Getting Organized in the New Year: DIY Planner

For years, I’ve been looking for a way to keep my to-do lists and schedules organized.  My index card book works to an extent, but seems best suited to organized individual projects and blog post planning.  But for everything else, I need a planner, and nothing store-bought fits my needs.  Trust me, I’ve tried them all. So a few months ago, I decided to go ahead and make my own, suited exactly to my life.


  • Notebook (see note below)
  • Black markers/pens (I use Pigma Micron pens)
  • Straight-edge
  • Optional: Washi tape (Just for fun and color, I use Washi tape to highlight events and travel.)

A note about notebooks: I chose to use one with a grid, just to make it easier to keep my spacing and boxes even.  I am quite picky about my notebooks, too — I like ones that are bound like books (no spiral), stay open on their own and have minimal bleed-through.  Lately my favorite is the Leuchtturm1917 Squared: I have one for my daily writing, one for my recipes and one that serves as a planner.  I love that these notebooks have a table of contents, numbered pages, a pocket in the back and a bookmark ribbon.


I begin each month with four overview pages: blog post brainstorming, dinners we ate, monthly to-do list and an overview of important dates, publish dates for blog posts and other events like book club meetings.


Then each week takes up a two-page spread. Monday through Wednesday are on the left, Thursday through Sunday on the right. I liked Kyla Roma’s idea of leaving space for weekly notes, and so chose to only fill about 3/4 of the page with daily boxes.  The space below is for grocery lists, phone numbers, notes  on craft projects, books or stories to look into and things that need to be done during the week but not on a particular day.


Each daily to-do is split into two section.  On the left are single lines of things to make, cook, write, edit and publish each day.  I find that if I tell myself to write a post one day, edit another and publish on a third, it is easier to keep on track with my blog schedule.  Otherwise, I’m bound to look at the calendar and realize I wanted to publish a certain post that day, but it is 10pm and I have no idea what I want to say.  I also have space for errands I need to run (“go”), people I need to call or email (“contact”) and workouts to do (“move”). I’m not likely to forget a planned workout or errand, but it sure is nice to cross it off the list! I use the area on the right for everything else — blog designs and HLS planning and general to-dos.

Keep an eye out for more posts on Getting Organized in the New Year, coming soon!  How are you getting organized in 2013?

For more DIY planner inspiration, check out… Kyla Roma’s Moleskine Notebook Transformation Ahhh Design’s Circa*Organizing Two Peas in a Bucket’s DIY Planner Tool Kit *This post contains affiliate links.*


  1. says

    Love love! Planners are my drug of choice. There are so many beautiful (and functional!) ones to choose from. Duh, why not make your own?!

    Stumbled and pinned your post, lady. xoxoxo

  2. says

    Love this! I never thought to make my own planner, but I love how yours came out! I use Google Calendar and I have a Google Docs for my grocery list, but sometimes I wish I had something like what you have.

    • Julie says

      I love the online tools, but I need something physical I can carry around in my purse, you know?

      • says

        Yeah, I hear ya! But I think that’s a little big for me to be carrying about in my purse, haha. Plus, with being able to access my Google stuff from my iPhone, it’s almost like it’s physically there.

        • Julie says

          Having a smartphone certainly helps! Mine can only text, so I can’t keep my Google Cal, etc on there.

  3. Halley says

    Loved the idea as soon as I saw is post, but didn’t want to buy a notebook to do it. Then, I found a random bonus notebook when I sorted the closet, so I am doing this tonigh! So awesome, thanks!

  4. says

    I love seeing what you created, and that my post sparked some helpful ideas for you in creating your own planner- without all the book binding concerns. I love how you’ve made yours creation focused as well, great idea! Thanks for linking back, lovely! xo

  5. says

    Thanks for the tips! I’m gotten try out the way you suggested on going about planning the tasks in a day. Lets hope it works for me 😀

  6. says

    Have you checked out the Bullet Journal? It’s along the same idea of what you made with a few more additions such as an index to find pages where you laid out ideas and signifiers to help you organize your notes into events, notes, and checkboxes. Google it, I think you’ll like it or at least get some ideas for your current set-up.