Most of those that know me, know that I’m big on organization! Particularly when it comes to “life” scheduling – appointments, meetings, activities, events, etc. I’ve loved planners ever since I got my first school-provided one in sixth grade! But years of having one planner or another has led me to be very particular about which planner I use.
The Road to Finding a New Planner
Since graduating from college, my planner has been primarily used for work meetings and “to-dos” with a few personal tasks and then of course a few occasional personal events. A few years ago, I finally found the perfect (for me!) planner to use for this purpose. It was actually the academic planner from Gallery Leather of Maine. The planner had not only monthly spreads but also a two page weekly spread which allowed me to use one page for appointments/meetings/etc. and the other side for my to-do list. I would occasionally add post-it notes to the to do list page to call out personal tasks (especially during wedding planning and purchasing our home).
I’ve had three of these planners – and I loved them. However, since getting married and becoming a homeowner, I’ve noticed that my list of personal to-dos and personal appointments increased significantly. And those lists have increased even more since I’ve been expecting Baby Sparkles – I also know they’re only going to continue to increase after Baby Sparkles arrives. So I set out for a search for a new planner!
On my search, I had quite a few requirements and a pretty lengthy wishlist:
- Must have monthly and weekly spreads
- Weekly spreads must have room/space/organization to separate out appointments, a work to do list and a personal to do list
- Something attractive/fun to use
- Extra writing spaces for things such as meal planning, notes, etc.
- Long term planning tools
- Good overall book organization
I looked at a LOT of planners – both in person and online. I’d been hearing about the Erin Condren Life Planner for years; however a few things had always held me back. First, it’s a little on the pricey side and second it’s pretty thick/large to think about carrying back and forth to the office every day. However, since I’ve started working from home quite a bit and since my planner needs had expanded – I decided this was the time to try it!
My Thoughts on the Erin Condren Life Planner
So I previewed to all of you on Facebook/Twitter that I purchased this planner back in late August/early September. But I wanted to actually use it for several weeks before writing a review so I had the chance to see how it actually worked for me in my daily life.
First – the overall appearance.
Pros: As a big fan of color and cute things – I loved that I could pick out and customize the cover! I also really like the tabs that separate each month and additional section of the book. This helps me easily navigate between different sections. There’s also a moveable “ruler” that acts as a top tab to help mark your current weekly spread! Definitely well organized!
Cons: The laminated cover feels a bit cheap to me. Perhaps it’s coming from the nicer cover of the Maine Leather book or it’s just compared to other planners I’ve used. But I do have concerns about the long term durability of the cover.
Next – the planner layout.
Pros: I love love love the weekly spread layout. When you purchase your Life Planner, you have the choice between a vertical layout (what I chose – pictured below), a horizontal layout or an hourly layout. I thought it was great that not only could I personalize the appearance but I could also personalize the layouts to be most effective for me. The vertical layout lets me use the top row for appointments/schedule, the second row for work to dos and the third row for personal to dos. Plus, there is an additional section at the bottom that I’ve been using for meal planning! You could definitely choose the layout that’s right for you. The monthly layout is also great – but really not that different that monthly layouts in other planners – this was just a good check-the-box feature for me.
Cons: With the way I use it, there’s not a TON of room to right in each row. Now this is fine for me because I have extremely small handwriting – but it might be something that people with larger handwriting struggle with. It’s hard for me to even write this – but honestly there are certain sections (like the column to the left of Monday on each weekly spread) that I’m not really sure how to effectively utilize so they almost seem like wasted space. Now – I may be changing my tune on this in a few months after I figure out how I want to use them but for now, I’m not really maximizing that space.
Now let’s look at the extra spaces/pages.
Pros: There are a lot of extra spaces in this planner, including one of my favorite features – the perpetual calendar. This is a great tool to keep track of annual events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). And the best part is that it’s not attached to the planner so it can travel with you from year to year! There area also monthly “feature” pages (see left above) – this is another area that I haven’t figured out how to best use but I have some ideas so I just need to commit. Also, not pictured – note pages, a folder and a zipper pouch. Lots of space!
Cons: All of this space does lead to a pretty hefty planner – both in weight and thickness. Now, as I mentioned, I’m actually good with this because right now my planner pretty much sits on my desk most of the time. I’m not commuting to an office on a regular basis or taking it with me. (I do use Google Calendar as well for information that I need to have with me on-the-go…). Also, you may not need all of these extra spaces and pages.
Some additional thoughts…
As I mentioned, the planner is definitely pricey. I paid about $70 including shipping and handling; however, I did purchase the 5 additional months which let me get through the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 (this also accounts for some of the weight/thickness of the planner!). I also didn’t purchase during any sales, free shipping, etc. For my next one, I may wait and hope to find a discount code!
In my opinion, this is not for someone who wants to just try out life with a planner – I have been a dedicated paper planner person for years…! Yes, I utilize technology for planning and such, but I also need to have a paper version. If you’re thinking about trying to use a paper planner, I would recommend trying something a bit more simple (and cheap!) before you commit to this one. But if you love planners like I do – and you really want to organize and balance different priorities/activities/appointments, then I think this is an awesome option!!
*Note, this is not a sponsored post. I selected, paid for and chose to review the planner for completely independent and personal reasons.