Open ring planner with dashboard

What is a Dashboard?

At the front of most planners, there is a strong card, plastic or laminated divider. This is the planner dashboard. This dashboard can be used as a way to protect the pages behind, a way to express your personality or your command centre – or all of these things and more. How you choose to use your dashboard and what your dashboard looks like is entirely up to you.


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What is a Dashboard?

In a nutshell, a dashboard is a piece of cardboard that usually goes at the very front of your planner, however you can also have them strategically placed throughout your planner.

Types of Dashboards

There are many ways that you can utilise or design your planner dashboards. This can be broken down into the categories below:

Functional:

Add a calendar or your colour code legend. I use the back of my dashboard to place sticky notes with anything that I’m currently working on or the errands for any given day.

Inspirational or Motivational:

Add quotes, images or photos for motivation and inspiration

Productive:

To Do Lists, Important events or meetings, meal planner, grocery list. A dashboard is the perfect place for any type of checklist.

Stylish:

Show off your personality and creativity, add some style and glamour. Find an image or planner accessories that reflect your personality and make you smile each time you open your planner.

Protection:

They can simply be a way to protect your planner inserts. There are clear and opaque dashboards that are perfect if you want to see what is coming up on your first planner page, but want it protected from damage.

Camouflage:

If you’re anything like me, and you have a functional planner rather than a decorative one, then chances are it can become pretty messy. A dashboard is perfect camouflage, all your planner inserts and sticky notes can hide discreetly behind its beauty.

For the most part – dashboards are placed at the front of your planner, so this is the perfect place to put ‘all the things’ that work for you. Dashboards are the perfect ‘go to’ place in your planner. They are easy to access so you can quickly go there to see all the relevant things in your life. The same applies to your tab dividers.

Have fun with your dashboard – even if you cover it in sticky notes, make sure it shows your style and personality. If you don’t want to cover the front, use the back for your sticky notes.

It’s one of those things that you will work out as you go. Start off with something that you find aesthetically pleasing and you’ll get ideas from other planners, try new things as you work out what suits your style of planning.

PDF image of 4 happy planner half dashboards
Available in the FREE Printables Library – scroll down to sign up.

Half Width Dashboards

Your dashboard does not have to take up the entire width of your planner – half dashboards are great for some of the activities mentioned above such as grocery lists, Meal Planning, To Do lists, colour legend or even a weekly overview.

Where Do I Get One?

There are a few choices in obtaining the perfect planner dashboard and tab dividers.

Firstly:

You could make your own. Keep scrolling for a guide on how to do this.

Secondly:

You could download some for free. A quick internet or Pinterest search will result in many different places to grab your free dashboards and tab dividers. Since you’re here, you can find some in the Blue Gum Lane FREE Printables Library. All you need to do is use the form below to sign up for our newsletter to get the password and you’re in.

Printable Dashboard and tab dividers for pocket size ring planner - two styles

Next:

You could search online stores that sell either printable or physical dashboards and tab dividers. Etsy is a great place to start but many planner shops have a stand alone site online as well, so if you have a favourite planner girl, check out her shop and see what’s there.

Finally:

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for – jump onto social media and ask in a planner group. The planner community is very supportive and will be happy to point you in the right direction. Many shop owners are also members of these groups and will let you know if they have anything you might like. You may even find a new planner shop that you love.

Day Designer has a selection of planners and planner accessories. Click the image below to view their beautiful collection.


2021 Daily Planner: Bouquet

from: Day Designer

Make Your Own Dashboard

There are many printable dashboards available to download and print for free. Or if you are competent with design programs, you could design your own. 

Planner dashboards and tab dividers are simple to make your own if you have the right equipment.  

You will need:

  • Cardstock. Either plain (usually white so that you can print your design on it) or pretty cardstock from your local craft shop.
  • If you are printing a design, you will need a computer and printer. Use whatever program you are comfortable using. Most people use Word.
  • You will need a hole punch that suits your planner.
  • If you are going to laminate your dashboard, you will need a laminator and laminating sheets.
  • To cut it, you can use scissors if you have a straight eye or I recommend picking up a paper cutter from your local craft store.
  • Optional extra – a corner punch.

To make it:

  • Work out the dimensions of your planner. I’ve listed the dimensions for the more common sizes below.
  • Design your dashboard using your favourite program. Many people use Microsoft Word. OR Download a predesigned dashboard you have found online.
  • If you’ve designed your own dashboard, print it. If you’ve purchased some pretty cardstock from your local craft store you can skip this step and the one above.
  • Trim your dashboard to the correct size for your planner. I usually round off the corners as well.
  • Laminate
  • Trim again – don’t forget to round off the corners.
  • Punch the holes to fit your planner
  • All Done!

Dimensions (in mm):

  • A4 – 210 x 297
  • Happy Planner – Classic – 178 x 235
  • A5 – 148 x 210
  • B6 – 125 x 176
  • Personal – 95 x 171
  • Happy Planner – Mini – 116 x 178

There are more sizes, these are simply the more common ones. If your planner is not mentioned above, a quick google search will tell you what dimensions you will need.

If you are looking to start some DIY planner crafts, dashboards and tab dividers are the perfect place to begin. They are simple to make and fun to design. In fact it can be quite an addictive habit so it might be a good idea to hold off from laminating your dashboard to begin with, because you may want to keep designing more. Many planners will change the style of their layout regularly and with good quality, printable cardstock you won’t need to laminate your dashboard or tab dividers if you are going to update every quarter or month.

Don’t want to make it from scratch?

For those of you who are time poor or challenged when it comes to anything crafty – there are many, many wonderful online planner shops that make some fabulous dashboards. With a little bit of research, some of those shops might make a custom dashboard for you (with matching tab dividers).

If you don’t want to make your dashboard from scratch, but are happy to print, cut, laminate and punch then printables are the best option – as mentioned above.

PDF image of 4 happy planner half dashboards

Final Thoughts

A planner does not feel complete without a dashboard. It makes a statement at the very front of your planner, can be functional and motivating and it will hide a potential mess. It’s a useful tool and a great way to show off your personality and style.

To get you started click on the image below to grab some B6 Ring Planner Dashboard and Tab Dividers.

Printable Dashboard and Tab Dividers for B6 Ring Planner

I hope you find or create some beautiful dashboards and dividers for your planner. I’d love to see images of what the front of your planner looks like. As someone who is obsessed with all things planning, I’m always looking for inspiration.

Sign up to Blue Gum Lane using the form below to access your free printable Dashboards and the FREE Printables Library

Happy Planning x

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PIN Image with B6 size Planner dashboard and tab dividers with pink valentine patterns

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