Today’s the day friends: Emily Ley 2017-18 Academic Simplified Planners are officially available for purchase!!!
As you know, I’ve been a huge fan of Emily Ley and the happy owner of SIX Simplified Planners (plus MANY of her other products) since I first discovered them almost four years ago (yes, that means a couple of years I’ve actually had more than one). With each purchase, I have been beyond satisfied; and, I can honestly say, the quality and details of the book get better every single year. I LOVE the look, feel, functionality, and purpose behind everything this company makes and does. To me, there is nothing better on the market today.
Of course, all that said, I do recognize that the $58 (or $48 for a Weekly) price tag is hefty – especially in the age of a Google calendar on your phone for free and adorable Target planners for less than $10.00… To me, the Simplified Planner is well worth the investment, but I understand it’s a big one. With help from my Facebook community, I’ve tried to put together a list of questions and answers below to address some common concerns about the investment and share some of my own experience using the Simplified Planner (and accessories). If you’re considering taking the plunge this year (how can you resist the beautiful patterns?!?!), or if you already placed your order and just want to be sure to get the most bang for your buck out of it, I hope the rest of this post will be useful in your decision-making process and give you a realistic look at exactly what you are getting for your money + how you can best use it… Fair warning though: Once you buy one, you’re going to be hooked. You may as well go ahead and start budgeting for all the cute planner accessories and saving for your next planner as well. 😉
Full disclosure before I go any further: I am an Emily Ley affiliate partner and DO receive some “perks” (read: free stuff) and compensation (i.e. a TINY portion of each sale made through my links at no extra cost to you) in exchange for my HONEST reviews and advertisements. I promise you, I am committed to only recommending products on this blog that I, TRULY, know and love. Though I received my 2017 planner (and accessories) as a gift from the EL team, I have spent A LOT of my own money in their shop over the past four years and have purchased several Simplified Planners at full price in the past. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you how much I use and adore my EL products. I’m constantly recommending them and have converted many of my “real life” friends. From one busy teacher/mom to another, I promise that all of the following thoughts and opinions are 100% sincere. Thanks for trusting my recommendations and supporting this blog!!!
To get started, here’s a look inside my current planner:
(Note: My amazingly talented friend Trent took these photos for me back in January, so the planner pictured below is the 2017 Calendar Daily Edition – not the most recent release. This blog post is LONG overdue; but rest assured I’ve been using my planner religiously all year, and I’ll be placing an order later today for a new Academic version to start next school year off right!)
Isn’t she beautiful?!?!
As you can see, I like my planner to be a mix of fun, bright colors – lots of stickers for color coding and marking important dates/details – and simple – I really only use black ink, and I appreciate that the design allows for plenty of white space too. Basically, it’s the same way I prefer to keep my life: full and happy but with a good amount of margin and freedom as well. 🙂
Now, to dig a little deeper, here are my answers to some of the most common questions I get from readers/friends considering the Simplified Planner:
Q: What exactly makes the Simplified Planner better than other paper planners on the market? (i.e. How in the world can I justify the cost?!)
A: I’m just going to be really honest here: what drew me to the Simplified Planner in the first place years ago was the beautiful, classic, yet-still-fun cover designs; and, in many ways, the overall “look” of the planner is still my very favorite thing. My planner goes pretty much everywhere I go, so I – obviously – want it to be pretty and reflect my own taste, personality, etc. Every single release just keeps getting better in terms of design, and I just really feel like Emily’s style – from the colors she uses, to the patterns (stripes! dots! pineapples!) resonates with my own.
While it was definitely the look that initially drew me to the Simplified Planner, it’s been the details that have made me a loyal EL fan. Emily Ley is a Type-A, working mom of little kids, and she is incredibly intentional about her products and her business. She’s truly thought of every single thing I could need/want in a planner and then tons of other things I didn’t even know I’d love! In addition to the great cover designs, the planners are super well-made (mine goes in and out of my school bag or purse fifteen times every day, and the binding/cover/inside pages still look BRAND NEW – no joke), and the Daily is bound in “true gold” making them have a much more feminine/quality look than something I’d pick up at Staples.
Inside, there is room for EXACTLY the things I need to keep track of and nothing extra. In the Daily planner, I get a full page for every single day with space for a heading at the top of the page (like “A/B Day” for school or “Winter Break”), mapping out my day by the hour, writing out all my “To Dos,” noting what’s for dinner, and additional notes (like what I’m going to blog about that day or my lofty goals for an afternoon workout). With so much space and a designated place for everything, even on my busiest days, I don’t get overwhelmed when I look at my planner. Plus, I love the feeling of switching to a fresh, clean slate every morning.
I realize there are a lot of nice planners on the market today – trust me, I’ve tried MANY of them – but I haven’t found one that fits my life quite as well. More than even that though, I think what really makes Emily’s planners stand out is her HEART behind her products. In everything she does – planners, printables, accessories, blog posts, books – it is obvious that Emily believes in her mission to help women find a balance between real life (the appointments, the chores, the deadlines) and simplicity. She GETS IT, and she’s made a career out of supporting moms, students, teachers, business-owners, etc. with tools and inspiration that make our busy lives that much more organized and beautiful. That’s a business I can get behind and support with my $$.
Q: What are the pros and cons of the Weekly vs. the Daily editions? Which do you use, and how did you choose?
A: I’ve used both the Weekly and the Daily editions of the Simplified Planner and really like both. In general, it comes down to your needs when deciding between the two. This year, for the first time, the Weekly comes in the same great patterns as the Daily, and it’s a lay-flat soft-bound version. It is is also significantly smaller than the Daily version, which is nice if you’re planning to keep it in your purse etc. The Weekly version shows a whole week on a two-page spread with space for making notes on each day, but without the hourly time slots or designated “To Do” area. This is perfect if you don’t have a whole lot of specific appointments or deadlines and if you like to see the entire week at one time. These planners are also ten dollars cheaper than the Daily version ($48), so that’s a perk too!
