Erin Condren Life Planner: a review

So after getting my planner I was so thrilled with it I decided I just had to do a video review instead of a written review because it was just so awesome.

Unfortunately, a video review was not an awesome idea. I only had time to give it a shot in the evening (bad light), I was coming down with a cold (gross sniffles), my camera setting up skills are abysmal (blurring, even worse light, ironing board in background), the video ended up too long (yawn) and YouTube and I are not getting along (cue swear words). So I present to you:

a far better quality, detailed, written review!

My previous blog post Planning for the upcoming planning outlines how I came to hear about the planner so go there if you’re curious.

My first experience was that my planner arrived fast. I ordered it on a Monday here in Australia. The planner arrived, customised and ready to go, that Friday! It took essentially four days to be designed, pieced together and shipped across the globe. There are two factors in this. Firstly, all non-USA customers must use FedEx. Shipping cost me $34 (on top of the planner costing $50) but it was super efficient. Some people baulk at the price and limited shipping options, but in reality my total cost was just under $100 and a boring Filofax could potentially set me back much, much more (go scare yourself on their website, I dare you). Secondly, I had minimal customisation as this was my first go and I wanted to take baby steps. I didn’t have photos in the cover design and I didn’t order photo stickers. I think these factors sped up my order. The speed at which this thing arrived was a huge advantage. I am not a patient person in any sense and was dying from the moment I ordered it. It’s worth the $34 shipping, trust me.

Ok so lets dive in shall we:

Outer cover

This is the front cover. I chose the ‘Fleur Feliz Watercolor’ in ‘pinks and purples’. Some things for first time buyers:

  • The cover is essentially paper card with super hard laminate. I really wasn’t sure if that was the case or if it was printed plastic. I really like it, but others may not. It’s just not something that most reviews even mention.
  • The spine coil is aluminium and very sturdy. No getting bent in the handbag here! In older versions it apparently used to be clear plastic and I am guessing this version is much better.

Close up exterior.

This is a close up of the coil and how the cover is laminated. Mine has a little bit of ‘furring’ of the laminate in this spot only. I’m not sure if I scuffed it or it came like that. It doesn’t bother me :)

Inside front cover

This is inside the front cover. A great spot to put your essentials for people to contact you if you lose the planner.

Monthly tabs

These are the months tabs which make flicking to the right spot very easy. They are laminated! I paid an extra $5 to have my planner go longer than 12months. Mine covers 16months…September 2012 – December 2013.

Inspirational quote & my bits & pieces

This is the next page. You have a blank patterned page on the left, and a quote on the right. You can see here that I am already post-it noted up. These are part of my system. Top left is a track of what info I have logged into the planner thus far. Top right is the birthdays I need to confirm. Bottom left is my pen colour key. Bottom right is a list of the stickers available in the back of the planner. This system works really well for me! I can grab those stickies (particularly the bottom two) and move them to my current week in the planner so I have a quick reference.

Perpetual calendar

The next section is the perpetual calendar. I am SO glad that it is in here. I have started sewing alot of my gifts as a part of my ‘sewing as a hobby’ adventure. This allows me to see at a glance what birthdays are coming up to plan for them and get cracking nice and early! At least in theory…

18 month quick glance calendar

I rarely use these quick glance calendars but they can be quite handy :)

Inspiration

Another nice inspirational quote, they are scattered throughout.

September month view

October month view

Each month is on the same page as the month tab and the view spans two pages which is apparently an upgrade from the last version of the planner which used only one page. There is also a ‘goals’ and ‘to do’ list on the side  and large spaces for each day. It’s a great way for me to see what commitments are coming up and how they correspond with the annoyance of fortnightly pay days! Each month has a different colour scheme and a different quote on the month view. A note on these quotes, they are seasonal and holiday based which is cute, but that means that here in Australia when we come to April the quote is about the American spring instead of our autumn. There is also emphasis on Thanksgiving. Having said that the quotes are nice quotes regardless and this doesn’t bother me at all.

Weekly view

This is the week view. This is a big part of why I chose to buy this planner. I love that it is divided up into ‘morning’, ‘day’ and ‘night’, instead of each day being in hourly or half hourly increments. It’s just much more flexible to my needs! I also find that I automatically used it a certain way, and that that can change depending on the day. In my mind, ‘morning’ covers waking through to about 9-10am. ‘day’ covers whenever morning ends that day in my mind, through to 5pm when I finish work. Your personal feel for the increments will depend on your lifestyle…do what works for you!  Of course I write specific times in where they are critical. But for exercise I do alone or things like grocery shopping or sewing I often just slot things in around when I think I want to do them. You can see my colour coded pens all put to work here, as well as the event stickers provided with the planner, and the great page marker is peeking out from the week before.

Marker in action!

