This is Part Four of 6-part series about getting started using ring-bound planners. If you would like to read the series from the beginning, check out Part One: Why?, Part Two: Paper Sizes, and Part Three: Binders.
Most of the major planner manufacturers also make planner inserts. Companies like Franklin Covey and DayRunner offers an array of printed designs. Filofax makes a very simple planner layout but it is available in two paper stocks: white and cream. I’ve seen some reviewers suggest that the cream paper stock from Filofax is thicker than the white stock and better for fountain pens.
Most planner manufacturers offer an array of inserts, including calender layouts in many different configurations but you are not beholden to use the planner pages that came with the binder you purchase. The advantage of a ring-bound planner is that you can add and remove pages or sections to suit your needs. You may love a planner binder form a certain company but prefer a different set of calendar insert pages. Heck, maybe you are looking forward to making your own!
Depending on how many daily activities you need to account, you can choose a day-on-two-pages, a day-per-page, week-on-two-pages or month-on-two-pages. I’m probably forgetting about a dozen possible formats but you get the idea. Figure out how many things do you want to write down each day and use that as a guide for how much room you need.
If you prefer weekly calendars that start on Sunday, planner binders offer a lot of options. Filofax offers week-on-two-pages with a Sunday start day. Several of the Etsy sellers also offer a Sunday start too.
In some cases, it may be convenient to combine several of these layouts too. Maybe you need to have a month’s worth of daily pages then weekly pages for the following month. The month-on-two-pages may be added for planning out the whole year, adding in birthdays or holidays and vacations. Since its easy to add pages or take them out, you may start a routine where you choose a day of the week to review your planner, add in future planning pages and make sure everything is up-to-date.
The best thing I found about binder-based planners is that there are dozens upon dozens of folks selling printable planner pages on Etsy (and other online shops).
A few simple, minimal printables available on Etsy I recommend are:
Etsy sellers are getting more sophisticated, both in design aesthetics and technology. Many printable PDF inserts will offer customizable fields that you can edit in Adobe Acrobat before printing. This will alllow you to change “Notes” to “To-Dos” or make other tweaks to a template. With undated templates, some can be filled with the date in Acrobat before you print them, which can also streamline your process and planning.
Philofaxy and My Life All In One Place both offer a plethora of printable inserts, more than I could possibly list here.
In a future post, I’ll go into more detail about how I print and trim printables if this is a option that appeals to you.
Beyond the Calendar:
There is more that can go into a planner beyond just a calendar. There are address/contact inserts, inserts for fitness, finance and bills, password lists, to-do lists, plain paper and so much more. I found specific planner inserts for social media posting schedule and home improvement projects. There are options for reading lists, movie lists, goal, meeting notes, and so many more. Search for “planner printable” + (your preferred size, like “personal”, “A5” or “half-sheet”) on Etsy and you will have more things you can plan or organize than you could have possibly imagined.
To read the rest of the series:
7 comments / Add your comment below
Don’t forget Dodopad!
raymay davinci’s inserts are suitable for filofax and such and printed on tomoe river paper.
OMG, I’ve been searching for the past month(!) for a ‘clean and simple’ planner sheet to fit my new kikki-k planner! Thanks for leading me to marcypenner 🙂
What is a good way to keep previous years inserts if I only have one binder and I don’t want loose sheets? I wold like a cheap simple binder to keep my past years inserts… one simple binder per year.. I use franklin covey classic or A5.
Actually I have found that I use a clip to hold each month together and I put them in a file folder in my filing cabinet. Also Franklin Covey sells storage boxes for $8.
Any suggestions on the best paper to print inserts on? I found a great layout but now can’t find the best paper to use and there are so many!
Any one reading this as of 2021, the planner insert links no longer work as those inserts are no longer sold. The series of articles is still an excellent overview of planners.