Can you believe I did not have a planner during last year – at all? Crazy I know!
I did draw a grid of some months in my diary instead, adding tabs to find them between all the writing. This system has worked for short term planning but not for goal-setting or getting a proper overview of time. And my schedule is increasingly busy now, with meetings and job appointments, so I need to better handle time each week.
I have been thinking about doing my own planner for years now. There is something so compelling about making your own planner to me, having the power to tweak size and look, adding features, doing the page design and personalizing each compartment.
You already know I am a notebook geek, so no matter how pretty the calendars in the paper stores are I can’t find one that is just perfect for me. There is always something missing. I guess it’s because a planner is such a big thing during a whole year, always there as you are planning your days. It is a part of your everyday life and a creative tool in many ways. And tools should be special. And I am happy to report that the one that I now have finally created is a great tool in many ways.
Just look at it:
I’m sure I will change some things about it when I’ve used it for a while, add or remove tabs etc, but for now I really love it a lot. Finally I made my own DIY planner! What a great feeling it is to do something you’ve been wanting to try and thinking about for such a long time!
Previously I’ve tried all kinds of planners and also made new covers for bought ones to “personalize” them (once a paper collage and later a fabric cover for a calendar that I ended up never even using), but never been really happy with those for many different reasons. The reason it took me so long to make one is that I have several requirements that needed to be filled. I want my planner to be a good size, not too small and not too big (needs to fit into my small handbag). It should be customizable too. And I want to be able to change things up as I go along – so a bound book or spiral bound would not work. I want to be able to take papers out, and put new ones in!
When Size Matters
The debate (in my head) has been bouncing around between the choices. What paper size would be most manageable? Fold the standard size A4 of 210×297 centimeters (8.27×11.69″) in half (to make what is called A5) or make the planner a quarter of an A4 paper, making a printable design that you cut in four parts? But after experimenting with both I know I don’t like these sizes!
I think A5 is too big for a bag-able planner and A8 (quarter) is way too small, especially with the printers margin leaving a lot of blank space on all sides. So I have stopped myself there, because those set sizes felt the most convenient, even though they are not appealing to me. Because I am not comfortable with them I needed to think outside the box and cut the A4 paper into a more perfect size for me to use!
After printing several different sizes I found that I like the half A4 if I cut away stripes to make it smaller than A5. So that’s it. It does create more papers for the recycle bin, but the forest will have to live with that for now. I mostly use recycled papers anyway. The actual size of each page is down to about 12×16 centimeters, and a spread looks like this:
Each paper is two weeks that I cut apart, the yellow part is what I cut away. For now I will pencil in the dates and week numbers by hand, but I will add the name of the month as I print the pages. So far I’ve printed months until June, and so far I am really liking the initial design. A lot!
Each day is separated into two columns. The left part is empty at first, and this is the place where I write what I want to get down that day. What I plan to do or think about. This week for example I have planned to do yoga twice so I write that in there. If I have a set appointment with a exact time, for example a meeting, I write the time and place on the right upper part of each day. In this way I can separate personal wants and ideas from absolute must-be-there-appointments.
Good daily habits
Using this calendar daily is part of my yearly goals. Tracking good habits is one part. So I have added a little row of words to each day (written in 7 pt). I circle each word if I have managed to focus on them that particular day. Right now they are: diary writing, computer writing time, create, meditate and exercise!
Some days non are circled, most day at least two of these important to me activities are squeezed in. Most often I circle create because this includes embroidery, drawing, painting, collage and other favorite activities. Exercise includes workout, walking and yoga right now. When I circle create I am reminded that I did not do any meditation and some nights before sleep I have therefor sat for 10 minutes and it feels good. I could also write not surfing on the web as a desirable action, or floss!, but the list shouldn’t be too long either. These words might change in the future. I like this list for now, it is very “me”.
How to Make Your Own Planner
All that said, I have also shared a tutorial on how I finally created my DIY planner with more images and ideas! Find my tutorial here:
DIY Calendar resources
- I have been very inspired by Amanda Hawkins of Ahhh Design and her great tutorials on DIY Planners, revisiting them many many times. I ♥ the Bee planner she made, and the very cool re-purposed book binder!
- Vintage Book Planner a tutorial by Cathe Holden on a cover for your bought planner
- New calendar new year – article by me at the Wish Studio
- DIY Planner templates – download, print, assemble (I love love love this site but again, never found a perfect layout for me so I had to do my own thing!)
- DIY Planners group planner images on flickr
- If you don’t want to make your own calendar, a filofax is a great choice though I am not a fan of their bulky covers it is highly customizable, and I totally get that you can have a filofax love affair, like Gala has.
- Create a command central binder – ideas on how to simplify your daily life
- Printable roundup – there are a lot of free printable pages for planning and monthly overview out there… check them out to see if there is something you could use!
You can also Buy iHanna’s Planner Pages here