Friday, July 17, 2009

The Pens Cost More Than the Planner

By request/suggestion:
Last fall, I needed a planner.I don't know why I didn't have one for the calendar year already, but I didn't. I picked up a spiral number at an office supply store, relieved that they had some that started in September. I popped it into a (slightly beat up) planner cover that I'd been saving for some reason, and went on my merry way.

What I didn't realize is that it only had pages through the end of June (and the first few days of July, to finish the week). Well, crap. (It wasn't a traditional studen planner -- no homework schedules, etc.) I tried muddling through with printouts from my work scheduling program, but I needed something more solid, something that I could carry around with me and, you know, plan stuff with. Ordering one now would a) land me in a similar predicament next year, and b) would require an expenditure I didn't want to make. I decided to make my own.

I consulted a co-worker, who sent me several online possibilites, including the Hipster PDA (index cards & a binder clip). I finally settled on my interpretation of the DIY Planner.

This would have been SO easy in InDesign, but for reasons I can't go into, I had to create it in Publisher (ick). Still, I'm pretty proud of how it turned out.

I used some scrap paper to make a "mechanical" so I could get the pages laid out correctly (they needed to line up right when printed on both sides and folded together). The first few pages are month calendars, followed by some notes pages, then each 2-page spread has a weekly calendar one one side and a to-do list on the other. At the very back are some more notes/ideas pages. I stuck 2 sheets of slightly thicker paper together with adhesive, and used that as the outer cover (to slide into the cover's sleeve) and stapled the center several times with a long-reach stapler.

To make a six-month calendar, I used 18 sheets of paper, printed on both sides I might be short 2 weeks, since I started it on 13 July, so a full calendar would be 20 pages. If copying costs were 10¢ each, that's about $4. Half that if you get a deal and can print for 5¢ a side. Because I'm also using this for work, I printed it on a duplex machine here. So... free. (If you want a PDF of this calendar, leave a comment with your email address.)

The only thing that bums me out is that I started filling in the dates with an orange Flair pen, which started to give up the ghost. So I picked up a package of metallic gel pens to continue the job. Now it doesn't match! If I decide to make a planner for 2010, it might have the dates pre-printed and will probably be spiral-bound (cut in half instead of folded).

What I love about doing it myself is the fact that I can have the pages the way I use them. I don't have a lot of appointments, but I do have a lot of things to do! (I do have an appointment tonight: meeting John & my friend Jdub at the movie theater to see Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince.)

*A "mechanical" is a way to confirm page placements when you're doing things manually. In an application like InDesign, you do your pages in the order you want to see them, and a plug-in will - ziiip - put them in the right order.


Amanda said...

Hello! The planner idea is very cool, since I have at least 2 planner covers, but not much enthusiasm for paying $$ for the refills.

I'm at amandapage AT gmail.


First-Class passenger said...

Me, I would like to have my own also. Please?!?!?!!?

First-Class passenger said...

And now that I have bought the standard green Day-timer planner pages. I am bored. Perhaps I should use the stickers I have or make my own. Hmmmm.