An Experiment + A Giveaway

I’m doing something this week that scares me. Why?

I’m scared to let people down. I’m scared to NOT be in control.

But I’m doing an experiment that scares me… because I KNOW I will feel awesome when I get passed it.

I’m deleting my email accounts from my iPhone (gasp!!)

So… why ARE we so tethered to our iPhones?

No… why am I SO TETHERED TO MY IPHONE? Specifically… my mail app?

Answer: My inbox NEEDS me. Those clients need me. Right then. I want to deliver the best client experience EVER (no, really. EVER.) And I do this by being on top of my inbox.


Are we really better at what we do because we can react in real time to emails, voicemails, etc?

A few times a week, while sitting at my computer, I turn OFF my mail application. I work and design and get amazing things accomplished and created because I’m not distracted. Last week it occurred to me… I’m in and out of my office so much, why am I allowing myself to be SO distracted while doing ANY of these things? Distracted with email while I’m working or distracted with email when I’m playing with Brady or spending time with my family? OR when I should be having ME time? What if I compartmentalized BETTER and designated TIME for email rather than allowing it to interrupt my day SEVEN THOUSAND TIMES?

Even more… when I have down time… instead of grabbing my phone to get sucked into some app or Facebook…  How awesome would I feel if I spent those few moments chasing Brady around the house? Or reading the six books sitting on my nightstand unfinished? 

If we’re all so plugged in, when do we get a chance to unplug and refuel our creative tanks? When I’m anxious or caught with a few spare moments, I often grab my phone and catch up on my Reeder app or scan through Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest for a few minutes. The TMZ app is another black hole for me. I often find myself hitting refresh on my mail app to make sure I’m up to date with anyone who needs me… over and over and OVER again throughout the day. I swear all of this fries my brain.

A question for you… how awful would it be… if I checked my email ON MY COMPUTER (gasp!!) in the morning, in the middle of the day and before I signed off for the day.

Would I have 6 BILLION emails every time? No. Would 80% of those be JUNK or subscriptions or newsletters or advertisements those times that I did see that overwhelming number? Yes. Couldn’t I then flag emails that need attention and delete the rest like I do anyways? Yes.

Would the people who might actually have an emergency or some issue that needed immediate response know how to reach me if something urgent or pressing happened before I checked my email? YES!

So why on earth am I so plugged in?

Tomorrow starts the experiment: “No email accounts on Emily’s iPhone.” I’m finding that the more I simplify and streamline, the better I am to everyone around me. By removing my email accounts from my iPhone, I’ll be able to respond to each email (perhaps not as quickly BUT) with my full attention, from a computer during a time that I am focused.

Now doesn’t this make SENSE?! Why have I not done this BEFORE!?

This is just a step in the right direction. After I tackle this, perhaps I will take Facebook off of my iPhone. (double gasp!!)

Funny story… the last time I did something that scared me… I hired my first employee, the amazing Marissa Kloess, to help me with ELP / ELC… right before I had Brady. One of the best biz decisions I ever made. Looking back it was a no-brainer. Perhaps this will be the same?

In other news, we are hard at work on the NEW SIMPLIFIED PLANNER! And I have to say… it is amazing. I will be holding my breath until the first sample is in my hands.

Also, have you SEEN the new Martha Stewart Home Office Collection with Avery at Staples? I die! Talk about a product that makes you FEEL something. I LOVE her collection. I wanted everything. My mom had a brilliant idea to use MS’s removable tabs (in the cutest little scallop shapes) to separate months in her Simplified Planner. I followed her lead and added them to mine today (as well as a “THIS WEEK” tab at the top to immediately find where I am and a sticky-note pad [in the same cute shape] as well – it sticks to the paper!)

Nicole (ELC’s amazing new Assistant Creative Director!!) and I are hard at work perfecting the 2012-2013 Simplified Planner to go to print THIS WEEK! They will have all kinds of new features and will span August, 2012 – December 2013. (Please excuse my terrible iPhone photo of my current Simplified Planner above).

Before we send our final files off to press, we’d LOVE to know what you’d LOVE to see in the new planner.

SO…. A GIVEAWAY! We’re giving away a goodie bag we’ve put together with a few of our favorite Martha Stewart/Avery loveliness including the tabs + sticky notes you see above! There are a couple ways to win:

  1. Tweet a link to this post – be sure to mention @emilyley so we see it!
  2. Leave a comment below listing one feature/thing you’d LOVE to see in the new Simplified Planner.
  3. Sign up to receive news and notification when the new Simplified Planner is available for pre-order! Leave a note here letting us know!

