Planner Review Planners

Planner Review #4: Erin Condren Deluxe Life Planner

November 2, 2018
Yes, another planner review!  But before I get this, I must share my obligatory fam Halloween shot, for posterity:
First Halloween pic as a family of 5
Last Halloween pic on these front steps
As usual, our neighborhood was INSANE (Disney-esque crowds in our tiny grid of streets; heavy police presence to control traffic; candy disappearing at record rates).  The kids had fun.  G ended up with a fever overnight and had a terrible night of sleep.  I’m glad it’s over and am happy to move on to holidays I like more . . . 
In fact, I think there should be an International Planning Holiday, where everyone gets the day off of work (and free childcare, obvs!) and sits around planning the next year.   Anyone using a paper planner would have this as their move-in date (ie transferring everything important from the year prior; filling out goal sheets; etc).  We could all exchange gifts of planning supplies (pens! washi tape! stickers!), and the traditional celebration would culminate in families adding all important events to shared google calendars.  
I would really enjoy that holiday.  And there would be no candy hangovers.  The ideal date for this holiday would be sometime around mid-November.  Perhaps the Monday after Thanksgiving (rebrand “Cyber Monday”; I mean doesn’t that sound like something from 1997!?), because who really wants to go back to work then!?  
Onto Planner Review #4: the Erin Condren Life Planner, or ECLP for short!  This was purchased by me in March at half price, because I found my Hobonichi Techo an unsuitable partner for the year I was having (#plannerfail, it happens).  I have very strong feelings about this planner:  I actually do not particularly like the aesthetic, which for some is a major selling point.  I do, however, think it’s one of the most functional planners out there.  This is why I’ve used it as my main planner at least 3 times – I believe 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2018!
Here we go!
Cover: There are many colorful covers to choose from.  Mine is more boring, but I was looking for something that would look somewhat professional in meetings/etc.  I chose the deluxe version, which has a leather-like cover and a gold embossed monogram.  It has held up well thus far after 7 months of being carried around in my work bag, back and forth.  The size of this planner is 7″ horizontally and 8.5″ vertically (OMG just used the “Measure app” for the first time – amazing!).
The aesthetic is colorful and “fun” and honestly — just not my absolute favorite.  I can only tolerate inspirational quotes in planners when they are a) subtle or b) in another language (Hobonichi!).  That said, there are so many good things about this planner that I am willing to overlook the design features that aren’t my cup of tea.
Yearly planning page that I didn’t use (probably because I started this planner in March!)
Calendar layouts:  Where this planner shines are its functional layouts!  I loooove this “3 boxes” layout (click to see a less blurry pic if desired — I really hope my new site works better to show my photos at full resolution).  There are other weekly options, but the 3 boxes is just ideal for me.  I find that I don’t miss the room that a daily page would afford when I have this layout (although . . . I am looking forward to more space next year nonetheless).
The monthly pages are nice and wide, spread on 2 pages — you could do MUCH more than I do with these pages (I mainly use them for call schedules/big picture things).  They are roomy enough to be workout trackers, main calendar planning pages, anything really!
I even like the pages present each month to list plans/goals (even f I don’t like the design – what are those annoying white flower petal looking things!?!).   I have used them to identify my big goals and habits of focus for each month.  Here was October:
There is a useful pocket in the back (this is where my tiny ‘accessory notebook’ lives!)
And, there are stickers.  I’m actually less into planner stickers as one might think, but I suppose it’s nice to have them there as an option.
I like this “Plan 2019” page and honesty did not realize it was there – it would have been very useful as dates accumulate that need to be transferred into next year’s planner!  Maybe I’ll start using it now.
There are also coloring pages should you feel inspired to unleash your inner artist, and some (more useful) lined + grid pages as well.
Oh!  And the paper.  It’s fairly thick and smear potential is close to ZERO.  There is nothing slippery or slick about this paper, which makes it A+ in my (left-handed) book.  It’s not flimsy and does not show through.  This makes the book a little heavier, but I wouldn’t call it a behemoth.  It fits easily in my work bag.
The ECLP “luxe permanent” edition (the one I have) retails for $65.  I don’t always do this, but I happen to have a referral code that will give you $10 off, so if you do decide to buy one and want to keep me in planning accessories (for more reviews, perhaps), feel free to use this link: ECLP referral.  
All riiiight, off to feed G and send her off (with Josh!) to her possibly last helmet appointment!  Crossing fingers . . . 


