About a year ago, I had just started my dietetic internship and decided to splurge on an Erin Condren planner. I’m a paper planner person and I thought it would be nice to treat myself given how hectic I knew my year was going to be. Now that I have had a chance to use it to its fullest, I figured it would be the perfect time to share my honest thoughts about it!
Now, I’m sure you may be wondering why I’m using a paper planner in the age of smartphones and outlook. I’ve always loved using a paper planner and that is probably never going to change. I love having reminders, my grocery list, calendar and to-do lists all in one place. I’ve tried several times to use my phone but getting to the information on my phone is not the same as easily flipping through my planner.
So anyway- if you’re unfamiliar with the EC planner, it is (in my opinion) a higher-quality and better organized paper planner than those typically found in the store. It includes tabbed monthly calendars, weekly calendars, sections to list important dates, lined paper, blank paper, stickers and a zipper pocket in the back.
Note: most of the pictures were either taken when I first got my planner or I purposely selected pictures that gave the least amount of my personal information. I did this intentionally and didn’t want you to think I wasn’t using the planner
I was very interested to see how my planner would hold up throughout its use and I’m pleased to share that the quality has exceeded my expectations. The cover and tabs are durable and the spiral binding has held up perfectly. I’ve gotten a new spiral-bound paper planner every year for the past 20 years and this is the first one that has not come undone by the time the year is up. My favorite part about the planner is the thickness of the pages. I can use heavier pens without the ink bleeding through.
This is where I really think the EC planner beats other paper planners. The weekly calendar layout is perfect for me, whether I’m making to-do lists, keeping tabs of appointments, meal planning, or keeping track of my workouts. I like that there are separate sections each day, as it allows me to keep work notes and personal notes separate.
I also like the margin on the side each week that gives you a separate place to make notes. Every Sunday evening, I sit down and make a list of things I have to get done for the next week- pick up dry cleaning, pay a bill, order new dog food, etc. This is just something I do to help me feel organized and prepared for the week ahead, and many paper planners don’t have the space for this on their weekly calendar pages.
I’ve read in some reviews that people hate how the days are vertical instead of horizontal. I actually love the vertical days since I make lots of lists
The biggest complaint I hear about the Erin Condren planner is that it is too big/bulky/heavy. I have not personally had an issue with the weight because I carry it in my work bag. I guess it wouldn’t fit in my purse, and maybe that’s where the complaint comes from, but I’ve never carried my planner in my purse anyway. As far as the actual size goes, I think this planner is the perfect size to give you just enough room on the monthly and weekly calendars. Take a look at my EC planner compared to my old, smaller planner:
I always felt like there was no room to write on the monthly calendar part in my old planner and it drove me crazy.
How I Use It
I crack open my planner at some point every single day. I mostly use the monthly calendar to keep track of important events (birthdays, graduations, etc.) and our finances. Each month, I make a list of all of our monthly bills and cross things out as I pay them or as they are auto-drafted. I used to keep a list on our fridge but sometimes I pay bills from my phone when I’m not at home and liked having the list easily accessible. Like I mentioned earlier, I keep my weekly to-do lists in the weekly calendar part. If I need to remind myself to do something then I will write it in the weekly part as well. I typically keep a running list of errands in this section as well.
The blank and lined pages in the back of the planner are handy to make permanent notes to myself. I also enjoy the back zipper pouch and pocket in case I need to keep track of anything. My CPR/AED card is currently hanging out back there.
What I Would Change About the EC Planner
I’ve mostly been happy with the planner but there are 2 things I would love to see changed. The first is I would prefer that the weekly calendars start on Sunday rather than Monday. I can see why some people might like to have Saturday and Sunday together, but I always think of the new week as beginning on Sunday and would prefer my planner reflect that. Also, I wish the sections in the weekly calendar section would be without titles rather than saying “morning”, “day” and “night”.
Leaving titles off would just allow for more flexibility for those who don’t organize their daily notes in that way. I usually have mine organized “work stuff”, “home stuff” and “meal planning/workouts” M-F and just a straight to-do list on the weekends.
Lastly- and I feel kind of like a grinch for writing this- but I wish some of the designs in the planner were not so obnoxious. I’m fine with bright colors but all of the quotes are a little much for me. I can deal with it because I love everything else about the planner, but I would definitely prefer a more professional design with the same layout.
My Thoughts in a Nutshell
I absolutely think this planner was worth the price, especially while I completed my dietetic internship. I kept my entire life organized in this thing and could not imagine keeping all of my assignments straight without it.
If you know someone who is in school and prefers a paper planner over a digital planner then this would be the perfect gift for them I loved my planner so much that I gave one to my sister for Christmas.
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t use my planner nearly as much now that I’m not in school. This is mostly because I’ve also made a conscious effort to try to chill out for a little while and not be as neurotic about things that have to get done. Even so, I will probably still purchase another one when the new edition comes out next week because I don’t think I would be happy with a different layout now that I’ve used this one.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a good day!
P.S. You can find my 2014 planner review here.
If you’re thinking of ordering something from Erin Condren then I would love your support by using my referral link. Thank you!!