Personalizing Your Planner

Cover by Joel McCarthy

Cover by Joel McCarthy

How to make planning fun

By Lauren Paulsen, Multimedia Editor


When the New Year rolled in, did you make a resolution to be more organized? Have you managed to stick with that? Or, like a large percentage of people, have you already fallen off the wagon? Not to worry—you can still pick yourself back up, wipe off that dirt, and continue down the righteous path of steadfast organization.

If you really want to keep that resolution to stay more organized, the best way is to get yourself a planner. It seems obvious, since that’s what planners are for, really, but maybe you didn’t think you needed one, or maybe you have bought yourself one in the past but never seemed to use it.

I’ve been in both situations.

You may not think you need one because you have a great memory, but no matter how great you think your memory is, the human memory is faulty. The human brain can only remember four things at any given time. In this day and age, everyone has a million things going on. That means a lot of things are going to fall through the cracks, no matter who you are.

Keeping a planner is a great idea to help keep track of everything in your life. It helps free up your brain from trying to remember too many things and lets you focus on the really important ones.

Maybe you already know that, but whenever you decide to get yourself a planner it just ends up collecting dust on your shelf. How can you make it so that you actually use that planner? Personalize it. Make it fun. Did you know that there’s an entire hobby revolving around planners and planning?

There are tons of different accessories and embellishments that you can find or create to make the planning process less boring. There are also a ton of different types and styles of planners that you can choose from. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Erin Condren is a popular brand because they let you totally customize your planner when ordering it, though their products can be a bit pricey. The Happy Planner is more student friendly on the affordability side of things, and can be found at Michaels, along with a bunch of extras to go with it (use coupons!). Or, if you really don’t want to spend much (or any) money, pick up one from the dollar store, or simply grab an old notebook. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you love and that you’ll actually want to use.

So how can you personalize it? Stickers, for one. You can get a sticker of just about anything, or even make your own. When it comes to planning, you can actually buy a large variety of stickers specifically meant for that purpose. For example, there are stickers for borders, photo corners, photo frames, mini calendars, fancy hole reinforce tabs, sticker tabs to divide sections, small lists, notepads, to do stickers, little banners and flags, checklists, and a great deal of different cool, motivational, pretty, and interesting stickers just for fun.

Similar to the stickers, you can also get a wide variety of sticky notes in different shapes, sizes, colours, and designs. There are speech bubbles, arrows, banners, checklists, notes sections, reminders, to do lists, and many more. There are even trackers that you can use to fill in for the number of times you do something. (If you’re trying to start a new habit, this is a great way to stay motivated and keep track of your progress.) For example, some people like to keep track of their hydration and check off each glass of water they consume (there are, in fact, specific trackers for this purpose).

Another popular way to personalize your planner is to use washi tape, which is like a fancier version of scotch tape. You can find really interesting and unique designs when it comes to washi tape. You can use them to create borders or boxes. You can cut them into shapes, like banners, or leave them ragged (some people like that ripped tape look), and use them as headers. Washi tape is also really useful if you’d like to stick something into your planner. It’s much more aesthetically pleasing than masking tape.

Stamps and stencils are also great to use, and, unlike stickers, you can reuse them over and over. There are a lot of stamp and stencil templates for useful things when it comes to planning. These include things like banners, checklists, trackers, cute, random, or quirky things, and different icons that can be used in calendars to mark doctor appointments, birthdays, special occasions, etc. There are even those specifically geared for students that let you mark down assignment due dates and exams.

There is a great deal of other accessories that you can get, including fancy binder clips, paper clips, magnetic bookmarks, pockets, and a variety of charms. It’s also possible to get covers for your planners that zip up or act like binders. These come in different sizes to fit a variety of planners, and you can even get hole punches for each standard planner size to add things to the binders.

If you really want to go all out on the creative side, you can take a blank notebook and totally trick it out yourself. Some people who do this use all of the above embellishments, while others just use different coloured art pens. A bonus with this method is that, if you’re artsy, you can use pages for drawing or journal entries.

If you don’t really want to use go to that much effort starting from scratch, you can still completely tailor a planner to your needs. If you purchase one of the binders mentioned above, there are various inserts you can get that allow you to make different sections for your planner. Some examples you might find could include a fitness log, a gratitude journal, a budgeting plan, meal prep, blank pages, lined pages, and calendars. A bonus here is that you can reuse the cover year after year, and if you use a hole punch in your binder’s size,  you can put whatever you want inside.

There is no limit to how you can personalize your planner. All you need to do is think creatively and outside the box. And, if you need inspiration, there’s an entire community that revolves around this hobby. You can find people that post page layouts and ideas on Instagram and Flickr, and there are even people who do videos on Youtube.

You can have so much fun with your planner and completely tailor it to you. Those boring business planners are a thing of the past, and, if you would rather not spend any money on extra accessories and embellishments, you can make a lot of these items yourself.

Have fun planning!

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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