Welcome to the next part of the create your own planner series. We started off with how to print 8.5 by 5.5 planner pages since that was the most requested topic, but today’s topic is really where you should start.
First, decide what you need your planner to do for you. Why do you need a planner? How do you want your planner to help you? Browsing through other people’s planners online can be a great source of inspiration, but it’s also easy to get caught up in wanting to implement all the ideas you see or in wanting all the cool planner accessories, even if that doesn’t really help you. It will be much easier to decide what ideas are for you and which aren’t if you have a clear purpose in mind for you planner.
For myself, I knew I needed something to help keep me focused and to corral all the new product and blog post ideas that are constantly popping into my head. I also wanted something to help me establish good daily routines and habits, and I’m the type of person who enjoys checking tasks off a list. What I did not really need was something to help me keep to track of appointments or commitments. I usually remember those things pretty easily, and I only really have my own appointments to remember. Also, if there is something I think I might not remember, I usually put a reminder in my phone for a couple days in advance and another one the day of, and that was working pretty well for me. There’s no reason to change what is already working for you.
I would encourage you to actually make a list of what you’d like your planner to help you with.
Second, evaluate what is currently working for you and what isn’t working so well with your current planning system (or lack thereof). Start by evaluating your current planner. What do you like about it and what don’t you like? Also, think back to planners that you’ve used in the past. Does anything stand out to you as being particularly annoying or troublesome or particularly helpful? For example, I tried a 3 ring binder a couple years ago, but I hated how big it was and that it couldn’t be flipped back. Therefore, I know that a 3 ring binder is out. I would suggest adding to your list for the things you know you need in a planner.
Third, you’ll need to decide upon the basic format and binding style for your planner. There are so many options available. You could go with a ready made spiral bound planner if you don’t need flexibility or any extras. A 3 ring binder is an option, although I find it a little too bulky. Some people choose to have a separate datebook and homemaking binder. I’ve chosen to stick to just one planner for everything. The option I have chosen is disc bound which allows me to add and change pages, but doesn’t have the bulk of a 3 ring binder. Here is a detailed post I wrote recently about how the disc bound system works.