Contest ends Thursday, March 29 at midnight EST. The winner will be announced this Friday, March 30 right before we send our files off for the NEW Simplified Planner!

PS: Sign up to be notified when pre-sales are open! A very limited number of Simplified Planners will be released. A small portion of these will be available wholesale. To inquire about this wholesale opportunity, please contact me directly.

Congratulations to Lindsey DeLaMare who won the contest!!


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  1. Lindsey DeLaMare commented:

    Oh my you are a brae woman. I have often thought the same thing. Maybe you will spur me on! I love the tabby idea. If I dont win I will be adding them for sure! You are so smart. Hate we missed you I hope to get together this summer with you for sure. And yes please send me all the updates and notifications I love my ELP!! Tweet following.

  2. Lindsey DeLaMare commented:

    PS Brave not Brae! And Everett has become such a fit pitcher he and Brady may have been entertaining to watch together.

  3. Kricia Morris commented:

    I would LOVE to see anything added to the planner that allows for personalization, like a place for a personal logo. I’d also love to see it in orange, always a plus for me :) I shared the giveaway on Twitter and I signed up, I can’t wait to see the new planners and get my hands on one!

  4. Heather commented:

    I would like to see the planner be smaller in size. As someone who works in and office part of the week from home the rest of the week and even likes to take the planner along to social meetings it is a bit large. It doesnt fit in an average size purse so you have to have a huge work bag or diaper bag to tote it around and use it to its fullest potential. It is too pretty and functional to just sit on a desk! ;)

    • Elise commented:

      Could they come out with two sizes, like some calendars do?

  5. I tweeted your giveaway just now. I’d love to see any new features! The planner is great right now and I’m so excited to see the possibilities. And finally, I signed up to receive the email notifications.

  6. Liz commented:

    I banned myself from FB for the entire first week of being with my parents/brother and to be honest I didn’t miss it at all!! And when I finally did catch up with it, I hadn’t missed a whole lot (and quickly found the important stuff anyway!!). You blog a lot about being present and that really resonated with me (and still is!).

  7. Marissa commented:

    I love this (and you)! I’m SO grateful you made that big leap to hire me! I adore you to the moon and back! xo

  8. Kelly Edm commented:

    I signed up to receive email notifications – I have not purchased the Simplified Planner before, but would love one for next year. :)

  9. Kelly Edm commented:

    I would love to see the Simplified Planner in perhaps a smaller size. I carry around SO.MUCH.STUFF and have always chosen the smaller planners to accommodate the need to lighten up a little. Other than that, I think your planners are wonderful, and I can’t wait for the new batch to come out!

  10. Elizabeth Beasley commented:

    Present was my Word to Live by for 2012. Love it! And love this planner that will be starting in August. My teacher heart is so happy. Put me on the list for pre-order notification. XO.

  11. Katie Saeger commented:

    I would love to see a stronger cover, and one that is pretty close on size to the pages within. Perhaps make it a tad bit smaller? For the on the go folks, my phone still is my go-to because not all purses can fit it. Love the tabs you have added, definitely doing that for this years!

    Good luck with your experiment!! Someday I hope to eliminate a few of mine!

  12. I can’t wait to see what you’ve put together for the new planner! I know it’s going to be fabulous! I’d love to see the planner in purple (ha!) and if you do include tabs (which I think you said somewhere you will) make them removable like MS’s. Cleaner take-off and ability to move them around is like the icing on the cake. A tougher more durable cover would be fabulous too. Tweet to follow and I’m already signed up for your notifications :)

  13. lmend commented:

    signed up for notification.

    great plan! i have banned myself from signing on to facebook more than once a week, and deleted the app on my phone shortly after downloading it (it made me a little crazy that fb had access to all of my contact information), and i have found that to be a perfect balance for me. i’m trying (albeit sometimes unsuccessfully) to only check email 2-3 times per day. doesn’t help when dd’s teachers sometimes send out 7pm emails though!

    it is crazy how we need to be so vigilant about what holds our attention in these digital times. wishing you success and more quality time with those you love!

  14. Cat commented:

    LOVE your products and I cannot wait for the new planner! I’d love to see it in a little big smaller size. My purse is also my diaper bag so any extra room would be nice. Either way though, I love it!!

