I like lists and I love them on paper. I have tried cell phone (and PDA) calendars, reminders, list apps and I keep going back to paper. I have used planners in some form off and on for years. One of my first blog posts here was about putting together my own personal planner. I loved that I could put exactly what I needed in the binder. I loved the ability to add or remove forms as my needs changed. I loved that I could take the tabs and forms out of the three-ring binder and rearrange them as I found what I used more often or as my mood changed. I didn’t love that the binder was so large to lug around. I also found it to be like a purse, the larger my purse is, the more unnecessary stuff I put in it. The same thing happened with my planner. I also didn’t love the cost of quality ink and paper needed to print my pages.
So, last year, I purchased the Erin Condren Life Planner and used it for several months before I experienced “planner fail”. I just found it to be large and not meeting all of my needs. I read several reviews about other planners and tried another one with a similar layout but it was smaller and more portable. The quality was great and so was the customer service. I loved that this planner had a week in review and notes page at the end of each week and month but the months weren’t tabbed and the weekly view was spread out over more than 2 pages. This gave more space for writing on each day but I need to see my whole week at once. Next I tried another planner in a loose leaf style. The monthly layout was again 2 pages per month and it had a weekly view but it ran horizontally (Monday on top of Tuesday, etc.) and squashed up Saturday and Sunday. It also had thinner paper and just didn’t feel as durable as the other 2 planners. So I am finishing out with my Erin Condren and have a new one on order.
I have been watching the reviews for this year’s new life planners and the hardworking people at Erin Condren have been listening to customer feedback and made some changes! I ordered a life planner in the Sea Life pattern in the dark blue color and pen holder because I must have a pen attached to my planner. After I finished the order, I decided I needed some personalized stickers but didn’t want to pay shipping on just stickers so I decided to order some note pads, a pretty gold bookmark (I love sparkly things!), and some of the Sea Life folded note cards and address labels as well. I had originally ordered the planner in the sand dollar pattern but after considering it for a while, I decided I really want some color this year (I had a white background last year) so I contacted their customer service the next day to see if it was too late to change the cover and since my order was still pending they were able to change the cover! I can’t wait for my order to arrive! If you have never ordered from Erin Condren before, the packaging is lovely! It’s like opening a super specially wrapped Christmas gift and they send a few extras in your planner (gift labels and call me cards).
I really want to use my weekly layout and I love the fact that the Erin Condren week runs vertically. The week starts with Monday at the left and ends with Sunday on the right and each day runs from the top of the page to the bottom and is divided into morning, afternoon and evening. They have also added some lines at the bottom of each day for writing things like meals or workouts or whatever you may want to make note of. I do not like the timed slots in some planners but I love this layout. Depending on how I decide to use my weeks, I can always just put a sticker over the three sections and write in what I need it to say.
I fill in birthdays and anniversaries on the monthly view as soon as I get the planner; however, I rarely transfer information to the weekly columns. I think this happens for a couple of reasons. First, my work week runs Sunday through Saturday and it always throws me off to “start” a week on my second day. Second, I didn’t always have the planner with me when things came up that needed scheduling and I would either forget to put it down when I got back to my planner or I would think, “I’ll do that later” but I never did. The Erin Condren life planner is smaller than a three-ring binder but it is still big. I love the size for the writing space it gives you but I haven’t always had a dedicated work bag and this planner won’t fit in a smaller purse. In order to avoid “planner fail”, I have looked at several reviews of planners to see how people format their weeks to gather inspiration and I think I have found a few good ideas. I will have a couple of weeks to decide while I wait for it to arrive 🙂
I need my calendar for reference when I am at work because we self schedule for 6 week blocks and we are scheduling for a time that is a couple of months in the future. I also don’t work a set schedule, I may be on the schedule for any day of the week and it changes from week to week. I also need my planner with me when I am at the doctor’s office (I’m there a lot since my injury) because we schedule so far in advance. Again, I didn’t always have it with me so I would often schedule an appointment on a day I was working. I now have a couple of work bags that my planner fits nicely in and if I am going to the doctor, I just grab it out of my work bag as I am heading out the door. I have a plan for the whole planner this year and I really think I will get through the whole 12 months on my life planner this time!
Last year, the weeks that ended one month and started another had the month written between the days where one month ended and the next one started. As a result, the goals and to do section were sacrificed on these weeks. From what I gather in the reviews, this is one of the things the Erin Condren people have changed based on customer feedback. I love and use those spaces even if I don’t use any other space in the weekly layout so I am glad they are back. This coupled with the addition of the lined spaces at the bottom will make it more likely that I will use the weekly spaces on a regular basis.
I also understand that they added tabs to sections that weren’t tabbed before, like at the 2 year calendars pages. I am hoping it is also tabbed at the notes and/or contacts pages so that I don’t have to whip out my office supplies and tab these sections myself!
I will do a full review of the new life planner and all the extra goodies once they get here. I already have some pictures of the one from last year for side by side comparison.
In the mean time, I will be anxiously stalking my email for the shipping notice and then the Fed-Ex guy!