So you’ve answered all the questions you should ask yourself before buying a planner, and you’ve looked at every model out there, but you can’t find one that combines all the features you need.
Fear not – you can still have the perfect paper planner if you create it yourself. In the long run, this is probably going to work out better for you, as creating your own DIY planner just makes sense.
The possibilities are nearly endless, but to start you off, here are five basic ways to make a DIY planner.
1. Start with an existing system.
One easy way to customize your own planner is to go with a system that’s designed to let you build your own. Three similar styles (they have the same disc binding, but different aesthetics and options) are Martha Stewart’s Discbound, the M. by Staples Arc System, and Levenger’s Circa. This type of planner lets you mix and match the components you want and leave out those you don’t. If you purchase a special hole-punch and additional discs, you can also print your own pages or add any existing documents to your planner.
2. Use printables.
Many sellers provide calendar pages and extras that are designed as nicely as those in fancier pre-assembled planners. (For an example, check out the IHeart Organizing Daily Planner Printables.) With printables, you download and print the pages yourself. Since you’re picking the paper, your choices of color and quality are far wider than they would be with a regular planner, and you can bind them however you like.
Punch the pages and add them to an old-school binder, or have them bound at a copy shop. If you like the scheduling function of planner pages but don’t want to lug around a heavy book, you can simply keep the current month’s pages on your desk, fridge, or clipboard, or tuck them into a notebook or folder you’re using already.
3. Cut & paste.
If you enjoy getting a bit crafty, cutting and pasting together parts of two or more existing planners will give you lots of options. This is a good method if what you want is relatively simple, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I realized that as much as I loved looking at fancy planners, all I needed was a blank notebook with month-at-a-glance calendar pages throughout. So I bought an affordable planner from Target and pasted some of it into a pretty notebook: instant custom design.
4. Make your own pages.
If you can envision exactly what you want in terms of layout and text, you can start with a blank book, a ruler, and a pen, and simply draw what you need. Or, you can use a template (or your computer skills) to design your own pages and print them out. A related option is to use a blank journal to derive your own method for keeping track of your daily activities. If that seems daunting, borrow someone else’s; the Bullet Journal system started as one man’s daily routine and grew to be loved by others too.
5. Get creative.
If you find many different planner options acceptable in terms of layout, but you want something more unusual or attractive, you can always personalize a plain planner.
There has never been so much patterned tape, such a wide variety of stickers, and such a huge choice of colored pens or pencils as there is right now. Any craft or art store will be full of the tools you need to turn a boring calendar or blank page into your own unique creation. For ideas, look to the legions of people who document their dedication to planner decoration on Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.