How To Make Your Digital Media Planners Custom To You
These days, it seems like everyone has a bullet journal, a planner, a calendar, a datebook. We’re all busier than ever, and keeping up with a work schedule, home to-do lists, bills to pay, kids’ activities, and the latest neighborhood cookout can seem impossible. So we’ve started turning to planners and journals to help us maintain some control over our hectic lives.
The trouble is that now, in addition to soccer bags and laptops and lunches and laundry, we’re also supposed to keep up with some sort of a physical book. Luckily, we live in a digital age, and digital media planners are becoming a popular option. Read on to learn about these digital helpmates and how you can make yours custom to you.
Benefits of a Digital Planner
One of the big benefits of a digital planner is that you don’t have another thing to keep up with. Cell phones have already subsumed so many things – cameras, compasses, music players, and stopwatches, to name a few. Now as long as you know where your phone is, you know where your planner is.
Digital planners can also help reduce your carbon footprint, since you’ll avoid buying (and then throwing away) a physical book. You won’t have extra books, stickers, and the like cluttering your desk or your home. And imagine how much more slick you’ll look in a business meeting when, instead of digging a beat-up journal out of your bag to write down next week’s meeting, you just swipe into a new app on your iPad.
While you certainly can keep a digital planner on your phone, a lot of people prefer to use an iPad or another tablet for this. The extra screen space is helpful when you’re trying to look at your whole month at once, and the pen features can be helpful. You can jot down meetings and circle important dates on an iPad, where that gets much harder on a phone.
The great thing is with the advent of cloud technology, you don’t have to carry your tablet with you everywhere in order to have access to your planner. You can create and maintain the planner on your tablet and have access to it from your phone.
Depending on how custom you want to make your digital planner, there are a few programs you might want to use. If you’re not someone who enjoys digital design, there are several apps that are great for digital planning. These generally don’t offer as much customization, but they can get you in the digital planning game.
If you have digital design experience or you want to have a fully custom planner, Adobe Photoshop or InDesign can be helpful. Once you create your planner from scratch, you’ll need to make it into a clickable PDF with Keynote. You can also use more streamlined apps like Goodnotes and Noteshelf to customize your planner.
Decide on Your Format
The first thing you’ll need to decide when you get ready to start designing your planner is what format you want to work with. This will depend on what you’ve preferred in previous planners and how you view your schedule.
Do you tend to look at your schedule on a weekly basis – i.e. today is Tuesday, Taylor’s soccer game is on Thursday, and my partner and I are going out for dinner on Saturday? Or do you take things on a day-by day basis? Are you a big-picture person who wants to know at a glance what you have planned for the next three weeks?
Depending on how you prefer to look at your time, you can start choosing a planner format. You can set up separate pages for each day with slots for goals you want to track, events you have, to-do lists, and even self-care check-ins. Or you can set up weekly or monthly pages with slots to drop in specific obligations on each day.
One of the other great advantages of a digital planner is you don’t necessarily have to choose among these or compromise your format. You can create a monthly or weekly calendar view that allows you to click into each specific day, check in with your goals, and click back to your big-picture view.
Create Your Bookmarks
Once you’ve decided on a format, it’s time to create a table of contents and set up some bookmarks. These will be hyperlinks that connect to various places in the document and allow you to jump to that page with a touch.
It’s a good idea to bookmark each month in your table of contents so you don’t have to spend a thousand hours in January scrolling to the November page to put in your family’s Thanksgiving cruise. You should also add any extra planning pages you want to have. These can include lists of birthdays, workout tracking, home chore checklists, and bill reminders.
Pick Your Thumbnails
Your planner may have thumbnail icons that you can use to navigate to the bookmarks you just created. These can be something as simple as a tiny image of the page you’re navigating to. But if a lot of your pages look the same, setting up some thumbnails may work.
Take a gander through online clipart and find some icons that represent the page you’re bookmarking. You could use a running shoe or a dumbbell for your workout tracking page, a fork and knife for your meal planning page, and a simple “Sep.” for the month of September.
One of the best ways to create a planner that’s all your own is to add different geometric shapes to each page. This can be something like a fun-shaped paperclip or even just an oval outline. Use these to highlight different areas of each planner page.
If you chose a weekly or monthly view for your planner, put a star around dates where someone has a birthday. You could put a diamond on days where you accomplished everything on your list so you can look back later and have a sense of pride. If you have a daily format, use these shapes to separate your water tracking from your kids’ activity schedule.
Use Different Pens
Using different pens is a great way to organize your thoughts in your planner. You can color-code each category of your life so you can see what you have each day at a glance. Try red for important events, green for meals, orange for kids’ activities, blue for work items, and so on.
You can also use different pen strokes to indicate different things in your planner. Bolder strokes can highlight more important entries, while thinner strokes can be for gentle reminders. And if nothing else, you can decorate your planner with beautiful drawings using these different pens.
If all this is sounding like a lot to have in one planner, here’s another beauty of digital planners. You can create separate categories of planner for each event. You have the best of all worlds of bullet journaling without having to lug around fifteen notebooks.
Have one planner category for your personal schedule – work meetings, doctor’s appointments, and the like. Then have another category for home matters, such as maintenance (changing air filters, annual cleaning schedules, etc.), chores, and grocery lists. You can have as many categories as you like to keep each area of your life separate and neatly organized.
Add Some Art
Art is one of the best ways to personalize your planner. Whether you like doodling or not, you can add beautiful art to make your planner your own.
Find images online and drop them into the background of your planner pages. If there are stylized quotes you like, add one to the beginning of each month as a sort of inspiration. And if you’re the artistic sort, add drawings to the edges of your pages – you’ll be surprised how much more you enjoy using your planner.
Create a Cover
No book is complete without a good cover, and you should have one that makes you want to use your digital planner every day. If you have design experience, you can put together a great cover for your planner in Photoshop or InDesign. But if that’s not your skill set, don’t worry.
There are lots of sites online that will help you create your own book cover. You can use some templates, or you can browse for inspiration.
Create Your Own Digital Media Planners
There are a lot of great reasons to have a digital planner, and with a little time, you can have digital media planners that are completely custom to you. Do you need a planner that has a spot for you to track all the mystery novels you’ve read this year? It can be yours.
If you’d like to find more information about digital media planners, check out the rest of our site at Digital Bullet Journals. We have information about everything from digital scrapbooking to digital life. Check out our articles about digital bullet journals today.