How to Design Your Own Life Binder


My Life Binder is a map of my life and when I open it, I'm able to "point" and say, "I am here."

I created this out of the need to have something that gave me a tangible way to measure my progress from Point A (where I am now) to Point B (where I want to be) in all the different areas of my life and all in one organized place.

I didn't want a million notebooks, sticky notes, paper, apps, Word docs, etc. I wanted something simple and cohesive that I would enjoy using.


You improve what you measure.
You develop what you focus on.


I bought a regular 3 ring binder with plastic sleeves on the outside to insert a dream board as the cover of my Life Binder.


I also made sure that the inside of the binder's covers had pocket sleeves for holding paper and note pads.  On the sleeve itself, I taped the sticky notes and tabs for immediate access.


To make these category dividers, I bought a stack of scrap book paper and cut it to be the same size as a regular sheet of paper. Here, I simply wrote in the different sections of my binder with a Sharpie marker and decorated it with washi tape.  The numbered, colored tabs attached to each section are from some other office supply system - I just cut the tabs off and taped them to my own system!  I also inserted these dividers into plastic slips to keep them neat.

The first section is where I keep my schedule and plans for the month and the week.

This is my number one favorite tool for planning my week.  See how to use it HERE.

The Life Binder is a great place to keep dream boards and your goals so that you can keep looking at them.


Have fun with your Life Binder.  There aren't any rules, except make sure that it works for you - in other words, you keep using it and it helps you design the life you want to live and keep "it all together." 


Next section: MY GOALS!
Again, this is made out of scrap book paper material and washi tape.  My binder didn't start out this pretty and put together. I just kept improving it.


Another dream board!


As I come across ideas, I find a way to make them tangible enough to put in my life binder right away.  When something goes in my binder, it's like I'm affirming to myself, "This is important. I'm going to work on this."
The above pic is a ONE SHEET LIFE PLAN.  It's an idea I got from Robin Sharma.  Make a one page plan of what you want your life to look like and read it every day.  The one I did here is for what I want my life to look like when I turn 30 - 4.5 years from now.
What I like about the Life Binder System is that these kind of things don't get lost in some random notebook.


And What Makes Life Work!
Again, if you are not keeping track of something, you're not going to stay on top of it.  This section in my binder makes my life easier.



Look! A quote I like.


So under the What Makes Life Work section is a page for all my passwords.  This definitely makes my life easier. 


Gratitude. Gratitude makes life work.


I keep a page that I keep adding to as I figure out what makes my life work better so that I can remind myself to keep doing these things.  For example, having clothes made for me instead of wasting time and money trying to shop for clothes in stores, works for me and I want to keep doing this and not default back into shopping at stores.



This piece is important.  Every month, I track any significant accomplishments I've had.  It helps me realize that even though some goals are taking longer to happen than I'd like, I'm still making awesome progress overall!


I have a daily method of operation that I strive to make second nature. 



This section is for the projects I'm working on.  Any ideas, articles, notes go here. 



So, for example, for the Secret OWL Society project, I can keep print-outs of something I want to read and put into practice to help me with this particular project.


And financial peace is something I am working on in my life.  This is where I keep track of my budget, income streams, money goals.


A helpful money article with advice I want to follow.


A printable to help me keep track of set monthly expenses.


Yeah, I drew that. 


A section to keep track of my business goals, activity, and milestones.  Very important. 


This is a printable from Darren Hardy and his book The Compound Effect.  It's in my binder because I get to keep coming back to it and scoring my performance in the different areas of my life.  I'm thinking of creating something similar for OWL that helps people track the level of responsibility that they are taking in their lives.  We all want to work on taking 100% responsibility, don't we?!



I keep track of the people that I am helping and giving value to here.  All of us should be working on developing a team of like minded individuals around us that we can DO life with and link arms with and succeed together.


Ooo, yet another dream board!


This section can include random articles that I printed out from the web for reading up on later.


There you have it!  A work of art, love, time, focus.


Just ask yourself: what are you doing now to measure the progress you're making toward the life you want to live overall? 


Don't wait to make your own and don't stop working on it.  As long as you're improving and changing, your Life Binder should be improving and changing along with you.  It's really a reflection of my life.  I feel like when I am spending time working on my Life Binder, I am really working on my life.

Have any questions?  Leave a comment.  I will answer you.  Here to help. :)

41 comments:

  1. I love this! You should make it into a video :)

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    1. Thank you, Carrie! That means alot to me. Yes, I need to do videos. I'll make that a goal!

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  2. Your tips for using scrapbook paper & washi tape to create category dividers ... genius!!! Reading this post gave me a ton of ideas to build mine. Thanks Michelle.

    P.S. Thanks for also reminding me that creating a life binder is always a work in progress, that as my life changes it will too but I should never stop building one.

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    1. Hi Raye! Thank you, you're always so supportive. Yes, it was an epiphany to me when I realized that the binder, like my life, is an ongoing system.

