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Designing My Own Planner = Perfection

on February 22, 2012

I thoroughly enjoy my new planner.  It took me a long time to find a planner I felt could handle all the things I wanted it to do…and would fit in my purse.  For several nights I searched through websites looking for a planner that would allow me to keep track of all the tasks for both my home and my professional life.  Nothing I found online really fit what I wanted, and ideally, I would have loved to have designed my own planner, but I didn’t think that was possible.  I had an old mini-ring planner hanging around that someone bought me for a graduation gift, and I thought that maybe I could figure out a way to make my own pages and if I was lucky hole punch them in.

On a scouting mission to Staples, I luckily found exactly what I needed.  In their planner aisle, I stumbled upon a system they sell called Arc.  You can pick the shell of your planner system to fit your style and add in whatever parts you would like—including notes pages, to do lists, zipper pockets, plastic dividers, etc.  Each section is really not too expensive at only $3.99 each, and at the time they were 25% off.  I chose the smaller sized shell so that I could fit it in my purse—which came with 60 sheets of lined notepaper.  To achieve my organizational goals, I decided to add a zipper pocket, two angle pockets, a business card holder, and the set of plastic dividers.

In my original idea to make my own planner, I thought it would be helpful to have a set of dry erase sheets where I could record all my to-do lists, cleaning schedule, and grocery list.  Eraseable sheets would cut down on paper waste and keep me from having to redo weekly and monthly task sheets.  The plastic dividers in the Arc system were perfect to mount the sheets I planned to design using Microsoft word tables.  I spent a few more days planning exactly what I wanted to have on my sheets, changing a few things here and there until I was pretty sure I had everything I wanted to record accounted for.  Then, I took the papers to Office Depot and hand them laminated—again, a minimal cost as two of my sheets fit in one piece of laminate.  I made 6 sheets—using only 3 laminate sheets at $1.99 each.  Then, I scotch taped the finished product to the plastic dividers—I have been amazed at how well the scotch tape has held up over the past few months.

Once I started using my planner, I realized a couple of things.  One, I could turn some of the notes pages into an address book section in the back.  Second, the dry erase idea did not work as well as I had hoped.  The marker came off very easily and it was difficult to find a fine enough tip.  A few days later, I found a Lumicolor wet erase overhead marker with a fine tip that works perfectly.  The marker does not wear off as easily, and all I need is a little water on a paper towel to clear off the page.

The only thing the Arc system does not come with is a monthly or weekly calendar section.  I thought this would not be an issue, as I keep my calendar updated on my phone.  Somehow, though, all of the entries I had made in my electronic calendar over a several week period vanished.  I started to remember why I liked the security of having a paper calendar backup in the past.  Now I just need to decide how I want to design it.  I could go out and buy a special punch to add whatever I would like to the planner, or I could just use some of the empty notes pages to design my own.  My frugal side wants to see if I can make the notes pages work before shelling out the more serious cash it would take to buy the punch.  It is not a typical hole punch format, so you do have to buy the special punch if you want to add your custom pages.

I think when anyone goes looking for a planner, it is important to make sure that it can do all of the functions you want it to do.  And, if that specific planner does not exist—try to design your own!

**Just as a special note, no I was not asked nor paid to do this review.  I just really enjoy this product allowing me to design a planner that fits my needs.  Not perfect, but close.


2 responses to “Designing My Own Planner = Perfection

  1. Lindsey says:

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

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