Creative Outlet – DIY Planner for 2016!

My DIYVery Own 2016 Planner – How I did it!

In my recent post Back To School, 5 Tips to Finish the Year Strong, I talk about taking on a short-term project and I mentioned that I was going to put together my own 2016 planner. I don’t know what it is about calendars and planners and pretty journals but I LOVE them and while there are so many out there, it can be fun to do something with your own hands and DIY. I’m not a huge DIY-er but every now and then I get a little bug to do something semi DIY and off I go. Also keep in mind that for semi-DIY’ers like me, this was just a simple, Super Short-term project that I was excited to take on.

So, my project was a planner/journal = part calendar, part project  planner, e.g. a place to jot down the things I desire to do…that is ultimately customized the way I like to arrange things (because duh I’m doing it myself) and a place to record notes, ideas and other musings.

As I begin this project, of course RESEARCH -what do I want? What have others done? What supplies do I need. So first, what annoyed me about many of the videos that I saw when I started out, videos here and here and here, was that no one did a table of contents TOC – and I’m not talking putting the table contents in your planner, I’m just saying you’re doing an instructional video for people who may or may not have done this before. It would be helpful to list the contents one needs or are going to use at the BEGINNING of the video so we can gather all the items. I realize you can also simply watch the videos then decide what you will use for your own version (and then watch the video again after you buy stuff). AND essentially that’s what I did, but I still would have liked to have seen a short list of contents to compare one person to another. Remember that while I’m going to list the contents in order -as they’d appear in the planner-journal, ANY order that works for you is fine. You can move things around to fit your style. That is why this is SO FUN!

Some quick little details before the TOC, first

  • Determine what kind of planner this will be, based on what kind of person you are e.g. I already know that I’m the month-at-a-glance -planner type. I don’t like the daily pages – sometimes I don’t write anything on each day and sometimes I write more than the day’s space can handle. This is important to note simply because if you ARE a daily pages planner type, your planner will or should be a bit fatter (thicker) as you need more space = daily = more pages. You can tell what type you are by looking at past planners and what you’re drawn to in the store. I always pick up monthly’s, the days are just too much and secondly, you have to ask are you forgetful? I like the entire month because if something is coming up, I can’t see what ALL that will be on a monthly planner. With a daily planner, it would be the first day in the month and I don’t have a workshop to do until the 30th BUT I have two pay periods or two weekends or two Fridays (that I need to get stuff done) what have you, (handouts copied, u start/update/ or finish powerpoint presentation, get any other items I need) and to space out what I need, e.g supplies, giveaways, candy and get any printing done. So I need to know my ENTIRE month, as a logistician I’m always managing people, and things (and truly this probably has more to do with my physical disability than any other thing) to get it all done. So, just know yourself.
  • Planner size – 8.5 x 11 I need space to write. It’s easier to duplicate- can be printed out, and there was no major cutting of pages to match/fit a smaller kind of planner, etc. (I will be doing a smaller one the 8.5 x 11 folded in half for 2017 just again to see what size I like most)/
  • Dividers? These, for me, were simply scrapbooking paper- these I did have to cut to meet 8.5 x 11 – but I could also just buy ONLY the paper I wanted at Joanne’s or Michael’s and not make a larger commitment to an entire book of assorted scrapbook papers. Remember this isn’t something I’ll do all the time. It’s a one (maybe two) time thing until I decide (after the entire process including using the planner/journal for the year) if I liked it enough to warrant doing it again and storing lots of scraps. So minimal is better.
  • The final product – I put together, put a binder clip on it and then off to Staples (or Kinkos or Office Depot or any copy center) I went and I had them coil-bind it.
  • I chose coil or comb binding because it lets you both lay the planner flat for writing or bend the pages back – binding shouldn’t cost more than 5- 8 bucks.

Now, the Table of Contents

  1. Front panel – should be really thick paper – mine is some cursive handwriting. I am a writer after all. I also love stripes
  2. Cover page – I omitted a cover page – it’s really just your name on a pretty paper or whatever you like.
  3. Contact Page- I did omit this also, I just didn’t feel I needed one.
  4. Current Year (entire year with holidays list) 2015, 2016 and 2017 (just for reference) the actual planner is for 2016 – Just print these calendars from from any search engine)
  5. I put two versions of Bible in a Year (for chronological reading or subject reading) after the year at a glance pages. There are more than 23 versions of Bible Reading Plans at Alex Trans’s website.
  6. Removable Dash Board = a Mantra or a quote, it could also be a picture of your family or parents or someone that inspires, is special, to you. I love the version that Alexis AKA Miss. Trenchcoat did here
  7. Each Month Calendar Page – January – December (just a dollar store monthly calendar I took apart) and
  8. Four weeks (1 page each) behind each month – Do this for all 12 months and 52 weeks
  9. Notes pages
  10. Special Projects – simply different kinds of blank pages for extra writing that were printed on different color papers

Special clips

  • I wanted to make just ONE special clip to mark the days but DIY was wearing off. You can get a tutorial here if you’d like to make one. LOVE, LOVE.

