I’ve been on the search for the perfect planner for as long as I can remember. Years. Before the whole planner craze hit.
In 2015, I used a Day Designer. And would recommend that planner to anyone who wants to buy something that is already made. Read my full review here.
In reality though, you will always find something that you’d change in each and every planner. I’m no different.
The only way to get exactly what you want is to make it yourself. And so, that’s what I did.
My planner must haves –
Weekly planning with a daily schedule that went up to midnight. Most planners, whether daily or weekly, have daily schedules that go up to 9 p.m. That’s not enough for me.
This was the beginning of it for me. And I suggest it be the beginning for you. Think about exactly what you want. Sketch it out. Make a mock-up. Use your mock-up for a few days. Make changes. Then more changes. Then when you’re truly satisfied with the format, make your pages for the year. I used Apple Pages to make mine. I worked on them at different time and I’d estimate it took my a few hours to complete the year.
Blank monthly pages. Since I was about 13 or so I’ve kept what I call “micro-diaries” in pocket monthly calendars. These are filled in after the fact and have little notes to remind me of things that happened. For the first time, I am using one book as both my planner and monthly calendar, which meant the monthly pages had to be blank to allow lots of space for writing and decorating.
This was relatively simple. And, there are a lot of free downloadable calendars online that you can use for this part.
Year in review. I want to be able to see the year at once and know when I’m traveling and when big things are happening. I want one for the current year and one for next year.
As an extra bonus, I included the week numbers so that it’d be easy to keep track of Project Life as well.
Planning pages for 2017. Towards the end of each year, inevitably you start scheduling for the following year. I do not want to be carrying two planners, so I need a dedicated space for future planning.
Confession – I was highly inspired by the future planning pages as I created pages for 2017.
Lots of note pages. In the past I’ve kept notebooks and lists for every project, craft idea, packing list, etc. that I may have during the year. I wanted to simplify. One book for everything – well, most things. Let’s not get crazy here.
I put in about 60 note pages to start. But the best part is that if I run out of pages, I can print more and add them to the back.
Thick pages. I loathe bleed through! Ugh! I get aggravated just thinking about it!
I chose a 90lb paper. I told you I wanted thick pages. My weekly planner is about and inch thick. These papers would not work for a daily planner. But I love that I can use stamps, markers, pens whatever and not see it on the other side of the sheet.
Has to be ring bound.
I have a relatively small desk, so real estate is priceless there. It has to be able to fold back on itself. Enter the Cinch Bookbinding machine. This particular machine is marketed to crafters. There are other “professional” machines that cost about the same. Do some research to find out what works best for you.
I chose the cinch because of its price and small footprint.
Tabs. This is a requirement.
For the longest time I used planner without tabs, never gave it a second thought. It’s not too hard to flip through and find the month or date you’re looking for – everything is in order. And then, boom – tabs were in my planner and I don’t know how I even functioned before then. There are hundreds of days in a year and time is way to precious to be flipping through all of that when you just want to write in an appointment that you have on May 10th.
You can make tabs by either cutting a larger piece of paper to size or adding extra width to regular size pages. I chose the latter in order to keep all of my pages from the same source. My Silhouette is what made this possible.
I also used a sheet of single-sided lamination to reinforce the tabs.
Obviously, it has to be cute.
I used the same flower pattern from the 2016 Tech Wallpapers to make the cover of my planner. You can design your own or use scrapbook paper.
I am really pleased with how my planner came out. And I excited to have something that was made specifically for me.