Pocket Notebook Planner - Daily/Weekly/Monthly on 1 Page




About: Alan Walker a.k.a. "The Toolman" has been creative and worked with his hands all of his life. He has been employed in a wide variety of industries including a museum, a major power tool manufacturer, a natio...

As someone who has used most of the commercially available diaries and planners like Day Runner, Franklin Covey and Rolodex over the years, I was never quite satisfied with the layout and function of these tools. Since I've been in the Graphics, Pre press and Printing industries for most of my career, I decided to make my own.

Step 1: Design Criteria, Configuration, Tools Needed

Design Criteria-
I don't know about you, but I've gone back and forth between a daily or weekly or most recently a monthly layout with not much satisfaction with any of them. I recently stumbled on this guy named Patrick Ng and his Typepad site called "Scription" (http://scription.typepad.com/) . Kudos to you Patrick! This guy really has it figured out with pocket organizers and has a stationery and office supplies interest like I do (you know, all things writing and stationery). He came up with this idea of looking at scheduling outside the box and developed this tool called "Chronodex" which was a little too radical for my taste but it got me thinking about how I look at time and how I would design my own perfect layout. I had a dream about doing things in a linear fashion one night and and as it worked out, I was able to develop a multi-use layout that allows daily, weekly and monthly views on a single page. The Holy Grail! After tinkering with it for a day or so, I think this is it. I'd like to know what you think.

I designed this to be portable and fit in a pocket (hip pocket), perpetual use (no specific dates or years, you enter them) and assembled by anyone with a desktop printer and some hand tools. Due to the pagination layout (specific layout of pages so they face and backup against each other correctly) required for a booklet, this has to be a 13 month calendar so you get January of the next year as a bonus. This notebook was designed to use as a stand along planner or integrated with the Traveler's Notebook products by Midori (http://www.midori-japan.co.jp/tr/english) one of Patrick's favorites and mine too (but I made my own).

Tools Needed-
Microsoft Visio (software layout, I've provided a .PDF file)
Adobe Acrobat (to print the layout)
Color inkjet sheet feed printer
1 sheet 80 lb. uncoated cover stock (I used Neenah Environment uncoated 80 lb. #07626 "Dessert Storm"
7 sheets 24-60lb. vellum finish text stock (I used Wausau Exact Opaque Colors 24-60 lb. #62481 "Natural"
Exacto knife
Straight edge ruler
Self healing cutting board
Needle and strong white thread
4 mini clips

Step 2: Assembly - Print

1. Start by printing the layout in landscape mode on the text stock one side first. All 7 sheets. Grayscale of black & white.

2. Once you are satisfied with the quality, turn the sheet over and print the on the back in the same landscape mode but only print 6 sheets (I'll explain later).

3. You can print the cover plain or with any design you want. I found some interesting passport stampings on the web and inserted them into Visio for my cover design. Print one side in color or black and white.

Step 3: Assembly - Fold

4. Carefully fold all of the sheets in half as shown. It critical to get the edges exact. One of the sheets has printing on one side, make sure that sheet is the closest to the cover of all the sheets with the blank side touching the inside cover.

5. Now gather all of the sheets together and tap them against the desk top to get them aligned and even on the bottom.

Step 4: Assembly - Clamp

6. Use the mini clamps to hold them as shown so nothing moves on you when you bind the back.

Step 5: Assembly - Mark

7. Mark the places for the binding holes as shown. About 1" apart.

Step 6: Assembly - Poke the Holes

8. Use a needle to carefully poke small holes in the fold of the notebook ( I don't like staples but I guess you could use them).

Step 7: Assembly - Bind

9. Now use the white thread to "stitch the sheets together, overlapping the seams and tie off at the end.

Step 8: Assembly - Trim

10. Time to trim. Inspect your work and see if the trim marks I placed on the layout match up with each other. The idea here is to trim the 3 edges so that the cover image extends out past the image of the inside layout. We call that a full bleed. If the marks don't line up, make your own marks in pencil and trim to those marks. It may take a couple of tries to get it just right so why not print a couple of copies of each sheet so you can make a copy for your friends replace the one you might have messed up.

Step 9: Completion

Now that you are done, it's time to use the planner. I've included photos of the layout and how I've used it.

Step 10: Monthly View

Monthly view. An entire month on one page.

Step 11: Weekly View

Weekly view, weeks are separated by bolded "Sundays"

Step 12: Daily View

Daily view with a place for all day, am, noon, pm events and notes.

Step 13: Enter Month and Year

Circle or highlight the month and year and inset the days of the month and the year. I've designed this so no matter when the first day of the month occurs, you can use the same layout. I've also planned this out for a 10 year use.

Step 14: Enter Events

Enter All Day, am, noon, pm events and notes.

Step 15: Sample Markup

Sample markup. Here's a sample of how you might mark up events.

Step 16: Cover Sample - Conclusion of Project

I found some interesting passport stampings on the web and inserted them into Visio for my cover design. Print one side in color or black and white.

Well that's about it. I've attached a PDF of the layout for you to use. I'd like to hear from you and tell me what you think, comments, improvements, alternatives, your successes.

If you would like me to produce these for you, just email me and we can discuss your needs.

Thanks for reading this far, and thanks to Patrick for the inspiration.

The Graphicsman

ShopBot Challenge

Participated in the
ShopBot Challenge

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge



  • Beauty Tips Contest

    Beauty Tips Contest
  • Sensors Contest

    Sensors Contest
  • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    Colors of the Rainbow Contest

11 Discussions


4 years ago

This is a brilliant design! If I wasn't satisfied with my smartphone I'd make this in a second!

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

thanks. i tried scanning it and loading it in my smartphone but too small to see. oh well!


5 years ago on Introduction

I did this last year and it was indispensable. Forgot to bookmark it, so I'm back again for 2014. Thank you for a very usable and nice looking pocket planner.


7 years ago on Introduction

This is an awesome concept with an equally awesome implementation...great work .I'm going to have to use one of these alongside my current system.

1 reply

2 years ago

This is fantastic! Hey, I have been playing around with binding these inserts for a few days, and do you know what I find to be a very sturdy and workable binding thread? Dental floss!!


5 years ago on Introduction

Very nice design! I'll be thinking about this one when I make my own. The big problem for me is I occasionally - but not always - also need an _hourly_ planner. During the school year I sometimes have my days planned out in increments of ten minutes.

Some thoughts: since this is a long-term planner, a sturdier binding / cover might be in order. Especially if you don't tend to keep back-ups - losing this to something like a coffee spill or a torn thread could be very costly! Also, the checking off dates as you go through is a nice idea but could be done by crossing out the day or date; personally, I wouldn't sacrifice prime real estate so it could have its own column.

Re: binding: I was thinking of making my own planner to fit a mini address book binder, so I could rearrange pages as necessary. If, e.g., I found one week was particularly busy and I needed to write a LOT in each day column... then I could insert a page where the whole page is just that week. That may not be as useful for you, but I think it'd be good to have the option of more than one line for busy days.

Re: monthly view: I was thinking of a landscape orientation where the weeks are four 'main' rows and the days are columns, with little sub-rows for hours / time of day. If that description makes sense? Not sure if that would actually increase total writing space per day, but it might make busy days easier to organize.


5 years ago

Paper for writing is stationery. Something that doesn't move is stationary.


5 years ago on Introduction

I did this last year and I'm back for 2014. This little planner was indispensable for me, thank you you helped keep some very important dates.


7 years ago on Introduction

For some reason it wont give me the "Reply" button but I gave you 5 stars and voted for you in the challenge...Good luck!

1 reply