I feel pretty comfortable in the planner community. I finally found a nice, comfy, little niche group where I belong. I freaking love planners and buy a new one for any excuse I can (this one’s for health and fitness! This one will be just for writing! etc.). But I have to say, there is one single issue that plagues the planning community each and every year and on this issue is where I feel I am somewhat of an outlier.
Do I get an Erin Condren horizontal? Or an Erin Condren vertical?
If you’re not familiar with Erin Condren, it’s basically the planner company that most planner freaks consider the holy grail. I say most, because there are always a few sour grapes in the bunch – and I can tell you right now I’m one of them, but that’s for another post – who tend to dismiss EC planners on principle. First of all, they’re crazy expensive. And secondly, they (of course) offer a lot of the same basics that any planner you could pick up at CVS offers (monthly spread, weekly spread, space for notes) for much, much less. But the difference with Erin Condren is that it has a cult-like following that far surpasses anything I’ve ever seen in the office supplies space of retail. It’s like the iPhone of planners. It may not be the best, or most practical, but people – particularly women and moms – are obsessed with it. And Erin Condren herself is just as much a dynamic visionary as Steve Jobs ever was. Take a look at 2011 interview with Erin just as her business started to explode.
Aaaaaaaand here she is pedalling their newish academic planner this past December.
She seems like a real put-together kind of woman. I want to be that woman!
Erin Condren products are colorful, have a branded aesthetic and a quality that women have grown to expect. It’s also why she can get away with charging $70 for her most popular planner, the LifePlanner.
The LifePlanner comes ready for you to customize it – you can choose your cover style, get it personalized, but most importantly, decide what kind of set-up you want on the inside – the horizontal weekly spread or the vertical weekly spread.
Here’s where things get tricky.
I have used both for a fair amount of time to decide which style better suits me. To give you an idea of the differences, here is a picture of my two different Erin Condren LifePlanner layouts (I chose the beginning of April since I haven’t gunked up either one with all my writing and stickers and what not). Let’s start with Vertical.
The vertical layout basically offers three boxes under each day that sit on top of one another. This is the design I find that most planner girls love. Why? Because you can go absolutely bat-sit insane customizing it with stickers and washi (sticker tape) and all kinds of artwork since the boxes are free of lines or dots that might get in the way of your artistic freedom. Since I was never one of those girls who really spends a lot of time decking out my vertical, here are some ideas from bloggers who do, so you can get an idea of what is possible with this layout.
And here’s a video from Scribble Prints Co going all out in a “Plan With Me” video. Plan With Me’s are very popular amongst the planning community for inspiration.
Now here’s the thing. While I do think that what these ladies do with their vertical layouts is AMAZING, most are accomplishing this by purchasing sticker kits to do so. So in addition to laying out the money for the LifePlanner – which customized can be around $85! – they are spending money on the kits to decorate them, which are abundant on Etsy and can run you up to $30 for one week! I’m making it sound like I look down on this practice, but honestly, I am one of those “people” who do this. So, you know. What are you going to do?
That being said, I just could not sustain it. I don’t have the funds to constantly buy new kits for each month and week, and I also just have a problem with a vertical layout to begin with.
What kept happening with me, was I’d see the first box under Monday or Tuesday, and my brain – being used to horizontal – would just use that first top box because I just feel like that’s the box to write in for the whole day. So I’d often not know what to do with the bottom two boxes, or forget about them. And since I was just using the top box out of habit, it got filled quickly and crowded with my writing, and it looked like a big jumbled mess of writing.
So long story short, I’m a true horizontal gal (I know, I know) when it comes to the Erin Condren LifePlanner.
This layout makes so much more sense to my brain. Here’s the day and one giant box devoted to that day. And a bonus little box next to it for whatever. Also, I feel the notes section is a little better at the bottom of the page as well. And just because us horizontal girls (stop) are more basic in layout, doesn’t mean that we’re lacking in creativity! Check out this Plan With Me video by Rachael Annear with this (best) type of layout.
If you feel like picking up an EC LifePlanner of your very own, give this one a try!
If you don’t customize it, picking one up from an office supply store like Staples, or even Amazon will set you back around $50 which is much more reasonable than customizing it directly from EC. If you do try one out, let me know what you think! Happy Planning! xo