Planner Review Planners

planning on paper

January 30, 2014

it’s kind of funny that i’m writing this post now, at a time when i feel like there are too many loose ends to count.  but i do have to say that any shred of sanity i’m still holding onto is due to good organization habits cultivated long ago.  my planner is still an incredibly helpful tool for me, reminding me that the to-do list really is finite and that everything that’s really important can [and will] be done in good time.

first, as promised, an update on my 2nd erin condren planner.  in summary: yes, still loving it.  the layout just seems to fit my needs more than any other, and i love the wide-open monthly planning pages and notes pages. plus, the cover is customized with a [now super-old but still cute] pic of annabel, and it still makes me happy every time i use it.

i wouldn’t call this a comprehensive review – more of a brief tour, with notes on how i put this baby to good [i think!] use.

first — the monthly pages:

these are on two pages so there is plenty of space, and there is a column on the right for goals.  LOVE this feature.  i put all of our call weekend dates on these, since this greatly dictates our availability for the month.  i’ll also add any BIG events [ie, travel, relatives visiting, due date . . .] so i can get a sense of the more important things coming up ahead.

i try to be pretty reasonable about choosing monthly goals, putting things that are actually actionable in the time frame and avoiding vague reminders.  for example, i’ve been able to check off all of the above even though ‘make plans to do closets’ just means that josh and i have picked a weekend to go to the container store and go nuts in the near future.

then – the weekly pages, or really day-by-day:

oh MY do i love these big boxes and the layout.  you can see that on the left is space for smaller weekly goals, which i typically write out every monday.  i don’t always FINISH everything each week, and then i’ll put a line through the box and add it to the next week.  
in the daily spaces, you’re theoretically supposed to divide into morning/day/night.  i just ignore this!  i use the top for scheduled items [ie, meetings, appointments, etc], the middle panel for any random notes or day-specific to-dos, and the bottom box for meal planning.  then, there are several lines below to become a training plan [well, not now . . .] and/or a workout log of sorts [also not now because as you all know i have GIVEN UP this time around].  

here’s a closeup of that bottom part:

as i mentioned, there are also lots of lined and blank pages in the back to use for lists.  i use them for both practical things and fun lists, like the music one below.

finally, for those into stickers, there are plenty of labelled and blank ones in the back so you can doctor up your weekly or monthly pages.  i don’t use these much except to clearly delineate call weekends, but they definitely draw attention to important dates.

the erin condren planners in my mind are perfect.  however, complaints that i can understand are:
they are big.  not like, phone book size, but you can’t toss them in a tiny purse.   it fits easily in my new work bag though with room to spare 🙂
they are pricey.  watch for sales or coupon codes, because without them it will run you >$50.  remember, it’s a custom cover item, so that likely adds to production cost, and the quality is good, as mine have held up well.  but it’s not a bargain.
– they are girly and colorful.  personally i like this and consider it a positive, but i can imagine that would not be for everyone.  i think they should come out with a more minimal looking ‘pro’ version . . . although i’d probably still buy the rainbow one.
off to lie down and read.  and probably fall asleep in 5 minutes. . . .
a’s favorite bedtime story:
now online for posterity.


  • Reply oldmdgirl March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I do that with Dylan too (what you were doing in the video with Miss. A). Only now when she gets tired of reciting pieces of the story, she will say, "Mommy say [whatever the book says]," progressively insistently on each page until I give up and just read the book to her myself. I have to admit it’s pretty darn cute though. Stubborn little girl. I wonder where she got that from?

  • Reply Erika March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Just wanted to say A is amazingly cute in that videoA

  • Reply gn0mel0ver March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    You are so organized. Right now, I have all of our tax documents in my purse. In my purse! That is how I have gotten around to organizing them! I need your discipline.

    Annabel is a genius. Wow! That video was so cute and amazing. She should be in commercials.


  • Reply Chelsea March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    A is adorable! Even though I haven’t read Madeline since I was a child, all the words came back to me listening to the two of you read.

  • Reply Brittnie March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I actually teared up watching this video. I cannot WAIT until the day I get to hear Clara’s little voice for the very first time! 🙂

  • Reply SusannahEarlyBd March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I second Jenni…Annabel is so smart! I love Madeleine, although Finn was nearly 3 before he got into it. We are really into the "Toot and Puddle" books here…stories about two pigs with great affectations…like going to France together.

  • Reply Meredith from PLL March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I love love love love Erin Condren! While I don’t have a true EC planner, I do have the personalized notebook and I use it every single day.

    I know it’s vain, but my favorite thing about it is that my name and initials appear all over. Argh! I’m such a Leo!

    Good luck in the next few days!!!

  • Reply Amy March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks for the review! I would like to give one of those planners a try someday. What types of pens are you using on it now? They are so vibrant!

  • Reply JennyPenny March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I was just looking for a planner. These look pretty big and substantial though. Do you think they are too heavy to throw in a running backpack daily, as I run part of my commute to work?
    I have to say that for me I wish for a more neutral design, so I can pull it out in meetings at work too.
    I am thinking of you and Baby Boy! 😍

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