.

So let’s get started….

#1 Tip and Trick to Get More Done in Less Time…Write. down. all. the. things.

The best way to get more done in less time is to write everything you need and want to do down so you can figure out a system to get it done piece by piece. Whether it’s a major bucket list goal or something so mundane and insignificant, all those things need to be written down.

My favorite resource for developing a system for managing all those tasks, ideas and information coming at you from all directions is Getting Things Done: The Art to Stress-Free Productivity* by David Allen. In the book, Allen suggests ways to put your lists into relevant lists and to institute a weekly review process so you know what exactly has to be done at any given moment of time.

The stress-free part is key, that if everything is out of your head and into one system, then your mind is free to focus on getting things done and turning those ideas and goals into reality. Getting Things Done* can be a dry read as it’s very detailed and thorough but it’s worth the effort to develop a planning and organizing system that works for you so you can get more done in less time and make more time for what you truly love.

#2 Develop An Effective Planning and Organizing System

If you need help with developing an effective planning and organizing system, the first thing you need to do is get a good planner. Planners, whether digital or paper, will be the cornerstone of your system. Your planner must be a place where you can:

  • write down and corral ALL the to-dos and goals in one place
  • be accessible to you where and when you need it
  • track your progress
  • find inspiration and motivation to keep going
  • bring you joy and pride for a job well done
  • reflect on how your time was spent and how you can improve
  • celebrate your victories, big and small (if you’re new to my site, I’m ALL about celebrating small victories!!)

That may be a lot to ask for in one planning system but it is possible if you take the time to work through what works for you and I can help you with that too…

The Best Planner Reviews

About twice a year, I reevaluate my planning and organizing system and tweak what works and what doesn’t. I’ve spent a lot of time researching, reviewing and writing about planners to help others just like me go from overwhelmed and frazzled to stress-free and productive.

My planner reviews are very detailed and thorough and here’s what they cover:

  • Planner specifications
  • Tons of pictures walking you through the planner
  • Examples of how I used the planner
  • How I color code and time track in the planner
  • How I use the planner to achieve my goals
  • How the planner compares to its competition
  • Best pens to use in the planner / favorite supplies used
  • Free printables that the planner company offers (if applicable)
  • Sales and coupon code info (when possible)
  • Where to buy the planner
  • The bottom line review (who the planner is good for, what makes it unique, what I like, what I don’t like, whether I recommend it)

I cover daily and weekly life planners and goal planners as well as paper and digital options. There are too many planner reviews to list here, so head to my planner reviews page for all the reviews I’ve done so far (and the ones I’m working on).  If you want to get more done in less time, you really need a planner and system for processing and prioritizing tasks.

The Ultimate Planner Comparison

Planners are very subjective and what works for one person won’t work for another. That’s why I believe in taking the time to figure out what your planning style is and what motivates and inspires you so you can pick the best planner to suit your needs.

Head on over to my ultimate planner comparison where I compare the most popular planners on the market and tell you who the planners are best suited for. You can even download a side by side planner comparison chart so you can find your next perfect planner.

More Planner Comparisons:

11 Awesome Planners Like Erin Condren

Daily Simplified Planner vs. Weekly Simplified Planner

the best planners of 2020

Best Goal Planners of 2020

Bullet Journaling with Your Planner

I wish I was creative and had time to draw my own layouts for a real bullet journal. But I find that there are so many really great planners on the market, that my time is better invested in knocking things off my to do list.

I’ve compiled a bunch of easy bullet journaling ideas for beginners for you so that you can make the most of your bullet journal without getting overwhelmed. I even have some hacks and ideas to make it look pretty even if you aren’t artistic!


Planning Tips

You can find more life, goal, working from home and blog planning tips on my planning tips page.

#3 Gain Time and Be More Efficient

Here are some of my favorite productivity tips to help you gain time and be more efficient with the time you have.

