Why a DIY day planner?
Ever try and shop for the best daily planner only to fall short?
I find most dayplanners on the market feel like they are styled for someone else’s schedule, and hard to incorporate my own needs into the layouts. Purchasing ready-made day planners can also be relatively expensive, especially if you aren’t sure if they will work for you.
That’s when I decided to come up with my own concept. A totally customizable high-quality planner that anyone can make with simple office supplies, that’s easy on the wallet.
So I fiddled with this design until it worked perfectly! And was fully adaptable so you could make it work perfectly for your lifestyle too!
I’ve now been using this simple DIY day planner for a number of years and it is the only planning system layout that has stood the test of time for me.
So ready to design your own best daily planner for 2021 and beyond! Which incorporates to-do lists, hourly and daily schedules, weekly views, and more!
This post contains some Amazon affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support my blog!
DIY your best daily planner
using basic office supplies
A 3-ring office binder
Wire spiral bound notebook
Setting up the planner layout
1. Fill the hard cover 3-ring binder with a full package of paper tabs.
I used a simple, clean white binder, however you could also choose or make one with a pretty cover design.
2. Insert hole-punched loose leaf lined paper in between the tabs.
3. Label the tabs with topics that need frequent reference, such as dates to remember, specific details, shopping lists, etc.
A few of mine are: Blog Post Ideas / Project Ideas / Stencil Designs / Travel / Groceries / Home Repairs / Supplies to Purchase / etc.
4. Start your binder with NO tab, going straight to paper. Flip over the first sheet so you have two lined papers side-by-side.
5. On the left side, call this your MASTER LIST, then jot down your weekly or longer term goals for reference.
You could also divide this into daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
6. On the right side, enter the days of the week with S M T W T F S. Then slip the dates beside the days.
If you find you need more space for daily stuff, flip to the next page, and use the left AND right pages for the entire week.
7. Transfer the master list stuff to the daily page.
Cross off master list stuff only when it’s actually done.
Cross off daily stuff as it gets done. It’s very satisfying btw!
You can even get a little fancier writing with colored pens or stickers if desired.
You can also add times to any of your important dates. It’s really all about what you desire in a physical planner. Start with January, and move on through the year!
Add a calendar
8. Slip an 8.5 x 11 paper calendar behind the master list for easy reference and jotting notes.
9. When it’s a new week, place a piece of paper in front of the week prior, and fill the days up, along with adding the undone master list tasks.
How to use the tab sections
The tab sections come in super handy if you like details on a given subject that require frequent updating or overseeing.
Planning a trip? Open up the Travel tab, then when on the phone, write down all the details that will be easily found when needed.
Need a new grocery item? Open the Groceries tab, then jot it down. Before you go shopping, take a phone picture of the list to take with you.
This day planner is fairly large. However I desired to use it in my kitchen phone station area where it’s most handy. So I created this industrial pipe shelf designed so the planner can slip underneath, giving me back my counter space again! It works awesome!
Later, I made this stacked rustic wood shelf in the kitchen phone station to house the day planner the same way. Love this one even more!
How to use the Spiral ring notebook
You may also notice, I have a spiral ringed notebook on the left side tucked inside the day planner.
How many times have you been on the phone wishing you had paper and pen in front of you? With a spiral ring notebook, you will never run out, and your note taking stays all in one spot!
I have a notebook beside the phone, 1 in the bedroom, 1 beside each computer, and 1 in my truck.
The notebook is labeled to where it’s meant to stay put (since they tend to ahem… travel).
Then on top of the page, the date is entered so it’s easy to remember when I took those notes.
Each time a page is flipped, the date is added again at the top.
This is the best system for random notes EVER! You never lose anything and have it handy for reference. It’s surprising how many times I need to go back and look something up!
Because the upstairs was already organized, I decided to make this 2nd scheduler for my downstairs computer. But I needed a new idea to help organize needed office supplies.
That’s where this little beat up metal tackle box came in handy!
The toolbox was washed with hot soapy water, dried, then polished with a little of Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture wax to bring out the lustre of the metal.
Hemp oil is fabulous for reviving old metal too! I was just out at the time.
Love how the tackle-box office organizer offers different levels, and keeps everything together. Portable, too!
And if you have a couple of vintage oil cans, let them help you grab small notes / receipts, or hang masking tape.
Other toolbox office organizers
HERE is another toolbox organizer I used for my iPhone.
Guess I’d better actually read the planner next, huh?
Visit my other must-do day planner helpers at: