**Update: Erin Condren Life planner: 5 months later. **
Why am I so excited about a planner? First because I have a fascination with school supplies and because this is my second Erin Condren Life Planner and I already knew what to expect.
- Custom covers and colorways. This design is Mad Moracco and you have the option to pick a color. I asked them to match it to my blog colors using green and purple. This pictures may not show it, but the green is a perfect match to my navigation bar. I couldn’t have matched it any better! Not all covers have the option for custom colors, but do not hesitate to contact them through email to ask. The customer service with this made-in-America company is one of the best I’ve ever experienced.
- Blank pages, lined pages, and aluminum coil. The previous coil was hard plastic. I love the aluminum one much better.
- Week in view and seamless flow from end of month to new month. In the previous planner, the end-of-month weeks were broken over two pages so you had to flip several times during that week to see your whole week view.
- Each day is broken into 3 parts :morning, day, night. I use mine differently which I explain below.
- To-do, goals for each week and the whole month in a smaller thumbnail. HOWEVER this feature is not on the weeks that show the end of the month and start of another. Look at the picture above and you will see that instead of the “to-do, goals” column, it is a large column showing a new month is beginning and the new month color.
- 2 page spread for the whole month. I LOVE this feature for several reasons. 1) bigger spaces for more writing and 2) the stickers fit these boxes so you can use those great stickers on the month pages and the week view pages.
- LAMINATED TABS. You can clearly see the clear laminated tab. While the addition of tabs in last year’s planner was a huge selling point, we all found out that they got ragged and some tore off throughout the year. We don’t just set our planners on the desk and keep it pretty. We haul these things everywhere. Life can be tough! The tabs should be, too
- Running lists for birthdays and anniversaries. I didn’t think I needed this feature when I got my first planner, but I was wrong. I like keeping them all in one place and then I add them to the month pages throughout the year. I have a quick place to find birthdays in just a few pages instead of flipping through all the months.
- Important numbers and address pages. I really like these, but I need an address book that I won’t have to change each year with a new calendar. I use these to put in numbers that I use often like doctors, vets, etc. I have these in my phone of course, but I have them here as well.
- folder and plastic place holder and straight edge. I really wish this was a 2 sided folder. The previous planner had a folder on both sides and I used both sides.
- Stickers!! There are a LOT of pre-printed event stickers and blank stickers.
- Great packaging and freebies. In the zipper pocket in the back, the EC team leaves some custom made (some match the planner, even the custom color, some are random designs of their other covers) gift labels and address labels and a few “call me” cards. The planner arrives in a bubble wrapped and sticker sealed box. It’s very obvious that the customer service team goes the extra mile to make sure the planner is in pristine condition.
- Pens. These are click top colored pens for those of us with OCD who must have life in color!
I think I may be the only person in the world who did NOT order photo stickers and I’m kicking myself. You have the option to upload pictures for them to be made into small circle stickers. You can use them to mark birthdays, important events (I’m thinking I should have photoshopped some Game Day stickers!), concerts, anniversaries, memorial events (April 27, 2013, return to new church building, etc). These are just fun extras that the EC team has provided. I should have added them, but there is always next year.
So now that I have this lovely green planner, how do I use it? Check out last year’s planner.
I divide my day into 3 parts.
- I use the top column for my workouts and other “to-do” and reminders for non-school related things. I also put birthday/event stickers at the very top so I can see it clearly when I view the week.
- Since I’m a teacher, I use the middle column for all my school appointments, deadlines, etc. I highlight anything that is due or an appointment. I number the “to-do” list for the day. I also keep sub info there. When we are absent, we have to put in for a sub, record the job number and fill out forms if we are absent due to school/professional development. I wrote all that in the planner so I could reference it for completing leave forms.
- The bottom column is for meals and blog topics. I track my food, water, vitamins, etc here. Because I plan my dinner menu on the weekend, I write my dinner menu ahead of time.
- During REALLY hectic weeks at school such as first 4 weeks, around Christmas, and last 3 weeks, I’ll keep a post-it with a running list of stuff to keep in mind. Because the planner week starts on Monday, I can stick that post-it on the Saturday/Sunday columns and I’m not covering up too much of the rest of the week.
Other uses: When school was out, we planned a long trip to Colorado. I used this for all the prep to leave and also as a travel diary. (For the NEW planner, the month calendar is spread over 2 days and there is NOT a lined page between the months like you see below. The lined pages are in the back of the planner now)
So, now that I’ve had it for a couple of days, what have I done?
1) Bought more pens. I don’t realistically expect that I will manage to keep the EC pens without losing them. I do plan to color code my events so I needed pens. I LOVE the Paper Mate Flair. They are like a very fine tipped marker, but do not bleed through. What I don’t like…they are not click top. That is VERY important to me. I’m a little weird about using pens that have removable tops. In fact, I dislike them. I’m going to try to be a big girl and get over it for the sake of color coding
I also got the Paper Mate Ink Joy. These are click top but my green one didn’t work out of the package so I’ll be returning them. They are ball point pens so they do not bleed through and I like the colors.
2) I’ve already got some very important dates in the planner. Alabama Football games! (This is where I REALLY wish I had the stickers. I’m going to get some Alabama stickers from campus and use them).
3) Perhaps the saddest thing I’ve added? Due to changes to the state mandatory start date and a bunch of inept admins who can’t come up with better ideas, we now go to school on Labor Day. (yes, I posted that and said that out loud in front of God and everybody. We still have Free Speech in America…..for now).
- You can order these in 12 month or from now until December 2013. You have a few choices about the start date but the last month for all planners is December 2013. I had 5-6 options for an academic start so I chose the August-July.
- Custom covers now include several photograph designs so you can upload family photos.
- Website: Erin Condren
- Facebook page: Erin Condren Design
How long did it take to get here? About 3 weeks and this was during their busiest time. When I ordered, I saw the estimated ship date was July 10. It shipped just a few hours later on July 11 and fed-ex had it here right on time. I know several people have had problems with ordering, receiving, errors, etc and unfortunately, that has to be expected since PEOPLE who are not perfect are making the planners. These are made right here in the USA by people…not robots…. who are dedicated to making an outstanding product, but more dedicated to correcting any problems. They have even shipped a brand new custom planner to another customer because ONE month tab was not laminated in the original planner. It doesn’t get any better than that. I feel better knowing my hard-earned money is going to support a small business in the USA. That is very important to me. Thank you Erin Condren for another outstanding product but also for the reputation for outstanding customer service!
*This was NOT sponsored by EC. I bought the planner and provided my own review.