To add pages to your Living Well planner, you need a special hole punch that creates squares with a small slit so you can push the paper onto the coils. After searching and failing, a mention by Kathy in the Crushing It group finally put me on the right track to buying the perfect sized square hole puncher.
Once you have the right tools in hand, let your imagination run wild to create the few extra pages you need to fully customize the planner for your needs.
What you’ll need
To add pages to your planner, you’ll need a few supplies and tools:
- The hole puncher that cuts the square binding. Make sure you buy a punch board.
- Heavy weight paper (at least 28 lbs paper or 67 lbs card stock)
- A paper trimmer (this one makes it easy to cut individual pages to size)
The hole puncher comes as an insert for the punch board. Technically you could use the punch die by itself but it becomes harder to align the holes. It’s up to you if you want to buy one of the package options or buy the board and punch separately. Buying the pieces separately is cheaper if you don’t expect to use all of the punch inserts.
Make sure you use heavier paper than what you usually use in your printer. With the coil binding, regular paper doesn’t attach as well. 28lb paper is great for pages you expect to keep in your planner temporarily. Card stock might work better for pages you need for the full year, such as a year at a glance calendar.
You’ll need to cut the pages down to size. This paper trimmer helps you align the page to the size that will remain after trimming, making the math a little easier.
How to add a blank page to your planner
If you simply want a scratch page in your planner, or possibly an extra sheet to stick post-it notes, adding a blank sheet of paper is quick and easy.
1. Trim the paper to 7 ½ by 9 1/2
First cut a blank page to match the size of the other planner pages: 7 1/2 by 9 1/2. Trim 1 inch off the long side of the page and 1 ½ inch off the top. This paper trimmer makes it really easy to align the end of the paper to the length needed versus doing some of the math.
2. Punch the square hole edge starting at the bottom of the sheet
Now that the paper is the right size, start punching square holes from the bottom, working your way to the top.
Align the bottom edge with the spliced image on the hole puncher. Once the first hole is punched, slide the holes down to align the second punched hole with the image on the puncher. Repeat until you reach the top of the paper.
3 Press the page into your planner
Carefully press the new sheet onto the coils of the planner binding. This is where heavyweight paper works better than regular printer paper. It needs to be rather sturdy to hold up to the coils.
Since you’re manually punching all of the holes, it’s easy to get a little misaligned. Try practicing punching the binding a few times to get the hang of it. Or use a utility knife to make small adjustments to a hole if needed.
How to add a printed page to your planner
Another option is to create a page on your computer to print and add to your planner. This is useful for a year at a glance pages, checklists with lines, or other reference pages you’d like to create.
1. Setup the page margins so you have a 7 ½ by 9 ½ finished page
If you want to print out a page to add to your planner, you need to make sure you set up the margins correctly so you don’t have more content than will fit within the 7 1/2 by 9 1/2 space. You’ll also need to leave about 1/2 inch on the left side of the page to account for the punched squares. And you don’t want to go all the way to the edge of the are. Consider adding a ½ additional margin so you’re not printing all the way to the edge of the final trimmed page.
2. Create your page and print on heavy paper
Just like adding a blank page, you need to print your work onto heavyweight paper. 28 lb paper is great for pages you need for a short time, and consider using card stock for pages that need to last the full year.
3. Trim the page to fit
Depending on the paper cutter you have, you may need to do a bit of math to figure out how much to cut off the top and bottom.
Starting with an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper, cut ½ inch off the left and right of the page (the long sides).
And trim ¾ inch off the top and bottom (short sides).
Using this trimmer you can align the paper to the resulting size, rotating with each cut. So I trim the page down to 8 wide, then 7 ½ wide. And then I trim it down to 10 ½ tall than 9 ½ tall.
4. Punch holes into the left side of the printed page
Starting at the bottom left of the page, align the page with the printed splice on the hole puncher. Punch your first holes. Shift the page to align the second hole with the printing on the puncher. Repeat until you reach the top of the page.
5 Press the page into your planner
Carefully press the new sheet onto the coils of the planner binding. You can use a utility knife to make small adjustments if there’s a slight alignment problem. Since you’re manually punching all of the holes, it’s easy for the row to get a little misaligned. With practice, this will get easier.
A few tips for adding pages to your Living Well Planner
Adding pages to your Living Well Planner helps you customize it to fit your needs a little better, and limit the places you need to look for your notes. The more you can connect the planner to your daily life, the easier it becomes to stay consistent with using it.
Use heavier paper for pages you add
For pages you want to keep for the full year, consider using card stock.I find the heavier the paper, the better it holds up with this type of binding. For pages you only need to hold up for a month or less, heavyweight paper seems to work pretty well (28-pound is approximately the same thickness as the papers in the planner).
Practice punching holes
Aligning the holes will take patience, practice, and good lighting. Unlike a disc binding where one punch creates all of the holes, you’ll be punching all of the square holes manually.
Punching holes will take a few tries to get right. The hole from the puncher is just the right size with little room for error. Try cutting a blank sheet of paper to 7 1/2 by 9 1/2 and then punching a square side. Test how you did by pushing it onto the planner coils. If the holes are misaligned, trim off the squares and try again. For one sheet of paper, you’ll be able to practice multiple times.
Don’t add too many pages to your planner.
There’s only so much room on the coils with the provided pages. So use this as a tool to help you centralize more thoughts or needs and consider some of the pages you add as temporary. Consider removing them once they’ve served their purpose. You don’t have to recycle them and could keep them separately once they’ve served their purpose.
Try using Post-it Notes before adding pages
Before you go down the path of buying extra supplies, try using post-it notes to track whatever you need beyond what the planner includes. Regular square Post-in notes or the lined ones might be just enough to track a few extra reminders. The Living Well Shop also has printed sticky notes for weekly and daily tracking.
Wrapping up. Customize your Living Well Planner to better fit your needs
After using the Living Well Planner for a year, and wanting to commit to it better, adding pages helped me centralize my needs in one place. Some pages you add may be temporary while others may stay for the year. With a little practice, you can punch holes that will allow you to press the pages onto the coil binding.
What types of pages do you think you want to add to your planner?
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