I love planners. The adorable planner pages, inspirational quotes, lovely inserts, prettiest covers… Oh, the cuteness! How can you say no to a planner? Most importantly, how can you refuse to stay organized?!
However, when I open the websites and browse through the most popular planner bands out there, my first thought is, “Why on earth these planners are ridiculously expensive!!!” Am I the only one who feels that way? With the added shipping charges and customs levies and all that, an average planner will cost you about $35 to $50. (There are planners available under $20 which are more like blank notebooks but I like mine with ruled papers and so on..) And let’s not talk about the fancy planners. They might be too pricey for someone like me who’s trying to save up and stick to a budget. So let’s get straight to the point. Shall we?
To all planner lovers who are obsessed with staying organized like me, there’s hope. For a few dollars you can collect all the essentials to create the planner you were eyeing on Amazon.com or any other site. Since you get to make your own planner, you have more control over your planner pages, inserts, cover and everything! Isn’t that exciting?
But.. before you begin creating your planner, you need to ask yourself the following questions to figure out the best planner that would essentially work for your needs.
- What kind of work/schedule do you have? Are you a blogger, writer, an accountant or a stay-at-home parent..? What’s your lifestyle?
Depending on your schedule, you will have to decide on the space and the size of your planner. If you are planning to carry your planner around, you need a compact planner with reasonable space to jot your ideas down. If you are not planning to carry it but need a lot of space for your schedule and ideas, you can choose an A4 size planner. The choice is totally up to you! If you have used planners in the past, then you will have an idea about the kind of planner you would like to have. Now all you have to do is create it!
- What’s your budget and how much are you willing to spend on a DIY planner?
I don’t know about you, but I am always concerned about where my money comes from and goes to. I prefer to stick to a budget and not spend money on impulse. If you can afford a branded planner, then go for it! But, if you want to create your own DIY planner instead and save some extra dollars, then that’s great too! Take a pen and a piece of paper. Now that you’ve answered the first question and figured out the size of the planner you need, write down the contents of the planner as you prefer. The final cost of the planner depends on these contents. Are you going to print the pages at home or pay a small printing cost and get them printed elsewhere? Do you want your planner pages to be colored or black and white? Custom made planner inserts or handmade bookmarks? Do you want to go wild with the cover or just limit it to your name and simple pattern? Do you want to go with the minimalist theme and keep it all simple? The choices are unlimited! My favourite part about a DIY planner is that I get to decide and customize the whole planner from the font to the color themes! The best part is my wallet is happy too!
- Which area of your life that you need to organize and record in your planner?
This is equally important as other 2 questions. Planners usually come in all different sizes, themes and types. Choosing the best one that supports your purpose is important to stay motivated and use the planner on a regular basis. Are you having difficulties in the money department? Then you might need to use a budgeting system and a budget planner which I will talk about in another post. If you are a teacher like me, you can create a lesson planner. For the fitness freaks, there are Get Fit planners. Check them out! They are the bomb! For meal planning lovers and who loves to try new recipes, you can create a meal planner! If you need a planner for your general needs and schedule to stay organized, you need a Life Planner. Create the one that serves your purpose. You can also create a life planner with different sections for health, meal planning and financial matters. How cool is that?!
Once you have found the answers to those 3 questions, you’ll have an idea about the exact planner you prefer to make.
I already have a custom made budget planner/system which I’ve been using for the past 5 years and it does the job. I also have separate planners/ notebooks for my lesson planning and meal planning/ personal health.
Like any other year, I was given many diary-like planners this year too. I am thankful for the lovely gifts that people give me. But, I wasn’t really happy with any of those planners to be honest. In the beginning of 2016, I tried a planner and it didn’t work for me. I gave it to my father and he still uses it. The planner that works for someone else wouldn’t work for you as we all have different needs and preferences. I tried using another one and it was too heavy to carry around and dull inside. The planner ended up sitting in a drawer. I’m sorry, you lovely piece of book.
Then I came to the conclusion that the best planner for me doesn’t exist. I knew I have to create the best planner and I did. It’s so pretty and I’m in love with the cover and every little detail. Even though, I like cute decorations and colourful pages, this time I went on a different direction and picked a minimalist theme for my daily planner. And, I am totally happy with my customized planner.
The DIY Planner is simple and easy to make. I only wish I had made it earlier since we are already half way through 2016. If you would like to create a customized planner, please check out my next post for the DIY Planner Project tutorial. This is the also the first post of the Stay Organized series in which I will share my organizing tips with my readers. So exciting and full of free goodies! Stay tuned!
Disclaimer: I’m only a planner addict girl and not an expert on planners by any means. Any planner related posts/materials are from my own experience and thoughts unless stated otherwise.