And here it is in place. I love the page marker, it really makes using the planner much easier and it snaps in very easily.

Lined note pages

Blank doodle/sketch pages

There are 10 line pages and 10 blank ‘designer’ pages. These actually pose a mild dilemma for me! How to determine what to use these precious few pages for? Clearly they can’t be for grocery or todo lists…they’d be filled in 2-3 weeks! If this really bothers you, you can get notepads to match your planner which stick into the back cover. I didn’t buy these as I didn’t want even more weight in my handbag. My simple solution is to add some half pads of sticky/post-it notes into the pouch at the back of the planner which works very well. You’ll see those down further.

Another pretty quote page and the ‘my important numbers’ page. This page is not something I will use much personally but for many, especially parents, it will be invaluable!

Address page/first stickers

Same goes for the address page. I won’t really use it because I use my iphone for that! :)

Stickers!

These are the stickers. Each planner comes with a full sheet of birthday stickers, two sheets of ‘other events’ stickers and a sheet of blank stickers for customisation. There was a minor error with my planner. They accidentally included two pages of birthday stickers and one page of events stickers was missing. Whilst this would not impact on my experience of the planner, my whole opinion of erincondren.com would depend on the way the problem  was handled. Fortunately, I was so very happy with their response! It took less than 24 hours for them to read my problem, discuss amongst themselves, and decide to send me the missing stickers free of charge! And after that they arrived within 3 days! I was so happy that my email wasn’t simply ignored or given a generic response with a discount on my next purchase. This is real customer service! Of course I couldn’t insert them in with the other stickers, so I simply cut them into columns and stuck them in my zip pouch. Problem solved!

Keep it together!

This is the ‘keep it together’ pocket. This was another big selling point for me. This is where I keep all my current bills, medical stuff, sticky notes, vouchers etc. All the things I have always kept in my handbag, usually in a pencil case or envelope or other insufficient item. This changes how I feel about being organised in a big way and I love it! :)

Future quick glance calendar & snap lock pocket

The blurry goodies that are in mine!

The final feature is the snap lock pouch mentioned previously. It is like a super strong, durable snap lock sandwich bag, not like a zip lock bag with the little zipper pull. It really makes no difference but is worth noting because I had no idea how it closed until I saw it with my own eyes. It was a little stiff to undo to begin, but it’s loosened now and I am happy with it. I use it for my work business cards, some of the sample personal labels sent by erincondren.com, my extra stickers and my post it pads. It will also be a great place to keep important receipts, cash or photos…anything you might worry about falling out if you put it in your ‘keep it together’ pocket.

The Pens

On pens, in my last post I talked about the kind of pens I will use with my planner, however since then I have had a change of brands and have now settled on the Bic pens, as the Papermate ones were occasionally sticking whilst writing which I hate. Yes, as a woman I am rather annoyed at Bic right now, but I always one to chose quality over a moral stance. Except for Bonds underwear. I am still refusing to buy Bonds almost four years later. This is why I don’t take a public stance on anything. I’m inconsistent! Regardless, the colour scheme of my pens remains the same. I have also found, within the depths of my desk, a Pentel 8 colour pencil which is pretty neat. It’s now in my handbag too in case I get the urge to doodle in my planner :)

A further note relating to pens. This version of the planner apparently has thinner pages than the last to reduce the weight of it. The pages are still good, strong, quality pages and the spines of some of them are reinforced with laminate. If you wish to use marker style or felt tip pens it would be worth testing that the ink doesn’t bleed through, perhaps on one of the blank pages in the back. I use ball point so it wasn’t an issue for me, and I think if you use a really good brand of marker style you would be fine also :)

So I think that’s about it for the planner. I am head over heels for it! I was in fact, very annoyed this week. It was my first full week with my planner and I got the worst cold. I basically couldn’t do any of the ‘things’ I had excitedly entered in my planner! No matter, I am feeling well again and am ready for another week!

I hope some of you will find this review useful! I found alot of reviews out there, but none answered all the things I was wondering like the way the cover is made or what the snap lock pouch was like, so I tried to be super detailed. Please comment below if there is anything you are wondering which I haven’t covered. I am happy to answer!

I would highly recommend this planner! It is really fab and has given me a real feeling of control over the craziness that is my life :)

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4 thoughts on “Erin Condren Life Planner: a review

  1. wow, thank you for such a detailed review… we are thrilled that you love your planner! i pinned your picture to our pinterest board, check it out! pinterest/erincondren Have a great week! enjoy!

  2. Love this entire review. I just got my planner 2 days ago (!!) and am already in love. However, it’s great to read how other people use theirs. I love your idea of keeping post it notes in there and putting them on the current week. I’m definitely going to incorporate some of your tricks. Thanks for the review :)

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