Staying on track: My Erin Condren Life Planner

While I am a bit of a gadget girl, keeping my calendar in a digital format has just never worked for me. Perhaps it is my love for books in general — I was an early Kindle adopter but at the end of the day still prefer to hold a book in my hands — but I just like to see my life laid out for me on paper.

That said, I am in love with Erin Condren Life Planners. I’ve tried many systems through the years — everything from cheapie drugstore daybooks to fancy, customizable binders, and the Erin Condren Life Planner just … gets me.

2015 marks my fourth year of using one.

Now, before you go click over there and see the $50 price tag and think, “No way!” Please know that when I first looked at them, I saw the $50 price tag and thought, “No way!” But then, I looked again.

Here are a few reasons this planner is perfect for me, and might be for you:

  • Sturdy. This planner has a very thick spiral coil, and the laminated cover is of good quality. I carry this book EVERYWHERE, EVERY DAY, and it holds up throughout the whole year.
  • Movable ruler. I LOVE the moveable ruler bookmark that you can use to mark your place in the planner.
  • Monthly and weekly spreads. I use a monthly calendar and the weekly/daily spreads for different things. It’s great to not have to choose one or the other in these planners.
  • Daily set-up. I like the way days are divided into “Morning,” “Day,” and “Evening” rather than by the hour. That is the way I tend to think of my day, so writing things in these blocks is compatible with the way my brain works.
  • Cute. Yep. They’re cute. They have fun designs and colors, and inspiring quotes, and you can personalize your cover. Practicality aside, I’m still a girl who likes cute stuff.

The way I justify my $50 is that I buy my Erin Condren Life Planner every year for myself for my birthday, which happens to fall in late November. You could also make it a Christmas gift to yourself.

One downside: It can take awhile for shipping, especially at peak times of the year, to get your personalized life planner. You can order year-round, though. And, Erin Condren has just come out with a “quick ship” option where you can get the planner with a non-personalized cover, and then get your personalized cover later. I think this is a great idea! The company also comes out with new covers and options in the middle of the year, so you can get a planner with extra months in it.

One thing I am going to do differently next year: I spend every December carrying TWO life planners around. Next year, I will order my 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner so that it includes December 2015, and transfer that info, retiring my 2015 book early. I think that will make a little more sense, than the two-book method.

I think these also make GREAT gifts, and there’s a pretty nifty teacher planner, too, if you’re looking for something for a sister or dear friend. I highly recommend them!

Disclosure: The link to Erin Condren’s site I’ve included in this post is a referral link. If you click on it and buy something, I get a credit toward my next order. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, I promise. In fact, if you sign up as a customer, you’ll get a referral link of your own.

7 Things for a New Year

Free-happy-new-year-2015-clipart

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
– T.S. Eliot

It’s a New Year, the time to think about what lies ahead. I’m not making New Year’s Resolutions, per se, this year, but I did want to make a short list of what I will just call “things” – goals, thoughts, things  — big and small, that I want to do in 2015. So, here’s my list of 7 Things for 2015:

1. Take a vacation. As much of a homebody as I can be, travel is part of who I am. I love it, and I transmitted that travel bug to my daughter at an early age. With a new job last year, I did not take a vacation. In fact, I have not taken a single “day off.” I made three quickie trips to Florida to see my family, and on each of them, I did not take off work — I just worked remotely from there. I need a break this year.

2. Learn to like quinoa. I’ve tried it in a number of different recipes, and I just don’t like the texture. I’m vowing to learn to like it this year.

3. Renew my dedication to regular church attendance. I had some health problems in the middle of the year that kept me from church, at the same time I was starting a job that requires me to do at least some work on Sundays. I’ve allowed those things to become obstacles, and I need to get through them.

4. Purge. Even though I have not lived in this house all that long (less than three years), it is one of my longest stints at any address. In fact, this is my 26th address in my 42 years on this Earth. I move. A lot. And that generally means I purge regularly and keep down on the accumulation of stuff that comes from not having to pack your things in boxes all that often. But I’ve been here long enough to be accumulating clutter. Time to clean out the closets and the basement.

5. Start cooking breakfast again. I used to do this almost every day, and it was a good time for my daughter and I to sit down and bond before the day started. But with a new job and a new school this past fall, we got out of the habit of sitting down together to breakfast and it has become a grab and go affair. I’m looking for things I can make ahead to get back into this habit. (I’m pinning some ideas to my Breakfast Pinterest board. Have any to share?)

6. Blog. Yep. What you’re reading right now is one of my 2015 projects. Blogging used to be a big part of my life. I got away from it. Tryin’ to be a comeback kid.

7. Say no, a little. Yes, I did just tell you that “saying yes” was my New Year’s Resolution last year, and I kept it the whole year through. I intend to continue. But, it’s time to start saying no to a few things, too, and ensuring I have a little more time for me.

There you have it, my 7 “things” for the New Year. Did you make resolutions? What kinds of things do you want to accomplish this year?

The New Year’s resolution I kept

New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year, when we’re all supposed to be reflecting and looking forward. We make resolutions. We resolve to lose 30 pounds, or exercise every day, or be more organized. And, yes, I should do all of those things. But I’ve never been big on resolutions, mainly because I’ve never seen very many people keep them.

Last year at this time, though, I made a New Year’s resolution. And, for the most part, I’ve kept it throughout 2014. At this point, it’s become a part of my lifestyle.

I resolved to say yes to things – to new experiences, to change at work, to plans with friends. I would make my default a “yes.”

And, I’m pleased with the results. I have some dear friends I otherwise may not be as close to. I have had many fun times. And, I have a job that if I had not resolved to say “yes,” I probably wouldn’t have.

Was I saying “no” a lot before this New Year’s resolution? Well, yes. I make no secret of the fact that I am an introvert. I love people. Almost all people. I love being with people. But I would rather be with one or two people and have a deep conversation than make endless small talk at parties. And frankly, being with people can be exhausting to me.

So, while I had moved back to my hometown — a place where there were so many people I loved — my comfort zone had become very small. I had a couple of close friends I would spend time with. There was a running joke among a wider circle of friends that I wasn’t allowed out of the house without my bff. And that was kind of true. She had become my security blanket.

So, I resolved to change that. And it’s been super rewarding. Not every yes has been great — saying yes has led to a couple of awkward social situations and a few really awful dates. But it’s all in the experiences, right?

What New Year’s resolutions have you kept? How have they changed you?