After years, Erin Condren finally bought out something different. The Focused Planner is very different from her usual super colourful planners. Instead the focus is on clean, simple and functional layouts with the usual coil bound and a softbound version.
Update: Erin Condren announced the Focused Collection actually wasn’t designed by her. There’s a new CEO, Tania Misvaer that designed the collection. I’m keen to see what other products in this style come out in the future!
I opted for the softbound version. There are 2 sizes to choose from: 8″ wide x 10″ high ($30 USD) or A5 page size ($25 USD). Both have the same layout. I opted for the A5 size.
- Size: 8 x 10″ or A5 (I chose the A5 version)
- Sewn binding
- Dates at a glance page
- Annual planning (for the current year and next year)
- 2 page Monthly calendar (starts on Sunday)
- 2 page weekly spread (starts on Monday)
- Choose from dated (12 months) or undated version
- Extra pages – lined notes + 1 contact page
- Neutral color-scheme pages
Let’s take a closer look!
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
The cover is vegan leather. Feels really smooth and bendy but sturdy at the same time (hope that makes sense!) I feel like you could throw this thing around a bit and it wouldn’t get damged.
Approx 0.75″ thick
There are no tabs but the color printing for each month on the edges of the pages does help somewhat.
At the front is the holidays reference list for last year, the current year and next year.
The dates at a glance page is handy, but the writing space is small.
After these annual overview pages, the months start. The planner is ordered like this:
- Monthly calendar (2 pages)
- Monthly planning (2 pages)
- Weekly Planning (2 page spreads)
- At the end of the month are lined notes pages (2 page spread)
There is no monthly divider between each month, just the colored box in the top middle of the page. There are 2 ribbon bookmarks to hold your place as there’s no tabs.
Starts Sunday (not consistent with the weekly spread)
Instead of split boxes, a 6th row is added. But not just to months that require it, there’s 6 weekly rows for every month. That’s a lot of wasted space!
The sidebar is quite narrow at just under 1.5″ wide.
Since Erin Condren is an American company, the planner has USA holidays pre-printed
I really like having a monthly planning page for each month (I prefer to use this and a habit tracker instead of a monthly calendar).
So much space for lists, project planning etc. Love how open-ended this page is – it could be used so many different ways
If you really like this layout but maybe don’t want to use it for monthly planning, Erin Condren has a productivity notebook with just this layout. You could use it for daily planning (e.g. lined writing space becomes AM, PM and evening), or for weekly planning if you don’t like scheduling tasks to certain days.
I really like this weekly spread. Simple functional layout with a little pop of color. Lined & unlined writing space is so flexible and ideal for separating work and personal, school and personal etc.
I do wish the holidays were printed beside the day of the week and make the divider line shorter where necessary, as otherwise it takes up room on the first line. Not such a big deal for obvious holidays like Easter, but I don’t need to know about the more random ones like Grandparent’s Day.
USA holidays are pre-printed on the weekly spread and the monthly calendar.
This is what it looks like when a month ends mid-week:
At the back of the planner are 5 lined notes pages. The line spacing is the perfect size at 7mm.
Not sure why but there’s a contacts page.
Followed by a dates at a glance and planning page for 2021.
I didn’t do a pen test of this planner as I’ve done a pen test for one of the other notebooks I bought in my 2nd Erin Condren haul. Since the paper is the same for all their planners and notebooks, here are the results for the pen test I did in the Erin Condren Personalised notebook:
Everything had light ghosting – more for the highlighters than the pens.
Pros of the Planner
- Portable size
- Minimalist color scheme throughout
- Very functional monthly planning page and weekly spread
- 2 Ribbon bookmarks in different colors
- Reasonable price
- Pages lay flat on their own
Cons of the Planner
- No tabs
- Monthly calendar and weekly planning pages start days are not consistent
- Monthly calendar – No split boxes but 6th row means less room to write for each day of the month – restarting the numbering on the top row would be better
- USA holidays pre-printed on the weekly and monthly spread (could be a pro for some people though)
- You can personalise the cover with text or a monogram but it costs $5 USD extra
- Paper is prone to ghosting
Would I use this planner?
Yes. I like the functional layouts of the monthly planning and weekly spreads, as well as the minimalist color scheme. I normally avoid sewn bound planners but the pages lay flat. This is one of my favorite Erin Condren Planners!
This planner reminds me of the Mi Goals Planner (Australian Planner) – see my review in this post.
More planner reviews:
- Erin Condren Personalised Notebook Review
- Erin Condren Budget Book (Petite Planner)
- Erin Condren Horizontal Life Planner versus Horizontal Happy Planner: which planner is better?
- Favorite dual tip highlighters for planning (roundup)
- How to add any printable to your Goodnotes digital planner
- DIY Tutorial: How to make planner stickers using Microsoft Word (includes video walkthrough)
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