My self-made passion planner / filofax

DSC03508 smallI finally found the time to make my own much-needed personal planner – a place for everything I regularly need to work with on paper, from weekly appointments to blog post ideas, from systematic to-do lists to figuring out the actual steps needed for my goals, plus the layout and space to put it all into practice throughout the week. Because plans are nothing if you do not manage to act on them, for whatever reason, right?

I spent a while browsing stores and the internet for purchasable folder planners before, but all the nice ones are grossly overpriced. I would have felt stupid to buy one. Besides, a creative DIY project is always fun!

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the landing page

So when a post from odernichtoderdoch online magazine (in German) offered tips for how to make one, and I stumbled over the perfect weekly layout in the form of the free pdf for the epic America-based passion planner, I decided to craft my own lovely planner. And I am soooo very happy with how it has turned out!

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a planned-and-lived first chaotic week (yet with integrated do lists)
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the blank weekly passion planner layout

I aimed at a combination between an individualistic and pretty planner and a clean practical style, letting the planner feel personal but well-suited for the actual grown-up life of a somewhat scatterbrained person with many ideas, dreams, and goals. The layout of the passion planners is perfect for that; and it comes with a system of developing for yourself your dreams and goals and what matters – and suggestions for how to break them down into manageable steps that you can insert into your everyday life in the weekly layouts.

And for me the planner has already worked, because while developing my goal of finishing up my Master’s degree, I realised I finally need to hand in this quite finished but long overdue paper that has been sitting in my computer (and in my head) for way too long. And I did hand it in this week! Wooooo!

So on the whole, I think the planner is quite ready for more heavy and regular usage. And while I would hate for it to feel cramped with useless knick-knack, I think I may yet add an elastic to keep the folder closed, and more of the registers to quickly jump to my systematic to do lists. Maybe a bookmark for the current week, too.

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an example of my systematic to do lists
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top view with weekly layouts from July to December 2015 on 180 g paper, plus my to do lists on 120 g

My warmest thanks go to Angelia Trinidad of passion planner for investing so much love and thoughtfulness into making the layouts, and then putting up the planner pdf for free (for overseas students living on a tight budget like me, for example) on the passion planner website, where you are also offered the option to donate a small amount instead which will go to a charity – how lovely is that? – and to Jessi of odernichtoderdoch online magazine for inspiring me with handy tips to just make a planner myself! All my gratefulness and all the power to you, ladies 🙂


Do you have a planner? How do you like its style, and do you actually use it for anything? If you have any tips for other tweaks or proposals, please let me know!

5 thoughts on “My self-made passion planner / filofax”

  1. This planner looks beautiful. I actually have lots of planners (and one or two apps on my smartphone). Small one’s and big one’s. From all kinds of years. Mostly bought later in the year after thinking I could really use one, but all of them bought and not selfmade. Maybe that is the problem. If I put some work into my own planner designed after a few of my own ideas I might actually use it. Anyway. Splendid work!

    1. Thank you for your support in making it… 😀
      I know the phenomenon; buying a new calendar feels like a fresh commitment to get a grip on stuff and become a better and more goal-achieving version of oneself! But it only works if you can find a way to actually incorporate using a planner like this into your life. Which, in turn, largely depends on whether the layout given suits your needs. So maybe that’s a reason why planners have not worked too well for you so far. Or you just prefer living more spontaneously 🙂

  2. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…
    That’s interesting, the style (plus the words themselves) of the picture immediately made me think of LotR. I think drawings in a similar style were used in some of the franchise, maybe even in one of the Tolkien books. Not sure, I can’t pinpoint the exact place, but still.

    I was actually thinking of keeping track of my activities just for the sake of easily being able to tell what I was up to lately. I tend to forget many days altogether (just like an old person’s memory is supposed to be working…) and thought it’d be REVEALING to have a list of things I did each day.

    So, in a way, the reverse of the planner idea – looking back instead of planning ahead.

    Nice to see the -necessary- cat made it to your planner already!

    I use my phone’s remainders by way of a planner. The most crucial to-dos and dates to remember. The very very basic planner version, yeah.

    1. > “There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…
      That’s interesting, the style (plus the words themselves) of the picture immediately made me think of LotR. I think drawings in a similar style were used in some of the franchise, maybe even in one of the Tolkien books. Not sure, I can’t pinpoint the exact place, but still.”

      I totally agree, this vibe is what struck a chord with me about this card! It’s actually the promotional card for the book “The Buried Giant” by Kazuo Ishiguro which I got in the sweetest English book store in Brussels. I think what the style reminds of is the door to Moria, no? Speak Friend and Enter Now that I think about it, a while ago while pondering planners I was thinking of an image of this precise door as landing page… anyway. I feel what the picture and text evoke in me is important – this urgent need to go on and change things, to take care of stuff, to go and explore, to journey, to go and do. Fits well to my current emotional life in general and to this planner in particular 🙂

      > “I was actually thinking of keeping track of my activities just for the sake of easily being able to tell what I was up to lately. I tend to forget many days altogether (just like an old person’s memory is supposed to be working…) and thought it’d be REVEALING to have a list of things I did each day.

      So, in a way, the reverse of the planner idea – looking back instead of planning ahead.”

      I like this side effect of the planner for me, too. Days drift into each other, memories fade, time flows past and I don’t know how it did so fast without leaving any marks… poetry aside, I think this feeling is one reason why the “There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…” strikes such a chord with me. And that at 24, hah!

      So you might go and get a planner-ish book soon? Or do you consider keeping it digital?

      Great to hear from you, dear comet!

      1. How time flies!

        My oh my, Kazuo Ishiguro, you say? His The Remains of the Day is such an awesome book! A sure recommendation if I haven’t made enough of those already! (Any progress on that Old Man and the Sea? :>)

        Me and a planner, I don’t think so, actually – when I think about it now, I don’t really have that much to keep track of, so mostly I manage these on and off things in my head and with the simple remainders on my old Nokia. Like ‘granny’s bday’ or ‘electricity bill’.

        But perhaps a diary…

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