Sep 21, 2011

The book that plans my life

I've been talking about my Erin Condren life planner for awhile, and if you follow me on twitter you've seen me tweeting about it a lot.

I would love to say I'm doing this review because I was given one to try out, but I didn't. This review is simply because there's been a lot of talk about these planners lately and I wanted to show you what the hype is all about.

First off, let me say I love this planner. Love. I was so excited when I saw that it shipped I stalked it like it was my job. (No really, Ben told me it was unhealthy). It was packaged nicely, and there were even a few coupons included.
Yes that is bubble wrap - they don't mess around!

However, I will say my excitement about this planner has dimmed a little because it was such a process to get it.

I like that it seems almost handmade - you have to wait about a week and a half or so from when you order it to when it ships, and that's the time where they put it together and customize it for you. (There are so many different cover options to choose from!) When it finally shipped the FedEx site was slow to update - for days it told me it was in California, and then the next thing I know it was on the truck for delivery. (I know that has nothing to do with the Erin Condren company, I'm just putting that out there as why it was frustrating).

The night I got it I was excited and giddy and I had a whole evening planned of writing things in this planner - it goes through December of 2012, so I know it would take awhile. (I know how to party, huh?) I put in Gilmore Girls, started writing in dates, and before I knew it I was already up to July of 2012...when I realized I had no month of August.

I thought I was looking at it wrong for a minute but the planner went right from July to September of next year. Ugh. A pain, right, but okay...things happen. I got on the website, sent them an email about my order and then tweeted about how I'd have to wait to finish writing things until I heard back from them. (Really? The fact that I tweeted about writing in a planner doesn't make you want to follow me? Please).

I was kind of at a standstill because I wasn't sure how the company was going to proceed. I didn't want to continue to write things in the planner if they were going to send me a new one, but it seemed silly to not use it. When I didn't have a response that evening, I sent a follow-up one. I'd given them more than 24 hours (I realize they're not a tiny company and I wouldn't necessarily be their first priority), so sending another email asking about the status seemed fine.

By late that night I was getting irritated. I'm on the East Coast, and the company is on the West Coast so they easily could have emailed me something before close of business their time. I was really only looking for an automated response acknowledging they received the information from me - but I didn't receive a response.

In the meantime, I think Erin Condren herself (or whoever tweets from that account) must have been on a trip because I was seeing all these tweets from that account about fun times and I was getting more and more irritated that they had time to do that but not respond to a mistake they made. (I will admit it was late and I did some angry tweets tagging the company about how I thought it was crappy they hadn't emailed back).

The next morning I waited until lunchtime on the East Coast (again, to give them time to be in the office and respond) and then called their customer service line. The guy was very nice, he said he'd contact the office, and they'd follow up with me by the end of that day. A few hours later I got an email and once I was actually talking to someone they were very helpful and the problem got resolved pretty quickly. They told me I could send it back and they would add the month and recoil it, but since I had written things in it through July of next year I wasn't comfortable sending it back to them. They were completely fine with it and told me they'd make me a new one and overnight it the next business day.

The planner arrived the day it was supposed to - no thanks to the stellar employees at FedEx, but that's a story for another time. It was a pain to recopy everything I'd already written in the first planner, but the silver lining is I have a lot of extra stickers now. (I kept the extras from the first book).

Wow. That was a lot of text! Would you like to see the actual planner itself? (Disclaimer: the camera gets a little shaky in the middle, but it really shows the inside of it well - and thanks to this lovely lady for filming it!)

Things to consider:

*If you don't have a busy schedule, this life planner is probably overkill. I love that there's so much room to write, but I try to pack a lot into my days.

*It's big. (Did you hear me bang it on the table?) It won't fit in a small purse - you need a bigger bag to carry it in. (And what's the point of having it if you're not going to keep it with you?)

*Once I got a hold of the customer service people they were great, but either they don't have enough employees to keep up with their orders or they need to manage their time better because it took two emails, a phone call, and a lot of tweets to get any kind of response, and that's not an effective way to do business.

*If you don't like stickers this isn't for you. (They're so much fun to use!)

*Cost. As I mentioned in the video I found a great discount code and paid half price. Considering how much of a pain it was to get it, I was very happy I didn't pay more. I have no doubt this is an investment and I've already used it more than I can say so I think it is worth the price they charge, but for my initial purchase I'm glad that's not what I paid.

It kind of sounds like I'm not recommending this planner which really isn't the case - I love it - but I believe in being an informed consumer. I know tons of people who got their planners without any problems, but my experience wasn't all sunshine and rainbows - and I'm not going to gloss over that just because I like the end product.

And thus ends my crazy long review!

What do you think? Do you have one of these planners? Is it the be all end all for you, or are you a free spirit who doesn't plan things out to this extent? (How I admire you!)

Happy hump day!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I have an EC planner. I got one last year after I saw Amber's. My current one only has 2011 in it, so it's not as big/heavy as the one you have. My 2012 one has Aug 2011 - Dec 2012 and it is big so I think in the future, I will just do 12 month to keep it lighter/thinner.

It's too bad you had a not so great experience, but I am glad they remedied the situation quickly once you talked to them. I think it's good to keep in mind that it is a very young company that has grown exceptionally fast. I am not trying to make excuses for them as a company should always be able to provide great customer service, but I am a little bit more forgiving/understanding when I think about the fact that they are still figuring things out. And by issuing those major coupons, they gave a lot more people the opportunity to buy their planners, so I am guessing their volume increased way way way faster than they anticipated...

