0031. tps: make your own planner

Leave it to me to not post my planner until March. This has been sitting in my drafts for over a month for lack of photos, but done is better than perfect so inconsistent lighting be darned! (Truth: it's bothering me, but I'm practicing letting go.)

I love planners and notebooks. I can't remember when I started journaling, but I remember even as a little girl loving all things paper. Notebooks, planners, calendars, pens. They're useful, fun, beautiful, and help me remember things I wouldn't otherwise.

On that account, getting a new planner has been a yearly ritual. I scope out designs, decide a size and gift myself something I know I'll use if not everyday, almost as much. I track goals, jot quotes, schemes, ideas and put onto paper what I'm hoping to accomplish. It's a meditative process that I couldn't do without.

This year I wanted to try something new. With my dedication to not buying new things I wanted to make my own. Last year's planner proved too small and I'm always collecting scrap paper anyway - why not put it to good use with my dream planner - combining all the aspects of one in a master binder, much less portable but maybe more effective and sustainable?

As with most things I try, it's trial and error. I like the binder planner, but it wasn't ideal for travel, way too big and cumbersome. Luckily I found the perfect sized notebook in a drawer in my mom's house and my planner after a whole month of trying ideas is done, ready and just right.

Last year I started making charts to help track and maintain healthy habits. Every week or month I'd choose new colors and ended up with a colorful, rainbow planner. After it was stolen, nostalgia hit and I decided to fully embrace the look again. Give me all ze colors please.

I started the first pages with quarterly spreads. With a continuous grid design on one side, I have room for my seasonal lists, important dates and other random notes. Not pictured: a happy accident. On my first attempt I made a mistake but rather than tear it out, I embraced the error and ended up with extra room that has come in handy.

I've always found normal calendars don't provide enough space for details. After discovering bullet journaling a couple of years ago I can't get enough of vertical calendars. I have a full line for times, dates and a simple visual layout. I start out every month with one of these and leave the adjacent page blank as a canvas for that month's to-dos, goals, etc. A new addition: starting the page with a priority for the month. Highlighted in red, it's the one thing I have to get done, no excuses or way to forget. I embraced it for my weeklies too.

Different people have different uses for planners and mine is more of a datebook. I track habits, goals, and write out a brief synopsis of my day. With the extra space gained from a bigger size I included a personal/work task list inspired by Passion Planner - a handy reminder of that week's most important tasks.

And that is that. I haven't filled it all out but after penciling in pages I was left with plenty of room for planning and lists in the back (yay). Some favorites: books I've read, gift ideas, and quotes. All in all it's similar to my planner from last year with notable, awesome exceptions: bigger, eco-friendly and customizable.

After all, that is one of my favorite aspects of a sustainable lifestyle - the creativity it generates. Anytime I see waste it upsets me, but it also lights a chispa in me to buy less. To use what's already around in a way that exercises my creativity and puts the many materials that have been forgotten or discarded to use. For my mom's planner, I found a sustainable lined notebook at my re-use store (I wonder if it's because I live in a college town, but I've been surprised to find lots of great supplies here) and I dedicated a couple of hours to writing in dates. Unfortunately I haven't been able to photograph it, but every time I catch her using it my little heart flutters with joy.

My layout wont work for everyone but the idea is to take what you already have and work with it - flex those creative muscles, make something new from something that's just sitting around and save new resources along the way ... the possibilities are endless. I'm really liking the design and as someone who has way too many notebooks to begin with, I'm already looking forward to making my 2020 planner. (Nerd alert: what an awesome number!)

Have you made your own planner before? Would you? If you have, please share :)

PS. I'm still using scrap binder for bigger plans, schemes and things that need more space. Let me know if you'd like a peek.


  1. I'm a big fan of bullet journaling and love all things paper, so I really enjoyed your post (and reading through other posts in the archive). :)


    1. thanks so much, kate! bullet journaling is zee best and i'm happy i wont have to buy a planner for years because of my crazy notebook collection :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts