I’m a planning addict!

As a freelance opera singer juggling many jobs, I am always on the search for the perfect planning / organizing scheme to simplify my life. I’ve tried all the online apps and desktop programs, but inevitably I tend to scribble notes and tasks down on a sticky note. When my entire desk was covered in sticky notes and loose sheets of paper, I decided something needed to be done! There’s something about putting a pen to paper that could never be replaced by typing on a phone or computer.

So, I searched high and low for the perfect paper planner. I’m not one to fill in my calendar on paper (I do happen to use Google Calendar for that, and that has really worked well for me for nearly a decade), but I needed something that could track my daily tasks, goals, and habits (gratitude, exercise, etc.). Every planner I found had sections that wouldn’t work for me, and places where I needed more space. So, I thought the best thing to do was to make my layout!

The beauty of this planner is that it is fully customizable. Choose your own cover, fill the sections as you please, remove and move pages around, and edit and print out your own layouts. It takes a bit of set-up and up-front investment, but this is the planner / journal to end all planners. If you get bored of your cover in a few months, print out a new one. If you need a new section for a project, create a new layout, print out your pages, and stick them in. Want to start tracking your meals? Create a template / section for that! You’ll never need to buy a new planner, and if you like to journal, you can set up a section for that. The back section of my planner is for writing text I’m currently memorizing, but you literally can make it whatever you need.

In this post, I’ll walk you through how to set-up your own planner, and I’ll include my templates in Word format. Feel free to download and edit the templates as you see fit. Also, there are tons of printable templates from artists if you want something a bit more aesthetically pleasing, but again, I opted out of this because I really wanted full control over content and spacing.

Make sure you turn off your adblock so you can see my links. [Disclaimer: I may make a small commission if you buy through the provided links.]


THE NOTEBOOK

I use the Levenger Circa Junior series as it’s small enough to fit in my purse, but large enough for the notes I need to write. It is a disc-bound notebook, which means the pages are held in by indented discs. At first, I was skeptical that the pages would stay put, but after plenty of use, the pages don’t budge unless you want them to.

 

LEVENGER CIRCA JUNIOR KIT: This includes the Translucent covers (front and back), 3/4-inch black plastic discs, 5 tab dividers (which were enough for me), 1 page finder (I move this every day to my current day sheet), 10 sheets of annotation-ruled paper, 10 sheets of full-page ruled paper, 5 sheets of Things To Do paper.

 

BLANK 5.5″ x 8.5″ PAPER: Put this paper in your printer for a perfect fit in the notebook. Make sure you print first, punch after. If you try to print on pre-punched pages, your printer will jam. Trust me on this.

 

LEVENGER DESK PUNCH: This one is a bit pricey, but it’s only a one-time purchase. It’s a bit heavier, and will allow you to punch up to 6 sheets at a time.

 

PORTABLE LEVENGER DESK PUNCH: A more affordable / compact option for the desk punch, but doesn’t punch as many sheets at once (which can get slightly annoying).

 

COVER: You can make whatever cover you want! Either use your color printer, or go print it out at FedEx. My cover is a downloadable image I bought from Etsy:

I really like this artist’s shop – there are tons of images that would be lovely as planner covers. Or you can use a photo! If I’m feeling festive, I may even switch out covers depending on the season. I’ll also add that this artist has planner page templates as well. They are really beautiful, but alas, they aren’t exactly the layout I wanted (which is the whole reason I started this project!). I’m also not 100% sure of the fit with the Levenger Junior half-letter page size since I haven’t tried it myself.

 

REFILL PAGES (PRE-PUNCHED): Levenger offers page refills that are already lined and punched. However, I think they are stupidly expensive. I highly recommend investing in the punch and blank paper so you can print out your own pages. This will cost you way less in the end.


ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

 

PRETTY COLORED DISCS: While the black plastic discs that come with the starter kit are fully functional, they looked too drab to me. If you want to zhuzh up your planner, these rose gold ones are what I used. There are also discs available in gold, silver, copper, oxblood (??), and various other colors. I use the 3/4″ discs (which hold 120 pages), but I think the 1″ discs are going to work better for me. I foresee needing at least a 150 page capacity. The metal discs also provide a slightly smoother page turn. (Treat yo’ self!)


Here are the 3/4″ ones:

PEN LOOP: Sticks to the back cover so you always have your pen handy. Comes in a variety of colors to match your cover.

COLORED PENS: Who doesn’t love colored pens?

CLEAR ZIP POCKET: I use this to stash receipts, tickets, etc. It’s handy for any extra loose papers so they aren’t floating around.


EXTRA DIVIDER TABS: The starter kit comes with 5 tabs, but if you need more, you can order these. They’re too pricey, in my opinion, and I find that 5 sections is sufficient.

 


TEMPLATES

Here are all the templates I currently use (in Word format) – feel free to download and edit these as fits you.

 

Happy planning!

Comment below if you have any questions or requests!

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