smake your own custom planner I’m a big time management geek and I love looking for new ideas on ways to make my days flow better. One thing is for sure, I’m always experimenting with ways to lower my stress and get lots done, but also to build in more fun to my life. I’m married to my day planner and in my experience, if it’s not written down, it doesn’t get done. This usually includes fun things like remembering to explore new books or get inspired by new blogs. Left to my own devices, I’ll end up wasting that time (watching Netflix) or get sidetracked (by watching Netflix), or get sucked into my e-mail (while watching Netflix).

On any given day a big part of my success and feeling good about what I’ve done relies on being extremely focused- and while I love my little Filofax, it hasn’t been working for me lately. So being me, I got excited and dreamed up a made from scratch day planner that would help me run my life and have lots of fun in 2011.

section by section
brainstorm

I’m excited to take you through my process in three posts over the next couple of weeks. I will show you how to make your own custom planner if you want a daily DIY fix that’s always close at hand. I’ll be breaking it down into two parts:

Part One: Making a Plan (+ template downloads)
Part Two: Sewing Signatures & Bringing it all together

planning for what you need
Before I made my planner, I thought a lot about the areas of my life that send me scrambling for a notepad most often. Off the top of my head I knew I needed to cover six big areas:

1. To Do Lists of things to be scheduled later
2. Ideas for my blog
3. Ideas for jewelry making and knitting patterns
4. Ideas for Freckled Nest
5. Monthly blog post planning
6. My plans week to week

These are the basic things I want to have with me at all times, so no matter where I am (or if I have my laptop) I can pop something into my planner and know it was scheduled or noted for later.

Most of these are simple, #1 – #4 couple be made up of blank paper, or something with a simple embellishment, for me to make a quick note on. My monthly blog post planning can be done on a simple monthly calendar, which I can make in Photoshop to suit my needs, and my week to week plans are definitely the most important part.

But as I was laying out all the things I needed to get done, a question popped into my head:

why schedule your days when you can plan your best life

Last year I had a big revelation. When I wrote down lists of things that made me extremely happy on particularly hard days, I had a small database of ideas that would turn my whole day around. I started making small inserts of things that made me happy, and paper clipping them into the middle of my planner. They would remind me to read books, take bubble baths, watch my favorite movies, and call a friend if I was feeling worn out. Simple things that were guaranteed to make me happy. After a month, I felt so much better about my work-life balance. I wanted to expand on that idea for my planner.

weekly pages

I feel the most grounded and connected when I’m sharing and reaching out. The main ways I can do that is in real life and on social media. I sketched out an idea of what would affect my happiness and quality of life the most. In other words, in my ideal world, what would I do with my time online? What would I do with my time offline?

I listed 30+ things in both categories Live Social for social media, and Be Playful for real life. I popped them into the center of my weekly planner pages. This way they aren’t part of a to-do list, they’re more like an ongoing scavenger hunt! It is something I can circle back to as I complete them each week!

templates for your project
These are altered templates of what I used for my monthly and weekly planner pages- they’ll fit legal sized paper, which means they give you lots of room to write without feeling cramped! You can save them by right clicking the links below:

Monthly Planner Pages – print 6 copies, double sided on legal paper
Weekly Planner Pages – print 30 copies, double sided on legal paper

I sent mine to print at a local big box office supply store.  It was super affordable and I did it all online! Want something a bit different? You could make your own pages in a word processor, using mine as a guide! You could use tables in a word processor or a spreadsheet to build your pages. Just leave a gap in the center of the page where you’ll be stitching through them in the next post.

Next week, we will build the cover! I’ll show you how to hand sew these into signatures using the method Leigh-Ann and I demonstrated on LA-TV last month.

Continue on to part two & put it all together! 

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