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  3. A video would be so helpful to some of us that are still tapping into their creativity... well such as someone like me who wants nice pretty stuff like you created but has no idea how to even begin lol...

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  4. I really love this Michelle, it is so creative and yet so functional. I think it will inspire a lot of people :)

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  5. Hi Jennifer,

    The secret is to recognize it as a work in progress from the beginning. Sometimes I'd be tempted to stop using it, but I'd remember that I don't have a better system than this for keeping track of all my goals and progress than this. The way my binder looks now is a result of a year of working on it and focusing on the "pretty factor" because I knew that if I didn't like looking at it, then I wouldn't use it as much. When I started, it looked pretty plain and boring! haha

    Good luck with yours! Maybe I'll make a video one of these days, but I recommend starting with buying a binder with a plastic cover that you can slip a poster into - and make that poster your dream board. I would buy magazines that I liked while at the store and cut pictures out how I want my life to be and paste those pictures onto the posters. For the binder, just make sure the posters are small enough to fit in like regular paper.

    In the beginning, the binder can just be a good place to keep printables all in one place and slowly start identifying good categories to have in your binder...and keep everything relevant to your life. If you find you don't care about something in your binder, take it out and stick it in a file if you want to save it. I'm always adding and subtracting to it. :) And new stuff is always going into it, so it always feels new and exciting opening up the binder. Here are some awesome printables from the Female Entrepreneur Association that are rocking my binder right now: http://femaleentrepreneurassociation.com/2013/11/sneak-peek-inside-success-months-bundle/

    Hope this helps!

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  6. I keep on looking for 'the right' planner to help keep everything on track, but I guess seeing this I realized that those planners are meant for thousands of people and can't really take my needs into account. It's a good idea, and I will start doing this!

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    1. Yes, I still have digital tools as far as staying on top of my calendar goes, but when it comes to my dreams, my progress, my assessments for just where I'm at in my life in general, I find that the Life Binder helps me stay connected with everything that my life is about beyond just my calendar and to do lists.

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  7. i want to have a binder like your own but i can't find a store who sell it here in my place :(
    i think i'll use your ideas to design my 26 rings binder :D
    thank you, it's just so helpful for me.
    come and visit to my blog if you mind, i'm a new blogger play-hide-and-seek.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you. :) Good luck designing your Life Binder!

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  8. OH. EM. JEE.
    I LOVE THIS!!!
    I just decided to have my blog planner in a binder, but I don't like having separate planners. I was thinking about combining it into a binder, but this post just convinced me! Absolutely love it, and it's so creative!

    thejournalsite.com

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    1. I'm so glad. :) Hope you're having fun with it.

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  9. I love it!!! ♥ You inspired me to make my own ♥
    xoxo
    Foteini from My Life as Foteini ♥ http://monsterfrogaki.blogspot.gr/

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  10. I've always waned to have something physical to sort out my life goals, but never figured out how to organize it. Thanks for the inspiration, miss!

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    1. Happy to help. I LOVE my Life Binder - it has truly helped me stop drifting and achieve so much.

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  11. I love it and I am definitely doing it. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. I love it and I am definitely doing it. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. Hi I really like your binder and the article. I noticed in your second picture you have a resource called The Time Clock. Would you share how to get that resource, the first page has some great information.

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  14. Thanks to you, I have started my life binder. And I am loving it! Thank you again for sharing

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    1. Yipee! Welcome to the Life Binder club. :)

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  15. Thanks to you, I have started my life binder. And I am loving it! Thank you again for sharing

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  16. Absolutely amazing! I can't wait to create one!

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  17. Absolutely amazing! I can't wait to create one!

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  18. Brilliant idea, thank you for all the ideas. I'm definitely going to start one of these. Soon. Before I lose all the important bits of paper that I need to read and follow up on.
    A request please Michelle: please create the page similar to the Life Assessment you mentioned above. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Gail! You can get it here :) >> http://thecompoundeffect.com/resources.php

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  19. Love your work. And i am grateful for sharing, because its an inspiration.
    I have such a project in mind for such a long time, but i never get really started.
    But now i am pushed forward doing it. Best wishes from Germany. :)

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  20. Love your work. And i am grateful for sharing, because its an inspiration.
    I have such a project in mind for such a long time, but i never get really started.
    But now i am pushed forward doing it. Best wishes from Germany :)

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing your binder and your ideas. Very helpful and encouraging!

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  22. Thank you, I found this so helpful. I've been playing with spreadsheets and my prayer journal and the calendar on my phone, this life journal is a nice organised way to keep things direct and concise. It's hard to find a format that can direct and measure all of your goals and interests, with this binder I can still print off spreadsheets and graphs to track progress but with other things that are less tangible and have them in the same place showing an overarching vision of what I want.

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    1. Yes! That's exactly how it works. The magic of the Life Binder is being able to measure your progress across all areas of your life and keep everything in one place so that the "overarching vision" is always in view. :)

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  23. Pls give the list of all the things you used. Pls pls pls

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  24. this is lovely, i can't wait to design one of my own

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