Now is the New Later: The 6-Step DIY Planner Process

When I was in sixth grade and about to graduate elementary (we didn’t have a K12 education system), the Filofax was all the rage. I desperately wanted one. But at 12 going on 13 years old at that time, what the heck was I gonna do with one? It’s not like I lead a very busy business and social life, I was in sixth grade for crying out loud. But my mother, wonderful as she is, gifted her equally wonderful daughter a Filofax for a job well done in elementary school. Hence, a planner addict was born.

I pretty much used the darn Filofax until it fell apart, filling it up with school related assignments, activities and what not. When the Filofax fell apart, I moved on with cute little pocket planners from Papemelroti. I wrote my schedule on it, my favorite quotes, doodled and colored it until it too fell apart.

For the past years, I’ve had planners from Belle de Jour, Moleskin and Starbucks. It is only on November 2016 that I decided to make my own planner.

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I have always played with the idea of making my own planner but I always felt lazy to start it. Finally, I just hunkered down and decided to do it. I’ve been posting some stuff on Instagram about my planner that a few friends have started asking about how to go about it.

I decided to be self-indulgent and made first video log which you can watch here. I tried to imbed the video here but apparently, I’m not paying WordPress enough (or at all) so no, I don’t get to imbed a video. But it’s a 40-minute video of me talking about the planner and just going through materials, layout and stuff.

I’ve also decided to be a little less self-indulgent and a little more concise and precise with my presentation, hence this blog piece. My objectives are to encourage anyone who comes across this piece to be courageous and committed to living your life the way you want to (as legally, morally and ethically possible of course) and to spread my planner obsession to the rest of the population.  

There are many ways to make a DIY planner so I will stick with the process I went through. So, bear with me as we go through it. Here are the six steps I went through to complete my DIY planner:

  1. Commit
  2. Research
  3. Plan
  4. Execute
  5. Feedback
  6. Modify

COMMIT

Creating your own planner is not a one-time thing. A DIY planner is almost organic, flexible, customizable, adjustable, completely you. Your planner will change and grow with you depending on what you need from it.  Hence, it is absolutely important that you are definitely decided and committed to this undertaking. Because this is YOU we are talking about. This planner is going to be you in whatever shape, size or form. So, give your total commitment to yourself.

RESEARCH

In the age of the Internet, you have information at your fingertips. A quick search on Google, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest will lead you to thousands of resources all presenting different ways of creating your planner. This blog piece included. DON’T BE OVERWHELMED. DON’T BE PUT OFF. Instead, embrace the information. Welcome the inspiration. In fact, it is in this phase of my process that I came across the Bullet Journal. I talk a little more about it in my video above but suffice it to say that I drew a LOT of inspiration and ideas from it.

PLAN

At this point you have decided to create a planner. You have already seen about a hundred ideas in different social media platforms. The next step is to plan your planner (that came out weird, but really this is important!) If you have used planners before, then you would at least have a basic idea of what you want your planner to have. If you are new to planners, I suggest the following basic pages: calendar page, monthly page and weekly / Daily page (this depends on how much space you need.) If you have these three things, it would be safe to say that you have a planner.

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Calendar

 

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Monthly and Weekly

The next thing to plan is what your layout will be. I explained in my video what happened to my layout from November 2016 to April 2017 but really the point is that your DIY planner is CUSTOMIZABLE. You have the power to change it every month, week or day. I personally drew and played around with some layouts before I actually went on to do it on the planner. I listed down the pages I want to include in my planner apart from the three basic pages I mentioned earlier. I use the Rhodia webnotebook, Sharpie fine line pens and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners as my main materials. Apart from that, I got stickers, scrapbook paper and washi tape from Walmart, Hobby Lobby and Scrapbooking (a random scrapbook store I saw when I was venturing around.) Amazon was my friend and per Instagram and Pinterest, Etsy was also a great place to get materials.

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Do not skip this step. Plan for your planner and your planner will manage your plans for you.

EXECUTE

Now comes the fun part! Grab your materials (I also showed other basic materials in my video), planned layout and begin working on your DIY planner. I usually sketch out my layout with pencil first and then fill it in with either my Sharpie pen or Staedtler. If you want to do it with another kind of medium, GO FOR IT! This is the step where you unleash all the bottled up creativity within you. Really liked that quote on the internet? Go ahead and write it down. Want a reminder of your awesome trip to the Grand Canyon? Print a photo and stick it on there. Bought a themed sticker pack? Grab one or two or three and place it on your pages. If you want to complete all the layout for the month, you are welcome to. Maybe just do the layout for one week and see what happens after, well, that’s up to you. Made a mistake? No worries. Tear it out, cover it up with scrapbook paper or doodle over it. It doesn’t matter. The DIY planner will bend to your will. It will look and work exactly as you want it. Because it is YOURS.

FEEDBACK

When I talk about feedback, I don’t mean opening up your planner to someone else for them to tell you what does or doesn’t work. This is your planner, you’re the one using it. Ask yourself (but not limited to these): Is this something I want to look at everyday? Is the layout working for me? Can I add more to it? Should I lessen a line here or a color there? Is it able to do the job I’ve tasked it to do? Does this planner look and feel like me? The answer to these questions will guide you in changes (or no changes even) that you will do to develop your planner further. For instance, in my planner, I’ve added the space for increasing water intake. I currently work in a facility where staying hydrated is important or you’ll faint from the heat so I’ve included that in my July spread to remind me to drink more water. Remember, the DIY planner is all about what’s important to you.

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MODIFY

Here comes the fun part again! Modify your planner based on your feedback. This is basically step #4 Execute 2.0. Grab your materials and make your adjustments. Like I said before, the DIY planner grows and changes with you.

Creating and maintaining a DIY planner is a cyclic process. Because whatever works for you now, may not work for you later. You must continue to commit, research, plan, execute, feedback and modify your planner for it to be the best fit for you. Keep in mind that while I went through all these steps, I never stopped having FUN with my planner. I love how FLEXIBLE it is, how it gave me an avenue to be CREATIVE. I hope this little piece of writing inspires you to start your own DIY planner. I hope you watch my video as a supplement to this blog and that it furthers your decision to create your own planner. Be brave, be organized and have fun!  

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