How To Make The Perfect Planner For You

How to customize and make the perfect planner of your dreams for you and all of your responsibilities - The Confused Millennial planner hacks

At the start of the year, I had planner fever! (Who didn't??)

The last few years I did everything 100% digitally. However this year, I decided to move back to paper for my planner because there are SO many more moving pieces to my business than before.  Especially with the blog, I got to a point where I needed to get rid of all the windows on my computer screen and physically pick up a planner to see it all laid out clearly.

I was shocked to see how much planners have evolved since my college days! The covers are so cute and the inserts and options for inside are endless! While the gorgeous designs pulled at my heart strings, the price tags did not. Seriously, I kept finding cute planner after cute planner, only to freak out over the $50+ (no joke, I found some that went up to $200!) price tag! When did planners get so expensive?!?

Having not used a planner in a million years, I had no idea what would actually work for me and decided to keep my money in the bank and make my own. The Insta-story I did on this got such an awesome response, that I am thrilled to partner with Samsill for this post and walk you all through creating your very own custom planner as well!

1) Choose a binder.

Getting a good binder is key. After all it's going to hold all the contents of your precious planner! You'll want something that will hold up, but also feels light & smooth while flipping pages and opening and closing.

You have a couple of big choices when it comes to bonders: cover & thickness.

COVER:  There are plenty of gorgeous printed planners out there:

Cactus  |  Candle c/o   |  Binders


Or you can get the kind that allows you to insert your own cover.  Generally, I prefer this kind, that way I can change up the look/branding of it all as my style changes over the time.

I love the Samsill biobased binder (pictured above)! It comes with a lifetime warranty and is built from renewable resources, and I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for ways to reduce my carbon foot print! Plus all of there binders are built right here in the U.S.A!



You can go with 1 inch thickness all the way up to 5 inches thick (personally, I don't like to go wider than 2 or 3 though).

Pros to the 2+ inch:

When I first put my planner together, I was all about the 2 incher. I could have everything in one central place and used dividers between sections. The first part focused on annual goals, monthly stats, my pitch list, and financial tracking; the second part was monthly goals and maintenance, and daily planner sheets (I would put the sponsored sheet before the day it was due sheet), and the last section was legal stuff (business documents, partnership agreements, etc).

Cactus  |  Candle c/o   | 1 inch Multi Binders  | 2 inch  Biobased Binder


However, I recently realized that one super thick binder has some serious downsides and am considering making the switch to the 1 inchers!

You see, I don't need all of those sections every single day. And keeping the super thick 2 inch binder on my desk can feel overwhelming at times. With the multi-pack of 1 inchers, I can make one binder solely dedicated to legal, one solely dedicated to annual and monthly goal check ins and stat sheets, one just related to household items, and one related to my actual day to day planning.

Truly consider your own needs for a planner. Things like, where you plan to store your planner (because lugging around a 2 inch planner in your purse seems pretty annoying, amiright?)? Do you have different businesses you are trying to create separate planner sections for each? Are you left handed (a 2 inch planner is dang near impossible to write in if so!)?

Really think about what works for you and what you prefer in terms of look and feel.

Cactus  |  Candle c/o   |  Multi Binders  |  Biobased Binder


2) Choose your branding

(may be reversed with #3).

If you planner is primarily for a blog or business, you may want to carry in branding elements from there.  I knew I wanted to customize the pages with TCM green and keep my fonts standard from the blog graphics to my planner. Which is how I came up with these sheets:

You can download these at the bottom of the post!

Otherwise, think about what you are attracted to and create something unique on Canva. Creative Market is also a good resource to get different design elements (that's where I got the succulents at the top of the page).

3) Get some stickers or customizable goodies.

You can do this step before the last one if you prefer!

Hit your local Michaels or craft store and get some inspo from planners that have lots of stickers, sticky notes, or fun insert sheets that are multi-color. You can reverse engineer your branding based off of the elements you are drawn to and pick up some useful goodies to personalize your planner while you're there. Folders  |  Biobased Binder


4) Make a list of pages you would like in your planner.

Do you want a monthly overview? A weekly overview? Daily?

Do you want themed sheets for shopping lists, travel, exercise, gratitude, cleaning schedule, or something else?

If you're a blogger, do you want sheets for sponsored content, a pitch list, financial tracking, blog post ideas, blog maintenance, and other goals you may have?

There are tons of resources on-line for what sheets to include (a lot you can download for free too!). Think about what aspects of your life you are trying to develop or grow in and try to tailor your planner to those areas.

For my planner, I really focus on daily sheets (the sheet at the bottom center above). I prioritize 3 major goals I need to get done that day and then have a running to do list on the the opposite side of the page. As an entrepreneur, there is always something else I can be doing, so I try to give myself a pat on the back and an out for the day when I finish those top three things. Anything else I do beyond that is just icing on the cake. I then have a schedule view where I schedule out my day. The right side of the page also has places for: a daily affirmation, meal plan, exercise, and a running shopping list. My daily sheets are my life lines.

5) Putting it all together & revamping.

One thing I will tell you, if you are creating your own sheets (which I strongly recommend), you will likely want to change things out, so only print about a weeks worth initially. I changed my planner sheets each a few times until I figured out the exact flow and content that I wanted in them. Keep re-working things until you find the perfect system for you! Folders  |  Biobased Binder


Have you ever made your own planner? What tips do you have?

