How to Make a Personal Planner

A DIY Project to Keep Yourself Organized and on Task

overhead shot of a personal planner

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Finding a personal planner you love can be difficult. Even if you know exactly which features you need to organize your life, you might not be able to find a ready-made model that's a good fit. But you still can have the perfect planner if you create it yourself. A DIY planner can reflect your personal style, be customized for your schedule, and help you get organized and accomplish what you need to do. When designing a personal planner, the possibilities are nearly endless to individualize it to your liking.

Here are some tips for how to make a DIY planner.

Customize an Existing System

One easy way to customize a planner is to go with a system that’s designed to let you build your own. Three such options are Martha Stewart’s Discbound, the M. by Staples Arc System, and Levenger’s Circa. Each of these planners has the same disc binding, but they offer different aesthetics and customization options.

A customizable planner lets you mix and match the components you want and leave out those you don’t need. Plus, if you purchase a special hole-punch and additional discs, you can print your own pages or add other documents to your planner.

adding pages to an existing planner
The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Use Printables

Many sellers provide loose calendar pages and other papers for organization that are designed as nicely as those in fancy preassembled planners. Some of these pages are even free. For example, IHeart Organizing offers free printable daily schedule pages, blank task pages, and other helpful organization tools.

With printables, you download and print the pages yourself. And because you’re picking the paper, your choices of color and quality are far wider than they would be with a prefabricated planner. You can also bind them however you'd like. For example, hole-punch the pages and add them to a binder, or have them bound at a copy shop. Moreover, if you like the scheduling function of planner pages but don’t want to lug around a heavy book, you can choose only to print pages for the current month or whatever meets your needs.

a variety of free printables
The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Cut and 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 option if what you want in a planner is relatively common, but you just can't find it in a single planner.

This also doesn't have to be an expensive option despite using more than one item. For instance, it's possible that all you really need in a planner is a blank notebook with month-at-a-glance calendar pages throughout. If so, purchase a basic affordable planner. Then, cut and paste the pages you need from it into a pretty notebook to get an instant custom design that helps to keep you on task.

pasting items onto a planner page
The Spruce / Ana Cadena

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. Then, simply draw what you need for your planner. Or you can use a template (or your computer skills) to design your own pages and print them out.

A similar option is to use a blank journal to derive your own method for keeping track of your daily activities. If that seems daunting, let someone else’s method inspire yours. For example, the Bullet Journal started as one man’s daily routine and grew into a system others loved, too.

person designing a blank planner with a ruler and a pen
The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

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. Use colored writing utensils, stickers, patterned tape, and more to add some creativity to your planner.

Most craft stores are 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 social media.

a person placing stickers onto the page of a planner
The Spruce / Ana Cadena