Anyways, bottom line, I love their planners. I am definitely a customer for life. I personally don't see other planners on the market that are the equivalent of the EC planner so I will continue to order one each year.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Ahh, I have been waiting for this post. You did a fantastic job! I love that you were completely honest about your planner and experience. I wish you had a better experience, but I guess that'll happen from time to time. I'm glad you had a discount!

The only discount I had was a $10 off code that I found myself. **note to self, always, always, always ask Twitter if they have a coupon code to use.
I'm glad you're honest about how big it is. I knew it was big, but I didn't think it was *that* big before I saw Lisa and Amber's. Now, my mine seems even bigger. Sometimes it's hard to fit in my purse (and switching purses is so not an option, I love my bag). I can fit it in there, but it's a little tight. I think I need a new wallet, because my wallet is a little too big.
I will have to do a post on it soon, but I am loving it! I do feel more organized, I love all the space to write notes. I love how the days are split up. I love the stickers and the folder in the back. I love that it is personalized to me. (I think... because... ours look exactly the same. Besides our names).

For 2013 I am definitely ordering in December and just getting one year! Lisa's seems so much smaller!

Megan said...

When I win an Oscar for my camera work THEN we'll see who's giving disclaimers about shaky videos!

I think I fall under the category of "free spirit". I have my little Moleskine weekly planner and that is perfect for me. Enough space to write things in and a page every week to write notes/lists.

The EC planner was nice though! Definitely a high level of quality.

Lucy The Valiant said...

So... I kind of WANT a fancy planner like this REALLY A LOT!
I buy college-style planners because they're familiar to me (since I never HAD a planner until the free ones my college gave students every year)and I save them when they're all used up because they're practically diaries! I LOOOOVE me some planner time!
I use the same planner for lesson plans and school stuff as I do for life stuff, so that might justify buying a big expensive one, right??

Lauren Drugan said...

I'm on my third EC planner and I really cannot live without it. I should probably also say that I'm obsessed with planning, so there's that :)

My work schedule is in here, my social life, tentative plans written in small print in pencil, lists of goals and to-do items, important numbers and birthdays, medical notes, every password to every website I use, blog topics, upcoming vacations... I even use it to keep track of my diet and other health things. Also I'm the type to always (mostly) have a big bag with me so I always have it handy.

I had a problem once where they sent me the wrong planner. The customer service line was helpful, but I definitely get the feeling that it's a smaller company and they can't work as fast as they want to.

I recommend EC planners to everyone I know and I think it's well worth the price!

Amber said...

I've heard a lot of people had some issues with their planners this year and I think it has to do with a) them becoming WAY more popular recently and b) the hacking incident that Erin Condren dealt with on their computer system.

I didn't track mine so I have NO idea how long it took to ship! I haven't started using my new one yet (using my old one till the end of September) but I think I'm going to love it! I really love they separated each month with the tabs (even though I need to get some of those laminates to go on them) and how they have the calendar at the beginning of each month which was not the case on the old ones.

I have a feeling the $50/year Erin Condren planner investment will be one I continue to make. I've never ever used a planner as much as this one and it literally does hold my life in it!

Great review and cute video :) I'm glad you were honest with some of the difficulties you had getting it!

Unknown said...

It looks like a great product, but it's way too huge for me! I've been using my iPhone for everything for about a year now, and when I tried to transition back to a paper planner (because they're so cute and fun to write in) I kept forgetting about it and losing track of things. I guess I'm a product of the digital age!

suki said...

I ordered a planner through them this year, and I love it so far. It IS pretty hefty though, so it's a little annoying to carry all the time, but it makes it so EVERYTHING is in one place. :)

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I... have no reason to have a planner like this. I like writing things in it, but, um, I do NOTHING. it's really sad, actually.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Yikes! Sorry you had so much crazyness getting yours. I should make sure mine has all the months! I basically agree with everything you said about it. I do like it but boy is it big! I used it more in the summer because when I am working at school I use a planner there too, so I have less to write where as in the summer I was using it for work and personal stuff. I do really love it though, but I really wish I got it for half price, very jealous!

Holly said...

SO ... I paid full price. Plus ridiculous shipping, since I'm in Canada. And I got mine two weeks later than the "guaranteed deliver date" because Fed-Ex royally SUCKS - but honestly? I still LOVE my planner - after only three weeks of using it, I've already decided that I'll probably budget for one for next year - though I'll wait to order it until November/December so it just has the one year and is smaller! Thanks for this post :)

Mandy said...

I have only been using the planner this week and I'm liking it, but I'm not in love with it yet. I do think it will grow on me but I seriously doubt I would pay the $50. I also said I would never get a smartphone and we all know how that turned out. I'm hoping to love it eventually.

I'm glad that you're loving it. Every time I write something in mine I think to myself "Becky would be proud of me for making a list in here!" And its so hefty, no need to worry about losing it!

Anonymous said...

It's lame that you didn't have a super positive experience with them, but it sounds like you adore the planner & are really happy with it :)

I'm really curious about them & I love being able to see your video review, thank you!! :)

Nikkiana said...

Looking at those planners really makes me wish I was a planner sort of person...

Unknown said...

I finally received mine (after like 19 days from the day I placed my order). I've had it for about a week and I have to say, I'm still a bit intimidated by it. It is definitely massive and has ample room for the busiest of schedules. When I first opened it I felt like I didn't know WHERE to start. And of course I'm thinking, "I paid so much for this, my chicken-scratch will only deface the colorful pages." But, that's just my OCD. :) I finally broke the ice, though, and I absolutely love it.

Lucy said...

I absolutely love it! I love being organised, this sounds like my kind of planner! I'm going to see if they do a similar thing in the UK :)

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