Remember in the way far back of 2013 when I ordered the Mother of All Life Planners? Well, I had intended upon taking a few months to move into the thing, get to know my new system and all, and see what had happened was...
Pretty much all of 2014 is what happened.
But all the better to review her with, my dears!
Like everybody else in organizational creation, I placed my planner order in late December. That was a total rookie mistake, because OF COURSE ErinCondren.com's busiest season is going to be December (second busiest is August, just FYI), meaning I did not receive my planner until late January and therefore wasted a whole month of using it.
And speaking of using it, that I very much did. You know, for a person so wrapped up in tech-based planning, I was a smidge concerned that I wouldn't use this $50 planner at all and would have wasted precious Casa de Wilson dough.
It still takes my Outlook calendar (3 of them) AND a Google Calendar AND 6 email addresses AND this whiteboard AND this planner to manage the Big Life that is Team Wilson. It is not a flawless system but it mostly works for us.
One feature I didn't utilize to the fullest was my weekly at-a-glance/task list. I heard a smart somebody say once that your real to-do list is dictated by your calendar, because only when you determine a specific time you'll devote toward a task is that an actual plan for doing that thing that needs to be done. I say that sounds lovely, but also is only realistic for people who work in an office setting and are largely free from interruption. As both of those features are laughably distant from my *actual* work or home settings, I'll just have to figure out another way of using this feature.
Do you see these beautiful little color-coding stickers, my friends? Apart from the adorable petite round photo stickers I ordered for an extra $5, these little stickers (some came with the Life Planner, and I ordered a few extra sheets for $3) are one of my favorite features. I'm a super visual person, so I really value being able to identify an event/category/person's activity quickly with these bad boys. This has also helped me document the amount of time we are spending on certain activities and think reflectively about that. Either I over-ordered or under-used the color stickers because I have gobs left for next year!
This version also came sprinkled with a ton of great quotes, and I am all about some great quotes. A few of my other quotable nuggets came from Henri Matisse ("There are always flowers for those who want to see them."), Napolean ("Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools."), and Colin Powell ("There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.")
And speaking of accessories...there are so many from which to choose that I don't even know where to start. My favorites?
-note cards (I used them for lunchbox notes to my big girls)
-marker set (they're fine tipped and contribute gloriously well to any color coding family system)
-event stickers (these can be customized/personalized! great for someone planning a wedding or someone planning out their kid's first year)
-photo stickers (you can connect to your social media accounts and upload some of your faves really easily)
-elastic bands (helps to manage all the flipping-for-the-right-page)
So here's what I didn't exactly love so much about the EC Planner...
1. It's really bulky and on the heavier side, which I get is a byproduct of being a meticulously thorough planner. Still, I wish it was a bit more slimline to make my everyday tote a little lighter.
2. It's tabbed and divided well, but still you have to flip lots of pages to get exactly where you need to go. I ordered the book bands to help with that, which helped, but I hate having to pop the bands off when I'm moving across months. Total first world problem, I know.
3. This is really an issue with the company and not the product, but I really think that their flat shipping rate is unnecessarily high. Shipping for any item (even one little piddly pack of stickers that costs $1 to actually mail) is $8, at the very cheapest. So with the $50 price tag of the Life Planner plus a few little add-ons here and there and the outrageous shipping, you can get close to $100 if you aren't careful. And THAT would be cray to the zay.
4. Again, not really an EC Planner-specific complaint, but I hate the finiteness of the planner. I don't like it that I'm in September and I need to add things to January but there's no January in my planner. What is a girl supposed to do, carry around 2 planners? Ain't nobody got time or tote bag room for that.
What I would do differently next time...
1. First, I would order early (well before December) OR pay $5 upgrade to get 18 month calendar. Whatever you do, avoid the Aug/Dec rush. I've already ordered mine for next year using a $10 off code and had no add-ons because I still have stuff left over from last year. So this is a very reasonable purchase at $40, I think. This is my LIFE PLANNER, for crying out loud, amiright?!
2. I also wish I had known my first time to go ahead and create an account on ErinCondren.com, then wait 24 hours to to get my $10 off welcome discount. That's also some nice wait time to make sure you aren't making an impulse purchase (and all the husbands said Amen). I found out the frustratingly hard way that ErinCondren.com will not retroactively apply that code to an order already placed. If you are even thinking about a planner (or any of the other cool family manager or teacher gift products), just go create an account. Use my referral link.
So there you have it! I think there is much love to be had in the Erin Condren life planner world. Check it out, mamas (or papas, for the mamas)!