Looking for Erin Condren Planner Ideas? I’m sharing an inside look into how I use my Erin Condren Life Planner for those of you who are pen and paper organizational people like myself! I’m sharing how I use the EC planner features in order to stay organized.
LOTS OF ERIN CONDREN LIFE PLANNER IDEAS PLUS A LOOK AT THE NEW EC PLANNER!
Back in 2014, I became an EC Life Planner addict. I was struggling to make technology work for me to stay organized with Google Calendar and my Notes app, and I still do!
I love technology but I am simply a pen and paper kind of gal!
Pen and paper can get a little overwhelming, too, though! Every year, I love taking an inside look at how people use their planners because I want Erin Condren Planner ideas, too! They always make me think and reevaluate – can I be better organized?
The answer is usually yes! It’s also why I really do love the EC Life Planner though. It fits all of the needs I was looking for in a life planner – pretty and customizable with lots of room to write – while also being customizable in so many other ways by other people.
Year after year it has stayed my favorite planner. I have her planners, her notebooks, her stationary, her markers, and even her canvases, so I love being able to share a product that I love with all of you.
In this post, I share with you a ton of Life Planner Ideas as well as other Erin Condren ideas for you using some of her other products.
Plus, I update every year to include a look into the new Erin Condren Life Planner, including the Life Planner Binder that was released this year which will be the majority of the photos in this post.
WHY I USE THE ERIN CONDREN LIFE PLANNER?
Even after 5 years of me using the life planner, my husband still doesn’t understand why I can’t just go all tech for my to-do lists and calendars. The new one arrived and right on cue he asked, “Doesn’t it get annoying transferring everything over? Isn’t digital easier?”
Yes, I’m sure digital calendars are easer for a lot of people, but that is simply not how my brain works. As much as I love technology and am counting down the days until I can get a new computer or a new phone, I think I will always be a pen and paper calendar person.
I like having one clear place to write down all of my ideas, action items, and responsibilities. One place to quickly glance at see the whole picture as it lies open on my desk.
Plus, I definitely get more satisfaction from crossing things off the to-do list than I do erasing them on my phone app.
But with all the options available to me, why do I use the Erin Condren Life Planner? Here’s a quick look into my life planner choice:
- Stylish and customized: I like change so I love that the Life Planner has interchangeable covers that I can update throughout the year for different seasons, holidays, or my general change of mood! You can also put your name, business tagline, favorite quote and more. I have covers designed for both business and family with personalized photos.
- Colorful: I spend a lot of time in my planner, so I want it to be fun and colorful. However, if you want simple and clean, they do have a neutral planner available now, too!
- Lots of Calendar Space with Three Layout Choices: There are laminated tabs for each month, which brings you to a two-page spread. This spread also has a notes section to the side which can be used for monthly goals, objectives, or month long to-do items. There are also weekly spreads with three different layout choices: 3 vertical sections a day, 1 large horizontal section a day, and an hourly spread.
- Note Pages at the End: Perfect for brainstorming, tracking projects/holidays, and planning details for events.
- Pockets: I love that the back of the life planner has built in sturdy pockets for loose paper storage and notes.
All of these things helped me choose the Erin Condren Life Planner and have kept me using it for years.
If you decide to give the life planner a chance like I did, here is my referral link for EC. If you sign up for their newsletter using this link, you will get a $10 coupon off your purchase and so will I.
I don’t recommend this product because of the referral link though. Many products and orders later, I’m still a fan which is why I keep updating this post year after year.
But let’s get into the details of how I use my life planner and share with you the Erin Condren Planner ideas I know you really want!
ERIN CONDREN PLANNER IDEAS FOR EACH SECTION!
HOW I USE THE MONTHLY CALENDAR IN EC LIFE PLANNER
The monthly calendar is where I keep the following: birthdays, vacations, social events, work events for both Bryan and I, appointments for Liam and Parker, and the editorial calendar for the blog.
Basically, I put anything there that I need to immediately see to make decisions about when I have openings for house appointments, if I can take on a new sponsored post, or whether Bryan and I are available for dinner with friends, etc.
I have found that when I put all of this in my digital calendar and I have to click on each day to see the events or everything is listed really tiny, I make mistakes. Seeing my entire month at one time definitely helps me stay organized.
I use Erin Condren Sticker Sheets as well as washi tape to highlight important events. For example, I’ll use a sticker to mark off a weekend that we are traveling or my inlaws are coming into town; it’s a very clear, visual sign that the weekend is blocked off. Plus I do love the pop of color on my monthly calendar!
