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!

Keeping an Accomplishment Log

Hey everyone, I'm out this week on personal matters. Instead of leaving Thursday blank with nothing new, I asked Eliza Metz for permission to reprint one of her creativity articles to help inspire you all. This article is taken from BeMUSEd #9. Eliza (also known as moderngypsy in most art circles) is a goddess amongst creative enablers. She makes her own journals, knits her own socks, writes and publishes books and zines slammed full with creative tips and tricks, and teaches classes on all sorts of creative and fun art topics from creating your own imagiNATION to crafting revolutionary art. You could say that she's my mentor. Because if it weren't for her friendship, classes and inspiration, I'd have never thought I could write articles for creative souls on a productivity site. Read more about Eliza and her publications at moderngypsy.com.--innowen


Some of you are already on my yahoo group, doItNOW, which kind of started as just a little thing for me and a few friends, as a way to communicate what I was doing with a Control Journal to try and keep motivated, organized, and clear in the New Year. Word got out and it’s growing by the day and has become a little more like a creative life-coaching-in-general type thing, which uses three basic steps to help get things under control. The Control Journal, which is based on the whole FlyLady.net thing only for art stuff; getting into the studio and making SOMETHING for 15 minutes in mid-afternoon/evening; and the third thing: An Accomplishment Log.

Sun Tzu Meets David Allen: The Art of GTD is War

Terracotta WarriorRecently, I finished rereading Sun Tzu’s Art of War. For those not familiar with the work, Sun Tzu was a general in ancient China around 400 B.C. The slim tome attributed to him is an approach to warfare and strategy. Many ideas connect to the idea of Tao, such as being in harmony with nature, and understanding yourself and your enemy. One of the most important ideas is that it is better to not fight than to fight, but if you must fight, then fight with everything you have.

So, what does this have to do with us, the modern man and woman, dealing with productivity, organization, and GTD? Well, more than you might think. In my rereading of the book, I realized that many of Sun Tzu's principles apply to our own struggle; the struggle to be productive.

Mind Mapping for Business

Click to enlargeThere's an exercise I practice about once every three months that I call "Should I Quit?" In it, I map out all the reasons why it's a great idea to stay at my current place of business, and I map out all the things that bother me, and that might merit my packing up and moving on. I use it as a way to purge frustration, but also, as a way to uncover new thoughts about a situation or topic that I believe I have all the answers for, and there's where mind maps come in.

Mind maps are an excellent tool for unlocking information and connected ideas by representing information in a visual medium. I'm a big convert to using mind maps. I use them for blogging, for story ideas, and other creative endeavors, but I also use mind maps for business in a number of ways. Here are some of the uses I have for the new Hipster PDA Edition v3 Mind Map card.

The "Official" D*I*Y Planner Development Software

Illustrator, InDesign, OOo and TinderboxThe software used to produce the D*I*Y Planner is a source of continual confusion for newcomers to the project. I get at least two emails per week from people asking for "the OpenOffice.org files" so that they can use them to create their own variations, and similar questions and requests arise frequently in the comments of both DIYPlanner.com and my blog a million monkeys typing (where, confusingly, some people still go to download the outdated kits, despite plenty of pointers to this site).

I figured it was about time to "officially" declare the software and process used to produce the D*I*Y Planner, and share a few hints as to what the future holds for the project. I'm going to be a little technical here, so if you faint at the merest hint of anything more complicated than a word processor, you may not wish to continue reading.

I dvemd I wa Sat in a wntywd: Coming Home to Paper

Garbled PDAI don't, at the moment, use a D*I*Y Planner. I've tried a few times, getting as far as buying two stacks of index cards, and even so far as selecting the templates I needed. But when I fired up my old printer, it screeched and crunched and tore my cards to shreds. It took an afternoon, and ink-stains most of the way to my elbows, to extract all the bits, and my printer's never really recovered. Of course, this was a demonstration of my old hardware's limitations, rather than of problems with the D*I*Y Planner, but I went back to my tried and trusted PDA, convinced that paper was for people a whole lot hipper than me. But read on....

The Care and Feeding of Your Hipster PDA


Well, it's finally here! Version 3 of the D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition has arrived and the wires are burning up from people all over the world downloading it, the hippest thing in paper-based planning since Gutenburg got leather pants. It should be obvious from even a cursory glance at the new Hipster that Doug Johnston is hard-working and dedicated and marginally unbalanced. At least, he was by the time he finished it. I noted a marked deterioration in Doug's mental faculties during the course of this project, as sleep became less and less frequent. A couple days ago, near the end, I contacted him to ask what I should write my article on for this week. What I got back was a semi-coherent and extremely impassioned rant, something about "I shall avenge thee, Richard Nixon!" So, I guess I'm on my own this week.

Sketch Journalling: One scene at a time

Now that the new v3 D*I*Y HipsterPDA is out, I thought it’d be fun to give you all a new project. Sketch journals become fun, quick and quirky projects that capture and distill certain elements of your life down into fast and simple drawings. Leonardo daVinci kept one, Danny Gregory keeps one and now you can too. Keeping a sketchbook is a great way of keeping track of creative ideas and getting in the habit of regular drawing, as well as being a useful, visual brainstorming tool for when you’re feeling short on ideas. More importantly, it gives you the perfect opportunity to put those new 1-up Storyboard cards from the D*I*Y HipsterPDA core pack to good use.

The Writer's Little Helper: A WONDERFUL Book for Writers Using Index Cards

The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.

In a sentence, every writer who tries to write fiction in an 'organized' way rather than the 'heated frenzy in the grip of your muse' method should read this book. If you like to employ index cards in that organization you MUST read this book. Truly.

Now, I've read a ton of "How to Write" books. Heck, reading about writing is my main way of procrastinating when I actually should be writing. During a visit to the local Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago I noticed this little book on the shelf. I gave it a brief thumb-through and put it back.

D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition

D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition 3.0

DiyP3 LogoWelcome to the D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition 3.0, a series of approximately one hundred free productivity forms designed for printing onto index cards (a.k.a., the Hipster PDA). Designed especially for the D*I*Y Planner project by Douglas Johnston, the package includes a wide array of cards covering life management, project planning, calendars, notetaking, business development, and creative uses like writing, storyboards, mind mapping, and photography.

These are a subset of our regular D*I*Y Planner forms, completely re-designed for the smaller size, and may be used in conjunction with a full-sized planner, alongside a notebook like a Moleskine, or as a stand-alone system. Although chiefly inspired by David Allen's Getting Things Done, an emphasis has been placed upon tweakability, multiple methodologies, and tinkering (endlessly!) with ideas.