DIY – Plan Everything

Would you believe that – techie as I am – I am still a devotee of the paper day planner?

I have tried so many different ways to organize my calendar and my time – yet after every experiment in ipad and computer time management, I always still end up back with a good old fashion paper day planner.

This leads me to a bigger question – what does an academic need in a day planner? There are so many different varieties out there: business executive planners with spots to schedule meetings every minute of the day, student day planners with class schedule pages and homework planners. Neither of those quite suit my needs.


Do I need a monthly planner to see what deadlines are coming up? Sure, but that isn’t nearly enough space for all my projects. Conversely, a daily planner seems like overkill – I don’t usually have so many meetings and chores in a day that that I need an entire sheet of paper. Plus, when a task doesn’t get done, then I end up having to re-write tasks into the next day’s planner.


What I really need in my planner is a lot of space for To do lists. I have a To-Do list for: dissertation related projects, work-related projects, side-projects and collaborations, and regular every-day life chores.


This week I stumbled across something awesome: the Internet has a huge number of free day planners that you can simply download and use.  You can fancy these up, get them bound, put them in a swanky notebook, or simply put them in a binder. I like the Staples Arc notebook for this purpose (though the hole punch is expensive).


So if you have a mind to get more organized, and you want the flexibility to mix and match different styles, colours and types of planner, take a look at the links below which offer free download-able day planner designs*. Many of these designs are offered in different sizes, so everyone should be able to find something to suit their needs!


*some assembly required


  • Passion Planner: You can buy this as an assembled planner, but you can also download the pages free and assemble them as you like.
  • ElizaEllis: This page is amazing: there are several different colours and, even better, several different layouts to choose from – I do love the ability to mix and match!
  • Scattered Squirrel Has tons of designs, daily, weekly, monthly, though not quite as fancy as those above.
  • MissTiina I really like her 2 page box planner design – it seems great for organizing multiple projects or the schedules of multiple people.
These are only a few of the ones I found – a simply google search for “planner printables” yields many many more, including meal planners, exercise trackers, project trackers, and goal trackers. There are also lots of printables available on Etsy – for a few dollars you can download the PDFs for entire planners and print them out for your own use!

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