Hey there! Are you ready to up your planner creation game? With a digital planner, you can stay organized and express your unique style – even if you have ADHD. In this post, we’ll show you how to create a digital planner in Affinity Publisher that works for you. So grab your coffee and let’s get creative with Affinity Publisher! In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of creating your very own digital planner in Affinity Publisher, even if you’re neurodivergent.
Choose Your Platform
The first step in creating a digital planner is to choose your platform. Affinity Publisher is a super user-friendly design tool that offers the flexibility to create templates that are customized for you.
We love Affinity for all kinds of planner creation because it allows amazing options and you can import the dates for dated planners. We even created a course on the top shortcuts to create a dated planner in Affinity Publisher.
But Affinity Publisher is not your only option!
Here are just a few:
- Google Slides
- Affinity Publisher
*note: Affinity Designer is not a good choice because it is a graphics program, not a publishing tool. It can however help you make amazing graphics including rings, fun tabs, and stickers for your digital planners. 🙂
Some of these options are free, but the free options do have more limitations, including page limits (Canva), computer hardware limits (Keynote and Powerpoint), formatting issues, internet requirements (Google Slides), and subscription purchases (Indesign).
But in the long run, the platform choice you make is a personal decision.
We chose Affinity Publisher for a few reasons. Cost-effective one-time purchase, amazing design capabilities, and flexibility, and the biggest one… It allows this very dyslexic individual to import dates into the planner. No more manual entry of dates for us!
It would be great if you shared in the comments what is the most important aspect of choosing your platform for planner design.
Decide on Your Layouts
Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to decide on your layout. Do you want a minimalist design, or something more colorful and eye-catching? Will you need separate sections for work and personal life? Take some time to think about what will work best for you and your needs.
The layout isn’t just about color its about functionality and what works best for you. This is the time to start figuring out which planning method is going to work best for you.
Often times for people with ADHD the best planning method includes a mix of to-do lists and weekly planning. Maybe for you, time blocking is the bomb, or maybe you hate it and need a more flexible layout.
You will find the templates we started with include to-do lists and time blocking because that is the one that works best for us. As my daughter-in-law would say, you do you, boo! The joy of creating a custom planner is that it works for you.
To get the best use from Affinity Publisher, you just need an idea of what templates you want to make. My suggestions are:
- Monthly Calendar
- Weekly Calendar
- Daily To-do Lists
These are great places to start! But you need to know what works for you.
We recommend either creating templates that have worked for you in the past or keeping things a little more freeform giving you room for notes and to-do lists in a way that will help you remember and stay organized.
Choose Your Fonts & Colors for Your Digital Planner
Now comes the fun part – choosing your fonts and choosing your colors! Choose your color scheme, fonts, and icons to make your planner truly your own.
The planners that sell are typically a blank canvas for the most part. They are planners that are ready for the buyer to create their own look and feel. But if you are creating this planner for you or for a specific group, this is where you get to shine.
We choose the fonts and colors before we start making templates or even working on the chosen platform so that there is a standard to follow keeping the planner looking professional from the start.
Don’t be afraid to get creative – once your planner is created, you can also create digital stickers including photos, memes, and even affirmations, to add to your planner to make it more personalized.
How to Create a Digital Planner with Templates & Master Pages
With your platform chosen and layout in mind, it’s time to create your templates. Affinity Publisher offers total flexibility and a table maker that make template creation a breeze by allowing Master Pages.
Introducing the powerful Master Pages – your ultimate planner templates that will revolutionize the way you create planners! Not only do they save you time and effort by reducing the need for massive changes on tons of pages, but they also unleash the magic of automatic replication.
Master Page List for a Digital Planner
For a digital planner, you will want a master page for the following pages first:
- tabs (or navigation if you are doing a tables planner) & rings
- monthly calendar
- 1 week for each month of the year if you want a small monthly calendar for each week.
- 1 daily for each month of the year if you want a small monthly calendar for each day.
The Master Pages act as your templates but they also reduce the number of changes you will need to make throughout your planner. They are the feature that allows automatic replication.
