My DIY Planner by iHanna Copyright Hanna Andersson of

After the introduction to the why of my DIY planner I thought I’d continue today with the how to, a tutorial to inspire you and some facts on how I finally created my own Planner for 2011, in a format that I can continue to use for many years to come! I created the layout of the weekly pages in Adobe InDesign, as well as a few other layouts for my planner, but I won’t go into that here.

Most recent update: Get iHanna’s Planner Pages here

Tutorial time!

Since I have been thinking about this projects for months I knew what I wanted to end up with (finally!). You might have other prerequisites for your planner project, so go ahead and be inspired but make sure you get what you want from your personalized planner! This is what I wanted from my project;

Making a planner folder

My DIY Personal Planner need:

  • to be small enough to fit into my bag, but big enough to write a few things each day 7 days a week
      … this is why I decided on a non-standard size (see previous post about how size does matter)
  • to have spine that I can open up, so that I can take out pages and add more as I go
  • to use my own printable pages for calendar pages (and other “extra” pages for lists, planning etc) that will fit my custom sized planner
  • tabs for the different areas (because I adore tabs)
  • a pretty cover that makes me happy
  • constant reminders, printed each day of the week, of what is important to me to keep me accountable and on track

For the cover I bought a a plain yellow binder (with a cardboard cover) at the thrift shop. It has a European standard 2-ring mechanism (which is perfect for me because I’m Swedish and already own a hole punch for this kind of binder). You have to decide what will work for you. I decided to recycle it by cutting it down to a manageable size that fit the calendar pages I created using InDesign.

Finished cover size is 5.7 x 6.7 inches (14,5 x 17 centimeters), and the spine is as thick as 3,4 centimeters.

Downsizing for the planner folder

When I felt this size was really working for me I decided to make a pretty and durable cover for it too. I wanted to cover it with something durable and when I (in my stash of papers) found a kind of plastic book paper I knew it was perfect. It is pink and oh so sparkly! Just look at it;

Glitterlicious Pink!
Glitterlicious pink!

I like that it is made out of plastic, because it will go into my bag on a daily basis and therefore get a lot of wear and tear. Plain paper would stain and tear much quicker, though I would guess that this one will not last long either (it’s already got a stain). But then I get to re-pimp it and that will be fun too! :-)

Rose end papers
The inside endpapers are made from a photocopy filled with roses, from a few years ago when I had access to a great laser printer. I use a glue stick to attach everything, then I’ve also added a transparent plastic pocket to the inside of the cover. I am a firm believer that all journals, notebooks etc needs an inner pocket of some kind! Where else will you put business cards and daily ephemera that you want to save?

On each of the dividers I’ve taped a pretty postcard from my stash. The first one in the book is a Papaya postcard with the words Make a Wish!. Love it!

Cutting dividers with tabs
I used coloured cardstock to make a few section dividers. I cut out the pages and measured and marked tabs that would not overlap each other. At first I had no idea what sections I wanted or would find useful, but I created a few anyway just to get started. I have sections for Blog planning, Writing, Read Books etc. Make sections that feels usable for you. I printed labels and used transparent book tape to seal the tabs that stick out from the normal pages, for easy browsing.

These are the tabs I’ve got in my planner for now;
Matching pen

Then it’s time to print the pages for your planner!

When you’ve got a few pages printed it’s time to down size them and start assembling it into your planner.

Cutting calendar pages
I’ve bought beautifully cream coloured paper at the office supplies store! Two weeks fit into one page and I use my paper cutter to cut them apart. Chop chop, and finished!

Check out the wonderful site diy planner if you can’t or don’t want to create your own layouts… They’ve got yearly templates that you can print – for free!

Writing dates in my planner
I customize the weekly overview on the computer by adding the name of the month and a little quote, but then I write dates and week number by hand. It’s just faster and also more personal & fun.

Hole punching
Then punch holes in each page. BTW, did you know that you can buy a special Filofax hole punch? I didn’t know this when I started to make my planner folder, but I think it’s quite generous of them to make one. Imagine the possibilities… You could add anything to your beloved filofax… If you just wanted to make the pages and not bother with a cover you could get a filofax cover and use that to store your personalized pages. Just a thought…

Folder style
I like the standard Swedish folder style though, with four holes. I’m thinking that I will also create another folder where I can put used weekly pages, like an archive folder! We’ll see.

Adding weekly pages into the ringbinder
Then just sort the pages and add them into the ringbinder! And start planning your days, weeks and months. Your life!

Today is easy to find
One of my favorite parts of this planner is the Today tab that is sticking up on top of the planner. It tells me where to find this week that we’re in right now, and I use it all the time to check what time my Next Thing is!

What's up Today?
Transparent note papers
I made it out of empty plastic laminate and taped the word idag (today) there.

I’ve been playing a bit in inDesign now that the size is set it’s easy to customize pages for special use in my planner. These are a few of my layouts;

Blog post planning design
Plan blog posts ahead of time like we learned from Pam’s post on planning blog posts for a year. I am a bad planner, but I have ambitions… does count for something me thinks!

Project Planning Design
I’ve also created a layout for Projects that are in the planning stages. I want to outline the idea, make some notes below that and then make a list of Next Actions in true GTD-style!

Books I've read
I even created a special page for Books I’ve Read this year! I’m oh so into novels right now, I just want to read all the time. I’m keeping a list of Books to read here too, for the first time in a long time. Sometimes when I start thinking about books I want to read there are so many that I get overwhelmed, but this time around it is helping me focus on what I really want to read, like my friend Maria’s favorite books from 2010!

The dividers has pretty postcards, like I mentioned. Here are a few more;

Pretty postcard with tabs
Love this design too, a Michelle Ward designed GPP postcard.

Pretty postcard with tabs
Pretty collection of pink things, a postcard designed by Christine Clemmensen.

New pink pens
To celebrate my pink planner I bought pink matching pens. All of a sudden I’m obsessed with pink pens, I’m thinking these two are the beginning of a great collection…

Writing lists in my calendar
I love using my planner! Love love love it! Another favorite use is the to-do-lists I keep on the opposite page of the week. So handy and useful there!

Handy Planner indeed
I hope you’re inspired to make something on your own. Let me know if you make a planner and what works for you!

Update: Get the scope on the new year of Planner Pages here. Please subscribe to iHanna’s newsletter to be notified when new editions come out, and when I start up the DIY Postcard Swap next time.