I’ve been putting together my own planners for many years, and I’ve discovered a few things about the process. We’ve just released all our 2018 planners in the Sweet Life Planner Club, so I thought now would be the perfect time to share my advice. We have printable planners in all different styles, layouts, and sizes. (And annual members even get a custom designed planner just for them.)
Here’s what I’ve learned after putting together my own planning systems for many years:
Don’t print an entire year at once. I prefer to print only 2-3 months at a time. I think this is one of the best parts of printing your own planner. You don’t have to commit to one layout and design for an entire year. That way if your needs and preferences change over the year, your planner can change with you. Personally, I’m using the floral edition student planner through the end of this year, but next, I want to use the Paris edition.
Always start with a test print. Anytime you are printing a large number of pages back to back, I highly recommend starting with a small test print of just 12 pages to make sure everything is going smoothly with your printer. The last thing you want is to print 100+ pages and then realize that all the backs are upside down or something like that! We have video printing guides with each planner pack in the club to help you print quickly and easily. I highly recommend watching them before printing.
Don’t waste your money on expensive color ink. I could write a whole post about this – in fact, I did write one here. But the bottom line is that you can print beautiful, full-color pages without spending a ton on printer ink. I use the HP Instant Ink System, and it allows me to print an entire year of a planner in full color for well under $5!! You get to use original ink, and they automatically mail you some when you’re getting low. It’s a total win win. You can read all the details here.
Use quality paper. If you want beautiful, vibrant prints, paper makes all the difference. You would be amazed what a difference bright white paper makes in the color vibrancy. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. Print something on standard copy paper and then on high quality, bright white paper, and you will be amazed at the difference. Also, thicker paper will be sturdier, less resistant to tearing, and it won’t show pen bleed through. You can totally use laser printer paper in your inkjet printer, also. I do. Here’s the paper I use.
Precut your paper. If you like to use any sizes other than standard letter size, cut your paper all at once before you print. Keep the proper sizes next to your printer so it’s super quick and easy to print a new page in your desired size. I use half size – I love that’s there’s still plenty of room to write but it’s small enough to be portable. If your printer allows (most do, but a few won’t accept smaller page sizes well), it is WAY easier to print directly on the proper size paper rather than printing on regular size paper and then trimming down. To really save yourself some time, take a stack of paper to your local printer and ask them to cut it down for you. Since they have machines that can easily cut tons of sheets at once, it won’t take them long at all, so it probably won’t cost you much at all.
Set up a printing station stocked with everything you need. Make it easy to print and assemble your planner and easy to add to it throughout the year. Gather all your supplies in one location. Include your printer, paper (already cut in the sizes you use), ink, punch, and a paper trimmer.
Don’t be in a rush. You don’t have to get your entire planner and life binder system set up in one fell swoop. Start with one thing at a time. Get your planner set up. Then move on to finances, and get that down before adding a cleaning routine, and so on.
Feel free to tweak as you go. Just like I said above – you don’t have to commit to using the exact same system for the rest of your life. Life changes. Your preferences change. Let your planning system change with you. Don’t consider it a failure if the system that worked last year isn’t cutting it this year. Planning should be an evolving system.
I hope this has inspired you to print your own planner. If you want all the planning and organizing printables your heart desires, we’d love to see you inside the Sweet Life Planner Club.
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