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DIY Daily Planners

Updated on November 18, 2016

Create a Custom Personal Organizer

Are you tired of paying high prices to refill your Day Planner? Do the available selections at the office supply store not fulfill your specific needs? If you're looking to improve your current time management system or are just beginning to put together a personal organizer then consider making your own. With only a few common tools (paper, computer, printer, hole punch, paper trimmer) you can create a planner for work, home or family that suits your exact needs. A custom organizer can make time management more efficient, not to mention aesthetically pleasing.

Which Planner Size?

  1. Classic size, which is 5.5"x8.5", half the size of a regular letter-size sheet of paper as found in North America and some South American countries. A planner this size offers a great balance of writing space, portability, and amount of material to carry. You can generally find decent Mead or At-A-Glance planners this size at your local department story for $7-$20 USD, or you can buy upscale Day Runner or Day-Timer products for $40 USD and up at your office supply store.
  2. A5 size, which is half an A4 sheet, and found in most other countries world-wide outside of North America. These planners are a little bit wider and not quite as tall as classic, but otherwise are very similar. Filofax is a popular brand with a wide range of options.
  3. Letter size, which is standard North American full-size sheets (8.5"x11"). Great if you need a lot of space, but poor for portability; it can get large and heavy. Planners and binders this size can be found quite cheaply indeed.
  4. A4 size, the rough equivalent of letter size in most countries outside of North America, and subject to many of the same pros and cons of letter size above.
  5. Hipster PDA size, which is 3"x5" index card size (people outside North America often scale to slightly different sizes). Many people keep a stack of index cards with to-do lists, calendars, notes and other important info. Small and portable, and all you really need is a binder clip to keep it together. However, they are also difficult to file, you cannot carry around too many without facing organisational issues (think of shuffling a pack of cards), and printing/cutting them can be a pain if your printer isn't in complete agreement with your choice of planner.

Choosing the Binding System - Binding systems can be made from basic items around the office or purchased from a specialty store.

photo credit: mpclemens

  • Clip - A backover clip is pretty useful with the Hipster PDA pocket sized planner, especially if you like to reorganize your cards regularly.
  • Ring - You can use one single ring to hold your pocket sized planner together, or you can purchase a binder or cover in any configuration from 3 to 7 rings for any other size. These are easy to find in any office supply store, as well as the hole punches to go along with them.
  • Disc - Disc-binding is a variation of notebook binding that allow pages to be added, removed, and replaced easily. Additionally pages can be transferred between notebooks of different functions and sizes.

    A page perforated for a disc-bound binding system contains a row of teeth along the side edge of the page that grip onto the outside raised perimeter of individual discs. Pages can be added or removed at any time by peeling the perforations away from each disc.

    As a result of the open nature of the binding mechanism, a number of resources for do-it-yourself planning and productivity management have adopted the system.

    Currently there are two manufacturers of disc-binding systems. In the United States, is Rollabind with its major licencee, Levenger. In Europe, it is a system called Atoma with a licensee in the United States called Myndology.

Personalizing the Planner Sections

The D*I*Y Planner is a system of do-it-yourself, printable forms in several different sizes and layouts, including Classic (5.5x8.5"), A5, and Hipster PDA (3x5" index cards). There are over a hundred different templates currently available, covering time management, project planning, creative uses, David Allen's Getting Things Done, and miscellaneous checklist and note-taking uses.

This system was created and is maintained by Douglas Johnston, and it is released under the terms of a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives License (unless otherwise noted). Please read the documentation if you have any questions.


D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition

D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Add-Ons

D*I*Y Planner 3.0 (Classic/A5 Edition)

D*I*Y Planner Classic/A5 Add-Ons

D*I*Y Planner Letter/A4 Edition

Dynamic Template

Simply select your paper size, choose the calendar type, and tweak the settings to come up with your own printable set of calendars that perfectly fit your planner and your lifestyle.

Download the Dynamic Template application

Free Printable Calendars

Web site CalendarLabs is all about the calendar, offering up several quick and simple calendars for your printing pleasure including yearly, monthly and weekly customizable calendars.

Planner Organization

This system is intended to be personalized to suit your needs, and below is a suggested base structure.

  1. Cover, with profile information
  2. Pouches, business card pages, etc. (if you have them)
  3. Calendar section, with daily, weekly or monthly templates
  4. Contacts section, with Contacts or Sources forms
  5. Inbox -- this is where you write all your rough notes; keep it stocked with plain cheap (or unprinted) notepaper
  6. Actions -- for either:
  7. a few To Do List, Checklist and Project Outline forms (or whatever else tickles your fancy)
    1. A tabbed divider for each major project; for example, "Renovation." "Supply Setup," or "Website"
  8. An Incubate (or Someday/Maybe) tab for putting vague ideas of those things you want to check out or perhaps do sometime in the undiscernable future, such as learning a language or visiting a particular restaurant
  9. A Reference tab, for keeping various charts and lists (To Buy: Books, Network Information, Local Stores and Hours, Long Distance Codes, etc.)
  10. A Journal tab, for keeping personal notes, records, diary pages, or similar, if you're into that sort of thing

Is a DIY planner for you? - I'd love to hear what you think of this concept, lens and am open to suggestions.

