Application of the Week – DIYPlanner Templates (#GTD)

This week’s application,, is a bit of a cheat.  It’s actually a collection of PDF templates that you use either with a Filofax (other personal organisers are available) or the fantastically retro “Hipster PDA”.  Y’see, I’ve never been able to wholly embrace IT as a means of making notes about stuff.  There’s something much more personal about getting a fountain pen out of your pocket and writing something by hand.  Lifehacker ran an article recently about business cards – and specifically why you should carry blank ones and write the information you need to give someone there and then (  I always have at least one Moleskine notebook about my person.

The templates tie in nicely with the GTD (Getting Things Done) method for organising yourself (one I’m a fan of, as previous posts may have revealed) and come with a flowchart for the GTD method you can print out and include in your organiser.

The Big Idea here is that you print out what you need, either on normal paper and then cut down, or onto index cards if your printer is up to the job – any printer that’s good at doing photos should do this with ease.  You’ve then got instant note-taking templates for a whole load of different things – projetcs, to-do lists, character ideas for stories, notes on scenes…  There are some 70-odd different templates in the basic templates, covering everything from your shopping list to SWOT analyses (if you have to ask, you don’t need to know).

I use the Hipster PDA size printed on 5×3 index cards in a standard Filofax (I’ve printed templates onto Filofax paper in the past, it works very well but I don’t have a regular supply up here.  Index cards are easy!), other sizes are available – right up to A4/letter.

For authors, there are templates for character notes, scene notes, storyboarding and other useful bits and bobs.  Yes, there’s stuff in there I hope I never need, but there’s stuff in there that I can’t leave home without.

My setup includes:

  • Notes cards.  Double-sided, same template on each side.
  • Project cards.  Double-sided again, project template on one side, notes template on the other.
  • Scene cards.  Double-sided, notes on the reverse.  In fact most of my cards end up with a notes page on the back.
  • To-Do lists.  Same template on each side.

As with all of these “print yourself” things, if I find I don’t have enough of a particular page, or I find a need for something I hadn’t used before, then I can just print it out.  If there isn’t a template that does what you want, all the widgets are there to use as an OpenOffice/LibreOffice template for you to create your own in their style.

Once you’ve got your templates sorted, you can then start getting creative with your Hipster PDA.  Sure, you can use a Filofax or some other organizer but there’s a lot of pleasure in crafting something that fits your purposes exactly.  This one here ( is a fine example of a leather case, others are out there (check out Flickr for some inspiration:  I made my first case out of a piece of scrap card and some Gaffer Tape.  It did what it needed to do.

2 responses to “Application of the Week – DIYPlanner Templates (#GTD)”

  1. For implementing GTD you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

    • That’s one I’ve not come across. I’ve got Evernote, of course, but I’ll check this one out for sure. Thank you Dan.

      15 minutes and a quick look later, the webapp looks good, it’ll be interesting to see how it stacks up against Toodledo but there’s not a lot I can do with the Android app as I can’t sync a free account with the webapp. This is not a complaint, RememberTheMilk works in exactly the same way. When it’s time to renew apps/subscriptions to services I’ll certainly come back to this one.

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