Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Several months ago, I mentioned that I had purchased an Erin Condren Life Planner.  Some of my readers expressed interest in a brief review of the planner, and since I’ve been using it for a while, and we just started a new year, I thought now would be an opportune time to talk a bit about it.

As a side note, there are DOZENS of EC Life Planner reviews on other blogs, as well as HUNDREDS of EC Life Planner “unboxing” and review videos on youtube, so I’m not going to get crazy detailed here.  Just go Google EC Life Planner review and you will find all the answers you seek.

Why I Bought an Erin Condren Planner

I’ve always been a person who prefers a paper calendar.  While I was in high school and college, my planner was a constant companion.  Between working 20-30 hours a week, being in school full time, and doing theatre outside of school, I absolutely needed something with all of my classes, work shifts, rehearsals, and homework assignments written down.  Obviously, my life isn’t quite that crazy anymore, but it can be at times.  An active social life, a busy workout schedule, and now, rehearsals for Legally Blonde combine to create some very busy days, and I like to stay on top of things.  When I realized my iPhone calendar just wasn’t cutting it, I went hunting for a new planner.

I am SUPER picky when it comes to a planner.  I like to have monthly as well as weekly views, so I can get big picture and detail quickly and easily.  I need enough room to write multiple events in a day (it’s someone’s birthday, I have dinner plans, and I need to go to the gym).  I like it to be at least somewhat attractive.  A “notes” or blank-lined section is invaluable for writing shopping lists, reminders and to-dos.  It needs to be small enough to fit in a normal-sized purse.  The EC planner was one of the few I saw that fulfilled all of my requirements.

What I Like

  • I love that you can choose from lots of different cover designs, and you can even choose a custom colorway.  You can also put your own photo on the covers, and custom text (your name, family’s name, quote, etc)

Photo Dec 31, 9 12 04 AM

  • The covers are interchangeable, so you can buy new ones for different seasons (or, if you get married, you can get a new one with your new name!)
  • Sturdy tabs allow you to flip between months easily
  • The wire spiral binding is very sturdy, and allows the planner to lay flat for easy writing
  • The goals/to-do section to the left, while small, is useful.  I write my weekly to-do list there, and can easily transfer any un-completed items to the next week
  • I love the pockets in the back.  I use them for gift certificates and coupons that are too big to fit in my wallet, or paperwork that needs to make it from home to office or vice versa without getting crumpled
  • The paper is thick enough that when using a felt-tipped pen, it doesn’t bleed through (I love me some felt-tipped pens)
  • The Morning, Afternoon, Evening sections are more useful than I thought they’d be.  It’s nice to have a really broad view of each day, especially when I have multiple things going on in a day

What I Don’t Like

  • The price tag.  EC Life Planners are generally about $50, and you end up spending another $10 on shipping.  The good news is, there are lots of 10% off coupon codes out there.
  • Getting your custom planner takes FOREVER.  Seriously, it takes about two weeks to ship during off times of year (August, for example).  I can’t imagine how long it would take toward year-end when everyone is scrambling for a new planner
  • The cover doesn’t last.  At first glance, it appears nice and study, but I’ve only had mine since August and one of the corners is already starting to separate.  I’m not sure it’s going to last all the way through 2015

Photo Dec 31, 9 11 56 AM

  • I’m not crazy about the skinny column layout for each day.  It’s not a huge issue, it’s just an adjustment to write in tiny, cramped columns instead of naturally across the page
  • It’s huge.  Really.  This thing is a brick.  I could crack someone’s skull with it.  To be fair, I went with an 18-month version, and I’m sure a 12-month version is less humongous, but it’s really heavy to carry around every day

General Notes

  • There are a lot of people out there who go crazy with decorating their EC planners almost like a scrapbook, with washi tape and stickers and stuff.  I am not one of those people.  I bought a few rolls of washi tape when I got the planner intending to be one of those people, but it’s a lot of work.  I occasionally use it to block off long periods like vacations or weekends away, but for the most part it just sits in my drawer.
  • The stickers that come with are generally very useful.  There are pre-made stickers for things like “Dr appt,” “Birthday,” etc that are great, but there are also some that I think are kind of a waste of a good sticker.  For instance, I don’t need “Mani/Pedi” stickers or “Concert” stickers more than once a year.  The blank stickers, however, are awesome.  I like to color code them for various types of activities or appointments.
  • The “Perpetual Calendar” that comes with seems like a great idea at first, but I’m not super sold on the necessity of the thing.  The idea is that you write all of your important dates (birthdays, anniversaries) that are the same every year, and that way you don’t have to transfer them from calendar to calendar every year.  But the thing is, even with the perpetual calendar thingy, I still want to write those dates on the actual days in my planner.  Don’t you?  So really, you’re just duplicating work, and the Perpetual Calendar is another chunk of paper taking up room in your planner and making it heavier.

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the EC planner.  However, I’m not 100% sure that I’d buy another one.  I think over the next year I will explore some other options and see what’s out there.  The Athletarian recently posted a great review of Personal Planners, and I think that might be my choice for 2016.

Do you use a paper calendar/planner?  Which one?

If not, how do you stay organized?

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14 thoughts on “Erin Condren Life Planner Review

  1. txa1265 says:

    Yeah, I’ve been all-digital since ~1991 or so … 🙂 Grabbed the HP 200LX PDA when it first arrived and never looked back. I do carry a notebook around, that I use with my Livescribe pen, but never looked to see if there are planners to go with the digitizing pen. I couldn’t imagine spending that type of money on a planner. Lisa goes with paper and has one they sell at Barnes & Noble she gets for $9.99 every year 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      It’s definitely a big expense, and one I was willing to eat once to see what all the fuss is about. I usually find myself disappointed with the smaller store versions and replacing them once or twice through the year, so I often spend $20 or $30 per year on planners anyway. I’m VERY picky!

  2. SuzLyfe says:

    I love a paper calendar. Thanks for the review, I have been wondering about these! People seem to love them but I have 2 cheepo ones that are working juuuuuust fine.

    • DarlinRae says:

      I just can’t wrap my head around the digital thing. I find that physically writing things down helps me to remember better, and I was struggling with trying to read/see my tiny phone screen on the go.

  3. runsaltrun says:

    Yes I remember that post and it piqued my interest. I am much better with a paper planner too. I actually got a new one right when I started my new job and use it so much more than any of the calendar functions on my phone. This is a great review! I really like that you can personalize it.

  4. Stacey @ Cape Cod Runner says:

    I have been loving the simple Bullet Journal (.com) concept for the last 6-8 months and getting SO much more done! But right now I’m waiting on my new Passion Planner to arrive. Like you said with stickers and washi tape n’ stuff, I’m not big on the colorful and decorated distractions.

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