Ultimately, I’ve found that the Daily is a better fit for me right now – mainly for the reasons mentioned above. During this season of my life, I need a lot of space, and I like being able to focus on one day at a time. The biggest negative to the Daily (besides being $10 more expensive at $58), to me, is the size. It’s big. This isn’t a huge problem if – like me – you’re going to carry it in a work bag and lay it out on your desk all day, or if you plan to leave it open on the kitchen counter at home; but, it is a little too heavy (in my opinion) for lugging around in your purse.
*Not sure which one is best for you?!?! Emily lays it all out HERE (and there’s even a fun quiz to determine which planner-type is right for you)!
Q: How do you use your Simplified Planner? Does it work for teachers?
A: Using this planner is so intuitive that I really don’t do anything special with it. In general, I keep track of all upcoming dates/events/etc. on the monthly calendar spread. Then, usually on Sunday afternoons, I use that calendar to fill in the “My Day” sections for the next seven days and plan out my upcoming week. I used to use different colored pens to differentiate between work and home obligations and each member of our family; but, since January, I started using the cute dot stickers for this instead. (I keep up with the stickers about 50% of the time, but my planner looks super cute when I do! ;))
As for using my planner at school, I’m a teacher, and I love my SP, so I’d say it definitely works for teachers! That said, I don’t use it for everything school related. I keep an online work calendar and To-Do list for most things, but I do put major dates and things that are more appointment-like in my planner (for example, I note the date/time for faculty meetings or parent conferences and – obviously – record upcoming holidays and breaks). I also start most mornings by looking at my master school To Do list on my computer and jotting down 3-5 things I want to accomplish that day in my planner. I usually write home/life things at the top of the To Do list and reserve the bottom section of the list for work-related items. Simple and nice to have everything in one spot! (P.S. I’m also a big fan of using post-it notes inside my planner and have found that many of the colors match EL’s perfectly!!)
<<P.S. Last May I wrote a post about my planner that explains my color-coding system a bit and discusses the Daily vs. Weekly a little more. Check it out here.)
Q: Do you use an electronic planner too? How do you keep up with it all?
A: I resisted using an electronic planner for a long time, but I gave up about a year ago and have found using BOTH (paper and electronic) super efficient. I use Google Calendar to communicate important events with my husband and so that they will show up on my watch as a reminder. It’s also nice to be able to check my availability or record upcoming appointments etc. on the go when I don’t have my planner with me.
Keeping up with both can, honestly, get a tiny bit confusing at times; but, I mostly just use those Sunday afternoon organization sessions to check my Google calendar against my Simplified Planner and update them as needed. Also, at the beginning of each month, I usually sit down with my planner and sync everything as well.
Q: How do you like/use the new accessories? Are they worth the cost?
A: Emily Ley sent me some fun accessories back at the end of 2016, and I’ve had a blast playing with them! From washi tape to stickers everything comes in her signature colors and work perfectly with the planner. I use mine to color-code and add a little excitement to big dates (like birthdays) or block off weeks for vacation, school breaks, etc. They make for a nice visual of my month at a glance, and – like I said – make everything a little more fun; BUT, they definitely aren’t a necessity. I keep all my accessories at home (actually in the box my planner came in), so I don’t always have them with me. Also, up until this year, I never used accessories and did just fine!
If I had to name a few EL accessories that are especially “worth it” to me, I’d say the magnetic page marker (only $5 and very helpful) and the paper clips (because they are adorable and great for keeping invitations, coupons, stamps, etc. inside the planner).
Also, I don’t know if this technically counts as an accessory, but I also keep one of the EL mini notebooks inside my front pocket and use it as a gratitude journal. It fits perfectly and makes it easy to access whenever I need a quick reminder of what really matters in life. 🙂
Q: What pens do you use? Do they bleed through?
Q: What’s new with this release?
A: The 2017-18 Academic release brings new patterns (of course) and new packaging (very sophisticated-looking). On top of that, I think the biggest changes comes in the Weeklies as they now come in patterns and include a pocket inside the front for the first time.
ALSO, I’m particularly excited that ALL Simplified Planners now come with STICKERS!
And… the most important question (just kidding/not really)…
Q: Which Simplified Planner am I going to use for the 2017-2018 school year?
A: Decisions decisions!! I have gone back and forth about this, but I keep coming back to the classic Happy Stripe. I really love the navy and gold pineapple, but I have several accessories already that I just don’t feel “go” as well with that one. Regardless, ordering a fresh planner to start in August is just the thing I need right now to remind me that this school year will end and to get me through the next three weeks! (Can I get an Amen?!?!)
Undecided?!?! Don’t forget about the Planner Personality Quiz!!!
Finally, a few final details in case you’re ready to order right now…
– Remember that this is the 2017-18 Academic Edition which runs from August 2017 thru July 2018. It’s PERFECT for teachers, students, and new graduates just starting life in the “real world.” (Wouldn’t this make an awesome graduation gift?!?) The 2018 Calendar year planners will go on sale on September 6th!
– And, last but not least, just a reminder that all the EL links in this post are affiliate links which means that when you buy through them (or through my sidebar ad) you are supporting my Starbucks/Target/planner/pen addiction at no extra cost to you! Haha! Seriously though, THANK YOU for using my links and sending a little extra $ my way. It really is a blessing!!!
That ought to do it… If I’ve forgotten anything and you still have questions please leave a comment and I’ll make sure to respond!