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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!

Dreams: Answers to Questions We Never Thought to Ask

My picture nameI dream I am being attacked by a robber who not only wants to rob me but beat me us as well. What should I do? One extreme solution some people have been known to adopt is to actually go out and buy a gun, to feel safer. But is that the best solution? Do we need to arm ourselves to the teeth? What if we sleep with the gun under our pillow, but have more dreams of being attacked? Do we have to go out and get a weapon or is there an intermediate step? There is. If you and I are to discover this intermediate step, we need to work with the images in the dream.

Drowning in Data

How on earth am I going to keep track of all the information I need for my thesis? Not only do I have to read hundreds of papers, but I also have to make sure I properly cite any ideas I use in my work. I spent all of last week trying to figure out how to make blogs and wikis some kind of research notebook, but they don't quite fit--and my research supervisor's starting to suspect that I'm procrastinating. ;)

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it..."

Signpost: Happiness/ExistencePlease forgive the silly title, but lately I've been thinking a lot about mission statements.

For a long while, I've been avoiding this very thing, for several reasons. First, I tend to think of those cheesy corporate mottos inscribed on plaques in front lobby reception areas, often reeking of hypocrisies like "we're here for the little guy" or "our customers come first" (none ever mention profits, did you notice?). Second, the whole idea of a mission statement was --for me-- inherently tied to 80's/90's team building and management camps, the fruit of which is often a shallow and redundant "philosophical" statement, a mantra chanted by the team members as one hoists the legs of one colleague like a wheelbarrow while another steadies the log that they're about to walk across, but a phrase that soon gets lost again in the quest for corporate attainment. Such connotations can fool one into believing that a mission statement is a futile and lifeless thing, devoid of soul or flesh.

Leaving all this aside, it now seems like a valuable enterprise for one's own sake, if for no other reason than to kick the mind into gear and muse about what our values, principles and life purpose should be.

Mobile Computer: "Say goodbye to paper"

UK Mobile Computing ArticleEvery now and then, someone points me in the direction of some press article about the D*I*Y Planner that I knew nothing about. This time it was our good friend Neal Dench who mentioned that the project has appeared in the pilot issue (November 2005) of the new UK magazine Mobile Computer, and he was also kind enough to forward a scan of the page. Click on the thumbnail to read the article in a new window.

Of course, there's a special irony at work here. The teaser reads: "Tablet PCs are perfect for jotting down notes but, with a little effort, you can create an electronic Filofax-style planner and say goodbye to paper for good." (If you don't know why this is ironic, you're probably on the wrong site.)

But let me be the first to say that there's nothing wrong with doing something like this. I've always been to first person to chime in, "Use the best tool for the job," and for many people --including a few friends of mine-- the Tablet PC is the best tool. As an information designer, the notion that some people like the idea of paper- planner style templates in conjunction with MS Journal or OneNote is not at all disconcerting to me. Perhaps some day I'll even give it a whirl, but till then I'm more than happy with my leather Day Runner, real paper, and a good pen.

Anyone here already doing this sort of thing? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Enter The Matrix... Of Your Relationship

My picture name
Greetings and welcome once again to my weekly examination of all that's current in the world of paper-based planning and giant pumpkins. Today I'm going to be talking about how to solve one of the worst relationship problems guys have, how to remember important dates, such as anniversaries and birthdays. I will discuss in detail how to use The Matrix template to remember anniversaries, birthdays and other assorted stuff that will keep your girlfriend from shaving off your eyebrows while you sleep.

It's That NaNoWriMo Time of Year

My picture nameThe leaves are turning brown. St. Helen’s has a fresh cap of snow on her rim. And students are returning back to college. All this means one thing to me. No, not the start of autumn. NaNoWriMo is almost here. For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month. And for the past 6 years, the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty, has been getting would-be writers out of their funks, writing complete drafts of novels. 50,000 words in 30 days.

This is my 4th year participating in the event. Each October, it’s the same. I make a mad dash to sign up for the event and then spend the next 20-25 days trying to come up with the slightest inkling of a good story idea that could carry me through writing 50,000 words. I bug everyone I know with my talk about my possible novel. I get my family and friends involved, I toss ideas out about possible stories to forums and on IMs. I even collect scraps of interesting news tidbits and cool sounding random generated plot ideas to get my imagination going. And lucky you, this year I’m going to share with you my ideas on how you can prepare yourself for drafting and writing a novel. Who knows, maybe this is enough to convince you to join me in the NaNoWriMo madness this November.

Dreams, Pen and Paper: Getting the Message

I first met our latest guest poster through his son Steve, who writes the Friday humour column here. Although they are both keen observers of human nature, Henry Sharam has approached his subject matter from a completely different direction: he is a Jungian psychotherapist with many years' experience nurturing personal and spiritual growth in environments as varied as relationship workshops, jails, nursing homes and mental hospitals. Dream analysis through journalling is a specialty of his. -DJ


My picture nameWhat a strange world we move in when we lie down to sleep. We use toilets with no door or for people of the opposite gender. We walk nude through our home towns, attend funerals partially clothed, are attacked, and seduced. Monsters of all kinds confront us. Nazis, drug lords and hoodlums threaten us. Old lovers entice us, long dead grandparents tyrannize us. Animals appear: starving or dangerous dogs, lions in the living room, and crocodiles in our swimming hole. Images of death abound, starving and neglected children emerge, beautiful women and great god-like men appear.

So the kaleidoscope turns. Each night brings a cast of beggars, thieves, kings and princesses. Is this all nonsense, some disturbance in the chemistry of our brain, or is it meaningful? Let's look at this important question. We now turn to a journey into this strange, confusing, and often frightening world of our dreams.

It's a Student's Life

It's October. School's been in session for a few weeks, and assignments are starting to pile up. Before you and your GPA disappear under a pile of readings and assignments, find out how you can organize your life with a Hipster PDA: a pack of 3"x5" index cards that can fit into any starving student's budget.

If you escaped school years ago, read this story anyway. Maybe you can help a frantic frosh or swamped senior get back on track!

A Cornucopia of Planner Tips #1

CornucopiaI have a section of my planner devoted to D*I*Y Planner -related tips, ideas, and vague notions for posts. Many of these little scraps wouldn't serve as a basis for a full article, so I've decided to occasionally gather a whole bunch of them together and toss them into the wind. Some of these tips are actually practical, some are cosmetic, some deal with reference materials. And some are strange or even a little crazy, but might provide something to show your employer by way of demonstrating that the company really is working you too hard.