A Detailed Look at My New Planner


Hi everyone! This is a post that I pulled out of the archives, but it's still so relevant as to how I use the Erin Condren coiled planner, that I left it up rather than tossed it into the bin. I need to do a long, involved post on the hardbound planner as well, since that's the format I'm favoring lately. It's coming! In the meantime, here's a peek at my planner system that I used for YEARS, and much of the format is the same.

Jessica :) 


Hi everyone!

I know it's been a while since I've posted a gushy blog about my Erin Condren planner, and honestly, I've meant to do another one, but I've been so busy writing!

I mean when your heroes look like this:

Well, you see my problem. 

But today, I'm going to share and gush and rave! My friend, Charissa suggested I do a blog after she decided she was ready to take the EC plunge and was texting me questions about the line. It *is* hard to know where to start or what to get. So I'll touch on that today.

Let's go!

Choosing a design for your planner is the. hardest. thing. EVER.

I'm being melodramatic, but not exaggerating too much. I mean, what color coil do you want? And what cover do you want? For the entire YEAR? I can't decide what I like from week to week! Since I truly loved my blue & silver 2015 cover, I decided to go with the same design, but in black & gold. The gold is a little more, the coveted "rose gold" is even more, but this is your YEAR, your LIFE we are talking about here, so go ahead and spring for it!

The good news

You don't have to marry your planner cover. They're exchangeable *gasp!* so you can tear one off and replace it with another. Here is my current cover. Yes, it's gold and my coil is silver, but we can only do so much, people.  ;-) 

If you're ordering a planner as a gift, they have a section with "good to go" planners which are generic (no personalization) on the front, but come with a coupon for a free personalized cover. This method is HIGHLY recommended if you're in a hurry to get and use your planner. Because the wait sometimes is agonizing. Not that it's unreasonable, but I just get SO excited that it *feels* unreasonable.

You know, like when you're waiting for the next book in a series to come out. 

Here is a referral link for $10 off if you can't read the rest of this post because you already have the fever. It happens.

The Arrival

Once you order, then wait, you get to experience The Arrival. Which I will now share in this series of photos.

The planner

The notebook

I also splurged for a second notebook, which contains paper made in heaven. I swear. So thick and luxurious... it might just make every other journal you have obsolete. 

As you can see, the notebook fronts are the "same" as the planners, which means... you can swap those covers, too. :idea: My "theme" thus far seems to be paisley for the notebooks and the fleur de lis-ish design on the planners. 

Now for the inside

Other than displaying my washi-and-sticker filled pages previously, I don't think I delved too much into *how* to use the weekly set up. So I'll show you the inside of my current planner. 

There are three layouts to choose from now. Vertical, horizontal, or hourly, which is hot off the presses.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Erin Condren planners is because the layout was not spaced out in hourly increments, so that one definitely isn't a draw for me. Typically my "stuff I gotta do" list happens at different times of the day. A few times a week, I have real life appointments (dentist, hair, dinner, etc.) that are set in stone, but mostly it's a hodgepodge of things that need completed by a certain date. I do better with my goals if there is flexibility so hourly definitely is not for me.

Now, the horizontal (bottom left) is one divided bar, but definitely doesn't work for the way I split my day.

What I prefer is the vertical. Here's an example of what a recent week looked like:

I split my day thusly:

  • Top section: writing (word count, goals, scene notes)
  • Middle section: personal (I track my workouts here, too)
  • Bottom section: any to-do's or notes
  • Lined footer: Social media posts for the day

Also on the weekly section is a "goals & notes" section. Now this will change some next year in that the calendar in the upper left corner will go away (I never use it anyway) and will be replaced with a blank box called "thankful thought" which is great! I'm going to use it post motivational quotes.

In my goals and note section, sometimes I separate it like you see below:

  • On deck: projects I'm working on or expecting back, such as edits coming in
  • Blog: A list of blogs I'm need to write. (Look! There's this one.)
  • Prayer: this week, I had a lot of specific prayin' to do, but some weeks I make a note of general healthy practices such as: eat healthy, yoga, take your Vitamin D, etc.
  • To-do: Any general list of things I want to accomplish that week

Once I reach Sunday, I flip the pages and transfer what didn't get done to the new week. Sometimes things need transferred over, other times nixed from my calendar altogether. 

Here is a snapshot of the monthly spread, basically what you'd expect. The gold heart washi is mapping off time to work on Return of the Bad Boy copyedits which are coming in after the holiday weekend. I use the stickers that come with the planner to write in any appointments, in this case, a book signing with Lori Foster on 12/5 called Romancing the Holidays.

The back matter

That's a little publishing lingo joke for you. πŸ€“

Every planner includes a perpetual calendar for marking down birthdays and anniversaries. I used to be BOSS at this, sending our friends and family timely greetings. Now... not so much. One day I'll use it. (Maybe.)  πŸ˜’

There is also a zipper pouch in the back for holding stickers or post-it notes, whatever you want. I packed mine too full at first and tore the edge so now I only a few sheets in there. 

So that's it!

That's how I organize my writing life with my Erin Condren planner. I have to say, before I bought this (2015 is my first year), I always had a planner, but was never great about using it. This one works and it works because I use it. That's the catch.

Erin Condren also has an awesome sauce referral program. You save $10 and she puts a $10 credit for me to spend in her store, which is not only smart, but a dirty, dirty trick to get me in there to spend more money. And I do. Happily.

The referral link is here if you want to get your own, and I'd order soon simply becaue they get busy at the end of the year. 2016 is upon us.

I'm trying not to think about that...