Day Planners – Make Your Own!

Ducks in a Row

If you’ve ever tried to use a planner but gave up because the pages didn’t work for you, don’t give up!  There are a couple of reasons they didn’t work:

  1. Most planners are designed for people who are already organized; and
  2. Most planners are designed as generic as possible so they work for the largest number of people.

But not having a planner for that reason is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.  You don’t have to buy those pre-printed pages that work for the two groups described above.  You can design your own!  That’s right – you can design your own.  It’s not that hard.  But if you feel that you’re a bit out of your league designing your own pages, there are lots of websites with downloadable pages (see list at the end of this post for a few).

Take a look at these pages I made for my planner and then look below for details about how I used the pages.

Section 1 – This is where I write down everything that needs done sometime.  You can see that I have some items pre-printed because I do them every week.  During my weekly planning session (on Sunday), I put an asterisk by the items that really need to be done the current week.  I highlight items as I complete them.   At the end of the week, I re-write everything I didn’t get done onto the next week’s page.

Section 2 – This is the area where I write the things that really need to be done that day.  I try not to include anything that doesn’t HAVE to be done.  I highlight items as I complete them.

Section 3 – These are my priorities.  These are the things I need to do as many days as possible in order for me to keep my ducks in a row.  Again, I highlight items as I complete them.

Section 4 – This is where I put my appointments.  But I only put appointments that directly affect me.  For example, if my daughter goes to work at 2:15, I want that written somewhere so I’m aware of it, but not in this area because it doesn’t directly affect me.  Appointments that are for information only go in Section 6.  The three boxes in section 4 represent morning, afternoon and evening.  You could be more specific and put times at the side but I tried that and didn’t need it.

Section 5 – I use this area to record appointments for others that are for information only (see notes in Section 4).

Section 6 – I use the back of the page to record notes about the day and information I want or need to remember.

At the end of each day, after the daily page is updated, I move it to the back of my pages (I print a month at a time) so I always view the things to do page on the left and the current daily page on the right.  My plan is that if I finish everything on the daily page, I start working on the things to do page.  Or if the time is right to tackle one of the items on the things to do page, it’s right there in front of me so I can see it at all times.  For me, out of sight is out of mind so I want to see it all.

These are my pages.  They might work for you (downloadable pages below) but they might not because your life is different than mine.  So if you want to give a planner another shot or make your current planner work better, consider making your own pages. I designed my pages after I analyzed my schedule, my needs and my personality.  A planner company can’t do that for me.  Only I can.  And only you can come up with pages that work  for you!  So give it a shot.


   Daily Page Document


    Things to Do Document




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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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19 thoughts on “Day Planners – Make Your Own!

  1. Patty – You always amaze me, my friend! How does your mind work like this? I look at it and admire it, but would fail (and do fail) miserably at this. Sigh* I wish I could be more like you!

    1. You’re funny.

      But the thing is – you aren’t me so you have to find a system that works for you! That’s the benefit of having pages you make yourself – you make them to suit YOUR NEEDS! Or maybe there’s some other way to keep your ducks in a row besides a planner. Rachel and I tried lots of stuff for her and finally came up with a system that works pretty well. It’s MUCH simpler than mine although she may find she needs more as time goes on.

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words.

  2. I just use a spiral notebook and write everything down for one day or one week at a time. I keep it on the table so everyone can see it. I draw a line through everything I finish and move things to be done to the next page. I always have more on my plate than I can get done but at least I can see what I need to do. I do not worry about what I do not get done that day. It is just a planner and not my life. Sometimes other things come up more important or I need to take a day off and not worry about things that need to be done. I will never be as organized as you are. I am proud you are my daughter and you certainly have helped me in so many ways. Love you. Mom

    1. That’s a good example of creating a system that works for you. Pre-printed planners don’t work for everybody.

      Sometime I’ll have to do an article about your method. It might appeal to a lot of people who want to keep it simple but still need a system.

  3. This is very nice Patty!
    So the left page (weekly), you leave it there for the entire week and just change the daily page? So you always have week AND daily together. Is that right? Gosh, this is genius! I am SO going to try it!

    1. Yes, that’s right. The weekly stays there all week and I move the daily pages to the back of the month. You could even make a weekly page that had categories instead of the boxes I have. I’ve actually played around with that idea but I liked the boxes better.

      Also, that Franklin Covey link I left on your blog is not the traditional 2 pages per day set-up. It’s a weekly set-up with boxes at the top for each day and then areas below for categories. If I didn’t have to have a daily page, I would use that design. I like the categories. I’m going to email you a sample page I made for that format.

  4. I, after reading this post, many other posts and many youtube videos am finally feeling like i am fitting into my planner. this post helped me to stop and think about how i put me and my life on paper. so looking at how i write what i write, i put it all out there in my own day planning sheet. finally i think i have found something that will work for me i found my home in my planner. thank you for your posts i will be reading

    1. Katie: You definitely need to personalize your planner! I’m always surprised at the number of people who don’t realize they can do that. It makes it work much better if you tailor it for your needs and your life. It’s fun, isn’t it?! A little stressful but so satisfying when you come up with a great plan.

      Thanks for sharing and I hope your day planning sheet works awesome for you.

  5. Thanks for the inspiration, Patty. I just designed a new daily planner insert for my filofax (2 pages a day) that is more personalised than the ones I’ve used/made before and I’ll give it a shot next week. I think this might be the missing piece for my system, fingers crossed 🙂

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