I was on the search for the perfect planner for years. I know with technology, we have our phone, tablets and other trendy devices; however I’m a visualizer and a feeler. I like to physically see my planner and there’s just something about holding a pencil or pen while I jot out my thoughts for the day, week and month that gives me satisfaction. Each planner I had tried, had elements that I loved, but also tons of pages that I didn’t use at all. I hate seeing all that pretty paper go to waste. I’d start out the month/year really strong, but quickly end up using it sporadically at best.
Back in November, I went on the hunt at Staples looking for a new 2016 planner. The cover to the planner above caught my eye. “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within”. I remembered thinking it was cool at the time, and what an inspirational way to kick off the new year with that mindset but I didn’t realize who Erin Condren was. These videos from Erin Condren, gave me insight on the multiple ways that I could use my planner. Not just for planning and keeping organized but for keeping track of lots of things as well as be inspired to do so.
The whole concept of a Erin Condren Planner is awesome! It’s best to start out with this video from the Erin Condren Planner founder herself, Erin Condren.
I’ve only really started to get into really using the planner over the past few weeks. January and still this month is trial and error to see how it works best for my needs. So far, I’m really enjoying it.
Erin Condren Planner Tips
First Things First – Choosing Your Planner Style
While I was discovering the different ways to use my Erin Condren Planner online, I heard about the different layout options offered – horizontal, vertical and hourly which are fully functional for whatever fits your individual lifestyle. Each includes views for daily, weekly and monthly planning.
For me personally, I chose the monthly/horizontal layout.
I plan on keeping track of multiple things and tasks all in the same planner. And I like to write out things so it works perfect for me. Whichever planner you choose, each one has an interchangeable front and back cover that you can swap out whenever you choose. For now, I’m sticking with just one. But I have seen some really cute ones. If you order directly through the Erin Condren website, you can even personalize your cover with your name or initials.
I love this planner book and still have lots of ideas I want to add to it. It not only reminds me of scrapbooking but makes me feels like I’m creating a keepsake of memories because, as you’ll see below and soon in future posts, I use my Planner for more than just a planner.
When I started using my planner, I realized that it’s a higher quality planner. 70 lb text, 110 lb cover, protected by heavy duty 10mL laminate. I’ve read that some think it’s a pricey planner but believe me, it’s worth it if you utilize it.
Oh my goodness! I had absolutely no idea how many fun pens there are out there to use with my planner. I already had some bold colored pens that I bought for targeting certain tasks, so I’ll be using those and I purchased Live Life In Color pens which are available at Staples. My local Staples has a small section of the store dedicated to all things Erin Condren. I think the set was $9.99. Comes in a case.
I’ve since added these super fun Gelly Roll 08 pens that I picked up at Ben Franklin craft store to add some fun color. LOVE them!!! If you don’t have a Ben Franklin in your neck of the woods, I’m sure other craft stores like Michael’s or Joann’s Fabrics would have them too. I’ve dedicated a page in the back of my planner specifically for testing out the pens before I use them in my planner.
Now For The Fun Stuff – A Peek Inside My Erin Condren Planner
On the inside pages, I have these fun triangles where I jotted down all the things I love in life and at the beginning of January, there was a space where I wrote all that I was thankful for and as you can see, at the beginning of the month is a inspirational message. These types of messages kick off the beginning of each month.
In January, I started out in the monthly layout writing in when our bills that were due, birthdays, anniversaries and my favorite monthly quote. I didn’t quite do as much in the weekly layout of January until the end. Writing in daily tasks I wanted to get done, appointments and home improvement tasks. Along with fun inspiring quotes. At the end of the month of January, I had a blank page to write in my monthly check-in. My Ah-Ha moments from the month, things I could of done better and my top 3 To-Do’s and To-Achieves for the upcoming month of February.
In the beginning, there’s also a spot to highlight my Goals:
- Soul/Personal Development
In this month of February, I got a little more creative after watching some YouTube videos, following other Erin Condren planner uses on Instagram and buying fun stickers to use on Etsy. The stickers are a whole other blog post I’ll share with you soon.
I’m experimenting with Weekly Layouts as well. I haven’t settled on one theme idea I love yet. That’s the beauty of the Erin Condren Planner. You can create any layout that you want, and if it doesn’t work for you, change it next week.
My monthly layout as I mentioned will keep track of our monthly bills, appointments, money saving challenge, birthdays, upcoming weekly meal plan and I decided on using it to keep track of my weekly blog posts. (That’s one of my goals is to keep up on posting on my blog as well as our family business blog.)
On my weekly pages, I include whatever comes up that day. This can include tasks to accomplish, quotes I hear, my workout, gratitude, doodling, my top 3 priorities, a word for the day, and more. My weekly pages are seriously a brain dump for me. It’s helped so I don’t feel overwhelmed with thoughts I’m trying to remember all the time.
Lastly, in the back of my planner, I have my goals and notes from my #30DayPushChallengeGroup which includes my Key Priority Statement, my daily Inspire and Encourage quotes for the blog, my top To-Do tasks and my bullets for my #MomsPlanForFunChallenge.
I’ve only been using this planning system for a little over a month, but I’m tempted to say I’ve found my planner peace. I don’t know that any other system can offer me everything that the Erin Condren Planner does.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER
- If you’re overwhelmed by all the options, start simple. Follow the Erin Condren layout for a month, experimenting with adding little things to make it even more personalized for you and your lifestyle.
- Don’t worry about PERFECTION! Set the expectation from the start that you’ll make mistakes. Every month and day is a new canvas. I’ve decided they are part of what makes my Erin Condren Planner unique.
- Be creative or NOT! The amazing thing about a Erin Condren Planner is it can be whatever YOU want it to be. Plain and simple works just as well as colorful and fancy. Ultimately, the Erin Condren Planner is a productivity tool, so worry about that first.
- Join a Erin Condren Planner community. I’ve learned so much from the My Erin Condren (MyEC) Facebook group. I’m also working on creating a group #momsplanforfunchallenge each month on Instagram.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever tried using an Erin Condren planner? If not, does the idea appeal to you? Do you have a favorite planner I should check out?