Disc Planner Systems: Where to start?

The following post is sponsored by Office Depot OfficeMax.

Whether you are new to planning or you’ve been planning for years, you have probably seen–or used (& love!)–a disc planner. Discbound planning systems have their niche of adherents in the planning market for a few reasons. First, they’re super customizable. For the true DIYers, being able to print out PDFs and workbooks to hole-punch and slot into your planner is a luxury that bound and coiled planners just don’t offer. Coil planners combat this by offering snap-in accessories, or by slipping in page protectors. Neither is the same as creating and customizing your planner from the ground up.

Additionally, disc planning systems are great for project management. If you’re managing a major home renovation or a big year-end project at work, you’ll love the ability to shift around the sections of the planner in a way that works for you. I’ve used disc systems to usher John Michael and me through moves into two apartments, for examples. Finally, disc planners are sleek and chic–whether they’re bound in leather or sporting a customized cover, they look good!

I gravitate towards disk systems so I don’t have to toil over “franken-planning” (taking pieces of multiple planners and binding them together with one coil). The problem facing everyone, however, is that the disk systems on the market are luxury products that command a high price point. Too high a price point, I’d argue. If you’re looking to take disc planning for a spin, it’s almost impossible to without dropping $80+ for the materials to get started. (Customization always comes at a cost, it seems!)

This is why I am so excited to partner with Office Depot OfficeMax for today’s post. I agreed to partner with Office Depot OfficeMax because their products–specifically their TUL pens and accessories–truly have made my life easier. I first discovered TUL pens last year and they’ve become my favorite pen–a true workhorse for the miles of script I seem to unleash on paper every week. I want to thank the Office Depot OfficeMax team for sending me the products and materials featured here.

If dropping $80+ on a custom disc planner scares you, Office Depot OfficeMax carries a TUL Discbound Notebook Starter Kit. Instead of going for the full discbound experience, a starter kit like this allows you to dip your toes in the water, gaining traction in a disc system before committing full bore to creating your discbound planner.

About the TUL Discbound Notebook Starter Kit

The TUL discbound notebook starter kit, paired with the TUL discbound notebook (sold separately but pictured above), is a small collection of the basics you need for discbound planning. Utilize a note-taking system that can handle a variety of tasks. From graphing to jotting down simple notes and lists, this starter kit can accommodate changing needs in a snap and fits securely inside your compatible TUL discbound notebook (again, sold separately).

  • Premium paper offers a smooth finish and guards against ink bleed-through. Narrow-ruled, graph-ruled and to-do format refill sheets accommodate a variety of needs, and a lined task pad is great for jotting down notes.

  • 11-hole punched for easy insertion into your TUL discbound notebook. Compatible with most junior- or letter-size notebooks.

  • Page marker pack offers assorted flags and a polypropylene tab divider.

  • Includes 50 sheets of refill paper, a 50-sheet task pad, 80 assorted flags and a tab divider.


There are a million and one uses for a notebook like this, like for home management or morning pages. Office Depot OfficeMax recommends it for note-taking or journaling, but I use mine for a very specific task: to brain dump.

When the world feels like it’s closing in on you, or if today’s plans are suddenly crowded out by new tasks and ideas, or even when you fall into the “analysis paralysis” trap with too much to do with too little time–it’s time for a brain dump. Prioritization is a key skill. But if you’re a visual learner, like me, you need all these disparate tasks laid out on paper before beginning to sift though and prioritize. I do this via a brain dump in my TUL discbound notebook.

A brain dump is exactly what it sounds like: Like a dump truck emptying its contents, you get every thought in your head–both important and trivial–out on paper. From there, you decide what to do with all of it. A brain dump allows me to drill through the noise and find the tasks that really matter.

To complete a brain dump, I first grab my TUL discbound notebook, a TUL highlighter, and my trusted TUL pens. I open to a fresh page and flush everything out without filtering or gatekeeping thoughts; everything is equally important. If it’s a busy day at work I may write stream-of-consciousness for a few minutes about every ask, deliverable, and meeting for the upcoming week. If it’s a busy content creation day, my mind is typically humming with ideas for shots, angles, and phrases I want to incorporate in a video or Instagram post. And if it’s a busy day at home, my list is probably full of chores and cleaning tasks!

Once all those thoughts are out on paper, I begin marking out the unrelated or unimportant ones. I also recommend eliminating anything that isn’t immediately time-sensitive. On my first pass, I try to eliminate at least 50%. Now comes the hard part. I’m only allowed to highlight 3 to 5 of the remaining tasks left on the page. I pick the 3 to 5 I am most confident will inspire me to feel like I accomplished a lot today. I never take more than 6 tasks with me from the brain dump. Where you go from here is totally up to you. Sometimes, I’ll take this sheet of paper with me as my new to-do list. Other times I’ll transfer over the 3 to 5 tasks to a sticky note and throw away my brain dump paper. Because of the discbound system, either works.


If you or someone you know would be interested in a discbound planner system, consider dipping your toe in the water by working with a disc system like the TUL discbound starter kit. And if you also rely on a brain dump to sort through priorities, let me know in the comments if you have any additional tricks or tips to share! Finally, if you’re a veteran of discbound planning, share your favorite brands and products!

Shop the Tul line: https://officedepot.mvk.co/1y4nd

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