Many moons ago…I think the first year I was the President of the theatre board at E’s high school…I bought an Erin Condren life planner. If you don’t know what that is, then just know it’s a customized (in some ways) day planner and it’s expensive and it’s gotten REALLY popular amongst the Pumpkin Spice Latte drinking crowd. (Which I am heartily a part of, I know.) The cool kids in the planner community (which kinda merges with the bullet journal community in many aspects and both communities ARE DORKY, I KNOW…BUT THOSE ARE MY PEEPS) now refer to it as an EC Planner. If you scroll through the planner tags on instagram, you’ll see that in a lot of profiles to explain what type of planner they use. It was a little bit of an ordeal just to get it, which I wrote about here, but I loved it when it came in. But – as you’ll recall – I was a planner addict. I would buy a new planner, totally adore it for a month or two…fade away..and then buy another one to start over with. However, I swore I wouldn’t do that with the EC because it cost SO MUCH MONEY.
And I didn’t. Quite.
I used it aggressively for at least the majority of the theatre season. It got me through planning a few shows but I always needed something else to carry with it. Like a note pad or a binder of notes. And then, when the theatre year was over? It went the way of the other planners. And I never even considered going back.
But man…PEOPLE LOVE THEIR ERIN CONDREN PLANNERS.
And I get it…I do…because I was a planner addict. But it just didn’t work for me. Because I learned that above being a planner addict? I was a LIST MAKING ADDICT. That’s why the bullet journal system of planning appealed to me so much, because it wasn’t about having a stereotypical grid-for-month, page-for-day, type of spread. It’s about a blank book that you just use one page at a time however you need. I have “book release dates” pages and “wish list” pages and “gift ideas” pages and none of that could have existed in my EC Planner. Except if I was smart with the blank pages at the end, which I never was.
I also can paste stuff into my bullet journal in the form of a type of on-the-spot scrapbooking. Like spectator maps from Ironman or theatre tickets from a night out with a friend. I put the kid’s art work in there or documents I might need to repeatedly consult for school. All things not easy to do with the EC Planner…or any planner for that matter. Using a pre-formatted planner means I lose flexibility to tape a coloring page into my journal on a day where I just need to color.
And the best of all? I get a new one when it’s full.
I think part of my planner problem was that I liked the feeling of a “fresh start” that a brand new planner gave me, but practically, you really can only do that once a year. But with the bullet journal? You get a new start when you fill up the old one! I switched to a Leuchtturm1917 from a Moleskin last volume and it has more than twice as many pages so it’s taken me 4 months to fill this one up and I’m itching for the new one which I’ll start in November.
When I stopped regularly using my EC planner, I could have flipped through it and seen things scheduled on certain days and maybe a few notes of experience here and there, but truthfully? There wouldn’t have been any point in keeping it. But my bullet journals sit on a shelf because in their pages are quotes I adore, printed posts I loved from Facebook, my kid’s artwork, my training logs…all peppered between daily To Do pages and monthly calendars.
So, while an EC Planner might work for someone who is not addicted to writing things down, or saving bits of memories, it didn’t work for me. I didn’t know why for the 15’ish years I spent as a planner addict. I just kept feeling like I hadn’t found the right planner system yet. After EC I kinda gave up since it was so expensive.
I do feel kinda guilty sometimes. It would be like walking into a Starbucks and saying, “I actually prefer drip coffee from Folgers.” (Which I kinda do.) A lot of people in my circle of bullet journal and planning buddies (WHAT? WE GET IDEAS AND INSPIRATION FROM EACH OTHER. LEAVE US ALONE.) love their EC Planners and I hate to be all, “EH! Didn’t love mine.” But it wasn’t the planner itself, it was the SYSTEM. The planner itself was lovely, albeit a little geared towards some sort of female archetype with the “hair appointment” stickers and what not.
This entry is probably only going to appeal to 1 person out there…thank you for obliging me. Every since I started my bullet journal instagram account, and following other similar, I’ve realized how addicted people are to their EC Planners AND I HAD TO CLEAR THE AIR ABOUT IT.