July 30, 2014

Erin Condren Life Planner Review + $10 off for you!

While I am quick to embrace new technology, there are some things I just prefer to do on paper. I've tried using Google calendar and different apps on my phone to keep organized, but over time I just keep coming back to using a paper planner. Call me old fashioned, but it's the only system I have found that will actually keep me organized! 

My favorite planners are made by Erin Condren, and I'm now starting my 3rd year in a row of using one of her Classic Life Planners. They are customizable and a little pricey, so I usually ask for it as a gift. However, this year I received an unexpected check in the mail on the same day I got a new job offer, so to celebrate I went ahead and treated myself to a new planner. (Some girls buy shoes or purses...but I splurge on books and office supplies. Go figure!) Anyway, I thought I'd share a little bit about why I like Erin Condren planners and how I use mine. 

My new 2014/2015 planner arrived this past weekend. 
Isn't the packaging just adorable? 

I love that there are laminated tabs to help you quickly navigate to different sections of the planner. I also ordered some coil clips so that I could insert extra things in when needed (for example, party invites that I want to keep handy). The clear bookmark came with the planner, and I use it to mark the current week. This is the Party Pops cover in charcoal. The front has my full name on it in multiple colors (see example here). There are so many designs to choose from, and now the covers are interchangeable, so you can buy as many as you want! I'm a minimalist, so I just have the one cover. 

This 18-month planner covers July 2014 - December 2015. Toward the front there is an overview of all the months. I'm pregnant now, but normally I use this section to track my cycles with little pink circle stickers (sorry...that's probably TMI!). Others use this to track goals progress (such as checking off each day they exercise that month). Or it's just a nice quick way to reference future dates. 

The monthly spreads cover 2 pages. I normally use mine as a reference for bills/paydays. Once they are paid I will check them off and write down the amount paid. There is also a section on the side for notes where I'll write down some general goals or things to do that month. I tend to use the weekly view more for "to-do" items that are time sensitive, but it's nice to have some space for that on the monthly view as well. I love that each month includes a motivational quote and has a different color scheme.
(The circle stickers are from Krissyanne Designs on Etsy.)

Here's what a weekly spread looks like for me. On the left side is a space for goals and notes, and I tend to break mine up into 3 sections: To Do, To Buy, and To Read. Each day is then split into Morning, Day and Night boxes. I use the Morning boxes to mark appointments and errands, the Day boxes for my work schedule and task list, and the Night boxes for home reminders/tasks. I don't always stick to this format, but I try to for consistency. I like putting check boxes next to all my tasks too because it gives me the satisfaction of checking things off as they are done! 

At the bottom, I use the lines to track my water intake, plan for dinner, and jot down other important notes. (I took these pictures on Monday, so I hadn't finished filling out dinner plans for the week just yet.) It would be a good place to note exercise plans as well, although at the moment I'm pretty much just propping up my swollen feet and resting my aching back all the time!

Here you can also see the bookmark and a coil clip in the middle holding a baby shower invite so that the date/time/address information is handy. 

In my weekly spread, I have a "Daily" checkbox which refers to a daily cleaning schedule I wrote down in the note pages. I'm trying to establish a daily, weekly, and bi-weekly cleaning schedule, so we'll see how that goes! There are several lined and unlined pages at the back of the planner for notes and sketches. Other uses for my note pages include: information from doctor appointments (tracking baby's heartbeat, my weight gain, my blood pressure, etc.), lists of dinner ideas, lists of books to be read or blog posts to write, lists of home projects and long term goals...the possibilities are endless!

The planners come with some pre-printed event stickers as well as some blank colored stickers. For a bit extra you can also customize your own event stickers.

Next there's a "keep it together" folder (2-sided). I use it to store extra stickers left over from last year's planner and some other stickers I've bought. I also put important papers or invites here until I file them away in their proper place. 

A clear pouch is included at the back with several colorful gift labels included. There are also some labels personalized to match your chosen cover and color scheme, which is really nice! I plan to use those little spiral clips as page markers in the notes section. A couple "Let's Get Together" cards are also included for you to write down your contact information on. It's a nice little pouch full of goodies! 

This pouch also comes in  handy for me as I'll use it to store appointment reminder cards or business cards until I file them somewhere else. And my order came with a discount code for my NEXT order, so I stored it in this pouch for safekeeping. 

I forgot to take a picture of the perpetual calendar booklet which comes with the planner (or can also be ordered separately). This is nice for keeping track of birthdays, anniversaries, or other important dates. There's some space for a few key contacts, but it's not big enough to hold your entire address book. I will probably just use some of the note pages in the life planner to jot down important numbers and contacts.

I love these planners and will most likely continue to get one each year. They really help me keep organized in all aspects of my life!

If you're interested in purchasing one but are hesitant about the price, you can use my referral code for $10 off

Do you prefer paper calendars or digital? Tell me how you stay organized in the comments!

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