With Master Pages, you can effortlessly create multiple pages with the same theme, design, and layout, making your planner a cohesive and stunning masterpiece. Say goodbye to tedious editing and hello to efficient planner creation with Master Pages!
Using Master Pages with the data import feature is our favorite because it automatically populates all the dates making this feature the time saver extraordinaire.
Think about what sections you will need, such as a daily planner, weekly planner, and to-do list, these will have master pages because you will want more than one in your planner.
Adding Features for Productivity
A digital planner offers a lot of opportunities to boost your productivity. You can add reminder lists, to-do lists, and even habit trackers to help you stay on track.
These pages are typically considered “one-off” pages and you may not need a Master Page specifically for them. You can just apply the background and tabs master and call them happy.
These pages can be immediately added to your Master File they don’t need an Import template file.
Think about what features would work best for you, and take advantage of what Affinity Publisher offers to make your digital planner unique for you.
Adding Hyperlinks to Your Planner
Adding hyperlinks is what makes a digital planner “digital”.
Hyperlinks are navigational magic that makes your planner work in tools like GoodNotes, NoteShelf or Zodo, or any other PDF annotation App.
One of the reasons I love Affinity Publisher for digital planner creation is you can see every hyperlink in a list. (my ADHD loves this!)
Affinity Publisher lets you see the broken links before you export and test. It’s not perfect, but all the little red x’s down the right of the image are broken links. It appears I have some work to do on this planner. 😉
But hyperlinking is an easy process. To link text or a graphic simply hold Command +K and choose to link to a page. This will create your hyperlink from one spot to another.
Keeping Your Digital Planner Creation Organized
When you create a planner there are a lot of digital assets you create or use. These assets include rings, tabs, table graphics, date import files, and templates which can become a mess quickly.
My ADHD brain can make a real mess of this process quickly. So I want to share a few tips to help keep you organized. (Do what I say – not what I do… LOL)
Create a Folder Structure
I find when I remember to create the following folder structure life is soooo much easier:
- Master Folder (holds all the other folders)
- Imports Folder (Affinity Files with templates for dated pages)
- Exports (Affinity Publisher Files exported after Data merge with dates)
- Graphics (Assets I’m still working on)
- Assets Folder (images ready for placement)
- Working Folder (holds the master Affinity Publisher File with the completed planner)
- Final Products – The PDF that is used or sold.
This may feel like a lot, but I promise you this organization will help you move through the process much faster. Below is a screenshot of one of the planners I am creating for a class on Creating a Two-Page Digital Planner in Affinity Publisher.
With power comes responsibility, and Affinity Publisher is very powerful. So it’s our responsibility to do some file wrangling. This power also is what makes Affinity Publisher the tool for planner creation, but it’s necessary to have a process so that it speeds you up instead of slowing you down.
Tips and Tricks for Staying Focused
Many planner creators are scattered, some have ADHD, but we all have a lot going on. In my world all three are true. So I have some tips to help you stay focused even in short bouts of time you may have to work on your planner.
Now we know, creating a digital planner is a great way to customize a planner for your own unique process. But staying focused and completing the process can be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:
- Break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps
- Keep track of where you are in your creation process (use a checklist)
- Take regular breaks to avoid burnout
- Reward yourself for accomplishments, no matter how small
It’s totally possible to create a complete weekly planner in less than a 40-hour work week. But most of us don’t have 40 hours straight to work on the planner it happens in fits and starts. That is okay! This little section here will help you complete your project once you start it.
To sum up, creating a digital planner can be a fun and productive way to organize your life, and using Affinity Publisher as your platform for creation can make it even more enjoyable. With a bit of planning, choosing the right layouts, fonts, and colors, and adding features like hyperlinks, you can create a digital planner that meets your needs and reflects your personal style. By keeping your creation organized with a master folder, assets folder, graphics, imports folder, and working folder, you can easily manage your project and make updates as needed. So why wait? Start creating your digital planner today!
- How do I create and sell a digital planner?
- How do I make an editable digital planner?
- How do I get help with Affinity Publisher to create planners?
- How do I get help with creating Hyperlinked Digital Planners in Canva?
- How do I get help with KeyNote?
- How do I get help with creating Hyperlinked Digital Planners in PowerPoint?
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