If you buy your planner, which is your favorite and why?


Grab my planner sheets seen in this post here:

this post contains affiliate links.

99 thoughts on “How To Make The Perfect Planner For You”

  1. This is awesome! I have always been obsessed with planners, this is going to save me a ton of money! Thanks!

  2. Every year I get a planner but there always seems to be something missing from it. I love the idea of making your own. I think I may need to try this next year!

  3. Kristine Circenis

    I also am designing my own planner, but in the form of a bullet journal. I’m loving the experience so far. Like you mentioned, being able to completely customize my planner has been really great and makes me feel like I’m getting the most bang for my buck. I can’t believe some planners run upwards of $50!

  4. Alexis Schroeder

    This is awesome! I’ve never made a planner myself, and I’m not sure if I’m even creative enough to do so, but you make it look so easy!

  5. this is such great advice – and it feels good to know I’m not the only one who has moved back to a paper planner – it just works better for me for some reason!

  6. I have considered using a planner that encompasses everything. I can barely keep up with my daily and budget planners. I love the colors you chose and the daily sheets are very detailed! Pinning, for when I can get my life together! Lol

  7. Oh my goodness I LOVE this!!! So genius! I cannot wait to try your planner sheets out! One of my biggest problems with using a planner is that although I love to be as organized as possible, no one planner fits ALL of my super specific needs, haha!

  8. These ideas are AMAZING. I’m totally with you on using the one inch binders rather than a huge one because it definitely feels more overwhelming with one giant one! This is some serious organization genius and I need to do this! I’m so bad with planners. I tend to keep everything in a notes app on my devices, but that’s just not very good for lots of stuff.

  9. Such a good idea to make your own and save money and make it completely unique to you. I have been buying mine and you are so right they are SO expensive! I love that you have a few for different aspects of life and how they are all the same size, design and are consistent. I think that I will try this next year! Thanks for sharing!!

    Courtney Drew

  10. I have never made my own planner but I can definitely see the benefits of having my own that works for my needs! Thanks for much for sharing this, Rachel! I’ll have to consider this when I need a new planner as well!

  11. I love this! There’s so much chatter out there about the perfect planner for your ENTIRE LIFE–work, personal life, blogging… It makes so much sense to make it yourself, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself! Great tips!

  12. I could not live without my planner! I’ve never made my own one though. but it’s such a good idea because then you can finally have the planner of your dreams.

  13. I have been kicking around the idea of getting a planner, but just haven’t been able to justify the cost. I really like this more affordable option and just having the things I need.

  14. Oh, I love this! I’m using the Mom On the Go planner this year, and so far I love it. I may need to make my own next year though, as my business grows.

  15. I love how crafty you are! I wish had the patience to make this gorgeous planner. I end up giving up and just buy one haha!

  16. Planners are such a great way to stay organized! I like how creating your own one like this allows you to put your own personal spin on it!

  17. I have found myself going back to the paper as well and finding great satisfaction in this paper process again.

  18. At the end of the year I am definitely going to switch to making my own planner so I can customize it for my needs!

  19. this is such a cool way to personalize your own binder!! love it.

    Besides blogging I also do marketing for a company called Graphique de France,
    I think you would be the perfect fit for a collab, I’ll email you for more information!

  20. Jordyn Upchurch

    Great post! For the past two years, I used Erin Condren planners…but honestly, the price was getting to me. I switched over to Sugar Paper for Target this year and my wallet thanked me, and I found that I didn’t miss very much from EC!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  21. Elizabeth Johnson

    I love this! I find a lot of the time a planner doesn’t have exactly what I want and I end up settling. Also, love the planner sheets. They are awesome!

  22. Love this! I love my planner, and this is really great way to get a custom planner without spending a ton of money! While I splurged on my Webster’s Pages binder, I made sure to keep it cheap with anything inside!

    1. It’s an A4 size, and I love them! Leather (or fake leather idk), and they come in all sorts of colors. I actually just bought another planner kit when they were on sale so I could switch out the binders. It ended up being under $30 instead of the usual $60! And the kits literally come with everything. I actually have a few coupons for 50% off and am keeping my eyes peeled for a few more binders haha.

  23. Girl, you are so organized!! I have tried custom planning bullet journal style and I really just did not keep up with it. I thought I wanted all of these different pages but in the end I just used spreadsheets to track numbers, to-do lists for daily tasks, and my Google calendar for big picture things. I’m really glad you found a method that works for you!!

    Nicole |

  24. I love this post! Agenda’s and planners are my favorite– really any stationary for that matter. I thought I was organized, but you are seriously WAY more organized! I love it!! And your theme is so pretty, too 🙂

  25. I went the DIY paper planner route a couple years ago and didn’t keep up with it. Sometimes I think I should go back to it, but right now I like have an electronic calendar. I think that I change my mind all the time because my needs always change!

    1. I fluctuate TBH! Somedays I need to write things out and other days I just do a digital to do list and schedule on my calendar. For the big stuff (financial, pitching, etc.) I keep it in my paper planner though

  26. Love how your planner came out! I made the switch from digital to paper as well with my planner and it has been so helpful!

  27. In high school I always loved making my own planners, it was so fun to get creative!

  28. I am a planner addict, I started using one in 6th grade and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I love the Erin Condren planners but the freedom of creating your own planner is SUCH a good idea. Totally customizeabke-what’s not to like??

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