Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Organize My Life: Erin Condren Life Planner 6 Month Update!

{Organize My Life is a multi-post series all about (you guessed it) organization! Make sure you check out the other posts listed at the end of each entry (as most of these posts will reference one another), as well as the coinciding video!}

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first edition of the Organize My Life series here on FivEleveNinety! I'll be sharing how I stay organized in my daily life over the next few months in hopes that those who may have a similar lifestyle as me may be able to pick up some tips & tricks that may be useful to them. The first topic that I'm going to tackle is one that I'm very much an advocate of - using a daily planner. I use both an electronic and portable paper calendar in order to really keep my ducks in a row, but today I'm going to get more into detail about how I organize my paper planner - the 2013-2014 Erin Condren Life Planner!

Last fall, I purchased my very first Erin Condren Life Planner and posted a little review video, which not only included the ins and outs of the 2013-2014 edition, but also included how I had been using my 2013 planner. I thought that now that I've settled into my Life Planner and have been using it for half a year, I'd show you the ways that I've been using it so far and how it's held up thus far!

*click any photo to enlarge!


I received my Life Planner in the mail in early November of 2013, and with all I put it through, it's held up famously these past 9 months! I use & take this thing pretty much everywhere with me - school, work, errands, home... everywhere! - and I spend a lot of time flipping through the pages and opening & closing the planner itself. I haven't had any issues with the cover or pages getting damaged, and the coil has not been crushed in any sort of way even though it gets taken in and out of bags constantly.

I do have a bit of water damage on the first few pages from a leaky water bottle mishap in my bag, but those pages dried and held up well despite the situation.

The teeth of the ruler have held up fine for the most part, despite one bending in an awkward direction when I moved it from one week to the next at the end of May. A little disappointing, but at least it was only one of the teeth and it happened almost 5 full months into everyday use.

The "Keep it Together" folder arrived a bit worn, and eventually the bottom of it ripped, but I fixed it quickly with some packaging tape and it's worked fine ever since.

Overall, the planner has stayed in pretty great shape throughout all of the wear and tear I've put it through. Hopefully the next 6 months will prove that it can withstand my crazy life for an entire year!

Color Coding

Yes, I color code. I bought a $10 pack of Staedler ballpoint pens in all different colors about a year ago, and when I got my Life Planner they were put to good use! Here's my code as of now:

Red: Bridgewater (my university & work place) general
Orange: Dean (where I hold my RD position) general
Light Green: Note Taking/Proctoring (This will be turning into my internship obligations for the fall semester)
Dark Green: PC (the club I advise at BSU)
Light Blue: Class
Dark Blue: Bills
Purple: Office of Student Involvement & Leadership (my office for my GA position at BSU)
Pink: Dean ResLife
Black: Personal

I usually stick pretty closely with this coding system, but in some instances I make exceptions. For example, for nights of duty at Dean, I usually write "DUTY" in all caps and then circle it in the monthly view. I do this because it REALLY makes it stand out to me, which is important because I can not forget when I'm on duty!

I also use my EC stickers that came with my planner in varying ways. I try to stick to the color code I laid out for the most part, but sometimes I can't make that happen due to a lack of that particular color sticker. So I usually just use them if I want to make something really pop out.

Perpetual Calendar/Special Dates

I did put all of the birthdays and anniversaries of my friends, family, and loved ones in this section, but I've found that ever since I did that I haven't really looked there too often as I also made sure to include them in the monthly & weekly views as well. I can still see myself using it if for whatever reason I forget when exactly a particular birthday is, but for the most part I don't find myself using it that much. I'm excited that the new edition has made the perpetual calendar a small book which you can transfer from year to year, instead of having to write it down with each new Life Planner!

Monthly Views

I've been using the monthly views as more of a quick at-a-glace view of what my overall month looks like. I usually won't put recurring or everyday obligations on this view, such as meetings or class, but I will put things that I really don't want to forget, such as nights that I'm on duty, bills that are due races that I'm running, birthdays, and larger events (professional or personal) that I want to keep track of. I also use the monthly view to keep track of my running mileage. I usually track daily runs, add up the miles week-by-week, and at the end of the month add up all the miles that I ran. It's really cool to see them pile up! I also did this with my previous agenda, and wound up tracking over 600 miles in 2013!

