It’s a PLAN[ner]! 01

Note: Post will be a part of a DIY series on planners

I can’t be the only one out there that needs to write things down. There’s something very concrete and fulfilling about pen and paper. The crackle of flipping through multiple sheets to find what you’re looking for… the varying line weights and shininess of the pen’s ink. Honestly, I’m a supply fiend. I think purchasing new supplies for school is even better than Christmas and Halloween combined. It’s wonderful unwrapping a new pack of pens and writing your first words in a notebook. So utterly gratifying.

I’ve tried using various computer programs for my planning needs from Wunderlist (great program, if you were wondering) to the default Mac calendar. Nothing has worked and I always seem to revert back to scribbling notes on scratch paper my to-do list. In my mind, I feel like it’s much easier to jot something down then to turn on my phone and/or computer, type what I need, and then sync it to my other devices. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate for technology, but sometimes simplicity is better.

I did my research on diy planners. However, what was being presented to me seemed a little over the top – all things considering, I wanted something simple and lacked (too much) visual clutter. A lot of the diy planners that I found browsing on the internet had a very strong scrap-booking feel to it, and although that appeals to some, it wasn’t up my alley. My plans are, however, to include some scrapbooking elements in the long run, but very minimally.

Yes, there are pre-created planners, but, I knew that if I bought something static, it wouldn’t last long. The amount of space they provide you to write down all you need to, I find, is much too limiting. I have a stack of quasi-used planners in one of my storage boxes. They were nice, for a while, until I couldn’t all the information running through my mind in a three lined box.

The only logically thing, then, was to build my own planner from the ground up, pulling inspiration from different pages on the internet and examine the way I learned and did things. First and foremost, I had to evaluate what I needed from my planner:

  1. Had to be flexible – I could take pages and add as needed
  2. Visually limitless – a tabula rasa of sorts for me to decorate as I pleased
  3. Easy organization – Had to track my finances, had a monthly and daily view, and a place to hold my notecards for class notes (an argument for note card taking later)
  4. Inspire me to use it daily

Thankfully, where I am interning this summer, there is a lot of paper waste (for me, not the environment, but I’m not going to argue). Most of the waste generated are printed sheets with one side perfectly blank – a perfect specimen for my diy planner. Early on, I started to collect a lot of these one-sided beauties that would normally be discarded, and in a couple of weeks, my meager stack of two quickly grew to over 500. Each sheet was lovingly folded in half (A5 size – approximately 8.5×5.5″) so that I had two blank sides I could work with. I drew a monthly calendar starting from September 2012 (when I’d actually start using the planner) to June 2013 (when school ended) on graph paper & hole punched each folded half sheet with a two hole puncher. My intention, to make the planner flexible, was to use book binder rings I found through Etsy, to bring all the sheets together.

Over the course of a few days I made and finished each month. Right now I only have my month and daily pages done. When they’re actually in my planner, they’ll be divided into roughly three month groupings since I am on a quarter system.

Each “daily” sheet, at the top right corner, has the day of the week it is (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and the day it is (1, 2, 3..). My plans for the front of the papers to be my MITs (Most important tasks) with the back being all other tasks that I need to get done eventually, for future MIT referencing. I’m going to be using a simple system to denote the status of my to-do list, as well. Something easy, but visually understandable.

I’m not sure how I’m going to approach my “expenses” section though. That’ll probably be decided by the time my binder rings come in (which I’m very, very excited about. 2″!). But, most likely, will house a month’s worth of receipts with a monthly log to be filed away at the end of the month for tax purposes.

What do you think? How do you get productive?

Happy planning!

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