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Arc Jr. Templates

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I don’t use anything besides discbound notebooks for note taking anymore.  It’s been a couple of years now and I haven’t looked back.

But I wasn’t an easy sell when it came to switching to a planner.

There were four big things keeping me away from switching my notetaking from my small Mead notebooks to a planner.

  1. Size.  I liked the size of the Mead notebooks.  A lot.  For a lot of years.  They’re simply the most convenient to carry with me to all the places I would take notes.  Maybe as an executive, legal pads might be the most handy for meetings, but bringing a large legal pad to another person’s desk where there might not be room isn’t as convenient.  Neither is taking notes about a server or pulling out the notebook in the car to jot down a few notes.  Junior-sized notebooks are where it’s at for me.
  2. Cost.  Buying planners that are glued into a binding was never attractive to me.  Buying a brand new planner each time I ran out of paper didn’t seem cost-effective.  Major put-off.
  3. Flexibility and Customization. Hole punchers for smaller planners seemed like a chore to find (especially with no good standard between all the planners available).  Premade planners that were glue-bound weren’t configurable at all.  I hated how over time the “snap and unsnap” of the three-ring binders tended to warp the metal.
  4. Lack of comfort.  So many planners still don’t take into account actually writing in the planner — having your hand rest on a zipper whenever you try to write is just not a great experience.  It wears on me after a while.  It’s a flaw starting from the Trapper Keepers in the 90’s.  I hate it when a planner is a literal obstacle to writing.  Yuck, right?

The ARC notebook system checked all the right boxes.

I later found that I could easily create new templates on my own using a high quality paper that further increased my note-taking joys.  I could even get inspired by other planners and model my own note and planning pages based on them.

This page is largely dedicated to sharing resources for anyone who’s already gone discbound or is interested in learning more about it.

The templates I’ll be sharing will almost exclusively be for the Junior (half-letter) sized notebooks and templates.

What you will need to get started

  • A Disc-bound notebook.  My experience is with the Arc notebook system sold by Staples.  Tul and the Levenger Circa Systems are two other examples that are mostly interchangeable (Levenger is the most expensive of the bunch).  The Happy Planner is similar but the punch alignment is just slightly off.  I’ve experimented with making my own outer covers, but the store-bought has always been better.
  • Filler paper.  Each of the systems has their own stationary and accessories.
  • If you’re going to make your own filler pages, you’ll need a disc-puncher.  It’s like a hole-punch but it’s mini-mushroom shaped.  They are a little pricey.  About $50.
  • Lastly, you’ll need a paper guillotine (a cutter with a machete-looking thing on the side of it).  You can of course use the kind with slide razors in them but it’s so, so much slower.

If you’re going to make your own filler, these templates below might come in handy.  They’re inspired by a wide range of planner pages, both discbound and regular.  All add more as inspiration strikes or as time allows.

Basic Templates

Note Pages
Plain with Margins

Just your basic everyday note-taking pages with margins on the side that I like to use for follow-up codes.

Graph Paper
Basic

For quick graph paper on the go, I threw this together.  

To-do

To-do, 3-column
I use with mini-stickies

I hold-punch these pages on both sides so I can flip it to be looking at my relevant tasks without constantly turning the page.

Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, and other planner-type pages

Weekly Planner

Both the weekly and monthly planners I put together for a friend who was using something similar.

Monthly Planner

Notes on printing these templates

  • Using 32-pound paper makes the note-taking experience a lot more fun.  I found that out when using the paper stock that came with the original notebook.  The 20 pound paper just doesn’t feel as good — AND the 32 pound paper has a more sturdy hold on the discs.
  • Use a printer that can print double-sided.  It’s easier to avoid printing page-by-page and having to remember how to place the paper in the printer every time.
  • All of the templates above are 8 1/2 by 11 inches (half-letter or “junior-sized” as ARC calls them).
  • Be sure to select the double-sided option when printing.
  • Cut them exactly 5 and 1/2 inches (horizontal center-cuts).
  • Use the disc-punch tool sold by Staples (about $50).

Dual Pocket Dividers

An essential for any of the personal notebooks I’ve made.  Very handy and very sturdy.

Patrick Vincent

(774) 330-5614

niftygeek@gmail.com

Fall River, MA

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