Getting Organized: Erin Condren Life Planner

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Before Planner, there existed Disorganization!

As a former stay at home mom, I know the importance of structure and organization. As I have now entered the workforce, I realize I have lost the control I once took for granted when I knew the house was clean and the next task was merely a check mark away. My, have the tables turned in which I can barely get things done in a timely manner anymore. Yes, I am more maintained now (as far as appearance, I look somewhat human as oppose to the good ole' days in which wearing flannel pajamas without spit up was fancy). But how everything else seems to suffer greatly! After getting home from work, I am faced with various tasks which include trying to feed my toddler his midday snack (anyone with a toddler knows they are likely to draw more with their food than actually putting it in their mouth), making beds. picking up the house from the day's "fun" then getting dinner out. Soon follows my daughter getting off the bus and depending on which day it is after school programs, ballet, swim class and/or gymnastics soon follows. By the time dinner is eaten, baths are taken and teeth are brushed it is bedtime. I then lay in my bed and do the normal mental checklist. "Oooh the laundry is really piling up. Damn, that bill was due 2 days ago. Oh no! I forgot about the cookies I was supposed to bake for the bake sale tomorrow. How long has it been since I've seen a dentist? Is that birthday party really this weekend?" How much can one retain until it becomes a big ball of blurry mess? I seemed very put together at work but at home I felt like I get little to nothing done. I needed something to change. Feeling like I'm always trying to play catch up with bills and appointments but never seem satisfied is as tiring as running a marathon (oh did I mention I wanted to start working out again?!?) Everything had a domino effect. Let's take working out for example. I wanted to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, but for me to do that I need to make sure to eat enough throughout the day so I am not famished or too tired by the time I got around to working out. This entails bringing breakfast/lunch with me on the go. If this is the case, I need to prepare ahead of time so I am not snacking away at junk food or unhealthy lunch options during break.

Requirement #1: Prepare healthy meal choices at home

Requirement #2: Make grocery list for healthy ingredients

Requirement #3: Set time out at beginning of week to make list of each day's meal

Do you see where I'm going here? Everything is a process. Sure, I tried other organizational options. I bought several $1 planners before and would do pretty good keeping to them but usually after the first 2 weeks, it would have ripped up or I would have lost interest in it. I tried keeping a calendar in our kitchen so I could see dates, but that soon became a drawing piece for our kids to display their finest works on.

A Quick Glimpse

My First Erin Condren

Here is 3/4's of my EC planner.  The part that is cut off from the pic is my last name.  Isn't it a beauty?!?  Fun Colors and personalization, my favorite combo.
Here is 3/4's of my EC planner. The part that is cut off from the pic is my last name. Isn't it a beauty?!? Fun Colors and personalization, my favorite combo.

Enter the Erin Condren Life Planner

I first heard about this planner a few months ago on YouTube. As soon as I saw it and saw all the things people were doing to decorate it and make it their own I knew I had to have it. I always enjoyed crafts and art and anything involving paper and pen. Being out of school for a while now (more like a decade), I missed the excitement of writing on freshly bought paper with different color pens. I enjoyed having the companion of a notebook in my bag and ready to write anything down at a moment's notice without searching for that small piece of paper to jot down a quick to do list or a brief reminder. I felt like the kid that never grew up. I didn't think there was something out there where I could fulfill my Peter Pan need of writing with gel Pens, markers, decorating with stickers and using cute post it notes for reminders. I'm an adult now. I surely have no reason to be "playing" around with stuff like that anymore! Even if there was a reason, the reason wouldn't be validated. Boy was I wrong! Before my excitement grew to uncontrollable heights I researched this new "toy" for a few days before I took the $50 plunge. In honor of organization and lists, let's make the good ole' PROS and CONS list.


PROS
CONS
From the minute you enter the website, you can personalize nearly every aspect of your planner
The price tag for a standard classic planner is $50, that does not include shipping
Interchangeable covers will leave you feeling like you have a new planner each time you decide you are tired with your current cover
After your order is placed, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for your planner to arrive to you
Handmade in the USA
The wait for your planner is EXCRUCIATING
Great Customer service if there was to be something wrong with your planner
There is so much information and to do's on the web, you will be addicted to decorating and hoarding planner supplies which can be quiet pricey
Many "DIY versions" are available of the accessories sold on the website
If you have pre teen girls, you might be begged to death to buy them one
Will keep you motivated to plan regularly which will keep you feeling accomplished
Their have been some complaints that planners have not arrived as stated in order
Your daughters will think you are too cool
If you are an avid planner, the layout may not be to your liking. See more details online
Can double as a scrapbook where you write down important dates and events and decorate the ones that are special to you
 

She's Finally Here!!!

