If you know me, you know that yesterday was basically Christmas for me since my 2018 Erin Condren LifePlanner arrived!
Before we get into the review, I'd like to state for the record that I purchase my own Erin Condren products and am not compensated in any way by the company. I just really like the products. Should you decide to give their LifePlanner (or anything else EC) a try after reading my review, I'd really appreciate it if you'd use my personal referral link (you will save $10, and I will get a $10 credit, so it's a win/win!)
First, a few details: There are not a LOT of options for the LifePlanner. You can get a hardcover book or a spiral bound now (which uses interchangeable covers); I love the traditional spiral. You can personalize your cover (many of the designs, like this one, you can choose any color combination you want), and you can choose the color of your spiral (I picked Rose Gold). You can also choose if you want remaining months of 2017 + 2018 or just 2018. I always buy my LifePlanner in the summers, but I only get it for the upcoming Jan-Dec year. I personally like a less heavy book, but I want to be able to write down future dates as they come in.
I love how my design came out. The hardest part will be waiting to use it!
This year, EC continued to leave the pouch unattached to the planner, but they do provide a large coil clip if you wish to attach it yourself. I leave mine out of my book: I've found this makes it less heavy and flatter (the interchangeable covers sometimes peel off non-flat planners. This is no big deal, you just pop the cover back onto the spiral, but it can be annoying to have to do that frequently). The inside of the book cover is dry erase (you can use permanent marker and alcohol will erase it), and they kept the same velum overlay, which is pretty and functional (protects from smearing if you use your dry erase board).
The pouch included some freebies like compliment cards, gift tags (Brendan and I ordered some of these and love them for taking bottles of wine to birthdays, housewarmings, etc.), a large coil clip, sticker sheet, and a hardbound notebook (some of these freebies may have been for early release, so check the website).
The biggest difference in the LifePlanner this year is the paper quality. This is FSC-certified quality paper made at a mill in America, and you can feel (and smell!) the difference. I'm geeking out over the weight of it.
They also improved the weight of the card stock on the tabs, so those will be less likely to bend. Just like last year, you can order a colorful or neutral design for your planner. I always go with colorful, and I like that the colors are bolder this year compared to last year's pastels.
After the year at a glance is the goal's sheet that you can use to make monthly goals (or, you could budget here or do something else). I try to set attainable goals, but I'll work on how to use the pages more effectively. My April goal literally just said "survive semester." Check.
Last year, there was a ruled notes page before each monthly view. This year, it has been replaced with the format you see on the left. I personally use this page to jot down information only relevant to that month (such as who did extra credit, recommendations about places I'm traveling to, meeting notes, or quotes on services we need for our house or catering if there's an event at school). I think this new format is whimsical, and I could see myself using the circles to track my weight and fitness goals (I currently use the monthly view for that). The quote pages are also back.
I love the look of this year's calendar pages. I always write everything coming up on my calendar and then transfer to the weekly view each week. I track all of our bills on the right side of this page.
Can I just say how amazing it is that 2018 begins on a Monday? I love this next year already. This is the "weekly view." Erin Condren offers three weekly view options: vertical (pictured here), horizontal (think your traditional school planner), and hourly. I use the top box for anything in my day before noon, the middle box for noon-5pm, and the bottom box for after 5pm. This works great for me, but I don't have a ton of variety in my daily schedule (for instance, I only need to write down meetings that are outside of my normal teaching/tutoring schedule). I like that they kept the thankful thought box but didn't label it as such. I'll continue to use it as thankful thought (it's a nice way to start the week), but I definitely see how that wouldn't be for some people. I use the left side of the page for my weekly to do list, and I often write down meal plans across the bottom of the page (on weeks when I have my stuff together that is).
The notes section is back with four pages of lined paper (I use mine to track professional development, car maintenance, gift ideas, and discussion question sign ups for my lit classes).
Four pages of dotted grid paper replaced the graph paper (I rarely use the graph paper, so this change doesn't affect me much).
Four coloring pages replaced the four blank pages. I really like this change because I don't have much use for blank pages, but could see myself using these to decompress.
Same great format for the year ahead page. I always write the next year's school schedule here as soon as it is released plus dates of upcoming weddings.
The sticker sheets are more useful this year (I know it's funny to talk about stickers as being "useful," but they really help me visualize my week and all the things I need to remember).
The folder is identical to last year's.
And a perpetual calendar is still included, so you can write down birthdays/anniversaries. Maybe I should use the password page, so we could finally remember our Apple ID for the Apple TV?
I didn't want my old LifePlanner to feel too sad, so I ordered a new interchangeable cover for it :)