13 Nov 2012

guest post from Alice :)

Today, I am honoured to feature a guest post from Alice (@45Ads on Twitter). She is one of my favourite tweeters (is that a word?) and she is also lovely! 

Basically, this post came about because we were talking about custom inserts. She then sent me an insert she had made herself and I loved it! I wanted to know more and that's when I asked her if she would like to write a guest post as to how she uses them and also how she made them. 

With the quality of Filofax paper a common gripe between users of ringed organisers, custom inserts are definitely increasing in popularity as they offer that personal touch and you can choose what paper to print them onto! Now you can see why I'm so interested in Alice's custom inserts :) 

Without further ado, here is Alice's post. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
Angela has generously offered me the chance to write a guest post for her blog. I hope that I can live up to her expectations!

For starters, I own five binders. One is a cheap red wanna-be and he is falling apart around the rings. It is a personal size and I only use it for storage. I have two other personal size binders, both from Filofax. One is a beautiful brown calf leather Winchester from the 80s, my first Filofax, and the other is a red Domino. I also have two A5 binders. One is a red Filofax Sketch and the other, my favourite, is the sunflower yellow Dolce Vita from Succes. It is for the Succes that I wanted to make inserts myself.

The standard inserts by Succes are superior to Filofax. The paper is ticker and better suited for fountain pen ink. However, after a huge change in schedules (unreadable and/or messed up with white-out), I needed a new, clean set for the remainder of the year. Like many, I use fountain pens and the Pilot G-2. On ordinary Filofax inserts, they feather and bleed. So despite being able to get a 2012 set at a good price, I choose not to and started my quest for better inserts at a fraction of the price!

In Word, I opened a text box and inserted a table. I gave the table four columns and about 25 rows. My setting for the column widths is “autofit to content.” By simply using the standard features, I printed in bold the days of the week, the hours, the headers “notes” and “exercises” and gave them a colour.

The advantage of the “autofit to content” setting is that the first column remains very lean. It only needs to contain a few numbers representing the hours of the day. As you can see, I only used whole hours and did not insert 30min increments. Why? I don’t need more details. My work from home gets detailed in another binder, the Winchester, so I really do not need more time increments in the daily planner. However, if you do, just delete the extra lines under “notes” and/or “exercises” to make room for those increments. See why I love this? Flexibility!

At the bottom on the page where I have “notes” I do not list regular to-do things. Those go on a separate insert. Under “notes” I place things that are happening that day that I want to keep track off such as “fieldtrips” or “presidential debates.” The “exercise” row also at the bottom is to help me actually do my exercises. I do not like to go to the gym (major confession, you heard it here first! :D) so by making it visual, I shame myself into going just so I can check the box. Yes, it is that basic! 

My design is very rudimentary but what I love about it is the following: anything that is fixed such as school drop off and pick up times can be printed in advance for the whole school year. The same counts for holidays, birthdays, early school release dates, etc. Also, by typing things that are fixed you create “blocks.” With “blocks” I mean that if you type in advance what is fixed and for the rest write by hand, you can see where the gaps are for activities, time for yourself, etc. Do you want your calendar week to start on Sunday? No problem. Just change the days in the columns. Do you want to start the first of each month on a separate page? No problem, just stop at the 30th/31st and start on a fresh table with the 1st of that month.


A word on printing: I make a week-on-two-pages on one sheet in landscape and then print it. Since I use an A5 binder, I only need to fold the page in half and punch holes in it. If you do not like a folded page in your binder, you can print it double-sided, cut the page in half, and then hole punch.

My weekly planning or “to-do” list is also made with Word. I used a text box with a table, three columns, 25 rows, and again “autofit to content.” Why? I need more space in the first column to write and in columns two and three; I only place a check mark. As you can see on the design, it has a “home” section with plenty of space for you to add other to-dos. I added a “miscellaneous” section at the bottom for everything not “house” or “work” related.

I might start printing the to-do sheet on a different colour paper. If you insert the to-do sheet in between the week-on-two-pages, you can see Mon-Tues-Wed on the left and if you turn the to-do page, you see Thurs-Fri-Sat/Sun. Need to see the whole week? Just hold it up and the week-at-a-glance is right there!

On both inserts, I used text in the background but you can add a picture here as well to personalize it. Other options for personalizing your inserts are by printing it on coloured paper or on relief paper if your printer can handle that. You could also consider (but this is very time consuming) cutting out the tables, pasting them on card stock and covering the edges with washi tape.

I am using my own inserts for the rest of the calendar year so I can be critical of my own design, see if it is practical, and of course, add/change where needed.

Everyone’s schedule is different and the best thing about making inserts yourself is that it is tailor-made for you. Have fun!

Alice (@45Ads) on Twitter


Thanks, Alice, for running through your custom inserts. I can't wait to start work so I can use similar ones! I love her planning system and also how the inserts are folded in half! Such an awesome idea.

And, as if this post isn't awesome enough, Alice has kindly included a PDF of the time planning insert :)

And a link to the PDF (without the watermark).

Don't you just love seeing how other people use their organisers? And doesn't it just give you so many ideas for your own?


  1. Sunny. Yellow. GOODNESS! Interesting post--my FAVE is the weekly planning page, that's just genius!!!

  2. I seriously like the post. Its an interesting post.I liked calender one the most.....