In August last year, I ordered a much-coveted Erin Condren Life Planner from their website that would cover the rest of 2015 and the whole of 2016. I personalised my cover, ordered it and then couldn’t wait for it to arrive on my doorstep. I was so happy when it arrived, and I blogged about my first impressions of the Life Planner here. That post is brimming with excitement and a belief that the Life Planner was about to revolutionise my blogging life.
The reason behind me buying it was primarily to help me organise my blogging schedule. I wanted to keep all my blogging notes, ideas and plans in one place. As I mention in my earlier post, I was using a ‘system’ of random notebooks, various lists and a selection of screwed up post-it notes to write down all my post ideas, weekly and monthly blogging schedule, and reminders. I’d then made a decision to focus more on blogging and I wanted to get organised.
I thought it would be interesting to revisit that post and blog again about my impressions of the Erin Condren Life Planner. I’ve owned it for several months now. My verdict on it at the moment (and it makes me a little sad to write this) is that although it is a fantastic idea and a gorgeous piece of stationery in itself, the planner just does not work for me. I stress that this is only my opinion based on how it fits in to my life. I know so many people absolutely love this, and I do love the concept of it. It just does not work well for me with my current lifestyle, and I’ll explain why.
The main reason this does not work for me is the size and the portability issue. I don’t work from home, so although this is for my blogging life I wanted to carry the planner in my bag with me to work. This was so I could jot down notes and ideas, check my schedule, and record any bursts of inspiration on the go. Although yes, this is possible, over time I noticed that the planner in my bag was more of a hindrance than a help. It is just too big and heavy to carry around on a daily basis. It’s not inconspicuous enough for me to just whip it out of my bag for a minute to write something down.
The other problem was that, after a while, the front cover just kept coming off in my bag. It was becoming a pain to put it back on every couple of days. After a few weeks of having to do this, the little grooves that fit in through the coil to clip the cover in place were getting damaged and bent. It was getting less secure every time because of this. The Elastic Bands I purchased were a big help in keeping it all together. The pen holder is a good purchase as a pen is always to be found. But the Snap In Dashboard To-Do List, which was such a selling point for me, was also starting to get damaged. The corners were bending over and it kept coming unclipped.
It was sad to see something so nice being damaged. The only option was to leave it at home. I ended up carrying a small notebook with me again. That soon become a notebook bursting with post-its and random lists. I really do need to write things down as I forget things easily. Most of my inspiration for blogging comes when I am out and about. I transferred my ideas and notes to the planner later on.
The Way I Use It
The second reason this probably isn’t the right planning medium for me is that I don’t use the Life Planner to its full potential. It is designed amazingly well. Plus it comes with loads of accessories and add-ons. You can really personalise it and have it fit in with what you need. One of these is the stickers that come with it, and which you can also order as extras. It seems that I just wasn’t in to the sticker aspect of it. I never really came up with a ‘sticker system’ that I stuck to (pun intended).
I did watch some YouTube videos to see how other people organised their planners. However it turned out that using stickers and colour coding really wasn’t essential to me for what I was using it for. An ordinary diary would have worked just as well. I occasionally made the effort. When trying to plan a week of blog posts I would try to implement some sort of sticker system. I would also attempt to fill the pages up a bit with some appointments and dates not related to blogging. To be honest this was unnecessary. I rely on the calendar I have on my wall to remember those things.
And finally, the third reason that the Erin Condren Life Planner doesn’t seem to work for me is because of the way that I blog. If you search my blog for any of the posts I had dutifully scheduled in the photo above for the week of March 21 you’ll notice that none of those went up! This is because I find a flexible blogging schedule suits me better. I tend to write about what I feel like writing about at the time. I find it hard to stick to a set schedule.
Every time I would write a weekly posting plan like this, I never managed to keep up with it. I think this is mainly because I don’t blog full-time and don’t need a more concrete plan. I find it easier to have a list of post ideas under a category name, and I then pick out something I feel inspired to write at that moment.
This is by no means a criticism of the Erin Condren Life Planner itself. I still think it’s a fantastic concept. It’s a really beautiful product. It’s fun to use, and a huge help to many people out there in becoming more organised. I don’t regret ordering it so I could try it out myself. It just doesn’t fit in with my blogging life at the moment. I am sure that if I were a full-time blogger then this would be right beside me on my desk. It is the perfect tool to meticulously plan a blogging schedule. I think perhaps if I were to utilise it for anything else I were doing full-time then it would also be very helpful.
When I worked as a recruitment consultant in the past, this would have been ideal to keep in my car. I travelled about a lot to various appointments. I also think it would better suit people who have a very busy life (mums, for example). They could make more use of the colour coding and sticker systems to keep themselves and their families well organised.
For now, I won’t order anything else from the Erin Condren site to add to my planner. I am keeping it should my lifestyle change in the near future. It would be great to make it work for me somehow.
I would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve tried the Erin Condren Life Planner. Or maybe you have any other tips for organising your blogging life? Do you use a planner or other calendar for your blog or daily life?
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