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Review :: Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

It came today!!!! MY NEW ERIN CONDREN LIFE PLANNER CAME TODAY! This was my 5th year now of getting one of these little pieces of awesomeness. You can read about my past experiences in 201220132014 and 2015. I usually place my order the day they are launched, but waited a few extra weeks because I wasn’t quite ready to think about back-to-school quite yet. But, Target’s early set-up of their back to school section has gotten to me little by little and I guess I’m almost ready to think about it.

SO, here are my thoughts about this year’s new edition.

Pros:

  • The biggest thing you’ll see on Erin’s site talks about the 3 different layout options for the planner. In the past, they’ve only had the vertical layout for each week. Days across the top, time down the side. While this is always the best layout for how I use my book for work, I totally understand the appeal of having a horizontal option as well. And the year, they added an hourly vertical layout. I almost went with this option, but decided I loved my usual format, so I stuck with the non-hourly vertical option. Here are the layouts:

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

  • Same cute, customizable covers with words and pictures. This is one of my biggest reasons for loving these planners. I get to look at my super cute daughter’s picture each day on my planner! Here are three of my favorite new designs this year. Also starting two years ago, the covers are removeable and interchangeable. So, you could change them seasonally, monthly, or, I suppose, to replace that picture of you and your ex after a bad breakup!:

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner 2016
– Custom “colorways.” In the past, you had to stick with one or two color combinations for your chosen color or pay a $15 design fee to further customize it. I love that the option is available to get a really custom look, but starting last year on many of the covers, you can choose any of their colors to create a unique look for your cover. Just look for this: Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Here’s what I ended up with (with a picture of my husband and daughter on the front!) As a side note, this year, the website offers the ability to “preview” the cover before proceeding to customizing the rest of the planner. I love this!

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

  • Different color variations! New this year, you’re able to choose from one of 3 layouts, but also one of 2 color versions – colorful and neutral. There’s a cool slider view to let you see how each looks in the planner. I opted for the colorful version and love it!

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

– Accessories! If you’re thinking, “You know…I could just buy a cute planner at the store and add a cute picture, and color code everything myself!” Sure! Buy can you get all of this stuff too?? It’s almost completely insane how much extra stuff you can get. This year, I got the pen holder, monthly sticker book, write-on dashboard, and dot stickers. I’m hoping the write-on dashboard will become my new t0-do list rather than the millions of sticky notes I end up with all over my desk! Another thing about accessories – you get 15% off of them once you order 4 or more! Some of the accessories are really cheap (like the dashboard and pen holder), so it’s really easy to get this discount and save yourself a bit!

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016– “Thankful thoughts.” Last year, they added a little “thankful thoughts” box each week for both layouts. What a great way to remember to focus on something positive each week!

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Cons:

  • One of the first years, they offered an “academic” July-July format. Starting last you, you can get Jan-Dec 2016 or pay $5 more to also get the rest of 2015 included. I understand the manufacturing logistics of not offering any start and end month as an option, but think it’s pretty obvious most people are using a July-July format if you’re LAUNCHING YOUR PRODUCT in June. So it does truthfully really irk me I have to pay $5 and then just rip out July-Dec 2017 when I get the book. Plus, it’s just sad and then the coil looks a little big for the book. Come on, guys!

  • Cost. I’m listing this as a con because it’s the most common complaint I hear and yes, I do feel a bit of sticker shock each time I order. However, let me justify it to you this way: I work 185 school days and probably spend 10-15 minutes per day using my planner or smiling at my daughter’s picture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been having a really crummy stressful day and then I brush a few papers off and see her smiling at me from that cute, colorful book. That works out to 32 cents per day. 32 cents. 15 minutes of coffee? $3. 15 minutes of a massage? $15. 15 minutes in a car? $1.50. 32 cents is pretty darn cheap! Do yourself a favor and just get one 🙂 Once it arrives at your door, you won’t look back!

  • Shipping time. So, the nature of custom items is that they do take longer to manufacture. That being said, the website will always tell you an approximate ship date for your products. This year, mine was 10-15 business days! Therefore, don’t wait until 2 weeks before school starts back up and expect to have it for the first day of school. Just go ahead and order as soon as you can and enjoy filling it out whenever you start to feel the “back to school blues!”

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

  • No more customizable stickers. In the past, one of the things I loved was the ability to put loved one’s faces on pictures and customize the writing on stickers for birthdays, school improvement days, etc. This year, no more! They did introduce a monthly sticker book, which offers color-coordinated stickers for each month, but is AMAZING.

