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?

Friday Free-For-All (Thirteen)

Welcome to Friday Free-For-All, where I talk about anything and everything on my mind.  This is usually just a great big brain dump, so brace yourselves!

I brought a golf ball to work and I’ve been rolling my feet under my desk.  Words cannot describe how awesome this feels.  I’ve been having intermittent foot pain and tweakiness for months, so I’m hopeful that this will alleviate those issues.  I REALLY don’t want to end up with Plantar Fasciitis.

My Erin Condren Life Planner has finally arrived!  This has seriously been an odyssey–I ordered it almost a month ago!  So far, I’m totally enamored, but obviously I need to use it for a while to see if it actually stands up to all the hype.  Would any of you be interested in a quick review in a few weeks when I’ve had a chance to use it and abuse it a bit?

I’m off to the Northeast Kingdom this weekend.  Yup, there’s a kingdom in Vermont.  Well, not really, obviously.  But the northeast corner of the state is referred to as the Northeast Kingdom, and it’s beautiful–very stereotypical Vermont.  Lots of farmland, cows, and not a lot of houses or people.  Also, no cell phone service, and probably no wi-fi in the cabin.  So it will be radio-silence for me this weekend.  I’m looking forward to swimming, sunning, boating, fishing, and catching up on sleep with my family.

northeast-kingdom-vt-region

 

I desperately want to go on a shopping spree.  I need work clothes.  I need running clothes.  I need underwear… But I can’t afford any of that right now, so I’m just going to suck it up and deal.  And whine a lot.

What are your weekend plans?

Friday Free-For-All (Twelve)

Welcome to Friday Free-For-All, where I talk about anything and everything on my mind.  This is usually just a great big brain dump, so brace yourselves!

Moving sucks.  There, I said it.  I’m sure you all know how much moving sucks.  It just does, there’s no getting around it.  We have too much crap.  Every time we move, we bitch about how we have too much crap, but we just keep shuttling it around and acquiring more crap all the time.  I will be a very happy girl on the day we buy a house and never have to move again.

Summer is almost over.  Seriously, how did that happen?  It’s crazy!  This time last year, Ben and I were packing up our apartment in Boston and getting ready to move in with his folks.  One year later, we’re packing up our Burlington apartment and getting ready to move in with his folks.  I feel like I’m stuck in a time loop.

Groundhog-Day

I’m hoping that we can sneak in a few more summery activities before fall.  On my list are hiking Mt. Mansfield and swimming in a river.  Not negotiable.  On a related note…

Hooray for three-day weekends!  I couldn’t be happier about the timing of Labor Day and how it fits in with our moving schedule.  I’m hoping we can get all the moving crap done and over with by Sunday so that we can just use Monday as a relaxation/summer fun day.

I jumped on the Erin Condren life planner bandwagon.  I ordered this thing 3 weeks ago and it just shipped.  It had better be worth the wait (and the $50 price tag).  I seriously can’t wait to have this thing in my hot little hands.  I will always prefer an actual paper planner to a calendar app.  Call me a Luddite if you will, but that’s just how I roll.

I ordered this one in orange with light gray scales :)

I ordered this one in orange with light gray scales 🙂

What are your plans for the holiday weekend?