Possibly another redundant review. What true planner nerd hasn’t heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner and seen countless unboxing videos? I can spend hours on YouTube watching how people use their Life Planner.
I’m not sure whether Erin Condren does any advertising outside social media but I think her following in the UK is definitely built on YouTube and blogs.
International shipping is now available at a flat rate of $19.95. It used to be $39.95 so that’s a great change. However tinyprints also sell some Erin Condren products and their shipping to the EU is $15.
Life Planner covers are customisable. The insides are not. So all planners start with some pages of “frou frou”
Then there is an 18 month overview from July 2014, which is when the 2014/2015 planners started. There isn’t much space to write notes on these pages but I’ve seen them used as trackers.
The monthly spread is on 2 pages and has a Sunday start. There is a notes section on the right hand side
I think there’s plenty of writing space in these boxes but in August the last Sunday and Monday are halved because the month straddles more than 5 weeks.
Each month is tabbed and the weekly pages follow the relevant month
but you tend to get the last few days of the month after the following month’s tab
The weekly layout starts on a Monday which I prefer, although it was slightly confusing at first to have a month with the Sunday start as well. The weekly layout has a goals and notes column on the left hand side and a lined section headed “meal plans, exercise, daily dos, thoughts, inspiration” at the bottom. Each day is divided into a morning, day and night section.
At the end of the planner are some lined and blank note pages, a flimsy folder and a clear plastic pouch.
Erin Condren also supplies event stickers and 2 sheets of blank stickers with the Life Planner. It also comes with a booklet for the perpetual calendar and contacts, although I’m not quite sure how this will work in future years. The perpetual nature suggests it should be used every year so will they have it as part of the planner next year or only as an accessory?
This year the covers are interchangeable (if you have something to interchange it with – otherwise they’re just removable).
The covers are laminated and the lamination on my cover from last year has lasted well despite me uncoiling and putting it in a Filofax. Although my experience with the covers has been fine I know a few have experienced bubbling quite early on.
There are issues with quality control and some people have had problems with customer service. My own experience is that the mistakes they make are frustrating and avoidable but they always put it right or offer credit so I wouldn’t let that aspect put me off.
Each month has a dual colour scheme which is used throughout the month. This is what originally attracted me to the Life Planner. After many years of using plain black and white paper I wanted more colour on the page and I’m not someone who is naturally artistic enough to decorate my planner.
So what about functionality?
Life Planners are 7in x 9in so they’re larger than an A5 Filofax. They are very light though so I would consider them to be portable.
I’ve a seen a myriad of ways people use their Life Planner but stripping it all back, and watching Erin Condren’s early promotional videos, this seems to be designed simply as an agenda. It’s primary purpose seems to be a place to record appointments and events. For this reason the morning, day and night sections make sense. There is also ample space in the boxes to write appointments and events. The space around the Monday – Sunday spread seems to be where to write notes and tasks.
If this is the case then it’s a very expensive planner.
It’s no wonder people have taken to using it for different purposes. But then it seems unfair to complain about not liking the sections to be called ‘morning, day, night’ or not having enough space to fit everything in, because you’re using it for an unintended purpose. I personally think they could maximise the space on the weekly spread better – the date and day doesn’t need to be so big and there really isn’t any need for the gaps between the columns. Since the meal plan, exercise etc heading doesn’t add anything to the lined section they could just remove it.
On a side note, I am curious to know why people who use the Erin Condren Life Planner with different heading names or for journalling and who also cover up all aspects of colour on the page actually buy the planner. Why is the planner worth the $50 cost if so much has to be changed? Obviously people can use their planner how they want, that’s not the point I’m making, the question I’m asking is what is it about the Life Planner that still makes it their planner of choice?
Would I buy another Life Planner – who knows? There are so many alternatives available now they would have to offer something more to tempt me again.
If you’d like to see how I used my Life Planner in 2014, I’ve done a video
From the website
– an INTERCHANGEABLE, laminated, heavy duty 10mil cover for protection from daily wear and tear
– inspirational quotes throughout
– LAMINATED tabs for extra durability
– TWO-page monthly spreads w/ reinforced coil-side binding
– goals and to-do lists for every week and month
– weekly spreads divided into morning, day & night
– meal/exercise/lists/etc. section for highlighted daily notes & activities
– clear, snap-in page holder/ruler
– over 25 lined and designer blank pages for notes and sketches
– DOUBLE-sided “keep it together” folder to wrangle receipts, stamps, and other papers
– 240 colorful stickers to highlight birthdays, special events and reminders
– bound-in zip lock pocket with 12 gift labels and “let’s get together” cards
– perpetual calendar booklet for birthdays and anniversaries
– sturdy aluminum coil that will not bend & allows your planner to lay flat
– add photo stickers, custom event stickers, matching notepads, a pen holder, marker set, designer sticker sheets, coil clips or even elastic bands to further customize your planner to be as YOU*nique as you are!