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The last quarter of the year is often when my thoughts turn to the following year’s diary, plans, goals and so on (unlike some of you lovely lot, who I gather start in August! I feel like I’m slacking…).

Carla's custom DIY daily planner |

In previous years I’ve been able to cope quite happily with a normal week-to-view diary. Latterly it’s been my beloved Moleskine 18 month planner.

But now I have Ink Drops, the day job, my own blog at Carla Louise and a fledgling photography and alter-ego-creation business. That’s alongside running a home, trying to stay healthy and all the other bits and pieces of life.

Making my own planner

So eventually, after looking in vain for a planner that would suit what I wanted, I made my own.

Carla's custom DIY daily planner |

After much sketching and re-drafting, it has:

  • four sections I can change daily, for business/day job tasks
  • a big section for plans & appointments
  • sections each day for ‘Home’, ‘Play’, ‘Develop’ and ‘Money’ – so I can make sure I’m on top of home admin, do fun stuff, track my learning & development activities and keep tabs on my spending and income
  • Gratitude and goals sections daily – I write these in a separate book anyway, but as this is becoming my desk diary, I wanted to have somewhere I could write things down as they happen
  • A ‘food’ section at the bottom, which is dual purpose – for menu planning when I get around to it, and also to keep an eye on what might be triggering migraines or extreme tiredness.

Each day has a big Notes page opposite, and I’ve bound three months’ worth of daily pages at a time.

Carla's custom DIY daily planner |

Graphics are Photoshop brushes, used with permission, and I made the whole thing in InDesign. It’s the perfect marriage of old and new technology to make beautiful and useful stationery!

I’ll be test driving it through October, November and December. Then I’ll be making refinements and creating 2015’s planners, three months at a time.

That way I don’t have to lug an entire year’s worth of pages around with me. It also gives me a ready-made prompt to review my goals and progress at the end of each quarterly book. I’m also considering adapting the design to my A5 Filofax, which is sadly under-used at the moment.

What’s your favourite planner? Do you make your own or alter a Filofax or similar to your own preferences?