  • Reply Lisa March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    You may be done taking on new planners to test but the plum paper version of this has the same functionality (including custom layout and add ones) but you can buy a black and white design to skip the excessive color splashes (which also are not my style!). I used mine all year and liked it but I”m enjoying your reviews to see if I can find something a little lighter to carry around for 2019 (these coil planners are like bricks!).

  • Reply Maxine March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    First time commenter — just to say, I am loving your increased post frequency, the podcast, and this planner review series. I just learned that there is an Erin Condren store near me, so I might have to go check these planners out in person. I like to see prior to possible purchase. Thanks for all you do in sharing your multiplicity of wisdom!

  • Reply OrganisingQueen March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I adore these review posts! I actually love a fun planner – I want to WANT to pick that thing up and so I steer clear of the ‘boring-looking’ ones šŸ™‚

    I like my weekly planners horizontal – I can’t wait to blog about my 2019 planner!

    PS you should follow @jen_plans on Insta.

  • Reply gwinne March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Also, FWIW, I’ve been using Moleskine planners….my current is a ‘professional’ version (maybe 8x 10?) and I love it.

  • Reply Holly March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Why didn’t you get the neutral EC SHU?! It’s the same layout for vertical except it doesn’t have those color blocked headers – which you don’t seem to use – and is MUCH more neutral toned, which seems up your alley.

    I will admit I am totally one of those people that uses their Erin Condren with EXCESSIVE stickers (and actually have a not-insignificant planner internet presence – Holly Plans on Youtube and IG hah!). But I FULLY admit that is not actually functional planning for me–I treat it as a relaxing/crafting activity and it serves as a scrapbook that I don’t have to worry about printing photos for. For functional planning though I need something a lot more simple!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      a VERY fair question and to be honest I forgot the neutral option when I wrote this!! The (rather confusing) answer: I LIKE the colors. I just don’t like the design, if that makes sense! (Maybe it doesn’t).

      Did not realize you are planning insta star! I am following you now šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ Definitely more of a scrapbook approach but still fun. I know ECs are so popular among that community!

  • Reply Connie C. March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Sign me up for International Planning Holiday. That would be my DREAM day off!

  • Reply Organising Queen March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Okay, I couldn’t resist and posted my response to your international planning holiday šŸ™‚

  • Reply Krishna March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    The idea of International Planning Holiday – I so looove it!!

  • Reply Christine March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    are there any planners that you recommend that are smallish and not too heavy? also, never ran into you on miami beach– good luck with the move!

  • Reply Allie March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    What are you using for 2019 planner?

  • Reply gwinne March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I would also really love this general layout (for a while I made this tripartite system with pen in my own planner), and even the coloring pages and (some) stickers. But I really can’t stand coils or overly ‘feminine’ visuals.

    I thought of you yesterday in class, actually, as I was discussing book arts matters and PAPER.

    Totally unrelated: I don’t comment much because in order to do so under a pseudonym I need to log out of my gmail on a separate page, which is a hassle (and sometimes it auto-logs me back in anyway). Not sure if the update you’re doing can think through ease of commenting….

  • Reply Beth C March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Haha I am so on board with International Planning Day. I will show up for that. I’m with you on the design and … maybe the brightness of the color? I am always super self-conscious about colors or designs that are too…bold? in a professional setting.

  • Reply Jeanna March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I totally understand about the design situation! I had an EC life planner one year, but I always felt a little embarrassed using it in professional settings or keeping it open on my desk at work. I didn’t use it to it’s full potential. I’m currently using a dot grid EC notebook because the size and paper are so nice! Plus you can choose a happy cover design that’s a little subtler than the colorful pages. I use a page per day and have a customized layout that I can quickly fill out. But I also feel like I might be able to do something similar with the three boxes setup and save a little time. Hmmm.

  • Reply Lori C July 9, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    This is an old post but Iā€™m thinking the National planning holiday idea needs to be resurrected. BLP episode perhaps and us listeners can all plan together virtually šŸ™‚

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 9, 2022 at 3:28 pm

      sounds good to me!!!!!

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