In today’s world it is incredibly easy to procrastinate, it is even easier to let your goals and aspirations fall to the wayside in the torrent that is everyday life. That is why planners are so important. But lets face it, planners and organizers that you buy at the store (while cute!) don’t seem very personal, smartphones are awesome ways to keep track of things you need to get done, but they can be clunky or cumbersome to deal with.
I’ve had several Filofax style planners in my time, but for some reason, they never quite had what I wanted, and it was always far too expensive to customize them with the different tabs that I would need for my day-to-day life. Refills for them are also incredibly expensive, and they come with almost zero empty note sheets (which are a big deal for me, as I am constantly writing down notes or story ideas). So after stumbling upon iHanna’s blog post about making your own planner while browsing Pinterest I couldn’t help but think to myself: “Why haven’t I ever done that?“
After becoming completely obsessed with the idea of creating my own planner, I began bouncing ideas off of William (who by the time I had actually started making the planner was at his wits end regarding my bouncing enthusiasm) and scouring the internet for inspiration. I had a basic idea of what I wanted out of my planner: Calendar, Blog Post planning area, lots of note paper and a section for work. I jotted down ideas and daydreams and goals for my planner, and even sketched out several possible layouts for my pages. I was excited to find that there were several websites already pre-loaded with layouts and ideas, and my imagination went completely haywire as I kept revising my planner over and over again.
One of the most awesome stops on the internet that I found was Crystal Wilkerson’s 2012 planner download page, which is where I decided to purchase a 5.5″ by 8.5″ binder for my planner instead of building one from scratch. I wanted something that would be able to withstand a bit of punishment, and I also wanted to be able to change the outside as my mood or the seasons changed.
Building the Planner
The most time consuming part of the planner making process was designing my individual page layouts and then later punching holes in them, the majority of my pages that I had designed pages for (ironically) ended up being switched out with blank pages from several of my old journals that I had collected over the years. (I always knew I kept those things for a reason!)
I made my dividers out of scrap-booking paper that I found at Michael’s for about 20¢ a sheet, and used some cute cardboard labels I found for $1 at Target for the each divider’s title. (The pictures don’t have the titles and subtitles on them I’m afraid, I have to get my hands on my Mom’s old typewriter to get them just right.)
The daily pages are actually a modified version of the time-sheets we use at work, heavily edited to give me a checkoff for each of my four daily goals, and allow me to track meetings and appointments on an hourly basis. The daily pages were a requirement for me, as I have a packed schedule, and have several checkoffs each day that I attempt to accomplish.
Luckily with the size of the binder, half sheets of normal copy paper fit perfectly, so when I went to print out my pages I was able to condense 4 days into a single sheet of paper by printing on both sides, which also minimized how much space they would take up in the binder itself. The monthly calendar was a bit trickier to print, as I wanted to use card stock and have them printed at the store in full color. Finding pure white card-stock of the right weight and thickness that I wanted was a bit of a pain, not to mention tweaking the calendar’s layout on my Netbook with the help of a very patient Office Depot attendant to make sure that when the calendar actually printed the way I wanted it to.
Cutting the divider pages was also a bit of an adventure. The only thing I did not try to make from scratch was the little Ziplock holder for odds and ends, and thankfully it came with this perfectly sized piece of cardboard that I used to measure out each side of the divider. I used the large bits of material that were left over from the top to create the tabs for each of my organizer’s sections, and the scraps were used to later decorate the front, back, and spine of the organizer. Hardly anything was wasted in the building process!
The Final Result?
I learned a lot while building my organizer, and I still have a bunch more tweaks and changes to make along the way. In all honesty it isn’t 100% where I want it to be as of yet, but I can make changes to it as needed without having to go out and spend $50 on a new organizer (which was the main point of putting this together in the first place!)
There are tons of places around the internet to check out for more information and ideas to make your own organizer, and I wholeheartedly you take a look at a few of them and try it out. I was surprised by how rewarding of a project this turned out to be. The links listed below (across from the picture of my almost finished organizer cover!) have not only ideas for you to ponder, but also free templates and stock images to use for your own, so why not get started and get organized!
Links and Resources
- Crystal Wilkerson – Home of the now famous printable organizer. You can purchase her printable planner pages for just shy of $30, or use her templates as a great jumping off point for your own project!
- iHannah’s Blog – Hanna goes through her planner building process in great detail. She is also the one that gave me the idea to add my “Daily Goals” to each of my pages to make sure I completed all the personal tasks that make me feel accomplished.
- Artsy-Fartsy Momma – Very cute downloadable weekly organizer sheets that come in a variety of colors and include a to-do list as well as a weekly menu planner. asdf