  15. Shefali Lindsey commented:

    I would love to see the tabs like in the photo incorporated into the Simplied Planner! I think that is a great idea and something I truly enjoy having in a planner. Plus, the cute shapes add a little extra something special. SOOOO excited for the new planner to come out! :)

  16. Jenni Bailey commented:

    Amen to this post. Some truly amazing brands were built in the pre-iPhone, pre-email, pre-facebook days so it is absolutely possible. And if anyone can do it, you can. :)

    You know what I would love in my planner? Photo pockets. Because it’s something that would always be with me and when I run into someone and they ask, “What have you been up to? How are your little girls?” I would MUCH rather flip open my planner to a page of beautiful prints than do the annoying cell phone photo hunt thing. You know the old, “Here’s a good one. Oh wait…” swipe swipe swipe, “There. That one’s actually better. Kind of.”

  17. Kelly commented:

    Em, love my planner and I agree, the tab idea is a wonderful addition, but because I am home most days and because of the planners wonderful design I can just open it to the current week/day and leave it (folded). This may be a little cheesy but I am one of those “still a kid at heart” type people and, like my 4 yr old, I LOVE stickers. They are fun and can make days/events stand out during the week. Birthdays, anniversarys, holidays, plain for personal events, and maybe some fun ones like party or playdate would be on my list of stickies to play with. I don’t know about added cost but it seems like such a fun addition. You are doing an amazing job and I can’t wait for my next planner even though it’s still march!

  18. Rachel commented:

    I would love to see the simplified planner having a place for personal and biz I want it all the same place but separated! I love the idea and I think it is awesome and gorgeous and can’t wait to see the new revised one for the new year! I also just tweeted your giveaway!

  19. Rachel commented:

    and just signed up for the newsletter! Can’t wait!

  20. Stephanie Creekmur commented:

    I’m so excited for the new planner! I have enjoyed mine so much! :) I love that tabs will be included in the next batch! One thing I would love to see is maybe a smaller version. I usually love to throw my planner in my bag so I have it everywhere & this one is a little too big for that. It works perfectly for my desk though! :)

  21. Dana Laymon commented:

    I’m not too familiar with the planner right now but tabs are sooooo helpful and the ones you added above are so cute!

  22. Dana Laymon commented:

    I signed up to be notified about preorders!

  23. Dana Laymon commented:

    I tweeted this post!

  24. Jenny commented:

    Tabs!!! I would love it and also a 2 page Year in Review. So you can see the half a year on one page Left and the second half on the Right with some room in each box.

  25. Becca commented:

    The tabs you put in your planner are too cute! I’ll definitely add some to mine, and am excited that they’ll be appearing in the new planner :)

    Although I’ve gotten used to writing smaller than usual in my planner, it would be fabulous to have a bit more space to write on each day. On days with super long to-do lists, I sometimes run out of room.

    I absolutely love the notes section on each week to write down random things to remember, ideas, etc. I also love the inspirational quote for every month, and that the colors change throughout the planner.

    I’m *so* excited that the next planner will start in August and go through the end of 2013. As a wedding photographer, my clients often book us more than a year out and it will be great to have a planner that allows me to write down events that are a long way off.

    I tweeted about the giveaway and signed up to be notified when the new planner comes out. Can’t wait to get my hands on one :)

  26. Kristin commented:

    Just signed up to be notified when pre-sales open! Can’t wait to see the new planner!

  27. Jessica@TWB commented:

    I’d love a compact, can go anywhere planner.

  28. Lindsey Walters commented:

    Hi Emily! I want to first let you know that I think you are truly an inspiration to so many! Your thoughts and ideas motivate people to strive to be their best always! Owning the Simplified Planner allows us to have a little Emily Ley in our everyday! I love the tab idea and I think it would be fun to have a place to put photos. Throughout the years I have always laminated picture of my children into my planner, as they are a huge part of my everyday planning/activity. Being a working/stay at home Mom it would be a little fun add to one of my favorite things! Also, a “monthly” pockets to put notes in. I have always been a planner/journal kind of girl and although I still use my google calendar (as my back up for when I don’t have my Planner on hand) and out of all the planners I’ve owned I have fallen head of heals for this planner! Thank you bunches for your awesome work!


    PS I have tweeted this post! :)

  29. Kristy commented:

    Just signed up for your updates! So excited to see your new planner! Have a great week!

  30. emily hansel commented:

    Is it bad that I now know what I want to do with my baby free hour tomorrow- wander the aisles at Staples looking at all this wonderful stuff! I had completely forgotten about it!

  31. Jenny Johnston commented:

    Proud of you for being brave! I haven’t quite made the full leap to no email on my phone, but I have at least turned off the email notification beep. Helps me not feel like I have to check it every time it goes off. Anxious to hear how it works for you! You go Emily!!

