Saturday, January 31, 2015

Using an Erin Condren Life Planner - January 2015

January is almost done! So, I thought it would be about time that I shared what planners I have been using since the beginning of the year. Last Christmas, I was gifted an Erin Condren Life Planner.
I have been wanting to try out this spiral bound planner for a while but never had the urge to purchase it myself. I tried using spiral bound planners in the past and wasn't very fond of them. Later in this post, I will give my opinions about what I do and don't like about this planner. 

Let's talk about the planner itself. Some of you may or may not be familiar with it. I have seen a growth of people using these planners and thought that I may be missing out on something here. What is it that attracts people to use these types of planners? 

Customization and Personalization

I have been following Erin Condren and how they have changed over the past few years, trying to make it more customizable for users. A new feature are the customizable covers. Yes, they have always had an option for you to pick out your own cover design and add your own personalized text such as your name or company, but now they are interchangeable! This is great for people who like change. If you don't want to be stuck looking at the same cover each month, you have the ability to swap it with something new. Want a cover for Valentine's Day? Now you can order the cover itself. 


Size and Layout
This is a large planner measuring at 7.25" x 9.25. This is a great size for those of you who need space to plan! It contains a two page monthly spread as shown below: 


These are how my monthly pages at set up. Not much decorating in terms of washi tape, stickers and such, but I do however use stamps. I have been using this format for a year now, which is very similar to my previous set up. The difference is in my color coding. I used to write each specific item in a specific color, then highlight each box with the same color.  For example, birthdays are in orange. I found this system to have a flaw. What if I had multiple notes/events on the same day, how could I highlight the box with multiple colors. I needed to find a better solution. Here is what I came up with. The color coding is still the same, the difference is now I use a stamp which is in orange, and then write the note in black. I start from the bottom, then stack each event that follows on the same day on top of it. I can still see the color coding clearly, and there is no confusion.


Next, let us examine the weekly pages. There are goals and notes columns for each week and month. The weekly spreads are divided into three sections - morning, day, and night. Also, on the bottom of the page is more space for things such as extra notes, meals, exercise, lists, thoughts, inspiration, etc. 

My Decorated Pages

Here is a look at my weekly decorated pages for the month of January. The page is utilized differently each week based on my needs. You don't need to be limited to what is actually on the page. Although it is pre-printed, I used washi tape to cover up those label sections. Thus, this allowed me to freely plan instead of being tied down to just morning, day, and night.

Week 1 Theme: Winter Theme - Snowy Penguins
Colors: Maroon/Red, Grey, and Navy Blue

Week 2 Theme: No theme
Colors: Mint and Peach

Week 3 Theme: Polka dots
Colors: Mint Green and Orange

Week 4 Theme: No Theme
Colors: Mint Green and Gold

I felt tied down to the colors already on the page. As you may notice, I used mainly mint green colors. This could be good and bad. It's great stick to one color scheme per month, it helps for those who don't want to think about decorating your pages, or don't have time to. But perhaps you want to use different colors, such as I do. It can be a challenge to be creative and work around it.

Quality

As far as the quality of the paper itself, it feels thick and strong. It doesn't feel as though it will rip off the binding. Not like your typical copy/ printer paper. My pen tests reveal no bleed through with Pilot Juice, Pilot Frixion Erasable, Pilot Hi-Tec-C, MUJI, Uni Style Fit and Uni-ball SigNo Gel ink pens. There is some minimal shadowing with a few markers. Mainly, the Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner in 0.4mm showed the most through the page.




Do you love using stamps in your planner? Here are some ink pad swatches. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Chalk inks and Pigment inks are the best to use.

Inks that did not reveal bleed through were:
  • Prima Marketing Co. - Chalk Edgers
  • VersaMagic - Chalk Ink
  • VersaColor - Pigment Ink
  • Quick Quotes Powder Puff - Chalk Ink
  • VersaFine - Pigment Ink 
  • Avery Elle - Pigment Ink
  • Mama Elephant - Pigment Ink
  • Color Box - Pigment Ink
  • My Favorite Things - Pigment Ink
  • Craftsmart - Pigment Ink
  • ColorBox - Pigment Ink
  • Tsukineko Mememto - Dye Ink (Minimal shadowing) 

Some other great features about this planner is that it has a very sturdy aluminum coil. It feels like they won't budge, bend, or flex. The cover of the planner is also strong and definitely made to last. You can feel the heavy duty laminate cover can withstand being tossed around in your purse or on your desk. You can feel confident that your paper is being protected well with this cover.

The planner also includes pages with inspiring and motivational quotes, and extra pages such as lined paper and blank pages. It also includes a booklet with a perpetual calendar & contacts. It is great to have all those birthdays, anniversaries, and events together in one place. The end of the booklet also a place for important contacts as well as the holidays and dates to remember for the year. You can store the booklet with your planner inside one of the pocket folders included. There is also a zipper pocket attached to store all your receipts, notes, coupons, stationery and all those other little bits and pieces. Lastly, the Erin Condren store also sells a variety of accessories from pen loops, extra elastic bands, extra rulers and more. They also customize and stylize everything from life planners, acrylic trays, holiday cards, iphone cases, and more!


I utilized those extra pages for making monthly checklists. I love making my lists. As a blogger, I keep track of my social media statistics with a chart I made using these stamps from Waffle Flower Crafts and simply creating lines with a good old fashioned ruler!


Here is another monthly chart where I keep track of my medications, household chores, and schedules. 


Conclusions

Overall, I think this is a great planner. Although, in my opinion, for someone who has used mainly a Personal sized organiser/planner, it seems to big for me. When I first saw it, I thought it was smaller than what I expected. Now that I have used it, I realized that it is too big and bulky to even fit in my purse. As a mother of two, I carry enough things in my purse and I already have my hands full. I think the writing space is big and I definitely underestimated how much you can fit into the pages. What I didn't like was the actual spiral binding. It got in the way of writing towards the paper closest to the rings. It was definitely difficult to stamp in and decorate with. I had to really change the way I usually stamp since most stamp blocks aren't small enough to get into those edges of the paper where the rings were.

Also, it almost felt as if it was too much space for my needs. I like utilizing the page to its maximum capacity, but not by adding a bunch of large stickers and washi tape. There are many great online stores that do sell specific types of stickers for Erin Condren planners on Etsy.com

Is an Erin Condren planner affordable? Some people can't justify purchasing a planner for $50 plus. Then, again, you are paying for quality. You definitely get what you pay for. It is a very comparable price of any other high end planner such as a Filofax. I personally loved using it, and would still recommend it. Another great option to use.

DISCOUNT!!!

With that being said, if you are interested in grabbing an Erin Condren planner, here is a special link that will get you $10 off your purchase!

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/jenniferreyes1101

*This post is not sponsored. All content, ideas, and words are 100% my own, unless otherwise stated.

2 comments:

  1. Your cursive is amazing!! Thanks for the advice I'm still on the fence about a planner, maybe next year!

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  2. I have this planner and I love it. So much space for everything.

    zoea2812.blogspot.com

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