My major problem was this: I couldn't find a planner, no matter how expensive, or how many sections it had, that had exactly what I needed And believe me, I need a lot.
I run my own business, and need to find time daily to create new products, promote my business, and package orders. Also, I want to be a writer and am working with a beta-reader on getting my book finished - that means I need to plant my bum in a chair for at least 2 hours a day to get my chapters done if I want to finish in the next year. Then, add in the fact that I'm Mommy to two little girls, in charge of the household cleaning (except emptying the dishwasher - that one is strictly my husband), making sure 4 year old Gracie has learning activities every day (she is already learning to read - so smart!), making sure my kids have time to play outside every day, story time at the library, get my bills paid on time... so much to do, in so little time!
When I don't write it all down in my planner, seriously, nothing gets done. My life just feels too overwhelming.
So how did I find the perfect planner? Well, easy... I made one. Don't be alarmed. Its a lot easier than it seems. I just made a list of what I wanted my planner to have - like this:
- Space for daily focus - what is absolutely the most important thing I need to get done?
- Reminder to go outside and play
- Bill pay, phone and email reminder
- Space to take time and do what I want - like blog reading, novel reading, chatting on Facebook, and online window shopping
- Place to put which chores I need to get done (I pick 3 a day... I hate cleaning)
- Place to mark my daily writing time
- Pep talks! - kind of silly, but they really keep me motivated. If you are religious, you might want to add your favorite religious passages here.
How to get started:
Open a Word doc, and set it to 2-column. Type in the sections that you want like so, fitting it on one page: (Remember to date it... kind of annoying plugging the date in, but it is worth the time)
Copy and paste the first page 6 times, and change the dates so that you have one week's worth. If you need to change things from day to day, go ahead!
Print the 7 pages and set aside. Then, change the dates for the next week, print, and continue until you have about 3 months worth. Then stop.
Why stop? Why not print up 6 months? Or a full year?
Because your needs will probably change in 3 months. Perhaps you find a food journal section isn't working for you... or perhaps you find that your inspirational quotes need to be replaced with something else... perhaps you want to change the layout of your daily to-do, as this one wasn't quite right... Or maybe you take up yoga and want to have a place to record your favorite poses... In 3 months, you can just open your saved file and make whatever changes you want, then print out 3 months more.
Then - and this is the best part - make yourself a cover page:
(I open my photo editing software - Photoscape, a free download - open to page mode and stick in the pictures I like. Then I copy and paste it into a Word doc, add a title and print)
Use colorful scrapbook paper for the front and back cover, to personalize it exactly to your taste and style.
Last - go to a print shop (like Office Max, Kinkos, or Office Depot) and have them laminate the front and back covers (roughly $1 each) and spiral bind the entire thing (roughly $3)
And that's it. The PERFECT planner for under $6.
I use the backside of the pages to jot down my blogging ideas, or I hand the planner and a couple of crayons over to my kids when we are at a restaurant and they need paper to draw on.
Need a monthly calendar? Just print one up (you can find templates all over the internet) and stick it in!