Two years ago, I decided to try an Erin Condren Life Planner. Prior to that, I had been keeping all of my appointments and notes on my Apple Calendar (iCal). Now, I am definitely a tech girl, and I loved the idea of syncing my calendar across all of my devices so that I always had it on hand. Unfortunately, I started missing and forgetting too many things. Managing all the appointments and tasks associated with work, home, and kids made me anxious because my head felt so cluttered all the time. As it turns out, I tend to process information visually. That means I really need to see information laid out in front of me.
So, I decided to take a step back to the old times and get a paper planner. A friend mentioned getting an Erin Condren planner, and I loved the idea that this could be a cute new accessory in addition to helping me get my life in order. Being able to see my month or my week spread out across the page was actually a huge stress reliever. I review my planner many times throughout the day so that I don’t miss anything. I can write notes to myself as they come to me. I feel like I am controlling how I spend my time, and I am not being controlled by time anymore. It also helps me to be even more productive with the time that I have because I can see what I need to work on the next day if I find myself with extra time as I wait for a child to be done with practice or rehearsal.
Everyone with an Erin Condren planner will use theirs differently, and that is ok! One of the great things about it is that you can use the space in a way that best suits your life and schedule. Here’s what I do:
- I write appointments on the monthly calendar (includes things like haircuts, doctor’s appointments, auditions, travel, and kid activities). I usually have this filled out 2-3 months ahead of time. I only fill out my weekly schedule view one week at a time (usually on Saturdays). Getting too far ahead of today stresses me out. Plus, it will probably change.
- I don’t decorate much. If you search Pinterest for Erin Condren planners, you will see some amazing spreads. I stand in awe. I, however, don’t have that much time to spend decorating for the week. Plus, I actually need most of that space to write tasks and notes.
- Some people also write in various shades of marker or pen either to color code activities or just to make the page pretty. I, on the other hand, write in pencil. I need to keep things flexible and will often erase and move items around through the week. I don’t want to have to cross it out if it is not done or create a mountain of gloppy wet white out.
- I pick a quote every week to write in my “thoughtful thoughts” box at the top left corner. I have a huge Pinterest board with quotes and funnies.
- I keep the sidebar for making shopping lists or phone numbers. I’ve also started putting a social media tracker there to remind myself where I need to be posting.
- I have a vertical planner, which means that each day of the week gets a vertical column (you can get horizontal layouts too). Each of the three blocks gets assigned one of the following: home, work, writing. In the home block, I’ll write down things I need to do around the house or for the family. In the work block, I make notes about things I need to do for my classes, at the university, or with my research. The writing block is for all things related to blogging and writing.
- Any papers I need to have handy during the week go into the folder or the zipper pouch in the back of the planner.
Do you have an Erin Condren planner or are you thinking about trying one? If you already have one, I’ve made a special free printable that I am going to share with you. These are the Lilly Pulitzer inspired summer fun Erin Condren squares that I’ve made for my planner.