Welcome to DIYPlanner.com!

We are a community of people who see the value of paper as a medium for planning, productivity, creative expression, and exploring ideas. We encourage visitors to share advice and inspiration, and we love to see submissions for templates, kit images and story articles. We are also the official home of the free D*I*Y Planner kits. Please enjoy your stay, and make yourself at home!

Handy Dandy Slash Pockets

Index PocketWhile I was putting my planner together, I came across a few comments in DIYPlanner.com about slash pockets. One idea from our great primate leader, dougj, really stuck out, about using slash pockets to store blank templates for easy access. For some reason, I really liked this idea and wanted to implement it in my own planner. But I never bought any. While I loved the idea of slash pockets, two things kept me from buying them. The major reason was that they weren't available at the office supply stores I visited. But almost as important was they seemed expensive for such a simple thing. Then I thought to myself, I'm already using DIY Planner pages, making my own tabbed dividers, and doing this whole thing how I want it. Why not just D-I-Y the slash pockets too?

Keep-It-Simple Financial Planning (Part 1)

CoinsWhen you look at your finances, do you feel empowered or depressed? There are few things in our personal lives which run to such extremes as our finances. Do you understand how to pay off your debts? Will you be ready for your retirement? Will you be able to retire? Do you get calls from collection agents because you have late bills? When an investment advisor tells you they have the perfect investment, do you know how to do the research for yourself, or do you blindly follow along, and get burned when the "hot" investment is a failure? If any of these are true for you, then I have good news: you can live comfortably now, pay off your debts, and prepare for the unexpected problems in the future.

De-Motivational Speaking

Greetings all, Steve here. Sorry I didn't have an article last week. I actually did write one, but the editor was afraid it was too offensive and so convened a special council of easily offended people, and they determined that it would have frightened children and small animals, so it was nixed. I have to admit, although you would no doubt never guess it from my level, measured tone, that I was slightly upset about this, though I'd be the last person to ever say so. He suggested that perhaps I was feeling overly aggressive and negative on account of my work, and that this was coming across in my writing. I told him to bite me.

Still, he may have a point. If truth be told, I have been feeling somewhat negative lately. It's likely the retail job that's doing it to me. Working retail gives you little to no faith in the future of humanity, mainly because you see so much of it. But it's other things too. I found out yesterday that the municipal government of Vancouver, in an act of tremendous foresight and concern for their citizens, failed to structurally reinforce the schools, but managed to make the liquor stores essentially bomb-proof. Yeah, it's a combination of things, but I decided that I should use this to my advantage, try to make a few dollars off of it, and help people at the same time. To this end I present Steve's Guide To De-Motivational Speaking.

Refueling the Muse

You’ve been writing faithfully in your journal for months now. Making handmade bound journals for all your friends and relatives on their holidays and even been sketching daily doodles in your HipsterPDA. You’re a creative person and everything you do has a unique twist that’s unmistakably your style, down to the socks you're wearing. So what happens when the muse battery runs dry? What are you supposed to do when you go to your studio, fully intent on knitting a new pair of socks, or writing a story, and instead of being met by your muse... you feel your body slump in the chair and all you think you can do is google for zombie videos for hours on end.

Sounds like your muse is running on empty. Time to take a break and recharge. Read on for more ideas on how to refill those creative batteries when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom or the muse has gone on vacation and left you alone with nothing better to do.

The Art of Agile Plotting

Story Idea cardOne of the oldest tools in the arsenal of writers is the modest and unassuming index card. It's used for jotting notes, sharing phone numbers, creating bibliographies, capturing ideas, making lists, and --heck-- even making indices. (Who would have thought?) But one of its primary uses, especially for people structuring stories, is in creating a plot outline. A pen, a table top, and a small stack of cards are all that's needed to turn a mish-mash of incongruent or half-baked ideas into a plot that's tight, logical and well-developed.

Have you ever come up with a concept for a story, video or presentation, but didn't know how to begin? Read on....

Visual Notetaking for Added Value

Visual NotesWhen you try and remember something, like a favorite summer day, does the memory come back as text? If you're telling someone how you want a new house to be built, would you open a word processor up and start typing instructions? Our brains are wired for a mix of systematic thinking on the left side, and visual thinking on the right. So why, then, do we take notes primarily in textual form?

Up In Smoke - Disaster Recovery for Paper-Based Planners

One of the temptations of the paper-based planning fraternity is the almost irresistible desire to be smug when faced with the technical difficulties of others' electronic organisation systems.

After all, paper planners don't crash. They don't have PC connectivity problems. Appointment entries and notes don't just vanish inexplicably, just when you need to access them. Paper doesn't take an age to boot up, and never seems to run out of batteries. We proudly extol the virtues of paper to our collegues fuming faces, and brandish our little loose-leaf planners at them, parading them as evidence of the future of productivity.

However, things go very, very, wrong, when the next day, we leave our planner in the coffee shop and it's gone when we rush back....

An Introduction to Journal Writing

Something a little different today. I've mentioned to a few select people that I'm writing a book on paper-based productivity and creativity, and this is a first (and very loose) draft of an introductory chapter on journalling. Hope you enjoy. -DJ

Journal writing. What a terrifying and intimidating concept to many of us. It's rather like keeping a diary, some consider, but one we have to take far more seriously, and one that will shame us to the core should its ill-conceived words be read by another. Others conjure up images of literati sitting in Parisian cafés, sipping expressos by day and sucking back brandy or absynthe by night, committing all their complex thoughts about la condition humaine to their sacred little notebooks. Still others, beguiled by the mysterious power of becoming a creator, see journalling as a form of automatic writing, a way of channelling higher spirits into words upon a page, completely uninfluenced by the hand that inscribes them.

Hooey. Those are all ridiculous notions, ones that arise from fears and stereotypes. There are plenty of reasons to keep a journal, and very few of them involve any higher calling, or desire to be psychologically laid bare and naked for the world to critique. Journal writing, in its simplest form, is for collecting, remembering, exploring, and providing focus; all of us --whether we're a depressed teenager or a world-hardened scion of industry-- can benefit from keeping one, and on so many levels.

Efficiency In Retail Or How Not To Kill Your Customers


Greetings all, Steve here. Well, I'm working retail. The worst thing is that I actually wanted to. Kinda. I just moved to Vancouver with my girlfriend Meghan and we both got retail jobs, because we're in that tenuous grey zone where you've just graduated from college and you don't know what you want to do with your life, but you're fairly certain you're not interested in paying off your student loans. So we got retail jobs, just to give us some time to think things over. Oh boy...I dunno, seemed like a good idea at the time. To be fair, retail's actually not that bad a job, except for the customers. The customers are a royal pain in the butt. So, in an effort to make all our lives easier, I present handy hints for surviving retail.