DIY planners

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Following my previous article on productivity tips, I now intend to write about some tools that can help you stay organized and focused. Normally, people think PDAs, but in this article my intentions are not to talk about Palms and iPaq, but to point some personal assistants implemented in paper. That's right, plain old paper.


The most well known paper organizer in the world is Filofax. They sell a full range off different agendas, as of different form types that you can use. But I consider it quite expensive, and hard to hack. So, the purpose of this post is not to convince you to buy Filofax, but to show you different DIY (Do It Yourself) planners, that you can print, cut and/or bend, and make your own.

The classic

One great site for resources is D*I*Y Planner. Here, you can download a pdf file with more than 100 different forms, covering everything from action lists to project management to contact information to finances, dozens of variations on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendars, forms for creative people, covers and more. All you have to do is to choose which size you are interested in, (Classic, A5, Class 2-Up or A5 2-Up), print it and that's it.


I consider this one brilliant! With a very nice web application, you can build your own 8 pages planner. The application will generate a A4 or Letter page, that you can print. Than, with a small scissor cut, and some folding instructions, it will transform in a small, 8 pages book. Simply amazing, check the SuDoku pages.

The Hipster PDA

Invented by the 43 Folders people, the Hipster PDA intends to implement the GTD (Getting Things Done) in paper, and does it by using different paper colors and a binder clip. You can follow the simple approach in the original site, or get the D*I*Y Hispter PDA Edition.

The Moleskine hack

The guys from PigPog decided to hack a Pocket Reporter Moleskine to implement a simple version of GTD. In my opinion, you loose a lot of the potentials of GTD, but you gain a much simpler system to use. The main idea is to have colored Post-it tags pointing to different projects, the to-do list and others.

The Printable CEO

David Seah invented this form to focus his time productively. The Printable CEO consists of 2 parts: a list of activities that “have value” with regards to growing his business, and a tracking form for tallying up points over the week. The PCEO is evolving through time, and the guys from BlueFlavor adapt it for their own needs, and decide to post their own version of the PCEO.


I strongly believe that tools should adapt to people, and not the opposite, so there is always people inventing their own planners. Jon Stokes, from Ars.Technica, did it, where is yours?

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