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?
A: I use my favorite pens (of course) only, and they don’t bleed through a bit. (Emily’s paper is five star!) I’ve also used Paper Mate Flair and Le Pens with zero bleed problems.
The Emily Ley pen – shown in my planner photos above in Happy Stripe is adorable and very nice, but…. just keeping it real here… it doesn’t quite compare to my trusty Pilot.
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!
– TODAY (Wednesday, May 17th) ONLY, Emily Ley is offering FREE MONOGRAMMING on ANY ORDER and Free Shipping when you spend $100!!!!
– 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!
Thanks for the chance at a giveaway! (Pick me, pick me! ) This past year has been my first year using a simplified planner and I am hooked. I bought the daily planner and it has been so helpful. I would definitely go with the daily planner again…it’s the only way I’m able to keep organized with my 3 kids. My current planner is floral…I might get that again, or possibly the stripe. Thanks again!!!
I love the navy!
I LOVE my simplified planner! I think I am going with the happy stripe this year.
Oops. Also, the weekly is my go-to.
amanda killough says
I’d love an academic planner for next school year! I love the gold dots!
DeeDee Ward says
I love the happy stripe.
Emily Wilson says
I think I would love the weekly happy stripe. I’m a school counselor in Virginia Beach and think the academic edition would be best- especially since, like you said, ordering it now helps me remember that summer is only a few weeks away!!
Its hard to choose between the Happy Stripe and the Fancy Floral- but I would do the weekly version no matter what!
Meagan B. says
I love the Happy Stripe – so darn perky! I’ve looked at these and have used an Erin Condren in the past with some luck. Currently, I have a Target planner that has worked so far but doesn’t have the flair and quality of a smaller SP planner. Thanks for the advice on the daily vs weekly – that was also one of my big questions!
Bekah Dill says
Love Emily Ley planners, especially the gold pineapple – weekly edition 🙂
Priscilla R. says
I’ve been using the 2016-17 Academic Daily (Happy Stripes for the win!) and, honestly, it’s a godsend! It made my first year of college a breeze. I was able to stay organized throughout the year and keep track of class times, appointments, work schedules, etc. Now that my schedule is calming down, I’m thinking of going with the Academic Weekly. The Daily is great, but it’s admittedly larger than I’d like. Still can’t decide if I like the Fancy Floral or the Gold Dot better, they’re both so perfect!
Codi Malott says
As a fellow teacher, I understand the love of planers. I generally do a Lilly Pulitzer planner, but would love to try one of these out. My preference would be the floral daily planner!
Definitely love the weekly – and i’d have a hard time picking between the gold pineapple and the happy stripes
Allie Kier says
I currently have the Happy Stripe Daily edition. And really like it, but I’m thinking about switching to the Weekly. I love the navy pineapple print this go around!
Erika B. says
Fun fun! I would love the fancy floral weekly planner.
Sarah Koves says
I think the academic daily in golden pineapple wpul d be amazing. What is better than a new planner. I’m in love. Thanks!
Emily W. says
I currently have the Fancy Floral daily edition and love it, but I’m thinking about switching to the weekly. I love anything navy so the pineapple print is a done deal!
I have been eyeing the simplified planners for awhile! I’m a high school teacher too but have always wondered how I would use the daily to help lesson plan. I think I would get the most use out of the floral, weekly.
I love my Emily Ley weekly, and I’ve been meaning to switch to the academic year–but it’s so hard when I already have all that space left in the planner I have! I love the floral.
Thinking I may pull the trigger and get one of these before I go back to work! Love the daily in the pineapple print.
Is the leather bound one an option? I was looking for a classy planner to pass onto one of my graduating seniors that I have coached for the last four years. He needs a bit of organizational help. 🙂
If not, then I think floral for me.
Nicole C. says
I really like the fancy floral design and I think as a case manager on a CST and as a mom the daily is a must! Hopefully I win because anything to help me be organized is totally welcome 😉
Julie Phillips says
Happy Stripe-Weekly! EL Planners are wonderful!
I would go with the gold pineapple print in a weekly. I love planners and keep track of thing so much better when I write them down. I wish there was a rocket notebook style option that automatically syncs with Google Calendar.
Rebecca Sherouse says
I would love to try the Daily version in the Happy Stripe–so fun! Would definitely be great to perk up my bag, especially against a big stack of essays to grade. 🙂 Thanks for the great review!
Our school is getting rid of our assignment books, which i actually use for everything work related, so the happy stripe weekly would make a great replacement.
Kristin garber says
The navy pineapple in weekly is my favorite!!
Amy Bohr says
I didn’t know they had an academic version! I would love the Happy Stripes daily version.
There’s nothing I love more than a fun planner to make life a little more exciting! I’d love a daily version of the gold pineapple one!
Happy Stripe weekly! It will help me organize my job as a mom, teacher and grad student!
Hmmm…I like them all! Probably the happy stripe daily planner, though. I really want to get better at making a daily to-do list and sticking to it. I’m pretty good with it at work, but having one with so much room in my home planner would be fab!
