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In my eight years of devoted planner use, I’ve learned that you’re only as efficient as your planner and your extra tools. A planner can add oodles of organization to your life, but, believe it or not, your life can be even more organized with the right accessories. I personally think you need the following essentials to stay focused and improve efficiency. And if you’re not being efficient then what are you doing?
Day Designer for Blue Sky: Pens, Pencils, and Washi Tape
These items are Day Designer’s first foray into accessories, and they did a bang-up job. The pen and pencils are super cute to carry around with you, and I personally can’t get enough of the pen. It’s nice and heavy, and it glides well over paper. If you’re a fan of being able to erase, you’ll love the pencils. The patterns are so much more fun than a regular yellow #2.
For anyone who loves using washi tape to divide their pages or highlight specific lists, you’ll love the washi tape from the collection. The three patterns are pretty and bright, and easy to write on with a thick black permanent marker. I’m a fan of the pink dots for list headers and cutting a strip of the navy floral in half to create separation between my workouts and meals in the notes section.
This clip-in meal planner can’t clip into every notebook or planner out there since it’s made specifically for the Erin Condren planners and notebooks. Despite this, I think it’s a great tool for anyone that prefers to plan out dinners for the week instead of every single meal for each day. On one side you write down the meals for the weekdays, and on the other you can write down your grocery list for those meals. If you have a family to cook for, then this is a great planner accessory. It’s reusable (wet or dry erase markers), so it’s worth the cost and it’s very durable.
If you’re a frequent traveler, this snap-in packing list from Erin Condren could really make your life easier. As a list-obsessed individual, I’m constantly rewriting packing lists anytime I head out of town, which is actually quite often. With this reusable packing list, all you have to do is use a dry or wet erase marker to check off the items you’ve already packed, write in the random things you need, and write down your travel dates, plans, and outfits for the trip.
One side is a dedicated packing list, and the other is more for planning out whatever you need to plan. You can plan what you’re going to wear each day according to your sightseeing/adventuring plans. Budget for your various activities. Map out what you want to go do or see each day. It’s a flexible space since it’s divided by day and into day and evening times, so it can shift with each trip you take. It’s incredibly useful for business trips as it helps you make sure you have enough business attire to carry you through any meetings and events, and serves as a lightweight schedule you can quickly reference.
If you find yourself always searching in vain for a pen, consider the adhesive pen holder from Erin Condren. It’s not a necessary item, but it can be useful. Simply stick it to any notebook, planner, or even clipboard you use often and you’ll always have a pen handy. The pen loop is elastic, so it can hold onto any pen, marker, or highlighter you love.
Since I work a desk job and still spend a large portion of my after office hours at a desk, I’ve learned that a good desk pad is indispensable. I like to use a desk pad that has space for an overview of the week (I have a daily planner so this is hugely helpful) and ample room to jot down notes. Even though there is typically some room to write down random notes in a planner, not everything should go in your planner. Otherwise, it can become overwhelming with information.
Desk pads are a good place to write down phone numbers you need to call or a small work reminder that needs to be addressed at some point in the week.
We all need a little help sometimes, and that includes planners. These items and proper usage of them can make a huge difference in your daily mental clarity. It’s almost impossible to be a scattered procrastination queen when you have a good planner and accessories nearby.
They’re wet erase markers, big deal right? Well, these are pretty great. The gemstone colors are fun—way better than the normal red and blue you see everywhere else—and the tip is very fine. This makes it easy to write with them in smaller spaces. I used them on the snap-in travel list, and didn’t once feel like I couldn’t write coherently. I love these, and will most likely never look at Vis-a-vis the same way again.
This is the number one accessory I recommend for any sticky note lovers. It snaps into your Erin Condren LifePlanner and notebooks, so you’ll always have a ton of sizes, shapes, and functions at your fingertips. They’re pretty to look at of course, but they also have useful designs, like the flagged list. And they’re small enough to fit in your planner without obstructing the weekly layout. And they’ve actually got some serious adhesive. You can put them on, pull them off, and move them without them falling off or curling too much at the edges.