Weekly Views

This is where I get more detailed in my day-to-day obligations. I make sure I put each and every meeting, class, appointment, etc. in order of how my day is going to play out. I didn't think I would really like the Morning, Day, and Night layout of the Life Planner, but I've actually found myself really using it to guide me through my day. I may also put to-dos in this portion if I only have one or two items, but I tend to put longer lists on a sticky note or a separate note pad.

At the bottom of the calendar I'll put day-long events, such as birthdays, pay days, or campus-wide events to be aware of. I also use this to track my runs if I run out of room in the calendar section.

I use the Weekly Goals & Notes section for class assignments. I couldn't really fit them in the calendar section because of all of my work meetings & whatnot, so I thought that keeping them separate from the craziness of my schedule would make me notice them more! I'll get into more detail into how I track assignments in a future Organize My Life post! ;)

I use this view as a place to write my workout logs as well. I got a nice Garmin watch for Christmas that tells me my time, mileage, pace, and calories burned, so I'll log all of those details of my runs in the weekly view. I'll also track additional workouts that I may do, such as weights, ab circuits, yoga, etc. I enjoy being able to look back and see how I've progressed in my health. Recently I made a note of when I started training in my new sneakers, so I know how many miles I put on them!

The stars throughout this view are a way for me to rack my headaches & migraines. I do get them fairly often, and I like to take note of when they're happening, how intense they are (I have a 1-5 star rating system - 1 being the least painful, 5 being the most), and any additional symptoms I may experience. That way when I talk to my doctor about them I'll know exactly how often they're happening and what they feel like.

Notes Section

I don't use the notes section too often, but I do like to keep really important bits of information in there for quick reference. For example, I put my daily schedule for the spring semester, my marathon training plan, any large payments that I made and when, my textbook assignments from the semester, and a few different lists, such at my 25 before 25 list, and all the books I've read and movies I've seen this year. Nothing too fancy, but it's fun to have on hand!

Contacts Section

I do have a few different contacts ready for reference in this section. I do enjoy sending family members cards and letter, so having their information on hand is super helpful! I also made sure that I have some family members and loved ones' phone numbers written down as well in case something happened to my phone. I'm not the greatest at remembering numbers anymore!

Keep it Together Folder & Clear Zip Pouch

I've been using this folder to hold important documents that I either need to deliver somewhere or use for future reference, letters or bills that I need to send, and some of my extra EC stickers. I've actually used this folder quite often so it's very convenient and helpful for me!

I mainly use this pouch for EC stickers, sticky notes, stamps, and extra gift labels that came with my planner. I cut out the extra stickers from the back of the planner, and also cut them by color (as I use them according to my color coding system) so they're easier for me to find & use. Having the pouch in the back for each of these sticker strips makes it much easier for me to keep track of them instead of them falling all over the place in the Keep it Together folder!


I opted not to buy the Life Planner bands when I ordered mine, as I didn't feel they were all that necessary. However, I did find a 3-pack of over-sized rubber bands at Target in March for about $2.00, and I've been using one to keep my planner closed since. It works like a dream! My planner is going in and out of my bag constantly, and it's nice not to have the extra stress of ripped pages due to my own carelessness when it travels with me. I definitely recommend getting some sort of band closure for your Life Planner - it definitely helps!

I've also been using a cute little butterfly paperclip to keep my weekly view separated from my monthly view, so I can easily flip back and forth throughout the month. I've only recently started this, but it's been helpful for the most part. I do reference previous weeks from time to time, but the paperclip is so simple that it's not a hassle to take on and off regularly.


I *love* my planner! It's definitely saved me throughout the hectic-ness of my life and the planner itself has held up wonderfully. This is the perfect system for my life right now and I couldn't be happier with it. I'm hoping that it keeps together for the rest of the year with all that I put it through!

I hope this update has given you a bit more insight of the inner workings of a Life Planner. Make sure you check out the coinciding video below! If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! :)


The next Organize My Life Post will be all about school work organization! 
Make sure you stay tuned for that post in the very near future! :)

1 comment:

  1. Fun series + helpful review! I have heard of EC Life Planners and wondered if they're worth the $$.