Interested in a planner that progressively makes each day better than the last? One that can help you sort out your time and help you use it effectively? Want to drop bad habits and build on positive ones?
Here you’ll read how to create your fully functional personal planner, completely free.
Quick note: To make your own planner that will help you achieve your goals, first you’ll need the planner templates.
If you haven’t gotten those yet, enter your email in the form below and we’ll send you every planner template on the site directly to your inbox:
Once you have the files saved on your computer you’ll be able to print them, then come back here for the rest of the guide.
This guide will give you everything you need to make a planner helps alleviate some common issues that can plague your life (and certainly have in mine).
- Spending too much time playing video games
- Having too many time wasting habits that don’t benefit your life, yet you compulsively do
- Not able to get to bed on time, causing constant fatigue / tiredness
- Forced to buy all of your meals because you have no time to cook
- Never having time to to work on your goals
- Feeling guilty about your leisure time because you don’t have productive time to balance it out
- All your productive energy goes into your job, while you feel drained before and after work
After making your planner with our templates, you can use it to be more productive, build better habits, and find time to accomplish your goals.
It has considerably helped my life and has put me on the path toward fixing my biggest problem: Wasting time. This planner can help you, too.
Making your own planner
Using a combination of things you already own and items we suggest in this guide, you will have the ability to print extremely high quality planners that are very cost-effective.
While you can certainly cheap out on everything, your planner, like everything you own, should have a sense of quality and pride attached to it. Owning quality personal items is a great motivator to keep you using them.
With that said, we’re going to suggest a few items to make a high quality planner, printed on paper that doesn’t feel like toilet paper, and stored in a binder you’ll always want to carry with you.
If you like, you can use supplies you already have to print out templates immediately and get started. However, you should eventually transition to a complete planner where everything is stored in a binder to make it portable to protect your pages and keep it organized.
There are two different sized planners you can make: A5 (148mm x 210mm) and Standard Letter Size (8.5″ x 11″). We’re going to go over how to get supplies for both of them to give you the ability to make planners on your own FOREVER.
- Jump to A5 Planner Guide – A More Portable Planner
- Jump to Letter Size Planner Guide – Standard Paper Size 8.5″ x 11″ Planner
- Jump to “My Planner is Built! Now What?” Section
Building an A5 Sized Personal Planner: Supplies
A5 is an international sized paper, meaning it’s not widely available in the US.
We like A5 sized planners. It’s a nice width, very portable, binders come with 6 rings making them secure, and there’s tons of options for beautiful A5 binders all over the Internet.
Despite being a bit more rare, it’s super easy to make.
You only need 3 things:
- A Hole Puncher
- An A5 Binder
First Things First: A5 Paper
A common complaint about about planners out in the world is how cheap the paper that fills them is.
You can’t reasonably write on both sides, you can’t use pens that give out a lot of ink like gel pens, and if you write too hard ink bleeds onto the other side.
To avoid this problem, make sure you use paper that is at least 24 lb. for domestic measurements, or marked 90 GSM on international paper. The higher the number, the better (don’t go too high or it will feel like card stock).
For size, we found A5 paper to be the best for portability. It has a nice width and a planner using A5 paper will slip into any backpack, messenger bag, or hand bag you own comfortably.
A5 is an international sized paper, so you can’t buy it in regular office supply stores. With the Internet though, it’s easy to get high quality paper of any size.
Some of the best A5 paper we’ve found online:
- Empire Imports A5 Paper, 24 lb – highly recommend and we use it quite a bit ourselves
- Kokuyo A5 Paper – a bit thinner than the Empire Imports paper
Those should set you up for long time.
Next Up: Finding an A5 Hole Puncher
Finding a hole puncher for A5 paper is actually pretty tricky. It’s a non-standard, international size, so choices are actually pretty limited. Searching a lot of places online, we found Amazon has the best hole puncher at a reasonable price:
Be careful with other A5 hole punchers as they may not be “standard” and won’t fit the majority of binders available online.
Finally: A5 Binder
A really nice binder to hold your future planner is important. Like anything you own, you’ll care more about it if it’s quality. You are going to use it every day for a long time, after all.