I use smaller stickers to mark off appointments. Erin Condren actually released appointment stickers that I am loving with a colorful little flag on one side for attention and clear space to write on the other side.
The thing to note about the monthly spreads is that I keep these updated months ahead and continually go back to update it again while I don’t touch the weekly spreads until the month of and usually the week before.
I do this because the focus of the monthly spreads for me is tracking important dates and events so we don’t have scheduling conflicts and we often plan things out months in advance. Every month gets assigned a different sticker sheet from me and those that I am using are sitting in the pocket at the back of the planner.
Lastly, on the right hand side, you will see a lined space. These are located on both the monthly and weekly layouts and the use fluctuates more for me than other features in the planner.
For the monthly list, I most often use this to pencil in ideas and big picture tasks I would like to get done for that month but am not ready to officially schedule or assign to a particular week. For example, if I need to get a gift for a birthday or baby shower, I would add that to the monthly list to keep it on my radar.
ERIN CONDREN PLANNER IDEAS FOR THE MONTHLY NOTES LIST:
- Monthly Goals
- Monthly To-Dos and Tasks
- Monthly Meal Planning
- Add tracking stickers for goals and habits
- Project Tracking
HOW I USE THE MONTHLY NOTES PAGE IN EC LIFE PLANNER
A newer feature in the updated Erin Condren Life Planner organization system is a monthly note page which is placed before the monthly spread and next to the quote page for that month.
This page is newer and has fluctuated in each Life Planner so far. The iteration in the 2019 life planner actually has more guidance for this page than previously which had NO wording or categories at all.
Now, there is a box for monthly birthdays and a box for monthly goals. I was already using this page for monthly goals so the latter aligns well with my vision of organization. I wouldn’t normally keep birthdays here since I like seeing it on the monthly spread.
Honestly, I wish this page would have stayed without labels, but it isn’t a deal breaker for me.
Besides monthly goals, I keep this page to track my monthly projects, payments/income with expected date so I can track them, and monthly stats from the year before and then the current year when done.
I do like that they have included an empty notes page though in this section. I haven’t broken in my new planner yet since it doesn’t start for another month, but I am planning on using this in one of two ways: planning for my monthly projects such as designs for the shop or upcoming ebooks OR journaling. The kids are getting big so fast and I want to be more thoughtful about writing down moments with them and focusing on gratitude as a mom.
ERIN CONDREN PLANNER IDEAS FOR THE MONTHLY NOTES PAGE:
- Take notes for a baby book or track kid’s growth and milestones. It’s a great way to write them down while it’s happening so you can use them for a more formal baby book later.
- Use it as a journal for our favorites books, movies or shows at the time
- Track progress of your wellness goals
HOW I USE MY WEEKLY CALENDAR IN EC LIFE PLANNER
These weekly layouts are really where I keep my action items and to-do lists – the real nitty gritty of what I need to DO gets written. Unlike the monthly spreads, I am also not usually writing on these pages until the week of or maybe the week before.
Since my original post on how I organize my planner, I have tried all the layouts for the Erin Condren Life Planners they’ve released: vertical, horizontal, and hourly. I keep going back to my original though which is the vertical since it makes the most sense for my schedule and my brain.
The weekly calendar for the vertical layout is divided into three sections. These sections used to be called morning, day and night but are now left blank for your customization, which is awesome!
These three sections change slightly over the years and sometimes even the months. Remember when I said how I chose the Erin Condren Life Planner because it was customizable.
My normal use is for the first box to be post related, the second box is anything else work related (emails, phone calls, errands, etc), and the third box is personal. The bottom lines which are now colorful and fun are used for nightly items in our house like dinner plans, bath nights, friends coming over, etc.
The list on the left is normally used as a place for me to put to-do list items that need to get done that week and I need to remember but that I am not ready to assign yet to a specific day. For example, when I need to remember to do laundry before packing for a trip but I’m not sure which day will work best yet.
I also try to keep a small Post-It label on the left hand side of the page as well for a shopping list – it gives me a place to jot down items that pop into my head while planning or working. If I wait, I will inevitably forget. I just transfer it to my shopping list when I’m ready to go to the store.
OTHER FEATURES AND ERIN CONDREN PLANNER IDEAS
Starting with the 2018 Life Planner, you will find a page spread with 12 boxes. I, and I think most people from other Life Planner Idea I have seen, use this for goal setting. The type of goal setting depends on the person.
