Planner Love – Favorite Tools for my New Addiction

I’ll admit it. I jumped on the Planner bandwagon quite late. But recently I started a full-time job and the pressing need for something to manage all aspects of my life other than in a Google Calendar took hold. As one of the inaugural ANCIENT users of the PalmPilot…let’s have a moment here to feel the weight of this non-tech desire for a paper planner. I know, right?

The first thing I wanted was something larger than wallet-size. I wanted something with substance; size felt like it mattered for something this important in my life! Here is an infographic of the different larger-sized planner options available.

Planner Sizes

A4 is roughly the size of a piece of computer paper. Like a standard notebook. It felt way too large and somehow impersonal. The traveler notebook size seemed too much like something I’d shove into a backpack while, well backpacking. Even though I haven’t done that since going to Philmont in the 1970s, ok ok – but it felt more like a Moleskine journal. There. You are with me on that one. So I made a decision to go in-between and promptly fell in love with the A5-size.

Then I started looking at actual planners. The Platinum Rose Gold Color Crush / Planner Kit from Webster’s Pages was just, in a word, beautiful. Had to have it.

wpwow2 wpwow1

But the planner inserts that were currently available were all for 2016. Um, people? Planning means I’m thinking about THE FUTURE as well as today. I looked everywhere for just the right refill pages; and then decided on a mix of different styles. In addition to the planner kit that came with the Platinum Rose planner; I added inserts, printed in PDF format from both Passion Planner and the Dragontree Apothecary’s Rituals For Living Dreambook.

What other commercially available (think Staples) planners LACK is the heart and soul of these planner inserts. They are about mind / body / spirit – and planning. I highly recommend their systems. I don’t get any kind of referral bonus for pointing you in their direction. You could just choose one of them and be happy. I mixed up both of them for my planner experience.

I’m kind of grateful for Webster’s Pages NOT having their 2017 inserts available (although they sent me a note yesterday and they are available now if you want them!). But not having that option led me on a journey to find a better system that really works for me.

If you choose to DIY your inserts, print them on some nice paper stock. I choose Hammermills’ Color Copy Digital. It isn’t expensive (around $16 for a ream of 500 sheets), but it has a nice feel, works smoothly with your pens and looks crisp when it comes out of your inkjet printer.


So now I’ve got my DIY inserts. The main issue with doing it DIY is that you have to punch them to fit in your planner. Why no standards here, people? Webster’s Pages A5 is a 6-hole punched system, compatible with Filofax. And so from that kernel I discovered a handy metal punch that allows me to punch the 6-hole format in one pass. I’ve seen poor souls having to wrangle a punch from Rapesco to punch their pages. If it takes MATH, it isn’t a good solution. LOL (my poor children who are actually GOOD at math are shaking their heads in shame). So I found THIS one.

6 Hole Punch

And boom, my DIY printed inserts fit right in there.

Now I won’t lie – buying and downloading PDF files for planners is easy – but printing them out to fit in your A5 planner? Not so much. I will give you one invaluable hint: 68.2352% of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ page is how you shrink it to fit in an A5 planner. Adobe Acrobat will actually help you with this. Just insert that percentage on the Custom Scale box on this print dialogue:

Printing Dialogue Box

The true evil is cutting all those pages down to size once you’ve printed them. But that is where your friendly printing center at Staples is a gift beyond price. I handed them the stack of printouts and one piece of pre-purchased A5 and said, ‘Like this’. $4.00 later and no swearing, and I had my inserts!

Whilst I was waiting for Staples-man to do his cutting work. I browsed the store for some things I really *needed* for this new planner.  First – it needs a HOLDER! I need a place to keep it safe while on planes, trains, automobiles and being dragged all over this lovely world of ours. While I like pretty when it comes to planner, I am much more about FUNCTION when it comes to cases. Give me some bullet-proof denier-whatever fabric and good zippers – I’m your girl! This is what I found for a mere $15.00 at Staples: The Kenneth Cole Reaction R-tech Laptop iPad Tablet Netbook Case. It’s made to fit up to 10.2 inch piece of tech. But ladies – it is PERFECT for a stuffed A5 planner and its friends.

Kenneth Cole Reaction R-tech Laptop iPad Tablet Netbook

Kenneth Cole Reaction R-tech Laptop iPad Tablet Netbook Case filled

Yeah, they had one of those cute old-fashioned pens with four colors of ink. Sorry, had to have it too.

One of the new-to-me terms in planner-land was DASHBOARD. People apparently really need a dashboard from which to drive their planner frenzy. I kind of understood the desire to have some sticky notes handy – and so I took this one from Erin Condren, cut off her spiralized binding and punched it for my planner.

Erin Condren Dashboard

And on the other side I put some of the wonderful edge-to-edge adhesive sticky notes. These guys take their sticking seriously; which frankly if you are taking the trouble to put in a sticky note, you’d hope they took the word sticky seriously, right?

Sticky Notes

So we have paper, planner, sticky notes and a case. The next stop – PENS. That will come in another post. But for now, a picture of my at-home planner station. The holder bag has some pen loops, so I have to choose who gets to go on road trips. Decisions. Decisions…

Planner Pen Love


And now you are all set for filling up that planner with all your lovely schtuff. So have you gotten on the planner bandwagon? I’d love to hear what works for you!

Here are some of the supplies I used in this post. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and you are helping me keep this blog and my videos free of advertisements. Thanks!

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