Planner Review Planners

erin condren planner review

October 30, 2012
as promised . . . here it is!
[note:  in case anyone was wondering, i bought this planner myself and the company does not know i exist.  okay, just wanted to clarify.]
iPhone shown for scale
i loved my tiny custom bound for anything planner, but as i wrote previously — after just 3 months of use, it was stressing me out a little.  the reason was simple:  i needed more space!  staring at the tiny pages crammed full of checkboxes made me hyperventilate a little bit.  i felt that if i could s-p-r-e-a-d my thoughts and to-dos out, life would get just a little bit easier.  
as it turns out:
it didn’t, really.  but it does LOOK more manageable, and that’s almost as good!  and one month into the erin condren planner that i ordered on a slightly manic impulse, i am happy to report that i really do love it. 
a brief walk-through:
the cover is shown above.  i personalized it with a family photo, and while i realize i probably could have gone more stylish/professional, i have no regrets.  seeing it make me smile every time i whip this book out [which is often].
✩ birthday/anniversay section.  i don’t really use this section all that much, and i’d rather have the space for other lists!  but it isn’t a huge number of pages.
✩ yearly calendar.  a 2-page spread, which is useful for planning purposes.
✩ the weekly pages.  i love, love, LOVE this layout:
it’s hard to see in this photo, but each day is a column divided into three section for morning / day / night.  i adore the 3 boxes, but i don’t quite use them as labeled.  instead, the top is for ‘scheduled’ events [ie, 3 pm — conference], the middle is for daily to-do items [to check off] and the bottom is for meal and workout planning.
it’s just enough space for my needs and things don’t look so cluttered.  there is also a weekly to-do / goals section which is a great place to put things that aren’t specific to one day.
of note, the paper is decent.  it’s not ultra-super-smooth, but it has a nice weight to it.  i haven’t had issues with pens bleeding through at all.

✩ the monthly pages.  i really like that these are spread on two pages, so that there is plenty of room.  i use these for planning out big events — trips, weekends away, and of course for coordinating our call schedules.

i also really like the suggestion to create some monthly goals.
✩ tabs + dividing pages.  there are some colorful quotes dividing the major sections.  a little cheesy, but it doesn’t bother me.  and the tabs on the right [colorful, laminated, labeled for each month] make me unspeakably happy.
✩ blank notes pages.  ~10 lined and ~10 blank [with cute designs in the margins].  adequate list space is an essential part of any planner in my opinion.
✩ custom notepads.  these cost extra but i just couldn’t resist customized matching notepads.  they are a bit pricey for what they are, but it’s a cool idea.

✩ folder + extras.  there’s a handy paper folder in the back to stash tickets, shopping lists, and the like. i wish it was a bit sturdier, but it has held up just fine so far.  

stickers.  not shown, but there are some colorful stickers to use.  some are pre-labeled [date night, wedding, etc] and others are blank.  it’s a cute idea and fine, i admit it — the repressed 10-year old inside of me enjoys decorating the ‘special’ days.

✩ vinyl pouch.  this is a nice feature, though i haven’t really used it.  tucked inside were some custom labels, sent for free.

sooo . . . that’s it!
let me know if you have questions.  i would definitely recommend this IF you want a pretty sizable planner and if bright/feminine patterns are your thing.  it’s not the most elegant, but it’s definitely fun to use — and i find it extremely functional.  
and speaking of functional
i need to work on making some goals.  i’ve been in this sort of lax mode [re: work, running, life in general] and i am starting to feel ready to — well, for lack of a better term — kick my butt into gear.  no matter what laura vanderkam there are definitely not enough hours in the day to do everything i truly want to do.  but i want to make sure that i am using the hours i do have in the best way possible.
more on that later!
 * * * * * * 
of course, i’d love to know:
do you have your 2013 planner picked out yet?

any goals for the rest of 2012?


  • Reply Amy March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    This just makes me wish my life required a planner. I love them in theory but haven’t really gotten into the groove of using one in my own life! Maybe 2013 will be my year now that I don’t have the Microsoft Outlook calendar that I had at work to keep me organized.

  • Reply Rachel M March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I use a Moleskin weekly diary in the medium size (A5). I like the cover and that it has the entire week on the left with full notes page on the right. The notes page is lined and l wish it was gridded. Apart from that (and the price), I do like it. It has a handy pocket and some blank pages in the back as well.

    Oh, how I do love stationary…

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I’ve been using G-Cal to coordinate my experiments, the husband’s schedule, and that seems to be working for us especially because my experiments are always being rescheduled and shuffled around, and Dan actually checks my calendar all the time when he’s figuring out when to go into the office/work at home/etc. So I’ve been doing that + a moleskin notebook with my to do lists. This planner looks lovely, though!

    I just downloaded an audio book of 168 Hours that I haven’t listened to yet. I think I’m actually quite efficient, but I know exactly where I waste time. Browsing the internet at night when I could be reading papers or doing other work-related things that I can’t get done during the day because of pumping. Leaving the lab for at least an hour a day is a real time sink! Perhaps if I logged my hours on how much time I actually spend on Pinterest (shaking my head) I would be more motivated to stop!

  • Reply deva by definition March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I don’t have a planner picked out for next year yet. I tend to do daily to-do lists and iPhone calendar reminders. I need to write something down for this year, though, there’s a lot to do with planning a wedding.

  • Reply Bree March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    I got the notebook with monthly calendar insert. My calendar starts in December, and I am very excited to use it. I already started adding baby appointments that I know of through January. I absolutely love the colors and the designs. I agree about the stickers…the kid in me is excited.

  • Reply Mrs. Shores March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Just for the record, their customer service has been terrible. I ordered my planner in November and still have not received it. (It’s December 20th)

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      oh no! that’s too bad and i would be miffed, too! i hope it comes soon. mine came when it was promised. you should contact them — maybe they would throw in a discount?

  • Reply ARC March 10, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    I was looking for a planner and bought this one, then looked for reviews/tips on using it and found your blog (again). I was reading it through BlogHer and Laura Vanderkam’s as well 😉 Small world out there in Internet-land, I guess.

  • Reply guest March 10, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Melanie, please write a review of your experience here…
    A simple review would have saved me over $100 and the headache of their customer service.

  • Reply Kat March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Would you still recommend the Erin Condren Planner ?And when you used it, did you take it with you? I ask, because I saw at Staples and it looked a little bulky compared to my Passion Planner.


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  • Reply girlinmaths March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Good review, and a lot of people seem to love these planners. But they are too colourful for me, and I hate spirals. I will look into the plannerisms planner for next year, or else order a new space24 refill. To supplement for daily lists I bought a lovely paperblanks midi daily planner. I seem to be coming back from my filofax, it is just a little too bulky and fiddly.

  • Reply thethinksicanthink March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Do you like it better than the journal: j un jour du reve planner?

  • Reply Kate March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    The New Yorker Desk Diary is my go-to planner. It’s durable and portable. Plus, the previous years’ planners display well in a bookshelf, a readily available narrative of your life.

  • Reply Lee Becknell March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I am so disorganized that every time I buy a planner, it just sits unused. Maybe a 2013 resolution for me? Is it too early to think about that?

  • Reply Vicky March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Did you get the life planner or the notebook? Looooove the photo!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      life planner 🙂 and thank you!!

  • Reply Amy March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I just ordered the Journal J that is already dated. I’m hoping it works out well. My boyfriend is also designing me a planner based on others I’ve liked so I plan to keep one at work and one with me. I do love planners!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      ooh, didn’t know that existed!! very exciting — you will have to let me know how it is!

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