These cute little bookmarks are so useful. You can place them in your planner to hold the current page if you want, or even space them throughout an Erin Condren notebook to create subject sections. Students can greatly benefit from having these to move around in class notebooks to signal the current page, a new section, and even hold the place of study notes. Plus, they’re easy to move around since they’re smaller than the traditional Erin Condren bookmarks.
When the magnetic page marker came in, I expected it to be like other magnetic bookmarks with only one small magnet on the ends. But the entire thing is actually magnetized. This makes it bendable and super strong. It doesn’t come half way off when I flip the page open, and the simplistic design doesn’t clash with the rest of my planner. As far as magnetic page markers go, it’s big, but that makes it easier to find and hold on to as you open your planner.
There are a lot of stickers out there for you to choose from, but these are my top choice for one reason: They don’t take over your planner. These stickers are small and inconspicuous enough that using multiple on one page won’t detract from the things you’ve written. They serve more as an organizational aid than decoration. The colors are muted, and match perfectly with the liveWELL planner’s color schemes, but I think they can also be used in other planners and notebooks. I’ve used mine in my Day Designer’s monthly calendar and in meeting notes with ease.
Unfortunately not every planner comes with a folder, and some come with really bad ones you can’t rely on to hold anything. Everyone has to carry some documents around at one point or another, whether it’s a copy of medical records or some coupons for the grocery, so yes, a document folio is necessary. I don’t mean a folder. Folders are okay; They can work in a pinch, but they’re still a bit shifty for me to trust with important documents. An actual folio, on the other hand, is about as trustworthy as they come. You can choose one that zips or has a snap, like the Black Serpentine Document Holder from Sugar Paper.
Personally, I lean towards a snap enclosure to avoid having documents accidentally zipped up and damaged. If you want one that is sturdy, but lightweight, then I highly recommend Sugar Paper’s. It expands, but not so much you’re encourage to stuff it full of hundreds of papers. Plus, it’s the most stylish folio I’ve ever seen. The shiny snakeskin gives off a chic attitude while the inner pink lining provides a softness. You’ll love the way it looks sitting on your desk, and everyone that sees it is sure to ask you where you found it.
Highlighters or Colored Pens
Not everyone will love using colored pens and highlighters to organize their planner. It’s a big task to maintain each day. However, using highlighters or colored pens to color-code your planner can be hugely beneficial. It adds visual organization that you don’t have using plain black or blue pens.
Highlighters are the easier option because they allow you to use whatever black pen is handy to write things down as they come up and come back to color code later. However, colored pens are the less messy option. We all know how easy it is for highlighters to get a bit sloppy.
Erin Condren Wellness Dashboard
If you’re all about health and fitness (or even just starting to get into it), then you need an easy way to track your progress. Erin Condren’s Wellness Log clip-in dashboard is a great, reusable way to track your meals and log your workouts, calorie output, water consumption, and so much more. The front side of the dashboard is just like the Wellness Journal by Erin Condren, so it can be used to track whatever you need. The backside is a handy chart for your target heart rate and body mass index (BMI). If you use an Erin Condren LifePlanner or Monthly Planner, then this dashboard will make it much easier for you to keep yourself on track without having to use a separate notebook.
Erin Condren Monthly Bill Tracker Dashboard
The Monthly Bill Tracking dashboard is an essential for those who need a way to visually track their bills and savings. There are two sides to the dashboard. The front side is where you track all of your bills for the year. There’s room for 22 bills or expenses, and a spot for you to write down the amount for each month of the year. At the bottom, there’s also a space for you to write down expenses by the quarter. On the back side, you have a full grid and 19 slots for you to use for tracking your savings. This is a flexible design — you can use it to track one method of savings with a line graph, or you can use it for multiple in bar graphs. Keeping up with your finances is a full-time job, so it’s hugely beneficial to have a space to keep track of everything in your planner and to be able to reuse it throughout the year.