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

EDIT They do still exist! They just aren’t in the “accessories” section when you’re personalizing your planner. If you want them, you’ll have to click on “sticker sheets” at the bottom of the front page of the website and then you’ll find them. So sad I missed these this year! I don’t want to pay for $8 shipping again to get them 🙁

Erin Condren Life Planner 2016

I love this new book, but I’ll miss seeing my sweet family’s faces on their birthday! I’ve seen a few Etsy sellers that do customized stickers to fit the EC planners, so might go that route for institute days, school holidays, improvement days, or other pre-scheduled events!

To get a coupon to save $10 on the new Life Planner, add your e-mail address here:

I promise this is all I will use it for – I won’t sell it, or give it away, or anything else nasty like that! You get a coupon – I get a coupon and we both win!

Note: Some pictures in this post are from Erin Condren.

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How I Use My Erin Condren Life Planner

How I Use My Erin Condren Life Planner

After my last post about the new 2015-2016 Erin Condren Life Planners, a few of you have been asking me to share how I use it for school social work/counseling purposes. This is for you!

On a side note, I’ve often thought about getting a Teacher Lesson Planner, but just felt there were a lot of pages I wouldn’t use so I just use my Special Ed Binder for planning instead. I’d love to hear your experiences with it if you’ve used the Teacher Lesson Planner.

Now, some of you are probably wondering, “It’s only June, why the heck is she already filling that thing out!?” Really, it’s a good questions. The easy answer is that I clearly have a problem. There’s no other reason! A special note before I go on, all names in the following pictures are fictitious and added in Photoshop. These are not my actual students, but this IS what my planner looks like when I use it!

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Here’s my cover (with my family picture covered). I love this design!IMG_9045e

The inside page has a cool velum overlay that I really really like! I don’t know that you can really see it in this picture, but it adds a nice classy touch to the beginning.

IMG_9049All right, as I mentioned before, my only real complaint about the Life Planner is the lack of a July-July version. You can either get January-December 2016 or pay $5 and add the remaining months of 2015. I find this whole thing weird since they’re launching in June (don’t you think most people would need July-July!?) So the first thing I always do is remove August-December 2016. I could just leave it all in, but when I’m carrying my laptop, several binders, and my planner to most meetings, I’d prefer to not have the extra weight. This picture makes me want to cry though…IMG_9038

One of the new aspects of this year’s planner is the addition of this page spread. It’s supposed to be for adding monthly goals, or family member tasks, or other things. However, since my life during the school year always seems to revolve around special education evaluations, I use it to keep track of my caseload reeval dates! The month of May really needs to happen less than once per year…sigh. Anyone feel my pain?

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I don’t tend to do a lot with the monthly pages. Generally, I have way too much going on each day to fit into the little box. Instead, I order the custom stickers and use them to give me more of a “month at a glance” view. I love that I can have them say whatever I want.

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A bunch of blank ones and random events come with the planners though if you’d rather save a little money and handwrite your own. Here’s a picture of those:

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I also get the circle stickers and put my family members’ faces on them for birthdays, or fun pictures for holidays. You can see the ones I used for Halloween and the start of 2nd quarter below!
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My weekly pages definitely get the most attention from me. I use the lefthand column as a to do list. I find this helps me deal with the mass amounts of stress that happen when I try to remember everything I need to do in a given week! I use a fairly standard (x = complete, -> = move to next week, cross off the item = no longer needed). Then, I use the boxed divisions each day to separate work tasks into morning (about 8-11 am), afternoon (about 12-2), and evening (about 3-7). They used to be labeled morning, afternoon, and evening, but they’re blank this year and I won’t be spending the time writing in titles! I use the space under each day for after-school personal activities. I suppose I could put some evening events in the last box for the day, but I like having them separate from the work tasks in the box. My color coding system is as follows:

pink = RtI meetings
blue = special education meetings
green = other work-related meetings/appointments
orange = school tasks (not meetings) and all day school events
yellow = personal activities

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Another new feature this year is an additional sticker book. I like most of the stickers a lot and spaced them out throughout my weeks on weekends or places I don’t anticipating writing anything. A few of the stickers were more “gift tag” type labels, so they’re still in the book. Maybe I’ll save them for Christmas? I wish they’d have all been planner-y, but I’m still glad I got it!
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I’m completely in love with my planner again this year. It doesn’t make me wish it were August, but it certainly makes starting the school year a bit easier!
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How do you use your Erin Condren Life Planner?

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Review :: Erin Condren Life Planner 2015

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Ah yes…it’s that wonderful time of the year again! My body’s getting used to what it feels like to not be lesson planning at 11:30 at night…the smells of sunscreen permeates my house…my daily wardrobe consists of yoga pants and tee shirts…and THE NEW ERIN CONDREN PLANNERS HAVE LAUNCHED! I don’t necessarily love having to snap back to reality for a few days to think about the upcoming school year, but I’m willing to for this!! This will be my 4th year now of getting one of these little pieces of heaven. You can read about my past experiences in 2012, 2013, and 2014. I just placed my order for a new one yesterday and cannot WAIT until it gets to me! Here are some thoughts about this year’s new edition.

