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Hello friends! Today I’m excited to share with you something that will be incredibly helpful in the next few months. So, I thought I’d join in all the fun over at the Motivation Monday Link Party. If you’ve been reading my blog up until now, you know I’ve been spending the last few months transitioning from full time SAHM to part time volunteer. What you might not know is just how difficult that is!
I’ve never been an organized person. It just never clicked with me. So adding another thing to my plate is proving to be difficult. Here’s a secret…the house was a disaster to begin with! So when I discovered the Erin Condren Life Planner through one of my favourite YouTubers (I’m talking about Pretty Neat Living), along with lots of advice, tips, and tricks on how to use planners to the fullest, I basically fell in love.
I haven’t started using it *quite* yet. Mostly because I got so many ideas from the wonderful planner community I just discovered on YouTube (check out Belinda Selene, Paper and Glam, Sweet Kawaii Designs, xoMamaPlans, and there are so many more), that I needed to figure out exactly how to use it for my own personal needs.
For now, I took out my Franklin Covey Compass Planning System (which I must admit was shoved in a corner somewhere) and “hacked” the weekly view to look a little more like the Erin Condren vertical planner. It’s been a lot of tweaking, and I still have to figure out a few more things once I get into my Erin Condren, but I am LOVING the break –up of the day and am excited about all the extra room I will be having in my ECLP!
For those of you who haven’t heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner before, I’ve put together a mini guide below.
This is a planner that is customizable both visually and functionally. One of it’s defining features is the personalized, interchangeable covers. As you can see below, I ordered my planner with my first name and last initial printed on the cover. This is an option available on almost ALL the designs, and so you can take pride in the contents and all you will be accomplishing with your planned days!
The covers are also interchangeable. This means they can be un-attached to the coil easily and you can purchase (or make your own) covers and switch them out for new designs if you get bored of the old one or are feeling festive.
When you have your planner shipped to you, it comes in a beautiful box, wrapped in pretty tissue paper, and protected by heavy duty bubble wrap. It also comes with a welcome package. I received a post card, a sticker, some large gift labels, and a coupon code for $10 off my next purchase.
You can also purchase accessories to go with your planner. I bought two snap-in dashboards to keep extra notes throughout the week. One is a blank to-list for all those things that need to get done but aren’t time specific. The other is a meal planner so I can write out my menu for the week. On the other side is a place you can write your to-buys (I NEED this. I am always forgetting the little things.)
Basically you just write on them (with a Sharpie) throughout the week and then wipe them off with alcohol wipes at the start of the next week so you can use them again.
The planner also comes with a ruler that can come out of and clip into your planner on any page. You can use it as a book mark, or take it out to…measure. I’ve also seen people using it to tear off washi tape when decorating their planner pages.
There is no pen holder, but you can purchase one. This pen holder comes with a sticky on the side, so you can attach it to any page of your planner.
Inside the ECLP is what really drew me into this specific planner. I’ll take you through some of the pages.
When you first open your ECLP, you’ll find a vellum sheet and then the cover page where you can write your name. Unfortunately there is not enough room to write out your contact info in case it gets lost, but if you are really worried about that, why not add your return label or get a little crafty. You could also add it to the back of the book in the notes section.
The second and third pages are a beautiful spread with a motivational quote. You will find the ECLP is FULL of motivational quotes, but this is definitely the largest, most fanciful of them all!
There is a year at a glance calendar. Since I ordered my planner to start in November 2015 and end December 2016, my version includes both these years.
A two page spread to write your personal goals for the year is easily customizable. You can use each of the twelve boxes as monthly goals or specific goals.
Then you have all the monthly tabs which include both a monthly overview and the weekly view. At the beginning of every month there is a page for notes and a motivational quote. Each month has it’s own colour scheme. The tabs themselves are laminated to avoid wear and tear and are colour coordinated to that month’s colour scheme.
What I really like about the planner is how much room there is for writing. The monthly view includes a sidebar to record your goals. And the weekly view has a sidebar to write out what you are thankful for that week, as well as any notes you might have. You could use these sections for your general to-do lists, to-buy, or to record what book you are reading that week. Anything goes.
The ECLP comes in three layout options: horizontal, vertical, or hourly. Since I purchased the vertical planner, let’s take a look at that.
Each day is split up into three vertical rectangles and a lined section. Since each of the rectangles are topped with a blank header, you can split your day up any way that suits you best. Some ideas are A) Morning, Afternoon, Evening; B) Appointments, To-do, Blog; C) each family member gets a rectangle.
At the back of the planner we have a small notes section with blank notebook paper, graph paper, and blank pages (there is more notebook paper than the other two kinds). Each page has a cute design to it.
There are four pages of stickers. One whole sheet of birthday stickers and a reminder to vote (if you are in the US), a sheet with random reminders such as days off and doctors appointments, and two full blank sheets. I’ve heard these stickers come in really handy if things tend to get moved around on you. You just move the sticker to the rescheduled day and reclaim the space (and time) it was previously taking up.
For all those things you just need to keep in your planner with you, you have an option of the Keep It Together folder as well as the plastic sealable pouch. I haven’t figured out what I’ll be using the Keep It Together folder for, but I’m sure something will come up. As for the sealable pouch, I finally have a place to keep my small collection of coupons!
Lastly, you get a bunch of freebies with your planner, including a perpetual calendar, do-it-all dots sampler stickers, compliment cards, and referral cards.
You also get a welcome package with a code for $10 off your second online order, a post card and large sticker (both pictured on top of the notebook paper above) and a bunch of free gift labels.
When you sign up on the Erin Condren website you receive your own referral code. If you give the code to a friend and they sign up, they can receive $10 off their first order. You also receive credit to your account as a thank you. This really helps promote their website and product but it’s a huge bonus for you can get some free stuff!
Ready for Your Life Planner?
Well, I can’t wait to get started in my own Life Planner. This is going to be a huge, huge, huge, life changing moment for me. I can already see a huge difference just using my “hacked” Franklin Covey planner. So if you don’t know if the planner is right for you, I suggest making a one week DIY version and see for yourself.
If you are as excited about the planner as I am, please go ahead and click my referral link to get your $10 off. I used a referral link when purchasing my own and it really helped bring down the cost and make it a little more affordable.