I love my printable Blog Planner. And here’s why.
I’d never found a planner that worked for me. Nothing I tried ever had exactly what I wanted. I ended up with half used planners and random notebooks and nothing ever worked seamlessly together. All that happened was that I ended up frustrated and unproductive.
I thought I’d found the answer when I discovered the bullet journal method. It worked for quite a few months. Until I got bored drawing out the spreads every month and annoyed because I couldn’t move things around to keep them in order.
Which is when I decided to make my own printables. And I finally found a system that worked for me.
My planner has exactly the pages I need, I can choose the order they’re in, and I can change things around as often as I like.
So if you’re looking for a more flexible Blog planning system, keep reading to find out how to set up your own custom planner using printables.
Audit your current Blog planning system
I’m guessing you’re reading this post because something about your current planning system isn’t working.
So your first step is to consider why it isn’t working. What is it about your current planner, or planning system that frustrates you? What’s missing? What’s included that you never use? What tasks seem to take forever? What makes you shake your head every month and think, “there’s got to be a better way!”
Also think about what does work because the huge benefit of creating your own Blogging planner is the flexibility that comes with it. Keep the things that do work and ditch what doesn’t.
Decide on the Blog Planning pages you need
The next job is to decide which pages you need in your planner. Consider your regular tasks that you complete daily, weekly and monthly.
What do you plan on a monthly basis? What do you need to track? Now is your chance to get rid of what hasn’t worked in the past and make sure you keep what has.
Think about, and make notes on what you need to help you do the common regular things like write blog posts, promote those posts, send your weekly emails and simply stay on top of what needs to be done.
Then consider the things you do less regularly such as product creation, website updates, opt-in creation and affiliate marketing campaigns. What do you need to include in your planner to help you plan, implement and review these bigger projects.
When you’ve decided on the tasks and projects you need to plan and track for your blog, it’s time to narrow down the exact pages you need.
Get a Free Blog Planner
Want a taster of my printable Planners? Download the Free 29-page Monthly Blog Planning Bundle to Blog more efficiently, effectively, and successfully.
How to set up your Blog Planning Binder
Now you’ve decided on the pages you need for your planner, it’s time to decide on the actual physical planner details.
Do you need one or multiple binders?
I personally use one planner for both my blog and personal stuff. I don’t have a whole load of personal stuff happening and when I do, it goes on the calendar in the kitchen so I don’t need to put everything in my planner as well!
However you might find it easier to keep your Blog planning separate from your personal planning. Or maybe your Blog is your side hustle and needs to be kept separate from your usual work and personal stuff.
The decision to go with one or multiple planners is a very personal one and obviously different things work for different people. Some things to consider if you’re not sure which is best for you are:
Will you use more than one planner effectively or will you get fed up and abandon your planner?
If your personal planner is used by, or accessible to, other members of your family, are you happy with them seeing your Blog planning stuff too?
How interchangeable is your blogging and personal time? Will you end up writing everything down twice because you need to keep track of personal stuff to effectively plan blogging tasks?
What type of Blog Planner binder will you use?
There’s a surprising amount of choice when it comes to the type of binder to use for your Blog planner. You’ll find different styles, different sizes and different types of binding.
Standard ring binders
The most obvious one is a standard ring binder. Rinf Binders are normally made of sturdy cardboard, have a 2-ring binding system and come in A4 or A5 size. The benefits of these is they are commonly available so are very inexpensive, they have loads of room for plenty of pages and come in a wide variety of colours and designs.
However, if a simple ring binder doesn’t appeal, you have more options.
‘Filofax’ style binders
These binders are generally made of leather or a leather substitute and are held shut with a popper fastening. They often have pockets in them to store spare papers or your planner stickers, and sometimes come with handy extras like pen loops.
It is harder to find this style of planner in full A4 / letter size and they can be quite expensive.
However, they’re available in multiple different colours and designs and, in my opinion, are a more professional looking option than a standard ring binder.
Portfolios are zipped folders. They are normally made from leather, a leather substitute or canvas.
As well as a ring binder they contain multiple pockets and pouches to store your paperwork and other important bits in.
Portfolios are readily available in larger sizes, such as A4 and even larger. And the larger ones often have handles to make them easier to carry around.
A portfolio planner might suit you if you need a larger planner and have to carry other things around with you as well.
This is what I use for my planner. They’re perfect if you want something that has a more natural, rustic look.
They’re normally made of leather or a leather alternative and often have elastic or cord to fasten them.
You will find a lot of this style of journal are ‘traveler’s notebooks’ which use paper inserts held in by elastic. If you are happy to make your own planner inserts with the pages you purchase, a traveler’s notebook might work for you.
