Last year around this time I started hearing about Erin Condren on various blogs. Several of the online deal sites had specials last fall and I was able to snag a half-price voucher. So, for my birthday, I got myself my very first Life Planner. And I fell in love with it!
I’ve been using it daily (well, let’s be honest — multiple times daily) for almost a year now and I can honestly say that no other planner has worked so well for me since my old Filofax in college. Since I’m starting to plan appointments and school events into next year, I decided it was time for a 2013 planner and again I chose Erin Condren.
There are so many cute designs that I literally (literally!) agonized over this decision for a couple weeks. My husband was so tired of me going back and forth and asking his opinion on color combos. He’s a saint for putting up with me, I swear! Last year I chose the Zig-Zag pattern. This year I wanting something totally different so I went with the Candy Lace design in a custom colorway (lime and dark gray). I also requested that my first name be printed in purple because I wanted one more color on the cover.
While the overall layout is the same, there are a number of changes to last year’s design. Most noticably, it now has a metal coil (instead of plastic), and laminated monthly tabs. I never had a problem with the plastic coil, but the metal coil is certainly sturdier and looks a lot nicer.
Another change is the monthly calendar page. It went from a single page to a two-page spread. I was thrilled to see this! It’s much easier to write information down on the larger calendar blocks. Of course, there’s a trade-off and gone are the lined note pages before each month. I liked to use those as a line-a-day journal (when I remembered to do it), but I can easily include that information in the weekly spread. And there are also several blank sheets (both lined and unlined) toward the back of the planner so there’s plenty of room for notes and doodles.
The weekly spreads are the same, with the exception that the weeks no longer break up (even if the start of a new month disturbs the continuity. To me, it’s fine either way. Here’s a peek at what a weekly page looks like:
Now, while we’re talking about the bulk of the planner let’s also talk about paper. In the old version, the monthly calendar was on a heavier cardstock-weight paper. To me, it served as a great divider and I could easily flip between months. The current version no longer has this. I’m a little worried the monthly tabs might rip off, so I’ll have to be careful. I’m sure it’ll hold up just as well, though. I think this might be a way to help trim down the thickness of the planner. As you can see, the new version is not as thick.
Erin Condren’s new version of the Life Planner also comes with sticker sheets, though fewer than last year. This year you get three sheets of pre-printed stickers and one sheet of blank stickers. Last year I got two sheets of pre-printed stickers and four sheets of blank stickers (I still have so many left unused!). Overall, this isn’t a big deal to me. I still have my “leftover” stickers, plus you can purchase extra blank sticker sheets. Or you use washi tape (like me) or other calendar stickers.
The folder design at the back is slightly different. The new version is one sided with a deeper pocket. This is great because my papers are always falling out of the old version of the folder. And there’s still the zip-lock pocket at the back, the perfect place for the labels that come with the planner as well as stamps and appointment cards.
Oh, one addition that I really like but don’t see mentioned in many other reviews: the Address Page. You can write down addresses & phone number for up to 14 people. It’s a great quick-reference for people you contact the most. And yes, there is still the My Important Numbers page. I use this all the time and keep the numbers for my kids’ school, my hairdresser, oil company, plumber, our doctors… they’re all right there.
Overall, I’m very happy again. At $50, this planner is a huge splurge for me, but I use it faithfully and it works for my style of organization. (Keep in mind that each planner is hand-produced in the U.S.A. — to me, that’s worth shelling out a little extra money!) It averages out to about 14 cents/day for something that helps keep me on time, remember birthdays, know what’s for dinner, and remember everything I need to do on any given day.
The only other thing I’d like to see on the Life Planner is some sort of elastic band to help keep it closed. But I improvised and just made my own, instead
So there you have it! Do you use a planner (EC or otherwise)? What you think of the changes to this year’s version?
* I was not compensated in any way for this review. I purchased the Life Planner completely on my own and just wanted to let you know why I love it! *