  32. Lindsey Lawson commented:

    I would love for the new simplified planner to have an extra sturdy/thick cover (including corners!) for all the abuse I put it through! Oh, and a pocket somewhere also so I could stash papers or lists or business cards :)

  33. Candace Nelson commented:

    I want the new Planner some kinda fierce!!! Will be hard to wait on it. Don’t know if this is in it, but I would love quotes and/or Bible verses in a planner. I’m going to sign up to b notified!!

  34. Gina commented:

    I just love everything that you do… and the new Planner colors are brutal and stunningly fresh!!!! I would love to see practical ideas, encouraging wisdom words, business tips and advice, empowering steps to achieve great goals (in line with what you already do here in your blog!).
    Thank you, once again, for sharing your path!

  35. Courtney commented:

    I always feel like my planner is missing a good place for a to-do list, something that I can tear out and start over every couple of days! I would love to see something like this integrated into the Simplified Planner! I tweeted about the giveaway on Twitter and I signed up for the email list! Yay for organization!

  36. Katie O'Keefe commented:

    Hi Emily, I LOVE my planner, but the first thing I thought when I got it was, “Dang if only it had tabs.” Since using it, a more durable cover would be nice as it goes everywhere with me and the edges are already bent out of shape. I would love also a folder or some sort of pocket either in the front or back cover for receipts and important loose papers. Have you though of doing a print on the cover? It could be geometric or some sort of modern floral – that would be cool.

    Other than that, it’s really my favorite planner yet. Thanks!

  37. Elise commented:

    Would love to be signed up for pre-order, thank you!

  38. Bridgett commented:

    I’d loved to see a pocket included. I carry my planner around and would love a neat place to put the loose papers. Also, would love a place to jot down my daily to-do lists. I download and have no place really to write my action list for the day. That would be awesome! I’m already on the mailing list, will I be notified when pre-orders are available? Thanks!

  39. Ashley Porter commented:

    I love tabs and options for different sizes too. I just signed up to be notified when they are released. I can’t wait!

  40. Amy commented:

    Just signed up to receive updates!

  41. Kristen Steele commented:

    Emily, what an awesomely brave thing to do. Isn’t that weird that we think it’s BRAVE to disconnect/unplug/focus on actually living?? I gave up FB/Pinterest/etc. for Lent and it’s been a God-sent, literally. I felt really convicted that I had been basing my worth and wasting so much time online, so I’m really happy you’ve been thinking along the same lines too… As far as updates, I agree with most everyone here and think a smaller size would be awesome. I’d love to fit it in my purse. AND I totally agree with Katie Saeger that a stronger cover – maybe even like a cardboard notebook cover or something would be incredible. I do like for my cover and the pages to be the same size. THANKS and I can’t wait to go buy some of MS’s tabs!!

  42. Jennie f commented:

    Signed up for notifications for the planner! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  43. Lisa N. commented:

    So excited to see the new planner! I love using my planner and there’s not much I would change although I do think tabs are a great idea. I do enjoy the ideas and words of wisdom sprinkled throughout.

  44. Jameka commented:

    I’m really excited about the planner. I loved last year’s design, but I would like it to be a tad bit smaller – maybe 6×9??? That way it can fit in ALL of my purses!

  45. Jane commented:

    L.O.V.E everything about it….it’s pretty much thing I do look for is the size..I do prefer smaller so it could fit in my bag(s)….thanks for the chance!

  46. Liz Rotz commented:

    Hey Emily!
    I have a serious love affair with my ELP planner! I love having my monogram on the front, it makes it such a personalized pretty product! I would LOVE to see some tabs, and pockets/dividers in it! And my cover is a little bent, so maybe something a bit stronger. Otherwise the only other thing it might need is glitter! Just kidding, sort of!
    Lots of Love, Liz

  47. Liz Rotz commented:

    And of course I’ve been signed up to get notifications! Can’t wait to pre-order!

  48. Megan commented:

    I’m just under the wire but how could I not spread the word!? Just sent out the tweet :)

  49. Megan commented:

    As far as changes/additions, I have also added tabs to mine. I have noticed the back coming undone from the spiral bound so a tighter binding may provide more support for those of us who use them about as much as our bibles :)

    Though I normally prefer smaller I have come to love the size!

  50. Donya commented:

    I have no idea what to add. This planner seems so perfect. I love it. And the Martha Stewart tabs and sticky pads are a perfect addition to them.

  51. Donya commented:

    And I’m absolutely signed up to receive notifications for pre-ordering!

  52. Megan commented:

    I would love to see quotes and/or encouraging words on each page. :)

  53. Victoria Derrick commented:

    Oh my goodness, sad face I JUST missed the dead line.

    Ugh, subscribing to your RSS feed immediately so I won’t miss anything :-)

    Best of luck to everyone!

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