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    • profile image

      mycover2013 4 years ago

      I have found some good templates on

    • profile image

      chickie99 5 years ago

      not a bad idea!

    • profile image

      les777 5 years ago

      I've used Franklin Covey for a few years but think they're expensive for what you get. I'm going to give some of your ideas a go.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @wolfie10: (use ROLL20 as your promo code for 20% off of your next online order for this disc system!)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Helene-Malmsio: (use ROLL20 as your promo code for 20% off of your next online order for this disc system!)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: (use ROLL20 as your promo code for 20% off of your next online order for this disc system!)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      As far as printing calendars I also suggest taking a look at - you can enter notes and print right from you browser.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the ideas. I'm just getting into this kind of stuff.

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 5 years ago

      Great ideas, thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      ian_scott 6 years ago

      I still use a hard copy Franklin Day Planner - have been using one for years. Although I am in the technology industry, I could never get my head around using a digital planner - sure, I did not have to write out my tasks everyday - but just looking at them seemed to overwhelm me.

      So, I went back to the hard copy Franklin system... but yes! The costs of refills bug me! I am going to see if I can take some of your tips here and save myself some dollars next month, when I am due to order a refill.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 6 years ago

      Another "passion" of mine! Organizing. On top of DIY , this is perfect for me! Thanks for all the goodies! Blessed

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love a planner but I usually buy one. I might have a go at making one now

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 6 years ago

      I always make up my own Diary and Planner every year and put in folders, now I'm off to check some of the calendar links you have here- thanks!

    • wolfie10 profile image

      wolfie10 6 years ago

      i always look for ways on how to better plan my day/weeks/years on different topics. this is very helpful


    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 6 years ago

      This lens is awesome! I have been addicted to planners for years now, and am always searching for the PERFECT one. There are so many avenues to explore - I can't wait to dig in and glory in the variety - and CREATE! (I also love to MAKE products!) Thank you so much for all the information and the references!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I hadn't thought of doing a DIY planner previously, but this lens inspired me.

    • feliciasfavs profile image

      feliciasfavs 6 years ago

      I have been on and off makeshift planners (bunch of papers stuck together) to expensive store bought ones. So I am happy to have come to learn all about DIY ones and finally get all organizec

    • wilfredpadilla profile image

      wilfredpadilla 6 years ago

      I am using my phone as a DIY planner

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I just happened to notice Chris's comment and he's so right, we just can't rely on our memories. You have some great ideas here for helping us all to keep organized and avoid the stress that comes with having too much on our plate. Organization is a great stress relief!

    • profile image

      ChrisDiamond 6 years ago

      Good lens, we can't just rely on our memory in order to schedule and execute tasks, projects and activities.

      You introduce great "tools" to archive activities in order to prioritize, organize and execute in order to get the job done!

      Liked +1 your lens, thanks for sharing!

    • writercb1 profile image

      writercb1 7 years ago from United States

      I really do like the idea of a DIY planner. It speaks to the creativity in me. It also speaks to my urge to have a daily planner and USE it. I think if I made it myself, I would feel more personal about it, like I do about my writing notebooks, and having some fondness for it I would actually use it. Thus I would be more organized.

      My father was a big fan of daily planners. He had a binder he would carry around, and he would write everything in it - grocery lists, appointments, other plans of the day, even dreams he'd had, sometimes.

      I have tried a couple times before to follow his example...but it never worked out for me very long. Perhaps a DIY planner is just what I need to make it happen!

    • profile image

      CaptainThompson 7 years ago

      Thanks your comments really came in handy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is a great lens on a great subject. I used to spend quite a bit on personal planners - and they were never quite right for my purposes. Thank you for sharing this information. I think even I could create my own personal planner from this without spending a lot of money - and have exactly what I need. Blessed by your neighborhood angel.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      Very nice! Leaving you with Leprechaun Blessings!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      How you feeling today my friend? Your lens rocks, thanks for

      enhancing my wonderful day.

    • spider-girl profile image

      spider-girl 7 years ago

      Amazing post! Thanks for sharing so much useful information about planners.

    • Yourshowman LM profile image

      Yourshowman LM 7 years ago

      Nice ideas. Great lens.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Awesome! What a fabulous idea!

    • profile image

      Gail47 7 years ago

      Great information - leaving angel dust today.

    • semas profile image

      semas 7 years ago

      Creative and helpful concept!

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 7 years ago

      I think this is a great concept - - lensrolling to my successful time management tips lens.

    • profile image

      Tarra99 7 years ago

      I think I need a daily one of back to school and I already feel unorganized...ugh! ;o)

      Thanks for visiting my stamped domino pendant lens...I appreciate your comments.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 9 years ago

      I love this idea! I have a filofax I stopped using because the refills are too expensive but a DIY planner is a brilliant idea!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 9 years ago from Croatia

      Good idea!


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