Since I use the monthly spreads to make focused monthly goals, I use these boxes to make yearly goals. It’s fun to look back now and see which ones I tackled and which ones got away from me. My goals are a mix of both work and personal; another attempt for work-life balance.
There are still note pages in the back of the planner though I am bummed because there seems to be less, with some of the note pages being taken over by fully designed pages that look like they are for coloring. I’m a huge fan of adult coloring, but my planner isn’t a place where I need to color. Plus, I do make use of those note pages in my planner.
ERIN CONDREN PLANNER IDEAS FOR NOTE PAGES:
- Gift Lists, including a running Christmas gift list so I can buy as I find things and keep track of budget and purchases
- Big Projects – planning, to do list, etc
- Party Planning
- Big Item Shopping Lists – big items that we are saving for. I try to rank them in order of importance to me.
- Book Recommendations and Book Tracking for the year
- House Projects – we have so many projects and wish lists for the house that I like to keep a running list with estimated cost listed. It’s an easy place to add everything and we can revisit as needed.
- Budget Items – Working on paying off debt or saving for big items? Track them in a note page. There are a few dot pages in the notes which would be perfect for coloring in a savings bar!
THE NEW ERIN CONDREN BINDER
The 2019 addition to the life planner collection was a life planner binder! Since I love trying their new products to share with you all and was intrigued with the binder concept, I ordered it immediately!
It is important to note that essentially everything about the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder is exactly the same as their traditional Erin Condren Life planner. The layouts are the same, the designs are the same and the features are the same.
The only difference is that you get all the pages in a wrapped bundle and add it to a ringed binder.
You can even still use all of your dashboards, dividers and even covers if you want. The covers will, of course, just be on the inside of the life planner binder.
The customization options for the life planner binder itself is less than the traditional planner right now. You will get to choose colorful or neutral for the inside of the planner just like the classic.
That choice follows through to the front of the binder in either the colorful kaleidoscope design of 2019 or the neutral version. You can also choose from a few solid color choices.
WHY I CHOSE THE ERIN CONDREN LIFE PLANNER BINDER:
- I like trying new things to see how it will fit into my organization system.
- I like that I can easily remove pages when the time has passed, making the planner thinner and less bulky over time.
- I like that I can possibly add paper and notes to the binder or tuck my notebook inside while I’m traveling.
I don’t think the current life planner binder is at its full potential yet though and am excited about the potential. For example, I would love to see the ability to add additional note pages into the binder as this is a priority for me and would allow me to consolidate my planning processes.
In the mean time though, if you choose this option, you are really getting the same options and format but in a binder versus a coiled planner.
HARDBOUND LIFE PLANNER
So a year ago, I decided to also order their new-at-the-time hardbound life planner because it’s small and I thought it would travel better in my computer bag or diaper bag. I used an Erin Condren corner sticker to make a little pocket so I always have a few business cards on me.
While convenient in size, the hardbound life planner just wasn’t for me. Too small means too little space for me to really write and visualize my life.
IN CONLUSION …
This post is long, and I’m sure it will just keep getting longer! Hopefully you find these Erin Condren planner ideas helpful as you plan our your own organization system. I know it can be overwhelming getting started but it feels so good when you have a stronger system in place.
Just remember? Having anything instead of nothing is already progress! And I’ve tweaked and changed my planner system a lot over the years and even months.
In conclusion though, here are the Erin Condren items I use the most for organization, for fun, and even for home decor:
- Erin Condren Life Planner: Full 18 months, vertical layout, and colorful theme.
- Deluxe Monthly Planner: Monthly calendar spreads with note pages. I use this for blog planning and editorial calendar brainstorming.
- Erin Condren Markers: They are dual tip and my favorite markers to use in planner but also just normal list making and writing. Erin Condren released so many new colors for these markers and I immediately bought them all.
- Erin Condren Stickers -The sticker sheets are my favorite versus the sticker books because they more match my organization style. I just don’t do a ton of crazy customizing or journaling like some do with their life planners because while I think it’s fun and awesome, I don’t have time.
- Erin Condren Stationary: I have family stationary, work stationary, and personal stationary. It’s also one of my favorite items to gift.
- Erin Condren Canvases: I have a gallery wall in my house full of them.
If you decide to purchase for yourself and give it a try, make sure you sign up for their newsletter using my referral link so you can receive $10 off your purchase.