Kristen M. says
I have been wanting to try the Weekly Planner! I am all about simplifying! 🙂 I have used a variety of planners and just have not found the right match! 🙂 I would choose the Fancy Floral Weekly!
I love the weeekly in gold dot! I agree that the daily can be a bit heavy to carry around!
Brooke Smith says
I’d love to try the happy stripe academic daily planner! I’m a teacher with FOUR preps and heard today that I’ll have a fifth next year. I definitely need more organization in my life to tackle that!
Mary Imhof says
I’m looking at the Fancy Floral in the Daily!
Maggie Smith says
I’d go with a daily version because two toddlers and a new baby means I have a lot to schedule! Fancy floral is my fave, followed by happy stripe.
Another teacher here who’s fallen in love with the SP Gold Dot Daily. The simplicity and beauty would be calming every time I add another task (*sigh*) to my to do list.
OMG!!!! I’m finally ordering my very first planner!! I chose the happy stripe with my monogram and coffee cup clips! YAY!!!
I’ve never used the SP before! I’ve been a pretty die hard ban.do planner fan but I’m ready to take the plunge this year. I’m torn between the daily fancy floral or happy stripe but would be thrilled with either!
Diana T says
I’ve been on the fence about this planner for a couple years! My favorite of the bunch is the gold/navy pineapple weekly.
Meredith K says
Love the run-down of all the new features. My favorite is the daily in fancy floral!
Jennifer Smith says
I would love a daily with the gold dots! I’m a paper and pen girl, and I think this would be perfect!
I love the navy print! But they are all great.
My favorite is the Gold Dot. Simple and pretty.
I have never tried a daily planner, so I think that would be neat.
Melanie huttner says
Love the weekly version in floral print!
Daily fancy floral. This looks so nice. it will help as I balance teaching full time and taking grad classes
I have been a paper planner for more years than I can remember! I have never tried a Simplified Planner, they look fantastic! I have just discovered Emily Ley and adore her. I would love a weekly, floral if given the chance. How kind of you!!
Oops! I put this on the wrong post before! I like the Happy Stripe weekly planner. I’d love to win one to try these planners that you rave about!
I thought the navy pineapple weekly was my favorite but after seeing how the gold sparkles on the fancy floral I kind of loved that one more!!
Love this post! I’ve been using the Daily version since January and have found planner love. The simplicity and minimalism of the pages is so helpful to me! I love the Fancy Floral. So beautiful and elegant!!
I would love a chance to use the floral weekly, but all of them look amazing. I have been debating for YEARS about if SP is the right planner for me, and I have to say, this year might be the year! Even though with college money is tight, I’ve been saving up just for this occasion. It would do wonders to help balance out my college classes and my student teaching for the next year. Thanks for this giveaway!
Tayo O. says
I’ve never used a Simplified Planner but I would love to use the floral weekly layout! The planners look so beautiful and functional. I just had a baby and have so many doctors appointments, family obligations, work, and basically just life. This planner would help me really keep it all together and organized!
Lauren Robinson says
I would love the daily Gold Dots! I’ve been salivating over these planners for QUITE a while! 🙂
Emily Garlick says
Thank you for your review! I am new to Emily Ley and am absolutely in LOVE with the Happy Stripe weekly! It makes me smile every time I see it and I can’t stop thinking about it! As a mom and a graduate student I can’t imagine life without a good planner that I can throw in my bag and have with me all the time. Thanks again!!
Fellow high school English teacher here! I love the weekly Happy Stripe! Maybe this is the thing that will finally make me feel like I’ve got it all together!
Laura Grimes says
I would LOVE to win! As you know, I am still undecided in which planner to get! But I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win a gold dot or the fancy floral in the weekly or the daily! I had a navy weekly last year! I am also a teacher, and this would be the best end of the year happy to win a new planner!
Karen Weaver says
My favorite is the floral and pineapple! I want to try a daily edition next year. Hope your last week goes smooth! Let’s get together for lunch this summer with Jayme!
As a teacher mom, I have been struggling to find a planner system that works besides post-its and scribbles. I would love a gold dot one. Thanks for the possiblity!
I would go with the daily in happy stripe! (Recently found your blog and am loving it! :))
Katie Quinn says
I love the gold dot! I’m super intrigued about trying this one for next school year.
I bought and used an Emily Ley Simplified planner this year. It is quite nice. However, the brand itself is hardly simplified. One glance at the Instagram feed or the Facebook page demonstrates that this “brand” is really just one woman’s overpriced ode to her own ego. Simplified people SIMPLY DO NOT NEED THIS MUCH ATTENTION. Now she has a book out in which she claims she pours out her whole heart. The build up for the launch of this book tells me everything I could never have known before I purchased this item, the company simply does not understand what simplification means. I will never buy another product from them. It’s too bad, because they are kind of a nice thing, but when ego drives a brand I just can’t buy in. Focus on what customers need rather than on your own selves and maybe you could keep your brand alive past this next season.