Roll your own – diary/planner edition

I’m a big fan of having a diary planner and just writing things down full stop – I’ve tried work diary planner apps on my Samsung and ended up using them about 10% of the time (before promptly forgetting I have them.) Actual physical diary planner books seem to sync with me so much the better, because I remember to actually scrawl into them about 90% of the time (the other 10% is due to me misplacing it somewhere.)

But next year (2023) I’m going to go a little different – with a printable diary planner instead, fine tuned to my needs. Who doesn’t like trying new things? And who doesn’t like something custom built to their specifications?

diary planner
Last years home diary. As you can see it didn’t stay normal for long..

Wait, a printable diary?

Yep, customise what you need, print the sheets as you need them (or all at once) and have at it. And if it’s dateless (ie you pen the dates in each week) then you can repeat the process for next year!

How do you like your diary planner for the year sir?

Well there’s a few things I want to include in this little printable planner diary creation:

-It can’t be tiny, it can’t be massive. I see those tiny little planners in Officeworks all the time and wonder how frustrating that must be to scratch down any more than a handful of words before the page is full. Likewise if I can’t put this collection of dates, notes and everything else somewhere without blocking out the sun or forcing the family to eat dinner on the couch because the kitchen table has just been commandeered, then I’m not that keen either. So ideally a week to an A4 page with a few extra columns/options seems ideal.

-Week to a view. Let’s do this one productive week at a time!

-Something that’s very hard to confuse month wise. Last month I wished a mate at work (hi Guy!) a happy birthday, but it’s his birthday this month. How did I managed to put it in a month early? I’m full of surprises. I need this printable diary planner to be the least confusing date taking experience ever.

-A place for notes. I write lots of random stuff in my diary (including the occasional password) and a dedicated space for things that pop up is a must.

-A place for various word counts and finance inputs. I need to write more, I need to save more. If I have a place to jot down tallies as I go, it’s encouraging to increase those columns weekly.

-Portrait, not landscape so I can pop it into a folder easily if need be.

-Something cheap (outside of printing costs) or even better free!

So something like..

I’m liking the look of this Content Calendar because you could easily change the fields as you need to and size things up to spec (my to do list/daily list would need far more space than everything else, especially word counts.) So this is an option:

diary planner

Likewise this one isn’t too shabby (save for the hilarious 80’s kitsch styling) however this feels more like something that should be magnetted to the fridge than lurking on my desk at home..

diary planner

This one however would just lead me to the realm of confusion pretty quickly with no coming back. Do I write sideways on this thing or what?

diary planner
I’m not sure I’m going to have a good week with this one..

However after searching through Google Sheets, Etsy and everywhere in between I found one that ticks most of the boxes (including that free part) that should be up and running in no time after a couple of tweaks, courtesy of Reddit.

It started out as this:

diary planner

As it stands, this is very handy, the basics are there and this was what I had in mind for my printable diary planner for ’23, minus the food prep of course. Oh and the mantra, pretty much ‘Let’s keep writing and become a multi millionaire‘ will be my go to for that column week in, week out. So I downloaded it and then uploaded it to my own Google Drive where it’s ready to access whenever I am.
A couple or changes, a couple of minor edits and we end up with:

new diary planner

Brutally simple, hardly pretty (I could always spruce up that design aspect later) but space for notes, reminders for me to focus on writing, exercise and my finances and more than enough space for birthdays as well as things that pop up across the week. Now to print out 52 of them and get down to numbering!

(Oh and find a suitable folder for this new diary planner – I don’t really want 52 sheets all over the shop!)

The day after design

I mentioned Officeworks earlier on in the piece, well interestingly they have a book binding service I wasn’t aware of (thanks Google!)

And it works with a lot of formats too which is handy including .xlsx which is what my little sheet is currently in on my Google Drive (although it prefers PDF so maybe I’ll whip one of those up first.)

At the time of writing I’ve uploaded a single sheet…and now my computer is just staring at me blankly while the website tells me it’s checking my file. It’s been five minutes. Considering it’s a single page at this point, this doesn’t bode well (Is this why the service only has a 2.4 star rating?)

Sigh. So I’ve saved it as a single sheet pdf to upload it again. This time it took less than 5 seconds, go figure.

The good thing is, there’s a lot of options here from plain to pastel coloured paper, recycled paper if you love the environment and even glossy or silk style paper if you really want your diary planner to…uh…look slightly less utility I guess? Everything is priced accordingly so if you jump from plain paper to something exotic, you go from 15 cents a sheet to 43 for something silky and 85 cents for something called Nevertear.
So yes, if I wanted gunmetal coloured sheets, I could have gunmetal coloured sheets! (I’m still thinking about it… and can you still write on the silky stuff? Decisions decisions..)

To build my printable diary planner so far I’ve saved the .xlsx into a pdf. Then I’ve imported the pdf into word and copied it 52 times for one page per calendar week. I’ve also added a couple of pages for a master shopping list up front (the things I want or need to buy when I’ve got the money) so now I’m at 54 pages and counting.
Not best seller length obviously but looking good so far.


54 x sheets on 176gsm Gunmetal paper (70 cents each) = $37.80

54 x sheets on standard paper (15 cents each) = $8.10

54 x sheets on 95 micron nevertear (for roaming and writing down adventures in the wasteland after an apocalypse obviously) $45.90

Then comes the binding options

Thermal to me sounds hilarious and you can choose the colour, so let’s try that.

54 x sheets on standard paper with a nice red THERMAL to hold it all together = $11

Then you can add a nice front and back cover to things including clear options right through to ‘Leathercraft’. Obviously I want my printable diary planner to look like something straight off a necromancers bookshelf and so I’ve opted for black leathercraft front and back.

54 x sheets on standard paper with a nice red THERMAL to hold it all together and ‘what skin was this mythical beast from?’ black leathercarft front and back cover =

Which is very affordable for a custom built diary planner/purpose built book thing and I think this will be the way to go. I’m just going to make sure the weekly pages are filled out as much as possible (importing the pdf made things look a little small) and then off to the printers it goes! Wish me luck!

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