Special Pages For Me

  • I used five different Project Worksheets – honestly just to vary it up a little. You can use whatever, just find a project sheet you like and print it several times
  • I do a lot of presentations so I often printed a couple of checklists (shown above)
  • Booksigning Checklist post here (December 4 blog post)

Like I said, lay it all out, ensure its in the order you want because the folks at the copy center don’t care if its not, and then have it bound together.

I’ve had mine for over a month now. I’ve really only wrote birthdays and recurring events on it and engagements that are starting to come in for 2016 and already I have a short list of things I will fix if I do this again. Remember I won’t start using it for real until January 1, 2016. Here’s some issues I see with it.

  1. I should have had the first page laminated. I have a clear cover over the cursive writing scrapbook cover, but a. it’s not thick enough and b. laminating it would have remedied that and made it more durable. a coffee stain or a spill and it’s over Rover.
  2. It’s a bit heavy. Sure I knew this when I had it bound but it just seems a little bit heavier than I wanted it to be. I could have taken some paper out or made everything double sided -which I had started out doing but then I needed to use a thicker paper to ensure you could not see what’s on the other side AND if I use a marker to start writing on the pages, prevent bleed through.

Parting Thoughts- REMEMBER, it’s a short term, fun project. I enjoyed it and I felt creative. We forget sometimes to allow ourselves to do something fun and creative. Yes, I write and I LOVE that and that to me is mentally creative. There is a different aesthetic to be had through the use of your hands, art and more visually than just text on paper. So even though I create characters and fictitious worlds, this was a more visual opportunity to express my inherent creativity.  Like most projects (except novel writing of course) I’m not one for long, drawn out commitments. I want to get in and get out. I’m often over cutting, pasting and Elmer’s glue quite quickly.

What I enjoyed more than actually creating my own version (which I did enjoy tremendously) was the research I did and discovering just how much time people took to put together their own planners. It’s completely awesome to see how much we love to create. The creation of Pinterest is probably the ultimate testament to that creative expression and explosion. Wow.

I know, a planner you do from start to finish may not be for you and that is okay. You may still desire to do something to whet your creative appetite, the possibilities are endless BUT of course Tracee has prepared a short list of other short-term projects you could take on to get you started

  • Build a Vision Board – I’ve done a vision board workshop = AWESOMENESS!
  • Start a gratitude Scrapbook Journal – you write, yes but you also cut and paste pictures, and take time to find different things that speak to you, even things from your own life events and travels such as sea shells by the seashore
  • Put together a scrapbook for ONE event – unfortunately your entire life, from birth, to marriage to third born child, is super daunting, is it any wonder many of us never finish our scrapbooking projects? Soooo, pick a life event, a milestone, or important journey and just do a shorter book for that one achievement. This could then become your inspiration/reflection book to look through as a little pick me up (I might do this as an author journey type of thing in the near future) – If I do, I’ll do a post, but companies like Snapfish, Shutterfly and others have made it super easy to corral all those pictures (sitting on your phone or God forbid, in a “cloud”somewhere), write your own captions and stories and they put it together. Even though you are using a company, don’t think it’s not creative. When you start, you’ll be surprised by how much creative ability you need and can use to pull together, arrange, crop, drag/drop, and ultimately personalize your book.
  • Pick an area of your house or office that you could use as meditation or Prayer Room or Table (if you don’t have the space for a War Room, like the very good movie that came out earlier this year), you could decorate a table where you can have a pretty chair or pillow for kneeling, or use another small corner. Clear it out and free it from clutter and spend some time gathering special things/mementos and pretty it up a bit, here’s some examples for that too)
  • Take a class for just about anything  from simpler projects like making a necklace or bracelet, to painting, crocheting/knitting and sewing and quilting – Michael’s, Joanne’s Fabric, AC Moore and other stores often offer low cost classes. Make something fun for the holidays or Easter with your kids.
  • Start a Blog – I can’t believe I blog. I started the year VERY slow, minimal posts and then I got going. If you remain committed, you get the hang of it, here on WordPress and at other places like, they have made it super simple and I’m starting to enjoy it more and more and spend time planning out the months.
  • Do some research, you are bound to find something that fits the time you desire to invest, meets your creative prowess and is just enough of a project to help reignite your creative engine.

Most importantly, whatever you decide to do, JUST HAVE FUN!

Special Prize  – If you’d like to be entered to win a 2016 Monthly Calendar from Paper Source, I’m giving away 2 – 2016 Monthly Calendars, this one and this one away to help get you started for a great year!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment about this post. Be certain your e-mail is included so I have it when I get ready to draw/announce the winners.US entrants ONLY. General comments are fine, nothing special required.

NOTIFICATION: I will do the drawing on 12/25 and announce it in my Newsletter (means you have to be a newsletter subscriber) to find out if you’ve won. Prizes will be mailed as soon as you respond to confirm your win/provide mailing address.

5 thoughts on “Creative Outlet – DIY Planner for 2016!

  1. Tracee this is a great idea. Can never find one to do it all. And since my second mini stroke which left me with short term memory lost I have to write down everything. Focusing is a major issue. But yet I’m thankful.

  2. Hi tracee,

    I love your ideas!! How are you? I hope all is well with you and family.

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!


    Regina Scott & Family

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