FREE Make More Margin e-book*– free up 1-2 hours per week for the things you love

5 Time Management Tips to Achieve Your Dream Life

8 Surprisingly Simple Time Management Tips to Gain More Time in Your Day by Guest Blogger Sharing Life’s Moments

How to be Ruthless with Time by Sharing Life’s Moments

(Im)perfectly Productive Bundle*: Daily Productivity for Busy Women by Living Well Spending Less

Building Effective Routines and Creating Habits

By creating effective routines and habits, you have to think less about it and your brain just automatically does it. The more you repeat a task, the higher chance you have of finding more efficient ways to do things.

For example, take your family’s favorite recipe that you know by heart. The first time you made it, you probably had to look back and forth at the recipe several times to make sure you were doing it just right. But the more you made it, the more you remembered the ingredients and steps and the more you probably found ways to make it easier and faster for you to prepare. Now, you can probably make it without the recipe. It’s become automatic.

The same goes for habits. Whether it’s drinking more water, reading, journaling, exercising, doing dishes, throwing in a load of laundry, decluttering, etc., the same rules apply. The more you do the habits you want to cultivate everyday, the more routine it becomes, the more you can do it without checking your list or worrying about it and the more efficient you become.

Here are some of my favorite posts and resources on building effective routines and creating habits:

FREE Craft Your Ideal Daily Routine Workbook – a workbook I created to guide you step by step through pinpoint which habits you want to cultivate, how to incorporate them into an ideal daily routine and a tracker to track your progress so you can have more ideal days!

FREE Chore Charts – simple monthly chore charts so your kids can check off what needs to be done every day (especially great in the kids summer bullet journals).  Can be used for habit trackers for adults too.

The Perfect Evening Routine for Moms by Smart Mom, Smart Ideas

How to Create an Effective Routine as a WAHM by Organized Motherhood

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey book review

The Power of Habit* by Charles Duhigg

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

#4 Hold Yourself Accountable and Give Yourself a Grade

Another key to getting things done is to  hold yourself accountable and give yourself a grade on your efforts.

In the 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months* by Brian Moran, he claims you can get more done in 12 weeks than most people get done in a year with his system. One of the key elements to his system is having an accountability partner and reporting the completion score you achieve at the end of the week. He claims that if you get 85% of your tactics done, then you’ll achieve your goal in 12 weeks!

Holding yourself accountable and having to tell your accountability partner how much you achieved each week can be very motivating. Barring extenuating circumstances, no one wants to admit they only got 25% or even 50% of their list done. If you were still in school, that would be a failing grade!

If you do get a low score, that should signal to you that you need to revise your expectations, your work hours or find efficiencies so you can get more done so you can achieve that goal in 12 weeks!  I’ve been implementing the 12 Week Year principles for my blog since January 2019, the first quarter has gone better than the second so it’s time to laser in on the focus!

#5 Review Your Lists and Process for Improvements

Another key element of the Getting Things Done: The Art to Stress-Free Productivity* system by David Allen is to do a weekly review of your lists and process so you can cross off completed tasks, delete things that are no longer relevant, and make improvements to your planning and productivity for the next week.

It’s very motivating to me to cross things off my list and I’m always looking for shortcuts or the easiest way to get something done. Progress, not perfection in my book people. Done is better than perfect. Reviewing your lists and finding ways to improve will only help you be more efficient.

More Free Printables and Planning and Productivity Tips When You Subscribe to My Newsletter!

When you subscribe to my newsletter, you gain access to my Exclusive Subscriber Library where I keep ALL the free printables I offer on my site for planning, goalsetting, managing chronic illness, bookish goodies and blogging! You’ll also be receive periodic newsletters with more tips from me to manage the chaos so you can achieve your dream life!


So which of these tips and tricks will you start with first? As you start checking things off your list, you’ll get motivated to keep going and tackle bigger projects. Take it a step at a time, implement it fully and then move on to the next task. So let’s get that mega list of all the things you need and want to get done out of your head and onto paper! Feel free to leave me a comment or email me at tanya{at}momssmallvictories{dot}com and let me know what your goals, to do list or planning system looks like and let’s get things done together!