How I Organized my Life, Blog & Business

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I’m going to be honest…I am not the most organized person in the world.

(Ssshh. If you listen really carefully you can probably hear my husband my laughing…as if he didn’t already know that I wasn’t organized.)

Between managing this blog; running a somewhat successful design business full of deadlines; keeping track of birthday parties, playdates, and get togethers; keeping track of my husband’s work schedule; and ensuring that I don’t miss a doctors appointment or business call…I have a hard time keeping track of things. Up until recently my mode of tracking all of this was a handful of post-it notes, lots of scrap pieces of paper and whatever random notebook I currently had purchased full of a long list of Things to Do.

I have tried every kind of planner there is out there. I’ve bought “mom” planners from places like MomAgenda, cheapo planners from Target, planners with large writing spaces, planners with small writing spaces, planners with stickers, planners with only weekly sections, planners with times…

I think you get the idea.

If it’s out there, I’ve tried it.

And had zero luck. There was always something wrong with the one that I chose. I even thought of creating my own one time. I vented to my husband after the latest $15 investment had proven to be a bust that I just needed to make my own. No one else could get it right, so I’d just design one myself.

Well.

Someone does make one the right way.

And I’ve finally discovered it.

I’d seen a few bloggers in the past post about the Erin Condren Life Planner and how efficient it was. I even clicked over a few times to browse her site. And was immediately turned off by the price tag. $50+ for a day planner? No thank you. I could keep my cheap one and spend the other $40 on something else. Like pens…(I’m a total pen snob, in case you didn’t know).

About a month or so ago everything around here came to a head. My to do list was out of control; both business wise and personally. I was forgetting things for clients (which was what really set me off) and having to back track. I was forgetting events and things that didn’t need to be forgotten.

So when Erin Condren posted that her new set of Life Planner’s were available, I took a deep breath and bit the bullet. I headed over to her site, spent about 20 minutes debating which cover design I wanted, whether or not I wanted matching notepads, stickers and pens, and if I need any additional products from her store.

In t he end I spent nearly $75 on the planner, her ink pens, pen holder and shipping. It made me nauseous to spend that much. Granted I claimed it was a “business expense,” but the entire time I was waiting for it to arrive, I kept telling myself that if I was just better organized that I wouldn’t need it and my $3 planner from Target would suffice.

The DAY that it arrived I spent almost an hour filling it up and making notes. Here’s what I’ve reviewed and noticed about this planner so far…

Pro’s:

  • The cover is thick so that it doesn’t bend, tear or rip. That, in itself, is high quality.
  • I love that this planner is spiral bound. And not just like a cheap $1 notebook. The binding is thick and doesn’t bend. Having used planners without binding before, I can attest to how difficult it is to write something down when your planner won’t lay flat. This one does and it’s probably my favorite feature.
  • Even though I don’t plan things using the “morning, day, night” schedule, I am able to use the three different sections of the weekly planner area to organize the three main categories of my life: Family, Business and Blog. I use the morning/top section for Business since I work primarily first thing in the morning. The middle/day section to keep track of play dates, doctors appointments, and my husband’s work schedule. And the night/top section I use to keep track of what blog posts I’m going to write during the week since I do most blogging in the evenings.
  • I love having tabbed sections so I can jump from month to month if I need to. But, nothing is more frustrating than tabs that pull/fall/tear off. These tabs are laminated and thick so you can’t rip them or snag them on anything.
  • There are labeled stickers and blank stickers in the back that you can use for birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, etc. The blank ones work well to keep track of things that aren’t already labeled. She offers the option to purchase additional labels, but I didn’t get them and don’t think that I’ll need them. There are a lot already included.
  • The designs are colorful and fun so it’s easy on the eyes. There are a lot of inspirational and fun quotes throughout the entire book that I like as well.
  • Extra pages in the back for taking notes, doodling, jotting down messages, etc.
  • I especially love the Birthdays and Anniversaries Page at the very beginning. There’s a column for each month with the dates already listed, so I can keep track of all of those birthdays in one place.
  • One of my favorite aspects from a business standpoint is the Goals and To-Do’s column on the side of each weekly page. I like to plan my weeks in advance and these sections give me room to set business goals for each week as well as keep track of those “I absolutely have to get this done…this week…” things in one place.
 

Con’s:

  • I splurged and ordered a set of her pens when I bought the planner. I paid an extra $10 or something for them and they were terrible. I’m a pen snob and like things smooth, un-smudged and clean. These pens were none of those. They are ball point and clump up really easily, even fresh out of the package. The bright and happy colors on the box are not the colors of the actual pens. The pens themselves are dull and skip. Don’t waste the extra money on these. I ended up spending an extra $12 for a pack of my own pens later and hers are sitting unused in a drawer.
  • No information section at the front of the book. This isn’t a huge deal, but I don’t have anywhere to put my name/phone number, etc. in case it gets misplaced. Not that I take it out with my all that often, but I know lots of you DO carry your planners with you.
  • The planner came with a plastic page marker to stick in your weekly section so you could easily flip to where you wanted to go. The idea behind this is great. The quality of this one is not. It’s as tall as the planner itself, so it’s pretty much pointless. You can’t see it sticking out the top, so you still have to fumble your way through the pages to find the spot you’re looking for. Likewise, it is supposed to sort of snap into the binding. Mine pulls out very easily and doesn’t stay put. I pretty much always end up sticking it back in at the end of the day because it won’t stay.
  • The shipping was slower than expected. My planner was printed on June 15 and I received it the second week of  July.

 All of that said…

I have finally found the planner that I will use from here on out. I ordered this one to last me through December 2013, so I won’t have to order a new one until next year. I can keep everything together and organized while still using something that’s cute and functional. The price tag is a little steep in the beginning. But, the quality of the product is worth every single penny. I know now that I’ve purchased one that I won’t have any issues spending this same amount again later on down the road. It’s paid for itself in the first two weeks.

Disclaimer: I purchased this planner on my own. I was not compensated or paid by Erin Condren or her company to write this review.


my name is courtney.

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I am a sinner who was saved by grace. A wife to my hubby of 11+ years. A mama to three sweet kiddos. A small business owner and graphic designer. An avid reader and book lover. An aspiring author and a big fan of coffee and nap time. I'm  beyond stoked that you are here!

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Comments

  1. Laura

    July 5th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Courtney,
    I was reading your comment about how you dont want to write in the back of the cover your personal information because you are afraid you wont like it when it is over. You have NO idea how many times I worry about that. What can i say? I am a perfectionist… Anyway, I wanted to tell you a tip that was a life saver for me. If you write somewhere where it is plastic or paper laminated and you write over it with sharpie, you can use Expo (a dry-erase marker) and write all over it. After you cover the area you wanted to erase with expo, you can use tissue or even your hand to wipe it off and the Expo comes out with the sharpie so it is clean again. Hope this helped 🙂

  2. Michelle

    August 10th, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I love the color you got! Do you know what that blue is called?? Or looks like in the little option boxes?

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In case you missed it, my name is Courtney Kirkland. I'm a passionate follower of Jesus who believes that each one of us was placed right here, right now, for a divine reason. My goal is to help you discover your passion and your purpose and encourage you to DO SOMETHING WITH IT

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