Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Planner Post

Looking through someone else's planner is one of those nerdy and perhaps boring but also kinda fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses into everyday life that some of us, myself included, love so much.

This is my fourth year using an Erin Condren Life Planner. I really do like it but I was just about to look for something else this year because they are so expensive ($50+) when I remembered I had a $25 off coupon which I used during a 20% sale. So I was glad to get my 2017 ECLP for a more reasonable price.

One of the fun things about an ECLP is the dozens of cover options that you can choose from. This year I went for these colorful hearts.


Pilot Precise V5 pens have been my favorites for approximately 20 years. This year I bought a multi-color pack and I'm trying out a new color-coding system. For the first couple weeks of the year I kept forgetting which color was for which category but I have it figured out now.

This is a pretty big planner. It lives on the corner of my desk. I don't throw it into my purse and take it everywhere with me. If I'm out and about and need to write down an appointment or something else to remember I'll put a note in my phone then transfer it to the planner later.

I use this planner primarily for my personal life. Most appointments, meetings, and reminders for work stay in my work Outlook calendar.

At the start of the planner there is a section for goals. I filled this out but honestly don't refer back to it very often. What I use and love are the monthly and weekly pages. There are tabs for each month which make it easy to flip through quickly.

Each month has a double page like this:


The planner comes with several pages in the back filled with these colorful stickers. There is one full page of "Birthday" stickers, one page with a variety of pre-printed occasions, and two pages of blank stickers. I never come close to using them all up.

On the right side of the monthly calendar is a section for Goals and To-Dos. This is where I write down anything that has to happen at some point during the month.

I note my actual workouts on the monthly calendar once I've done them.

Each week has a double page like this:



These are the past two weeks. In the top left there is a section for the "Thankful Thought." [The week of February 6th, aka "Healthy Kids," I am not even kidding, is the only week this entire year that one or both kids did not had a cold.]

I've been trying to schedule all my blog posts for the month ahead all at once so I'll put those in, and I'll add various appointments that I know about well in advance, but for the most part I fill this out on the Friday before the week starts.

On the far left I make a list of anything that has to happen at some point during the week. I use the sections within each day for a rough morning/daytime/evening plan. Once I've figured out a meal plan, which I also do on Friday, I add in our dinners for the week in the blank lines at the bottom of each day.

You can customize these pages by choosing a neutral palate versus a colorful palate and a vertical versus a horizontal layout of the days.

I've seen a couple other planner posts recently and my planner is pretty blank in comparison to Alexandra and Melissa. For a moment I thought that maybe I'm not getting my money's worth if I don't use up every square inch. But I realized that the blank space in my planner gives me the sense that there is blank space (aka free time and breathing room in between tasks) in my life which helps me to feel less rushed and stressed overall.

Before each month there is a blank page and a pretty cover page for the month with a quote. I use the blank page to write down blog ideas, my current favorite things, and any shopping that I've done or plan to do.


At the back of the planner there are some additional blank pages. I keep some lists here with gift ideas, recipes to try, long-term to-do list items, etc.

There is a new spread this year of the 2018 calendar. I am not quite ready to think about 2018 though! I think I would rather have a year-at-a-glance feature for the current year instead. There is a complete 2017 calendar at the beginning of the planner but it doesn't have the nice lines to note down the big events for each month.


Wow - I bet you can't believe how much I had to say about my planner! Do you use a paper planner? Which one is your favorite? I think the ECLP is pretty similar to a few others like The Happy Planner and Plum but we are are all very loyal to our own!

20 comments:

  1. Oooh, I love that 2018 calendar with space to write down upcoming stuff. That's SO handy when things like vacations or weddings need to be planned out early.
    I got a Plum Paper planner this year, though EC is looking pretty cool, too. I freakin' love my planner and I love seeing how others set theirs up!

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    1. The 2018 calendar feature is great & I'm sure I'll start to fill it up as 2018 gets closer. I do wish there was also one for 2017 though.
      The Plum planners look really neat too!

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  2. I love seeing inside other people's planners too. The colored hearts you chose for the cover is so pretty and I love that there's full pages of a monthly spread so you have enough room to fit things in there- I hate when planners don't have enough room for that.