Pros:

  • The biggest thing you’ll see on Erin’s site talks about the new layout options for the planner. In the past, they’ve only had the vertical layout for each week. Days across the top, time down the side. While this is always the best layout for how I use my book for work, I totally understand the appeal of having a horizontal option as well. If I was using this as an academic planner for high school or college, this would definitely be my layout of choice! Here are the layouts side by side:

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Erin Condren Life Planner

  • Same cute, customizable covers with words and pictures. This is one of my biggest reasons for loving these planners. I get to look at my super cute daughter’s picture each day on my planner! Here are three of my favorite new designs this year. Also starting last year, the covers are removeable and interchangeable. So, you could change them seasonally, monthly, or, I suppose, to replace that picture of you and your ex after a bad breakup!:

Erin Condren Life Planner ReviewErin Condren Life Planner ReviewErin Condren Life PlannerErin Condren Life Planner
– Custom “colorways.” In the past, you had to stick with one or two color combinations for your chosen color or pay a $15 design fee to further customize it. Now, on many of the covers, you can choose any of their colors to create a unique look for your cover. Just look for this: Erin Condren Life Planner Review

If you’re REALLY adventurous, you can even create your own cover from scratch. I opted for this predesigned cover (with a picture added and 2015-2016 School Year as the words), but could definitely see some of my friends making their own!

Erin Condren Life Planner

  • Accessories! If you’re thinking, “You know…I could just buy a cute planner at the store and add a cute picture, and color code everything myself,” I would say, “Sure! Buy can you get all of this stuff too??” It’s almost completely insane how much extra stuff you can get. I personally get the pen holder, photo stickers, and customizable event stickers (set up for institute days, school improvement days, and conference days!). However, I also really liked the snap in to-do list and thought it would be able to replace the pile of sticky notes that accumulate on my desk. However, I forgot to add it to the cart before I ordered….sad face.

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

ACCESSORIES2

  • “Thankful thoughts.” This year, they added a little “thankful thoughts” box each week for both layouts. What a great way to remember to focus on something positive each week!

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Cons:

  • In the distant past, they’ve offered an “academic” July-July format. Starting last you, you can get Jan-Dec 2016 or pay $5 more to also get the rest of 2015 included. I understand the manufacturing logistics of not offering any start and end month as an option, but think it’s pretty obvious most people are using a July-July format if you’re LAUNCHING YOUR PRODUCT in June. So it does truthfully really irk me I have to pay $5 and then just rip out August-Dec 2016 when I get the book. Come on, guys!

  • Cost. I’m listing this as a con because it’s the most common complaint I hear and yes, I do feel a bit of sticker shock each time I order. However, let me justify it to you this way: I work 185 school days and probably spend 10-15 minutes per day using my planner or smiling at my daughter’s picture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been having a really crummy stressful day and then I brush a few papers off and see her smiling at me from that cute, colorful book. That works out to 32 cents per day. 32 cents. 15 minutes of coffee? $3. 15 minutes of a massage? $15. 15 minutes in a car? $1.50. 32 cents is pretty darn cheap! Do yourself a favor and just get one 🙂 Once it arrives at your door, you won’t look back!

  • Shipping time. So, the nature of custom items is that they do take longer to manufacture. That being said, the website will always tell you an approximate ship date for your products. This year, mine was within a week! (It could have been because I was ordering 5 minutes after they launched….ehm…no I don’t have a problem!) However, there have been years in the past when I’ve had to wait several weeks. Therefore, don’t wait until 2 weeks before school starts back up and expect to have it for the first day of school. Just go ahead and order as soon as you can and enjoy filling it out whenever you start to feel the “back to school blues!”

  • There’s been some talk of customers experiencing some credit card fraud after purchasing from Erin Condren. I have personally never had this problem, but some customers swear “I’ve only used this card for Erin Condren and now have some unauthorized purchases.” Their customer services reps have been constantly talking on Facebook about their security and who industry-standard audits have shown their site to be secure. They did add Paypal as a checkout option this year, so you could always take advantage of that to be sure until more of this gets figured out.

To get a coupon to save $10 on the new Life Planner, add your e-mail address here:

I promise this is all I will use it for – I won’t sell it, or give it away, or anything else nasty like that! You get a coupon – I get a coupon and we both win!

Note: All pictures in this post are from Erin Condren.

Erin Condren Life Planner Review