Planner Set Up for 2017

We’re already in the second half of February and my planner set up still remains undecided. 

To be fair I didn’t really start thinking about my planner set up until mid January. After more than 3 years as a lady of leisure I started back at work a month ago and adjustments would inevitably need to be made. 

We also moved to Family Sharing on iCal so having a separate family calendar no longer seems necessary. Of course the paper planner in me worries about what would happen if the system crashed and we lost the information, but the other part of me thinks that would be a great excuse not to do something, plus I tend to remember important events even if I don’t remember exact times.

So ultimately I needed (or wanted) a planner to note events/appointments specifically involving me and to list my tasks. But then I thought about routines and projects and meal plans and studying and blog planning and garden planning and books read and films watched and money spent and the list grew longer. 

Obviously the idea of using a Filofax came up. I haven’t used a Filofax as my main planner for any length of time since I discovered Erin Condren Life Planners but I knew the Erin Condren wouldn’t be able to contain all the information I need. The ability to add sections and set up my planner my way seems essential.

Whenever I think about using a Filofax as my main planner I instinctively return to DIYfish Inserts. I have tried other printables but they never work as well for me. There’s so much choice with DIYfish and her print and cut instructions are so clear they’re easy to use. After trialling a lot of styles, I decided to go back to my old favourite, version 2.2.

The only problem is, I can’t decide which size. I like A6 but I couldn’t fit much more than the planning inserts in my Gillio so I’d need a second planner of some sort to hold the rest. Surprisingly I’m drawn to using a personal sized planner because the do1p style layout gives me ample writing real estate; the drawback is my appointment or Half box labels aren’t the right size so they would immediately be wasted (or look awful on the page). It seems like an A5 would be the best option but I find I’m just not reaching for it.

So I still don’t have my planner set up for 2017. For home, that is. My work planner set up is fully functional.

Plan With Me 24-30 August and Erin Condren GIVEAWAY

I filmed another Plan With Me. I’m trialling my Erin Condren Life Planner inside my Filofax (again)- still tweaking my planning set-up.

I’m also running two GIVEAWAYS

The FIRST giveaway is open internationally and is for a $75 e-giftcard for

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The SECOND giveaway is open to UK residents only and is for an Erin Condren Life Planner in the VERTICAL layout. IMG_0173 This is for an 18 month planner running from July 2015 to December 2016. a Rafflecopter giveaway If you haven’t ordered from before, you can get $10 off your first order using my referral link

Rules for $75 e-giftcard Prize giveaway

1. There will be one winner.
2. I will contact the winner within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. The winner then has 48 hours to get back to me. If I don’t hear from the winner within that time, a new winner will be selected
3. You must be over 18 years old or have parental permission to enter.

4. Open internationally.

5. I am not responsible for any customs, taxes, fees or other costs which may arise as a result of placing an order with


Rules for Life Planner Prize Giveaway

1. There will be one winner.
2. I will contact the winner within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. The winner then has 48 hours to get back to me. If I don’t hear from the winner within that time, a new winner will be selected.
3. You must be over 18 years old or I will need to ask for parental permission to release your address.

4. Open to UK residents only. You can enter both giveaways but you can only win one prize. In the event your name is selected as the winner of both giveaways, I will contact you to ask which prize you would prefer. A new drawing will then take place for the prize you don’t select.

One Book July

Last month I decided to try the #onebookjuly challenge which is to use one book and one pen for one month. As I understand it, the idea is to get back to basics with your planning system.

I shared my set up in this video

I finally uploaded my update video here

Basically I didn’t manage to keep with one book or one pen for the month. As I explained in the video, July wasn’t the best month for me from a planning perspective and it’s more of a reflective month. But trying out one book was still a very useful process for me because it got me thinking about how I plan, what I plan and how my brain works.

I’m spending the rest of August really thinking about my planning and organisation needs so I can try a new set up from September. 

Planners I’m using in 2015


Sometimes I wonder whether I have the most complicated planning system with my Erin Condren Life Planner, Day Designer, home projects Filofax, general Filofax & blog planner (another ECLP), and this doesn’t include planners I don’t use as actual planners.

This may be the refrain of the obsessed planner nerd but it really does work for me.

Anyway, you decide


Planner Review – A Look at the Erin Condren Life Planner 2015

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 sideIMG_0079

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!

Inside my Erin Condren Life Planner

At $50 for a basic planner, Erin Condren Life Planners are not cheap, particularly when you’re paying $40 on top just to ship it to the UK. But they’re beautiful and an absolute joy to use.

I keep hearing they’re fully customisable, but that’s not really true. You can customise the front and back covers (but only in the classic versions) but as far as I can tell everything else within the planner comes in a standard format. Yes, you can buy extras like pens and stickers but if add-ons make something “fully customisable” then pretty much every bog standard notebook I’ve bought fits into that description.

Anyway onto how I use my planner. I use it for blog/social media, writing, LLM, voluntary work, exercise and menu planning rather than my daily to do planner. I originally bought it for these activities but I thought I’d be supplementing with a daily docket so there are some holidays etc recorded in. (I now use my Filofax for daily tasks.)

I use the monthly pages as a blog/Youtube scheduler. The stickers come with the planner and each colour represents one of my blogs with brown stickers being my Youtube channel. I currently have set days for each blog.

IMG_0503Once I’ve posted, I write the name of the post on the sticker and if I’m late publishing I add the date I published as well.  I also include appointments relating to the other activities so orange is for voluntary work and red is for writing.

Yes, I do colour code in this planner.

IMG_0505I use the top section for LLM, exercise and voluntary work. I use the middle section for blogs and Youtube and I use the bottom section for writing. I did try using washi tape to cover the “morning”, “day” and “night” lines but I don’t find it necessary since I know what the sections are for and I don’t think I’m likely to get confused and think I have to study in the morning, blog in the afternoon and write in the evening. I currently use the bottom of the page for menu planning but I’m thinking about moving that to my Filofax.

At the front of the planner is a perpetual calendar which is meant to be used for birthdays and anniversaries. I use these pages to note down post ideas. I got the idea from someone on Youtube. I’ve got ideas for posts until the end of April and in March I’ll start planning for the next few months. I then use these ideas to plan in more detail on the weekly pages.


Even though I blog for fun, I wanted to make sure I had enough posts to offer them on a regular schedule. I’m not going to post daily on any blog but I know I have enough content for a weekly post. I’m not great at getting the reviews up for my book blog so I may move that to an every-other-week or twice a month schedule.

Near the back of the planner is a Keep It Together folder and I use this to keep two notebooks, one for writing and one for blogs where I flesh out ideas more fully. I got these notebooks for half price from Paperchase.IMG_0513

So do I love my planner? Absolutely. Do I think it’s worth the money? Even with shipping costs I really think it is. But it’s only February so who knows…

ETA – Apparently gives customers referral links so if you place your first order using my link you get $10 off your purchase and I get a referral credit. Simples