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    1. I think what I like best about this one is that it's so colorful and BIG, I like having room to put everything and have space leftover.

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  3. My planner always has blank space. If it didn't, it would stress me the F out.

    I have used EC and Plum Paper in teh past.

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    1. Yes! I'm glad you know what I mean.

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  4. I love planner posts - this was so fun! I use a Plum Paper. I mostly use it for budgeting/bills and appointments. I'm also a crazy sticker lady with my planner. I need to do a post soon.

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    1. I have thought about getting more stickers many times, They are so fun and cute! Please do a planner post, I'd love to see what the Plum looks like in detail.

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  5. I also use a paper planner and I love it. I often wonder what all the hype is about the EC planners. I use one from Walmart for less than $10!

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    1. Honestly I don't know either, Haha! They are really nice but I don't think they are $50 nice so I'm going to look for something new next year.

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  6. Oh fun! I'm glad that you posted this. I'm SUPER excited about the handy lines in the 2018 calendar area. Last year I just ended up with post-its on post-its in the back with dates for performances, etc. hehe I've been doing a bit of bullet journalling. I kind of like the idea of using it fully for my planner too in the future. But it is a lot more work up front to set it up. We'll see. Right now I am just habit tracking and sticking the tiny notebook in my ECLP. :) I'm also keen on spending less on planners in the future! Love that our snail mail exchange is in there! I need to get a second note going! haha XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. I briefly contemplated doing a bullet journals last fall - I was sucked into all the gorgeous feeds on IG! But then I realized I am neither creative enough nor have enough time to set up all the pages myself. You should share YOUR bullet journal though!

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  7. I love this!!! Currently I only use an Outlook calendar to keep track of meetings and events and to-do's. I haven't used any kind of paper-based planner since I was in college. But seeing your pictures and hearing about your thought process is making me consider getting one for the future. I love all the beautiful colors, lists, thoughts, and notes. It's such a great way to have everything organized and at your fingertips all the time!

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    1. Did you have that paper planner in college that everyone had with the bright cover & the comic sans-ish font on the front - You know what I mean? I had that one then didn't use a planner again until I started this one in 2014. That was right when Swede was born and I was obsessive about tracking every feeding for months! Haha - Did not do that with Abel. But it coincided well with being on maternity leave when I didn't have access to my Outlook through work. I guess that's when I got into the habit of a paper planner again and now I can't go back!

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  8. This was interesting! Thanks for sharing a look at your pages. Okay this is not to knock your planner at all, but a lot of bloggers talk about this planner, and with it being so expensive I wonder what it is about this planner that makes it worth the cost vs. something you could find at Staples or Target or wherever for half the price. Is it mostly the cute factor of the cover and such? I'm not trying to be a jerk here so I hope that isn't what I sound like, but I am really wondering! :)

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    1. Honestly - YES! I do think it is the cute factor. The covers, the stickers. The layout is really nice and there are many thoughtful little features. But I AM going to look for something new next year in the $25 range.

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  9. I just got a new planner from Michael's (apparently called Create 365) and I haven't used it, yet. I haven't had as much to plan as I thought I would, apparently. I used my planner tons last year, though. I like how you color coordinated your text - I never thought of that. I'll probably use mine more once I have a sort of routine.

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    1. I got back into paper planner right after Swede was born when I obsessively tracked every feeding, Haha. Did NOT do that with Abel, but I guess I got into the habit of using one then and now I love it.

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  10. I love seeing into how other people use their planners! I bought an EC one last year and hated the format I chose (vertical columns with times) and I never ended up using it except for maybe 2 months. Waste of money! And cost me way more than $50 since our dollar conversion sucks lol. Anyway, this year I found one I love from Homesense (Tj maxx) and it was only $10! It's has the monthly calendars at the front and then one week spans two pages, but there's a big spot for writing lists and a column for weekly to-dos which I find really useful for planning blog posts etc.

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    1. Bummer! I'm sorry you EC planner didn't work out. I wouldn't like it with the times either. Nice that you found a cheaper one that works perfectly. It does sound like it has all the features I like best so maybe will check out TJ Maxx next year - That is actually one store we have in my small town!

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