How the LifePlanner Came to Be

After staying home with her twins for two years, Erin Condren needed money. She wasn’t in a rush to return to her gig from before motherhood: 12-hour days at a sewing factory. She wanted to craft, design and create. But money was sparse—to the point of battling foreclosure.

On a whim (and inspired by the less-than-exciting alternatives), Condren started making notecards for her friends. Whatever the occasion, an original, often colorful, concept was brought to life. She sold them at home-shopping parties starting in June 2004.

“The rest is history,” Condren says.

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She worked out of her Los Angeles garage, printing and packaging each stationery order herself and including a handwritten note in every box. In 2007 (right around the time the iPhone first debuted) Condren thought of an idea, a vision of the future: the LifePlanner, a traditional printed calendar book.

“We knew it would be risky, but we also knew there was a market in paper scheduling,” Condren says. “There’s something tangible and rewarding about writing things down in a calendar or planner that just doesn’t resonate the same as if you are putting them into an app.”

A goal isn’t a goal until it’s written down. And those first few years, Condren crossed off her goals on a weekly basis, from hiring her first employee to hiring her 100th. Now, between her Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, facilities, her company has more than 200 employees. A typical week includes approximately 1,000 LifePlanner purchases.

As for her secret to balancing work, family and everything in between, it starts with a weekly layout.

Developing a time-management system is imperative to finding balance in a career and personal life,” Condren says. “My motto has always been, ‘Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!’
I like to strategize on Sunday by outlining my family’s week ahead. You head into Monday with a game plan, ready to tackle the tasks at hand… and hopefully with more time for fun!”

Related: 6 Tips to Create a Balanced Life


This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.


Jeff Sullivan is the editorial director at Panini America and a columnist for Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. He lives in Arlington, Texas.

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