100 Things To Do – #73: Make My Own Day Planner

100 Things To Do in Twenty-Twelve,
100 Things To Do.
Work on a goal, 
Cross it off the list,
99 things to do in Twenty-Twelve.

Yeah, that was corny.  But as I crossed off my first completed goal from my list, that tune instantly popped into my head!  I just couldn’t help sharing…

#73. Make my own calendar/day planner

Before last year, I had only ever used a planner for work or school.  And then I had an epiphany.

One night in early 2011, when I was tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep because my head was filled to the brim with lists, ideas, appointments, and all the things I needed to do the following day, I decided I’d had enough of the mental clutter.  I turned on the bedside lamp, pulled out a legal pad and began dumping everything that was in my head onto paper.

It was unbelievably liberating.  Without that huge jumble of stuff in my mind, I was able to relax in mental silence… and actually fall asleep.

And even better, when I looked at the list the next morning, I realized that I already had a plan for what to do that day and a concrete list of future scheduled events that I’d just hoped I wouldn’t forget.  Seeing it all written out on paper made things seem much more manageable - and kept all that clutter out of my head!

I was so inspired that I immediately ran out to get a day planner so I could start to write in it daily.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that did exactly what I wanted it to.  Some planners were too big, others too small, I didn’t like certain bindings or page layouts… after several days of running all over town, I settled on the one with the fewest flaws.  It served me well for the year.  I did use it daily to keep my brain clear of mental clutter – everything from doctor’s appointments to my billable work hours, from daily menu plans to automatic bank withdrawals.  It was truly a lifesaver for my sanity and stress level.

But all year long, I kept wishing for one improvement or another with that planner, so I began making a list of features I’d include in my ideal planner if I were to ever design one.  And then I got the ambition to really go make it myself.

I used Microsoft Publisher for the weekly page layouts, splitting each day into the different categories of my life, and leaving just enough room for my essential grocery list sticky note in the corner.  I included prompts for things like my Tarot card of the day, the dinner menu, and my daily creative and physical activities, as well as a simple way to continue to record the weather (which helps me better understand the patterns of my moods).  These are things I’d never find in a pre-made planner.  By doing it myself, I got to make the pages exactly the way I wanted, right down to a different favorite quote on the bottom of each and every page.

For the monthly calendars and cover, I used the pages from the 2012 Creating My Goddess Year Calendar, not because I couldn’t make my own (it would have been quite simple, actually), but because I just loved the artwork and palette and writing prompts.  My very geometric weekly planning pages may not seem to coordinate well with the lovely, flowing curves of the monthly calendar pages and cover, but the combination actually works just perfectly for me.  I love having a clear, structured display of all the daily to-dos in my life, but a whimsical, inspirational feel to the monthly overviews.  It’s just another one of those odd artsy-logical marriage blends that makes me blissfully happy.

Once I got my printer to cooperate, I printed out my stack of planner pages.  It turned out to be way too thick to bind it with my YourStory machine as I had planned, so I brought it over to Staples instead.  For a whopping $4.28, I had it spiral bound (so it opens flat) with a clear plastic cover and a vinyl backing.  It’s absolutely perfect!  (Well, technically, it’s not quite perfect yet as I do still need to add tabs to separate the months, but I’ll have to wait until I rescue my Cricut from behind the monstrous clothes donation pile cluttering up my craft room…)

So here it is: my mostly-DIY custom day planner (minus those tabs).

First goal of the year: #73. Make my own calendar/day planner.  CHECK!  I’m off to a good start!  Only 99 more to go…

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4 Responses to 100 Things To Do – #73: Make My Own Day Planner

  1. I have often had a pad next to my bed for dumping thoughts – I find I don't even usually feel called to look at what I've written the next day – it's the releasing that seems, for me, to be important.

    I'm new to your space – looking forward to getting to know you :)

  2. Jacquelyn says:

    I know exactly what you mean, Kate! I look forward to getting to know you, too! I just subscribed to your blog. :)

  3. Ivy says:

    Your planner is beautiful! Did you use a template in Publisher, or just do it yourself? It’s lovely! I’ve tried to make my own planner before, but it came out looking like crap, and it distracted me.

    I’m a list-maker. I have anxiety, and list-making and note taking help me free up some RAM in my brain for more fun things, I think. :)

    • Jacquelyn says:

      Thank you, Ivy!

      I couldn’t find a template I liked, so I made this myself. It’s not as hard it it sounds, though! I had a good idea of what I wanted (separate blocks for each area of my life, space for my sticky notes and random lists and ideas, and pre-printed spots for things like dinner and daily Tarot draw), and what did and didn’t work from my old planner. So I sketched out on paper what I thought I’d like for a layout, pretended to use it for a day, and changed what I didn’t like. At this point, I realized I preferred a wide format instead of the traditional binding along the long side of the paper, so I sketched it again and liked it. Once I was happy, I took some basic measurements (how much space I actually needed for a sticky note, how big the boxes should be, etc.), then I went into Publisher and just used lines and text boxes to create the template. There was nothing fancy about it at all! The most tedious part was manually entering all the dates for all 52 pages, as well as the quotations on the bottom, but it wasn’t THAT bad. I’m very happy with the way it looks and I’m finding it easier to use than my old planner!

      There is a simpler solution: there are many free printable calendar pages available online! If you can find one you like, that would make it an easy project!

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