Basically, don’t skimp here.
Surprisingly, A5 binders are plentiful online. There’s a lot of places to get one, and the quality is fantastic. Our favorites are on Amazon and Etsy.
Some of the best we found:
- This thick and heavy leather A5 binder and find it quite capable, and we actually use daily.
- For something a little cheaper, but still leather, this A5 binder cover is another great choice.
- There are non-leather options, this Kraft Paper 6-Hole Ring Binder works well.
- From Etsy, we like this leather binder from Blue Giraffe Journals.
And that’s all you need in terms of supplies! We’re going to assume you have a printer. If not, go get one (they’re incredibly cheap these days, plus they’re very useful in general to have).
A5 Planner: Putting it together
Now all you have to do is use your supplied planner templates to print on your new fancy A5 paper, punch holes in them and add them to your binder.
Mix and match what you think would make your perfect planner. Choose from the many planner templates available to build a planner based on what you want to accomplish.
One piece of advice when it comes to printing: Make sure you set your printer settings to print in A5 size, as well as your print settings on your computer set to A5.
Building an Standard Letter Sized Personal Planner
Standard Letter Size is the paper you’re used to working with all your life, it’s the same 8.5″ x 11″ paper that you find everywhere.
Building this planner is the same as the A5 planner, although it’s very possible you already own some of the supplies required.
Standard Letter Size Paper
Letter Sized paper is extremely common in America. You can get it at virtually any big box store, even at corner stores. You probably have some sitting at your place right now.
Our biggest recommendation for letter size paper is to make sure that it’s rated 24 lb. or more so it’s not thin and can handle a lot of writing from pens. Also, get paper that is very bright, as it will look better after you assemble your planner.
If you want bright, 24 lb. paper that prints well on both sides online, we recommend:
It’s got everything you need. It’s inexpensive, thick, bright, and made in America.
Standard 3 Hole Puncher
Finding a hole puncher is again, pretty simple (there’s a chance even own one already). Every office supply store has them, as will any big box retailer like Target or Walmart.
Amazon has a nice selection of hole punchers that can punch a ton of holes at once, here’s some we like:
- Bostitch EZ Squeeze 40 Sheet 3-Hole Punch – Punch 40 sheets of paper at a time!
- Swingline 3-Hole Punch – Punches 20 sheets at a time.
Standard Letter Size Binder
When it comes to actually nice letter size 3-ring binders and empty notebooks, they can be a bit pricier than the A5, likely due to the fact they’re bigger.
Here’s some binders (ranging from lower priced to higher priced) that we like:
- Samsill Vintage Hard Back 3-Ring Binder – Simple, good looking (I actually own this one)
- Case-It Executive Padfolio – Holds a Legal pad as well as other personal items
- EarthWorksJournal Leather Letter 3-Ring Binder at Etsy
You might have a spare 3-ring binder lying around, and that works, but remember our statement about quality. You’ll be more comfortable carrying your planner with you everywhere and more comfortable using it if it’s quality.
Letter Size Planner: Putting it together
Same with the A5 Planner, this should supply you with everything you need to get started. If you have some of the supplies already, great! You’re that much closer to being able to build your Perfect Planner that is tailored to your goals and needs.
My Planner is built! Now what?
You have to use it.
Not just use it once or twice and put it away, you need to consistently and effectively use it everyday to get the full benefit.
Going from never planning a day in your life to schedule every single day can be a big change. If you’re looking for tips on planning your day, check out our guide on How to Plan Your Day Effectively, also see our Daily Planner Template page for information on how it’s laid out and sample prefilled days for inspiration.
We print daily planner templates and supplemental templates in one month batches and add them to our binders. This keeps it light and manageable.
You can print on both sides of the paper if you like. It’s your planner, so you make the rules!
Good luck with your planner. We sincerely hope you get a lot of benefit out of using it, and also want to see you succeed.
When you download the planners, make sure you stay subscribed to get:
- New templates as they come out
- Notified about new posts that help you stay organized and sorted
- Updates to existing templates
- Anything else we create that will be helpful. We only make quality, well researched content that takes us a ton of hours to make.
That’s all! Start taking control of your time and achieving your goals!