Alternatively, there are some that have ring binders in for creating a more standard planner. If you can’t find one with a ring binder (and you’re handy at DIY) you could always purchase a ring-binder fixing kit and add your own! I’ve done this with
Disc-bound planners, such as the Arc system from Staples, use discs instead of ring to bind your planner pages together. Just like a standard ring binder, this makes it easy to move pages around, and remove and add them. Expansion discs are available to make your planner fit more pages.
You’ll need a special hole punch to make the correct holes in your printable planning pages, but these are readily available.
Disc-bound planners come in multiple different cover styles and designs, and sizes range from mini up to A4 / US Letter sized, depending on the manufacturer you purchase from.
This binding system is growing in popularity, and more manufacturers are producing planners using discs. As the number of disc-bound planners grows, so does the availability of pre-printed inserts and accessories.
Which extra Planner accessories will benefit you?
When you’ve decided on your binder, it’s time to consider if you need any other accessories for your planner. Accessories can be both functional and fun. You might want to consider some of the following to make your planner truly your own.
Split up different sections, or months with planner dividers.
Stickers can be purely for decoration, or more functional with words or icons to act as reminders and simple sticky dots are great to colour code projects or tasks.
Post-it notes are a favourites for my planner. I like the tab style ones to make it easy to find regularly used pages, or sometimes I’ll just stick a note on a page as a temporary reminder that I can get rid of when I don’t need it any more.
Washi Tape is another fun addition to your planner that can be used purely for decoration, or more functionally to colour code your pages, cover up mistakes or even as handmade tabs.
I don’t use a pouch in my planner because I keep it on my desk, so my pens and other bits are always to hand. But if you carry your planner with you a pouch is super useful for keeping your planning essentials where you need them.
You can go crazy with pens or keep it super simple, it’s up to you. Personally, I’m a big fan of pens and like to use them to add colour, highlights, doodles and lettering to my planner.
Just some of the pens I’ve got included with my planner supplies are:
- PaperMate Ink Joy gel pens
- Tombow brush pens
- Uniball fine rollerballs
Have a look at this post for more details of my recommended Blog planner supplies.
How to use your Blog Planner for maximum Productivity
Plan to plan
The main thing is to make a deliberate effort to use your planner.
Schedule time at the beginning and end of your day for planning. At the beginning of your day, review what needs to be done and make sure you know what your main priorities are. At the end of the day, tick off what’s been completed, and transfer what hasn’t been done to your to do list for tomorrow.
Once a week spend some deciding on your priorities for the week, and write out a weekly to do list. You might want to schedule your days based on this list or use it as a rolling list if you need more flexibility in your daily planning.
Set yourself long term and short term goals, and develop detailed action plans to help you reach your goals. Your goals and action plans will form the basis of your productive weekly and daily planning.
For more details on Goal Setting and Action Planning, have a read of these 2 posts on the Blog Income Initiative blog:
- How to Create Goals to Skyrocket your Blog’s Success
- How to Create a Powerfully Effective Action Plan
Use your accessories
Effective planning makes it quick and easy to see what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.
Use coloured pens, highlighters, stickers or simple sticky dots to categorise your tasks, mark your main priorities or keep personal stuff separate from blog stuff.
Try out different ideas and see what makes your life the easiest.
Make it your own
Planning is a popular thing at the moment and Pinterest and Instagram are full of photos of beautiful planners and bullet journals. Couple that with multiple blogs dedicated to teaching you ‘How to plan’ and it’s easy to think you’re planning wrong.
I’m reality though, the only wrong way of planning is when it’s not working for you.
Your planner could be full of stickers, doodles, and gorgeous lettering, or it could be just a list of to dos written with a black ballpoint.
Maybe you like to use daily pages, but not weeklies, or maybe you only use weekly pages and find dailies a waste of time.
Perhaps you divide your planner into linear months regardless of tasks, or maybe you like to keep your big projects separate from your regular daily and weekly planning.
The point is; it doesn’t matter what your planner looks like, or which pages you use, or how you organise it, as long as it helps you manage your time efficiently and be more productive.
Don’t compare your planning methods with others’.
Review your planning system
As you start to use your planner it’s important to review how it’s working for you. You are far more likely to give up and abandon your planner if planning becomes hard work.
It’s important to make planning as painless and streamlined as possible for maximum productivity.
I always complete a monthly blog review and as part of this review I’ll have a flick through my planner and have a look at:
- Pages I didn’t use. I also analyse why I didn’t use them. Was the information not necessary? Was it written down somewhere else? Or was I just being lazy?
- Places where I was duplicating information
- Pages I created or added in. Do I need them every month?
- Pages that I used but annoyed me in some way. I’ll then work out how I can redesign them to work better.
The more you use your planner, the more you’ll get ideas for making it, and your planning process, more efficient. Don’t worry if you change things around quite a bit at the beginning. The flexibility is the biggest advantage of creating your own planner.
Now you know the process behind setting up your own custom blog planner, it’s time to get started.
Find our more about the Blog Income Initiative printable planners here: