random musings from a primate

D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released

Update : These sets, and many more, are now available free at www.DIYPlanner.com. In particular, you might want the newest version of this, which is located on the D*I*Y Planner Classic/A5 page.

Well, it’s been a busy few months, but I’m happy to announce that the D*I*Y Planner version 2.0 has finally been released.

The D*I*Y Planner is a set of free do-it-yourself templates, covers, documentation and other gear for creating your own highly customised and tweakable paper planner system. Some highlights:

  • Over 50 different templates and forms spanning everything from calendars to finances, from project management to reference lists, from notetaking to specialised subjects like web design and story writing.
  • A thorough D*I*Y Planner Handbook in HTML detailing:
    • how to build a do-it-yourself planner, including getting the right supplies;
    • descriptions of all the forms, with many suggested uses;
    • a GTD-oriented planner configuration;
    • how to print the forms, without wasting paper and ink;
    • plenty of tips in setting up and using your system;
    • links to other template sites; and
    • places to find more information that can help you use or configure your planner.
  • Planner coverA couple of pre-built covers, with do-it-yourself templates in OpenOffice.org Draw format for creating your own. (More covers will be offered later, as well as templates for other applications.)
  • All templates from the older 1.0 package have been rejigged, improved and made more consistent.
  • While an emphasis is placed upon David Allen’s Getting Things Done, templates are also offered for alternative methodologies such as Covey’s First Things First. There are also quite a few generic templates so you can devise and tweak your own organisational methodology, if you are so inclined.
  • A template for creating your own receipt envelopes, complete with areas for recording transactions and jotting notes.
  • Currently, all templates are designed for 5.5″x8.5″ planners (half letter-size), but a version for A5 is in the pipe. (Stay tuned.)
  • A set of GTD diagrams culled from the DavidCo site, resized and positioned for your planner. (See the handbook for links to the originals.)
  • A new identity for the package: a new logo, a slightly new name (note the asterisks), and a vague leap towards consistency and semi-professionalism.

As with the last package, version 2.0 is released under a Creative Commons license, which means that it is free for personal and non-commercial use.

Special thanks to Ted Bongiovanni, Ronald Schaten and Anthony Schellenberg for some excellent suggestions along the way, as well as to the 43 Folders Google Group for continued inspiration and so many wonderful ways to waste time while saving it. 😉 My apologies to all those friends and groups who have been deprived of my company (or blessed by lack of it): things should be getting back to normal soon.

The package can be downloaded here: diyplanner2.zip.

The new D*I*Y Planner button at the right will always take you to the latest version of this package, which will always be at www.douglasjohnston.net/templates/.

Update : There’s now an A5 version, as well as a 2-up version (printing two pages on one sheet for cutting in half).

Update 2 : Please don’t ask for other size templates (like 8.5″x11″) for now. The reasons why are explained in this post.

Update 3 : New GTD/Covey Diagrams for D*I*Y Planners.

Update 4 : The Hipster PDA Edition is released for printing 3×5″ (index card) versions.

Update 5 : Several keen-eyed individuals have mentioned a broken link in the handbook. (Thanks, I missed that one!) The latest version of the templates can be found at http://www.douglasjohnston.net/templates/, not douglasjohnston.com. This is a redirected link to the latest release, by the way — currently to this post.


  1. Kathy Kathy
    March 28, 2005    

    Thank you!!!! I haven’t looked at them all yet, but from what you produced before, I’m sure they’ll all be great!

  2. March 28, 2005    

    wow, these are great! I’ve been looking (unsuccessfully) for a paper based system with GTD and this could be it, now to find the time to build one! Thanks!

  3. March 28, 2005    

    Looks great — thank you for generously sharing the fruits of your labor with us. :-)

  4. March 28, 2005    

    Thanks a lot. I will be using it for the first time after hearing about it and I am sure I wont be disappointed. BTW, could you setup a mailing-list sort of thingy so we can know when updates come out?


  5. Dewayne Dewayne
    March 28, 2005    

    Thank you very much for the hard work that has been put into these. Looking forward to implementing some of these forms in my GtD methods.

  6. M Roher M Roher
    March 29, 2005    

    Great Job, but I need 8.5 x 11. How soon will this be ready? Thanks for the hard work.

  7. March 29, 2005    

    Absolutely stunning work Douglas!

    I will try and see if I can get this working in an old planner I uncovered today with old fillings. (seemingly has all the wrong dimensions though)

    The intended additions in the future re: art, filmography would be great as well. How do you go about that? Do you need input or anything? For myself, templates for jotting down musical ideas I can later work on in the studio when I have all the equipment at my disposal would be very handy. (Right now I just collect random musical ideas in a text file on my computer.)

    Thanks again!

  8. Rob Rob
    March 29, 2005    

    I would love a version designed for 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper (so I can just print it on full=size paper). I know I can ask adobe to enlarge to the fit the page, but then everything ends up huge!

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  9. jj jj
    March 29, 2005    

    I especially love the cover, (anybody notice how the light picks up on the shape of template holes? or am I the only one? ). Will be sticking with the default until I feel like a change, and am ready to experiment with the open office d*i*y* section.

    I am holding out of the templates for artists. Will that be 3.0? and what’s your timeline?

    Great job b*t*w* ! (^:

  10. March 29, 2005    

    To the people requesting 8.5×11 versions, here’s a FAQ from the Handbook:

    7. Can you make some letter (or A4) versions?

    Well, let me put this in perspective. There are over 50 templates currently included in this kit. To create a letter-size version, I would essentially have to redesign every template, since it’s not simply a matter of doing a quick scaling-up. New layouts would have to be imagined, new objects would have to be created, new base templates would have to be set up, a new set of guidelines would have to be written, each file would have to be worked on individually, and then each form would have to be tested, printed and tweaked multiple times. And so on. That’s a lot of work. Now, I’m not saying I’ll never create a letter-size kit, but given the fact that there is only one of me, it’s not very likely in the near future. I’ve had a couple of people volunteer for this task, but as far as I know, nothing concrete has yet been done.


  11. jrobbins jrobbins
    March 29, 2005    

    What an amazing set of tools! Yesterday, I tossed out all the store-bought forms for my Franklin-Covey organizer and started using these instead. There’s so many ways to set up the planner that I have a full month of experimenting and fun ahead of me! (Well, some people would find this fun. I do.)

    Some advice for people downloading this thing: read the hand book! I almost didn’t, because the forms seemed pretty obvious, and ummm… it’s a pretty long hand book. But there are so many ideas and tips in it that go beyond the obvious, ex. using a Matrix for tracking my calories and my daily exercise routine.. Next up, a cover with my daughter’s shining face. I followed the hand book’s instructions for the cover kit, and it works really well. Got a beautiful PDF!

    You’ve given me not only a new planner, but a thousand new ways of using it! Thanks so very much!

  12. March 29, 2005    


    But why not use a creative commons license that allows derivative works? It seems that if someone has a great idea for remixing this work, that should be encouraged, not restricted.

    But still: awesome! 😛

  13. March 29, 2005    

    Thank you! What a tremendous project. I just would like to repeat other requests for an eventual 8.5 x 11″ version.


  14. March 29, 2005    

    Sorry, I didn’t get back to read comment #18. Woops.

  15. March 30, 2005    

    Thanks so much – these are great!

  16. Gabe M Gabe M
    March 31, 2005    

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  17. March 31, 2005    

    The major difficulty I have is that now the paper needs to be pre-cut. Does anyone know of a way to print the same page side-by-side in Acrobat, so that for example p. 5 is repeated twice, then I can refeed p. 6, and cut after printing? Pre-cutting the paper for a shared printer environment is dicey at best.

  18. March 31, 2005    

    Good sweet Mike! That’s going to help me out quite a bit!

  19. jj jj
    April 3, 2005    

    Here’s a thought: If you start to feel guilty about all the paper you will suddenly want to go through, why not add “plant a tree” to your “to do” list?


  20. Greg Greg
    April 4, 2005    


    This is a great set of templates!!!

    Can anyone give me advice on printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. I tried the instructions, but I cannot get it to work right.


  21. April 5, 2005    

    Mailed you earlier with a link to a bitty “housewifery/family-liferey” organizer site with printables. Your stuff is a perfect solution for me, I’ve linked you up on my blog above (no big deal, I get practically no traffic! though I’ve also given your pagelink here to about 20 friends and family so far.

    Perfect. Thanks.

    [For those who need a solution to “precut” paper and shared enviros: talk to your local Kinkos or Staples….]

  22. April 6, 2005    

    Hi Douglas,

    Many thanks for the A5 templates. I will download and print off later today.

    What I noticed, though, with the original US-format pages, was if I completely ignored your instructions and printed them ‘center page’ AND also ‘expand to fit paper’ (or something like that) the pages looked GREAT.

    So I’m really keen to download and print the A5 templates off at work, scaled up to A4, to see if there any appreciable differences.

    But thanks again for all of your great work and commitment!

    Kind regards,
    Lee – bettercomms.blogspot.com

  23. April 6, 2005    

    Lee, ignoring my instructions is always a good option. 😉

    I’d still advise people to read the instructions, however, so they understand a little bit better what they’re doing. Especially if they want to send me questions….

  24. Dan S Dan S
    April 9, 2005    

    Not to sound greedy, but…..

    The planner is fantastic–how about “personal” sized version (3-3/4 x 6-3/4)? Shrinking the existing pdfs whacks out the proportions.

  25. Dave Dave
    April 11, 2005    

    Here’s another request for a 8.5″ x 11″ version of the templates, for those people who like to have a lot of writing space, like me.

    Thanks! =)

  26. Unknown.Programmer Unknown.Programmer
    April 11, 2005    

    Please add templates for us 3×5 hipster users.

  27. April 12, 2005    

    Please also add templates for us 0.25″ x 0.40″ gerbils.

  28. sps sps
    April 16, 2005    

    I’m having a problem with these. I’m not sure what the best way to print them so I can get 5.5×8.5 sheets. I have a Mac and if I print one per side of a sheet of paper, I’m not sure where to cut and where to punch holes…it’s an arduous and time consuming task. I try to place 2 pages landscape position on each side of a sheet of paper, the pdf format FORCES the document to scale down to a worth size, leaving all sorts of blank room. Even when I scale up to 140%, the DIY pages do not fill up the entire paper half of a piece of paper (they leave margins on all sides no matter what) and therefore are useless.

    Can someone explain to me how I’m supposed to print these so that they actually fill up 5.5in x 8.5in? thanks.

  29. sps sps
    April 16, 2005    

    Sorry that was full of typos. Bascially, what I’m looking for is a way to print these sheets so that two DIY pages show up side by side, in full 5.5 x 8.5 size on one side of a 8.5x11in piece of paper, and two show up on the other side. Because the PDF file wants to scale, I can’t get this to happen and fill up the entire 5.5×8.5 space, making each page too small for use.

  30. Vkaryl Vkaryl
    April 20, 2005    

    sps, in the print dialog under Adobe, there’s a dropdown titled “Page Scaling”. There’s a “None” option in there, which should be what you’re looking for. Also make sure the check box next to “Choose Paper Source by PDF page size” is clear.

    With my cheapie Lexmark Z55 printer, I also found I had better “print luck” setting the paper orientation to “Landscape” rather than portrait, even though I selected “Auto-Rotate and Center” in the PDF print options. Sometimes you have to tweak the printer’s properties too.

  31. Jim Jim
    May 25, 2005    

    Yes, yes – but *where* is it?
    A bazillion links to other places – but *where* is the stuff?

  32. Jay Downing Jay Downing
    June 9, 2005    

    For those who have 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 planners with seven rings. If you are near a copy shop that does hole drilling you could get a package of cheap copy paper (500 sheets) and have the holes drilled on the top and bottom of the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets then chop the package in half. I got a quote of $30 for this at a shop near me. $20 for drilling the holes and $10 for a package of paper. They charge by the setup which is $5 per hole and it can be done in 4 setups. If the only place near you is Kinko’s don’t bother. They wanted $60 for the job.


  33. June 17, 2005    

    This has to be one of the nicest sets of templates for Day Planner sized organizers I have found in a long while. Kudos for the effort that was put in to make these.

  34. patdbuck patdbuck
    July 14, 2005    

    I am a newbie to getting myself organised, somewhat scary for my age and position. Anyway I wanted to take a few moments to say I think the work done on the templates and the explanation in the manual is brilliant and I thank you for your time & energy in creating this excelent tool.

  35. Jazbaloo Jazbaloo
    July 16, 2005    

    Inspired! It frees my right AND left brain……can’t thank you enough for the effort you put into this!

  36. Popeye Popeye
    July 18, 2005    

    Will it be possible to get the weeks in the calenders starting on mondays… it´s a common day here in Sweden and Scandinavia… In Europe to…

    It´s sure a great work you, eh… sorry, the monkeys have done. Keep it up…

  37. Jon Fawbert Jon Fawbert
    July 19, 2005    

    Something extraordinary has happened. No, wait… *two* extraordinary things have happened…

    1) I have got control of my life back
    2) I have found something that I have been looking for for a long time… a planning system that copes with not just urgent and important… but the things you have asked others to do, the projects with their myriad interconnected and fragile steps, the parking ticket to pay in two weeks time, the agenda for the meeting a week Thursday.

    Thank you *so much* for sharing this. You are both generous and genii.

  38. Simon Wong Simon Wong
    July 20, 2005    

    Firstly, Great Work :-)

    However, I’m a little confused by the license. If I want to use these pages to organise my life both at work and at play, can I do so? It says personal use but then also says not for commercial use. If I contract to people is that commercial use?

    Could you give a brief comment of your intent?


  39. Chris Carter Chris Carter
    July 25, 2005    

    Simon- The “Non-Commerical” use pretty much means, you can’t sell it, use it in advertising, etc…

  40. July 25, 2005    

    Thanks for making the kit.
    I’ve not even read the book from David Allen but I’ve to print the DIY Planner 2 and use it to getting things done first!

  41. Haga, Norway Haga, Norway
    September 3, 2005    

    Your web site contain A LOT of usefull stuff but increadible difficult to navigate in, try to use frames, I browse your pages from 2 different machines which slightly different entry points, pages that I read on one pc I simply cant find when I sit on the other.

10 Trackbacks

  1. Shawn's Thoughts on March 28, 2005 at 1:47 pm
  2. BooIzzy.com on March 28, 2005 at 2:52 pm
  3. davidbisset.com » D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released on March 28, 2005 at 3:41 pm
  4. randomthoughts » Blog Archive » DIY Planner 2 on March 28, 2005 at 6:05 pm
  5. Die Schatenseite: Weblog » D*I*Y Planner 2.0 on March 28, 2005 at 6:20 pm
  6. KyleM.xwell » Blog Archive » DIY Planner 2.0 released on March 29, 2005 at 12:07 am
  7. fozbaca.org on March 29, 2005 at 1:53 am
  8. J.J.Hunsecker on March 29, 2005 at 4:58 am
  9. cdavis blog » a million monkeys typing » D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released on March 30, 2005 at 4:22 pm
  10. Spyndle.com » Blog Archive » a million monkeys typing » D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released on March 30, 2005 at 5:09 pm
  11. Joe's Space on March 30, 2005 at 10:31 pm
  12. Blatherskite » an open source paper planner? on April 5, 2005 at 7:23 pm
  13. FirstLeft » Blog Archive del.icio.us bookmarks » on April 7, 2005 at 2:12 am
  14. You’ve Got Mail » Blog Archive » Vale a pena… on April 9, 2005 at 3:55 pm
  15. Mischief to Data » Blog Archive » D*I*Y Planner - templates for creating your own planner on April 11, 2005 at 10:58 am
  16. subject verb object on April 12, 2005 at 3:46 pm
  17. The Liedel weblog. » Blog Archive » New but not so different. on April 14, 2005 at 4:12 pm
  18. Holy Shmoly! :: D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released on April 22, 2005 at 10:56 am
  19. In the Trenches » In the Trenches - Tech Chat - 04-23-2005 on April 26, 2005 at 10:54 am
  20. Williams Blog » D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released on April 29, 2005 at 10:55 am
  21. CWMURPHY dot com » Blog Archive » Just five nerd-type things on May 16, 2005 at 9:54 pm
  22. PukiWiki/TrackBack 0.1 on June 9, 2005 at 11:19 am
  23. randyandgerri.com on June 13, 2005 at 12:53 pm
  24. Time Being » Blog Archive » More Productivity Boosters on June 14, 2005 at 1:43 am
  25. a man without letters » DIY Planner - Hipster PDA Version on June 14, 2005 at 1:30 pm
  26. Life Hacks » D*I*Y Planner Cards! on June 14, 2005 at 3:46 pm
  27. ben.hamilton.id.au » DIY planner on June 15, 2005 at 8:41 am
  28. Pat Answers » On Becoming More Effective on June 23, 2005 at 7:41 pm
  29. Digital Photography In Depth on June 26, 2005 at 11:12 pm
  30. Le blog-notes de Ben on July 1, 2005 at 8:33 pm
  31. the space above the couch » Monkey Mayhem on July 4, 2005 at 1:49 pm
  32. the space above the couch » Monkey Mayhem on July 4, 2005 at 3:53 pm
  33. Noledge » Blog Archive » My System on July 6, 2005 at 3:08 am
  34. Digital Photography In Depth on July 18, 2005 at 2:24 pm
  35. Die Schatenseite: Weblog » Die Inbox im Papier-Planer on July 26, 2005 at 7:04 am
  36. Sztywny Blog on August 4, 2005 at 6:27 am
  37. blog hardyweb -perjalanan hidupku ™ » Blog Archive » Hipster PDA on August 30, 2005 at 7:19 am
  38. Encouraging Words » Planner on September 1, 2005 at 7:09 pm
  39. ben.hamilton.id.au » Blog Archive » Pen and paper on September 2, 2005 at 9:37 am
  40. Jokerbone » hpda cover generator on September 2, 2005 at 4:57 pm
  41. My Free Index | IT Stuff and Technology Blog on February 3, 2006 at 5:19 am
March 2005
« Feb   Apr »




Old Mining Truck

Child on Bike

Iris and Sea, Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Couple and Child, Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Sad Monkey in Zoo.

Owl in Calgary Zoo

Peter Pan Statue, Bowring Park

Woodpecker at Cameron Falls, NWT



Whooping Crane

Bison outside Behchoko, NWT

Bison outside Behchoko, NWT

Bison outside Behchoko, NWT

Cameron Falls, NWT

Giant Mine

Twillingate Lighthouse

Rosehips at Dusk

Derelict Mining Truck in Yellowknife