The wait was torture!!!
The wait was torture!!!

Warning

Once you receive your planner, better yet, even BEFORE you receive your planner you will find yourself searching for cute little supplies you can play with. In my list, I already mentioned that you have the high possibility of becoming obsessed with this "planner life". But before I proceed to supplies I will state a subtle warning. If you want to save your SANITY and not feel like a compulsive obsessive planner addict, DO NOT SEARCH YOUTUBE! This is a WARNING!!! Ok, if you decide to ignore all attempts to save your SOUL then proceed below.

Michael's, Target and Amazon Haul
Michael's, Target and Amazon Haul
"Everything I absolutely need", says the crazed woman with a loaded pen in her hand.
"Everything I absolutely need", says the crazed woman with a loaded pen in her hand.

Planner Haul Video

Planner Goodies and Supplies

Plan to spend, plan to plan, plan to raid stores until you find the best deal for the best product. On Instagram, there are various hashtags you can use to get an idea of how much is available for you planner. Those kid stickers with smiley faces you have walked by in The Dollar Tree without a second glance before, now become a creative outlet for your pages. The Target One Spot, is Christmas filled with sticky notes, memo pads and if you're lucky you will find $1 washi tapes (decorative tapes) which are a steal (the normally go for $3 for one roll). Michael's becomes your best friend or worst enemy. They have all scrapbook needs but their prices are so expensive, definitely not worth making daily trips there unless you have great coupon deals. Around Christmas they have amazing clearance on holiday stickers, paper and embellishments which you can stock up on. Awesome money saver. If you are lucky enough to be by JoAnn's Fabrics, I hear that's another store where you can find cool planner goodies. Online can be source to buy cheaper stuff with more diversity. We all know about Ebay's diversity and unbeatable prices if you know how to shop there. Amazon is my personal favorite. I bought the Papermate Flair's there because not only were they cheaper than in stores but the reviews were really good. They offer all qualities I was looking for in my pens; color, thin tip and will not bleed or blur through my planner. I highly recommend. I also searched for washi tapes, which I never knew were called that. Amazing the things you learn! They are quite expensive when you want to buy them, but online you can get some even from China and they are far less expensive than sold in the local stores here. I just got my order a few days ago, way before the estimated delivery date of January 6th. The ones I bought are listed here. If you happen to look on YouTube, you can see people posting Haul videos and they can give you insight if there are any local deals going on like Buy One Get One, or major discounts. One of my favorite ones to watch is by Belinda Selene. Her planner is always on point and she gives great inspiration and ideas on how to make it more you. Check her videos out and if you don't walk away feeling like "I can do that!", then Congratulations you are very self assured.


Do it Yourself

As mentioned, there are many DIY's out there that can help you customize your planner even more. One of my favorites are creating your own Interchangeable covers and dashboard. It's basically laminated scrapbook paper of your choice. You punch holes in it, cut small slits into each hole punch then attach it to your planner. It makes your planner pretty and color coordinated depending on the paper design you choose. If you do not have a laminating machine at home, then you can do what I did. I bought the Scotch Laminating sheets and placed 2 pieces of scrapbook paper in between the sheets. I then put it between two cloth reusable bags and waited for my iron to heat up. Once ready, I ironed over the top cloth bag. I ironed for about 30 seconds and the results was as good as if I had a machine. A dashboard is a cover that has different sticky notes in varied colors and sizes. It is so you can have notes easily accessible to you when you are out and about. They are pre-planned with your color scheme so even though you have a last minute note, design is not compromised. It is a creative idea. Also, Erin Condren has something called Coiled Clips on her site which is used to add on pages and folders to your planner should you need them. An alternative to these clips are the Post-It Tabs which are repositionable. Just stick the paper.folder you want to add and then hole punch the other end as you would the cover mentioned earlier. Simple, easy and you don't have to wait forever to get it.

Christmas Weekly Spread

Decorating my planner keeps me motivated to check things off and stay on track of things I need to do.  Also, can double up as a mini-scrapbook.
Decorating my planner keeps me motivated to check things off and stay on track of things I need to do. Also, can double up as a mini-scrapbook.

Result

So here is my attempt at making a planned and pretty half of the week. Adorable and festive. I enjoyed creating it and it allowed me so me time. One that did not make me feel guilty for taking, because I was planning. I was working and playing. So if you think you would like to give it a go, I recommend getting a planner like this. It is fun, cute and functional. You don't get those combos a lot nowadays. What sold me on the planner was the $10 coupon code I received when I made my first purchase. Nice gesture, for something you don't know will work for you. So here is to happy planning, more organized days and happier memories (ones you can take with you in your bag).

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