If you’re having trouble finding the perfect planner, don’t fret.
You can actually create your own planner binder with supplies you already have on hand. A DIY planner is not only a cost-effective option, but it also offers lots of flexibility in terms of customization.
Another benefit to creating your own binder is that it offers ample space. You can insert as many extra pages as you like, and the larger paper size will allow you to brainstorm and write without feeling like you’re restricted by page size.
Below are some instructions on how to make your own planner binder. You probably already have most of these supplies around the house. If not, you can easily find them at an office supply store or Target. And the best thing about making your own planner binder? You can use it the next year, and the year after!
Here’s a list of supplies you’ll want to have on hand:
- Ink+Volt PDF Planner — you can find instructions and download the pages here
- Binder — we love these metallic options, this classic white version, and this vegan leather option
- Storage — try a clear zippered pouch or paper pockets
- Snap-in Plastic Bookmark - options here
You can also indulge your inner elementary school kid and stock up on your favorite supplies:
- Colorful stickers
- Post-it flags: try these floral, leaves, travel, gem, or colorful options
You can have your planner pages professionally printed at Staples or Kinkos. Or, you can print your planner pages at home. Just make sure to print a few test pages first, before committing to printing a whole batch.
Once you have them printed, you’ll want to keep 2-3 months of planning pages in your binder, instead of pages for the whole year. That way, you’ll avoid having a bulky planner binder. You can always add additional months as you go along. You can also remove pages from the previous month.
Be sure to file them away so you can reference them later!
Organizing your planner binder
With a DIY planner, you can explore different options to suit your organizational style and daily needs. And if you don’t like it, you can always change it up!
We love how YouTuber Milk and Honey created their binder. Here are some tips we picked up on how to organize a planner binder:
Make a dashboard
Since you’re creating your own planner, you’ll want to consider making your own “dashboard.” A dashboard is usually the first page — it’s either made out of plastic or heavy cardstock — and it can serve an inspirational or functional purpose.
Some people like to customize their dashboard by adding an inspirational quote or colorful stickers. Others like to keep it more functional and use it to store sticky notes and post-its.
You can find dashboard inspiration here.
You can find instructions on making your own dashboard here.
Add a clear zippered pouch
Next, you can add a zippered pouch to store your office supplies.
You might want to add:
- A small photo or postcard to keep you inspired every time you use your binder
Monthly calendar and planning pages
Next, add the Ink+Volt calendar and planning pages.
You can insert extra blank pages if you’d like to brainstorm or use them for journaling.
Add a divider so that you can easily separate your months.
You can go with old school dividers that you used in elementary school or the ones we recommended in our supplies list.
Also, make sure to include a snap-in plastic bookmark. That way you won’t lose your place in your binder.
In the back of your planner binder, you can add as many extra pages as you want. (Try this lined filler paper!) You can use college ruled notebook paper or blank pages.
You can use these pages in any number of ways:
- To do list
- Grocery shopping lists
- Tracking your monthly goals
- Tracking your monthly challenges
- Fitness tracker
- Monthly savings tracker
- Books you’ve read that month
- Vacation planning
- Project Management - Maybe you have any idea for a side hustle. You can use these pages to brainstorm ideas and come up with action steps. Then, make sure to transfer your action steps to your calendar pages and weekly to do lists.
- Or maybe you have to prepare for a presentation or a work trip that month. List everything you have to do for that project. Then add those reminders to your monthly and weekly calendar. Add any action items to your weekly to do lists.
You can also use these extra pages as a brain dump. Sometimes, before we can even create to-do lists and prioritize, we first have to unleash all of our thoughts and get them on paper. Only then can we sort through the mental clutter and get organized.
For example, let’s say you want to create a professional website for yourself but have no idea where to start. Use the brain dump page to write down every thought, anxiety, or action item that’s coming to mind.
Then, circle the words or phrases that are in your control and that you can take action on. Maybe you’ll have something like:
- Hire a website designer
- Find a website designer
- Find photos for website
- Look at websites I like and jot down what I like about them
Afterward, add these action items to your weekly to do lists.
If you wrote down any words or phrases that were about feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you may start to see that those words have less power now that they’re on the page.
By having these brain dump pages, you’ll have an easier time sorting through your thoughts, which in turn, will help you prioritize and organize your days. You’ll also be able to track your work and maintain your progress.
Once you organize your first planner binder, you can adjust and add features as you go along. Try to have fun with it and channel your inner elementary school kid! And now that you have your own planner binder, you’ll be crushing your monthly goals in no time.