Blog Tip Thursdays: DIY Blog Planner

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Hi everyone! I’m Jill and I write over at The Year of the Phoenix. Near the end of last year I decided I wanted to be more organized as a blogger and for me that meant having a blog planner. While I know such planners can be purchased or downloaded, I wanted the option of completely customizing it to fit my needs so I just decided to make my own and today I’m going to show you how you can do it, too!

DIY1

Open up Microsoft Word so you have a blank page. We are first going to work on the actual 12 month calendar half of our planner and while Word offers templates I prefer to use the Tables feature as it offers more customization in terms of size and spacing of each day and month. This might seem tedious, but I promise once you figure out the Tables and the calendar portion, the rest of the planner will be cake.

Go up to Insert tab at the top and click on it. Underneath that you’ll find the Tables option. Click on the little down arrow and this will present a drop down box that allows you to set how big you want your table to be. Just hover over the top left box and you can drag across and down to select your grid. We are going to go 7 squares across and 2 down.

DIY2

Before we add in all of the weeks in the month we want to adjust the sizes of our first two rows, the top which one is our list of the days of the week.

If you hover over the middle line (bottom of the first row/top of the second), a little black double arrow will appear. Click on the arrow and a dotted line will show up that spans the length of the page. Holding the mouse key down, you can drag that dotted line as far down as you want to adjust the top row to the size you want (you can do the same things on the sides of your table, too, if you want to stretch it out more across the page).

DIY3

Now we’re going to do the same thing with the second line, which is going to represent the individual days of the month. Since this is where you’ll be writing notes you want to give yourself plenty of room. Just Hover, Click & Drag to get the size you want.

So now we have our first week! To get the rest of the month, just highlight the row and hit Ctrl + C to Copy. Put your cursor below the row and hit Ctrl + V four times to add four rows for a total of five.

DIY4

From here we can add in the days of the week. Start in the box at the far left and go day by day, hitting Tab to move from box to box. Once the days are in place you can customize this as much as you want. Just highlight the whole row and you can make the words centered, different size, different font, etc.

To put in the numbers, first highlight all of the date boxes and go up to top and click on the box for aligning the text to the right. This will make sure the numbers are in top right of the box. Then, just like we did with the dates, figure out which day the month starts on and start filling in the numbers, hitting Tab to move from box to box.

Next we’re going to put in the month, but in order to do this we first have to move the calendar down slightly so there is room.  If you hove over your calendar, a little box with an arrow appears in the upper left corner. If you click on it, the entire calendar will be highlighted and if click and hold you can then just drag the entire calendar down.

DIY5

Once the box has been moved down, click above it and put in the month and year.

DIY6

 

And just like that, our calendar is done! From this point you can really start playing with it. From the picture at the very top you can see my January is blue but what you don’t see is that February is pink, March is green, and on and on. First you want to highlight the entire calendar just like you did a few steps above when you moved it. Then go up to the top of the screen and select Design and you can go through the different color scheme options. I like the ones that have all of the borders around the boxes because it looks like a real calendar. Make every month the same color, a different color like I did, or just keep it black and white. Entirely up to you.

DIY7

To fill in the rest of the months, highlight the whole calendar and hit Ctrl + C to copy it. Click in the white space beneath the calendar and hit Ctrl + Enter twice then hit Ctrl + V to paste your calendar on the page. Keep doing that until you have all twelve months represented. The Ctrl + Enter combo starts a new page and you want to hit it twice because you want an extra page between each calendar since that’s where you’ll put your boxes for notes, To Do List, blog post ideas, etc. You will have to go through each month and change the Month and Dates, but it’s as simple as hitting Tab to jump from box to box.

Remember how I said once you got the calendar figured out the rest of the planner is cake? That’s because it all relies on Microsoft Word tables and you can put in as many or as few as you want to fit your needs! As the calendar portion has the most components, it’s the most time consuming so once you have that out of the way the rest are easy. For instance, beneath my calendar I have a a box for my monthly blog stats and on the opposite page (the blank page between each calendar) I have areas to write post ideas and a list of the emails I receive. There’s also a To Do List and space for Notes. You don’t even need separate tables, you could keep the opposite page completely blank and just use it as a big notes space. All of my boxes were built with tables and the colors were picked using the Design tab above the page and I just copied and pasted them to each page for each month.

DIY8

When you get ready to print, you want to make sure you print it in such a way that when you open your planner up everything matches up properly. That is, you want the February calendar on the left side and the other February boxes on the right. If you have a printer that does double-sided, you are very lucky and go with that. For everyone else who doesn’t have that function, here’s how you do it:

First print out just the monthly calendars. When you get ready to print there should be an option for either odd or even pages or you can type in which page numbers you actually want to print. Essentially you want to be printing every other page. Next, remove the January calendar from the stack. We’ll come back to that one.

Now we’re going to be printing the notes pages on the back of the calendars, so the January Notes will be on the back of the February Calendar and the February Notes will be on the back of the March Calendar, etc. I suggest printing a test page to make sure you know which way the papers should go into your printer so everything is right side up and in the correct order.

Remember that January calendar? Here’s where it comes into play. With this you can either print a fancy schmancy cover on the back side or maybe a small twelve-month calendar, it’s up to you. You can also always use heavier paper like card stock to print a cover and just tape or glue the January calendar to its back side.

Once you have everything printed, double check everything is in order and take it to an office supply store to have it bound. I went with spiral binding and clear covers and it cost less than $5 and the covers keep it protected.

Like I said at the start, I know this might seem slightly time-consuming and it is, especially if you’re not super familiar with using tables. But, the beauty of it is that once you have your calendar all figured out, at the end of every year all you have to do is adjust the dates in the calendars and print out a brand new one!

Since January 2011, Jill has adopted a healthy lifestyle and lost 135 pounds with Weight Watchers. A runner and yogini, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where she works as a librarian.
Twitter: @Jill_Grun
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theyearofthephoenix
Instagram: Jill_Grun

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3 Responses to “Blog Tip Thursdays: DIY Blog Planner”

  1. Natalie Melchiorre
    March 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Hi Jill! I LOVE your planner concept. This is now on my to-do list…if only I had a planner to write that in ;) Quick question: what are the blog stats you track? I can’t see all of them in the picture. Thanks!

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