planning for a better 2018: erin condren v. plum planner (and my tools!)

I’ve always been what I like to refer to as a list-er. From grocery lists to to-do lists, you name it, I list it.

As I’ve gotten older, especially since I started college, my love for lists has expanded to include things like spreadsheets and – you guessed it, planners. I never really had a need for one prior to college, mainly because I very rarely brought homework home (overachiever, I admit it) so a single list of assignments I needed to complete was enough for me.

Once I moved to Louisville, and was suddenly balancing 15 credit hours, sorority events, as well as other extracurricular commitments, I needed a little more than a handwritten list to keep my life in order. Being a fresh sorority girl newly transplanted to the South, of course I started out with a Lilly Pulitzer. (In the print May Flowers, for you Lilly fiends out there reading this while you’re in queue for the After-Party Sale.)

But, by the time my final year of college rolled around – I was only one semester away from graduation (and a big girl job) so I wanted something that would get me through that transition to adulthood. I ended up opting for the ultimate (and I’m talking borderline cult following) Erin Condren Lifeplanner.

My favorite thing about the Life Planner as opposed to a pre-designed planner is the ability to really personalize it – from the cover design and wording, to the calendar layout, to additional pages inside the planner that make it more user-friendly for your specific needs. They really do allow you to design your best life.

The other thing I love about the Life Planner is that you can choose the month and year you’d like it to start, you aren’t limited to January or August like many other daily and academic planners. Needless to say, I used it right up until I ran out of pages and continued to love it for keeping track of work and personal schedules.

Around the time I finished up with that particular planner, I was working with a non-profit that heavily used Google’s calendar feature to mesh calendars for field representatives both across our region and nationally. Since I was using an online calendar for my work schedule, it felt a little silly to put out the money on a paper planner for it to sit in my purse and rarely be referenced.

Now that I’m back in an office setting, and settling into more responsibilities with my Junior League chapter and the Kappa Delta chapter I serve as an adviser for… It was time to get back into the planner game. I considered getting another Life Planner, but I had heard such great things about Plum Paper that I wanted to give them a shot this time around. So, I sat down and got to work!

One of the things I really love about Plum Paper is the ability to customize – very similarly to the Life Planner. They’re pretty similar in price, but the Plum Planner is a little less of a hit coming in at about $42 as opposed to $55 dependent on your specific customization. I personally chose the 8.5×11, but they also offer a 7×9.

As for inside pages, I chose the large horizontal layout. I chose this mainly because it is the style I am used to, but also because I prefer to write myself notes! I also don’t need the hourly/section breakdown because I use a color-coded system to keep my appointments straight at a glance instead. I will say, I really love the “month at a glance” pages that my Plum Planner has – it’s an easy way to keep track of 3 monthly goals, birthdays, events, things to remember, and notes all conveniently at the beginning of the monthly section.

Overall, I really love the quality of the paper and the covers. There are also some really cute patterns available from Plum Paper! But with that being said, I think I may be headed back to a Life Planner next year. Now that is just a personal preference, and I would recommend Plum Paper to anyone looking for a customizable planner

Like I mentioned, I live for a list – so it’s probably not entirely surprising that I have 3 notebooks, my planner, and a journal floating around at any given moment. And I’ve had a few questions about them, so I wanted to take a few minutes to share those!

Tombow Twintone Marker Set 12-Pack Dual-Tip, Pastel

Let me just tell you, I am OBSESSED with this marker set. I got them in pastel color scheme, but they are also offered in brights. I saw them on a bullet journal inspo instagram I follow, and knew I needed them. Like I mentioned above, I color code my planner! So these were exactly what I had been holding out for. The double tip allows for differentiation not only between color, but importance thanks to the tip sizes. Plus, I still get the color I loved about my original Lilly planner, with a more professional look!

Moleskine Cahier Journal

That little baby purple thing in the middle? Yes, it’s a Moleskine. The ones I’ve linked on Amazon come in a craft brown color, but I got this pretty purple in a 3-pack at Target! I love these journals because they’re fun-sized and easy to toss in my purse to carry with me. I generally use this one as an actual journal, but I’m using the cream one that came in the same pack as a food diary for my Whole30 journey. Sure, my iPhone has a note feature, but I’ve always been a fan of pen and paper.

My Prayer Journal: A 3 Month Guide to Prayer, Praise, and Thanks

One of my personal goals for this coming year is to build a stronger relationship with God. I am working on reading the Bible in a year (thanks to my new The One Year Bible) – and in addition, I picked up this prayer journal. I knew I wanted to work on some form of gratitude journal, but wasn’t sure what style I liked, until I found this. It has prompts for a verse, prayer requests, what I’m asking the Lord to teach me, and what I’m thankful for. It is designed to be used daily, but I want it to be soulful and not forced – so for not, I’m using them as weekly pages and leaving room for anything I want to add through the week!

Erin Condren Journal

My best friend actually got me this journal as a Christmas gift, and I’m obsessed. See what I mean when I say that EC has some killer prints and designs? Anyway, what I love most about this journal is that it has a bulleted check list down the side of the page. Perfect for list-ers like me! As I head off to NCTA with my Kappa Delta gals in a few weeks, it will be perfect for note-taking.

So, there you have it. The Type-A list queen at her best, with 3 (well, actually 4) notebooks, a pack of dual-tip markers, and a planner in tow. Just out here living my best life, trying to feel like I have it all together. (Plot twist: Not even close)

Do you have a favorite planner, journal, or pen/marker? I’d love to hear about your favorites!


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