29 December 2013

Erin Condren Life Planner 2014!

As you may know I am obsessed with organisation and planning and a new year inevitably means a new diary. For 2014 I decided to step away from my trusty Filofax planner and order an Erin Condren Life Planner. I spent a while researching the Life Planners on blogs and YouTube before eventually biting the bullet and ordering my own and I am so excited to be sharing it with you.

This will be quite a long post but it's such a bespoke service and it is quite an expensive purchase so I thought it would be best to include as much detail as possible.

Once I actually start writing in it in January (my family believe it's bad luck to write in a new diary or on a new calendar before the new year begins - do you have any odd family superstitions?) I'll do an updated post to show you how I'm organising it.

I ordered my Life Planner on Monday 21st October with an expected shipping date of Wednesday 30th October and my planner arrived on Tuesday 5th November at midday which I was SO impressed with. I loved tracking it and seeing all of the different places it went through - sad but true!

The planner comes beautifully packaged, even the box it's shipped in is decorated with teal and pink paisley print and the planner itself comes wrapped in two different types of bubble wrap and then tissue paper, secured with the trademark Erin Condren 'Enjoy!" sticker.

There are numerous different styles to choose from, all of which you can personalise and truly make your own. I opted for the 'collage' planner and personalised mine with some of my favourite pictures from 2013. You can personalise the front and back, I completely personalised the front but I only included three pictures on the back as I'll be spending less time looking at it. 

The beauty of the collage planner is that you can upload your pictures directly from Instagram, Facebook or your computer which saves a lot of time. I uploaded all of mine from Instagram and the quality is fantastic. I was concerned that they wouldn't print very well as they were Instagram photos but I needn't have worried as you'd never know they were Instagram pictures.

You can also add text, I opted to have my name (I've removed my surname from the photos) and "live, laugh, love" which is beyond cliche but there's nothing wrong with reinforcing the idea.

The planner comes with a snap-in ruler/page marker which I think I'm likely to keep in the plastic wallet (more later!) and is bound by a thick aluminium coil which s very sturdy and won't bend if you put it in your bag.

The first page is beautifully patterned and is emblazoned with the quote above. Inspiring quotes are present throughout the planner, they cover each month and they're a really nice touch. I like the concept of the 'Thought a Day" diaries so for me this is the best of both worlds. 

Each section has laminated tabs as dividers and the first opens up to reveal pages dedicated to Birthdays  and Anniversaries, there is a column for each month to allow you to write all birthdays and anniversaries at the front so you have them all in one place. This is really helpful for me, I'm usually pretty good with birthdays but being able to look them all up here is a bonus.

The next pages are dedicated to year at a glance calendars. I use these quite a lot at work and I'll be referring back to this one quite a bit for certain dates and events.

Each month starts with a month at a glance. I'll be putting birthdays and key dates and events here as well as on the day of the event/birthday. This is a great way to see what plans you have and when and helps to avoid double booking - when you just use day pages it's hard to see the bigger picture so this is a really helpful way of keeping track of everything. 

The notes section down the side is a nice touch, I'm not certain what I'll be putting there yet (maybe shopping lists?) but I'm sure I'll find a use for it. If you have any suggestions, leave them below.

You have a week across two pages with each day divided in to three: morning, day and night. I quite like having everything structured and chronological so this was a big plus for me as it's easier for me personally to organise myself. 

The weekly pages have a "goals and to-do" section running along the side much like the notes section on the month at a glade and underneath each day there's space to make additional daily to-do lists, exercise routines, meal plans etc., I'm not sure what I'll be putting here either as I don't plan my meals but again, I'm sure I'll think of something!

At the end of the planner there are 20 page blank and lined note pads. You can also buy additional pads to stick in to your planner but I think this will be more than sufficient for me as I tend to carry a note book around with me anyway although I'm interested to see how I will get on having two in one.

The 'contacts' section has a place to put all of your details and contacts. I'm probably not going to fill this in just in case anything happens to my planner, it would be a disaster! I keep all of that information elsewhere anyway so it's not something I'll be using. 

Now for something that really set this planner apart for me: stickers. I know, I know, I'm easily pleased! The planner comes with pre-printed stickers for birthdays and other events and appointments (mani/pedi, doctors, game and so on) as well as blank stickers for colour coding (I LOVE colour coding!). You can also order your own personalised stickers which I opted to do so that I could have things like Bank Holiday, phone bill, oyster card and so forth easily marked out.

My personalised stickers came tucked in to this two-sided document pouch which is right near the back of the planner and is a great idea. I'll be keeping my stickers in there to keep everything together.

The plastic wallet is one of my favourite parts of the planner. It closes like a sandwich bag and contains some name labels and some little appointment cards which is a really nice touch, especially if you have forgetful friends.

The planner finishes with year at a glance calendars for the next two years - a scary thought!!

Clockwise from top left: sample pack of labels, labels, product catalogue, $10 gift card

In addition to my Life Planner and personalised stickers, a sample label pack was also included, perfect for sticking on a bottle of wine (last minute gifts are always winners and with my friends, you'll never go wrong with rose!) and a catalogue of products which included a $10 gift card, all of which was a lovely gesture.

I'm so pleased with my planner and I can't wait to start using it, if you're buying from overseas it can look pricey but once you allow for the currency conversion I think mine came to around £60 including shipping which I think is really reasonable, especially given how quickly the planner arrived.

Erin Condren Life Planner 2014 (12 months) - $50
Extra stickers - $5 each
Express shipping $49.50

For me, being organised is one of the easiest ways to have peace of mind. A colleague once said to me that it's important to write things down as it takes away the anxiety of having to remember them and I couldn't agree more. On top of that, I don't like uncertain plans, I need to know what I'm doing and when so anything that makes me even more organised is a huge benefit for me personally.

Have you picked up a diary or planner for 2014? How easy do you find it to stay organised?

Vicky x

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