(Note: I purchased my life planner, and my opinion is not solicited by EC. If you decide to purchase products based on reading my review, use my referral link to save $10.00, and I will much appreciate the $10 referral credit).
Everyone that knows me knows my life planner is a BIG DEAL. Why? Because I hardly shut up about it. Seriously, I tell anyone that will listen all about this thing. On paper organization is my jam, and I don't care for the world of technology based organization. I love to do lists, colored pens, and stickers; basically, I am a seven year old at heart. When my 2014-2015 life planner arrived, I felt like I had found my organization solution, and I was right. I have been using my planner for a year, and I can highly recommend it to anyone that prefers checking off a to do list and needs to see a spacial visual of each week.
A 12 month planner from EC is $50 while remaining months of 2015 added to the planner is $55. They are running a special for 25% off everything right now (code: FRIENDS25), so, using the code + $10 discount, you could nab a 2016 planner for $27.50 + $7.95 for shipping. Not bad!
Without further delay, here is a peak of my 2016 planner.
First, I love how EC always packages my orders like a gift.
This year, I went with the life in little squares design. I was able to get a lot of my favorite people and memories on my cover. For me, it evokes calm and happy feelings.
My current planner has 15 months (18 month planners debut every July), and I was actually excited to get a smaller 12 month option. It made the planner a little less bulky. The only downside is that I'm so excited about the new one, but I have to wait to start using it.
Here is a comparison photo, with the new planner on the left and the old planner on the right.
The same color coded months tabs are still in place. Side note: a snap in bookmark is still included, I just didn't get a photo of it.
Inside, the new design has a vellum overlay and room to write name and contact information on the first page. In my opinion, this was an upgrade from last year's inside the front cover space, since my sharpie writing smeared and rubbed off as time went on last year.
Next, July 2015-December 2016 at a glance:
Followed by this new addition. Cheesey? Yes, but I will probably use this space to write my goals at the start of each month.
Also new, each month now begins with a page for notes and a quote page. The notes section at the back is smaller now. I'll probably use these pages to write notes that are month specific/not notes I will need to refer to after the month is over.
The calendar looks basically the same. I'm actually going to be replacing each "Goal" segment on the side with check boxes for monthly bills.
The weekly views are the heart of the planner for me. The squares no longer say "morning," "afternoon," and "evening," so now, people could write things like "home," "work," and "school," or whatever they want. Still, I use my boxes to represent before noon, noon-5pm, and after 5pm. This system works great for me. On the left hand side, I make a big long weekly to do list (which I usually write out every Sunday evening). At the bottom, I usually just make notes, but you could use those spaces for meal plans, tracking exercise, or whatever. New this year is the "thankful thought" box in the top left corner. I really like the idea of filling one in every week!
New this year, customers have the option of buying a horizontal design, which gives a lot more space for writing. This isn't something I find myself needing, but I think I'd use the horizontal design if I were a student writing down homework assignments and such.
As mentioned earlier, the notes section is smaller this year, but I honestly never filled last year's section completely anyway. It also includes graph paper this year, which I'm a little too excited for. I want to use this to track participation in my online class. Yes, I can get this information from the computer, but it will actually make me see faster who is falling behind (rather than having to click and scroll).
Lined and black pages complete the notes section. I plan to use these for work notes, frequently called extensions, and a professional development log + reminders like gift ideas and book, music, and movie recommendations.
The 2017 at a glance calendar is in the back. I find myself referencing the next year's calendar pretty frequently. For example, when I find out about weddings that are in the next year, I like to circle the dates and make a little note to myself.
The four pages of stickers are back. I like the addition of the "Vote" sticker. I also like this year's color selection better than last year's. After these stickers, there are two pages of black stickers, one in each set of the colors shown.
This year's folder is more high quality than last year's.
The perpetual calendar was included again. I still have last year's, so I might use these pages in a different way. Not sure yet, but I'm excited to ponder it.
I liked this year's freebies better too (a coil clip, dot stickers, and compliment cards). They are all included in the clear pouch at the back. I like to use the pouch for carrying business cards and hair ties (two things I don't like to find myself without!). I had some issues ordering this year (my pictures wouldn't align correctly), so the company also sent me a package of three dry erase dividers for free. I think I'll use them to write meal plans, grocery lists, and student accommodations on. When I no longer need the info, I can just use rubbing alcohol to erase the sharpie.
I also ordered some stickers and a set of colored pens:
Later, I found out there are entire Etsy shops dedicated to planner stickers. Um, our entire savings account was in jeopardy (just kidding...sort of). Another post about stickers later (I promise, Stephen).
Anyway, now that I have my life planner, I'm going to enjoy writing down all my 2016 plans. I hope that however you choose to organize your life, you have as much fun doing it as I do!