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The *Perfect* Weekly Planner?


For most of my adult life (well, high school and beyond), I have been on the search for the perfect weekly planner. For a while, I was convinced that I found it in the mid-sized Gallery Leather weekly planner, but as I switched jobs, and realized that I need to keep an active to-do list for myself, I've realized that it doesn't do for me what I want it to.

See, I've tried and tried and TRIED to computerize my planner and to-do list. I have a Mac at home and at work, and I love them! I even love Apple's software (especially the Leopard OS X upgrade) iCal and the Mail app. But I have found that as I start out updating it diligently, I just fall out of the habit of using it if it is on the computer. I also love the Google Calendar interface, but I run into the same thing. I just need paper.

Here's where I need your help -- below is a list of requirements. Do you use a planner fitting these criteria? Are you looking for the same thing I am?

• Needs to be in the 5.5" x 8.5" range -- slightly bigger or smaller is all right.

• The week has to fit onto one page or one spread.

• There cannot be markers on the day for hours. My day doesn't start at 8 and end at 5, so don't fence me in!

• I would really like some extra space on each page or spread to make notes or to-do lists.

• It has to have simple styling -- one simple color or design. None of this "180 Great Views of Ireland's Splendor" kinda stuff.

• I need a bookmarker or tabs to indicate where I am in the book, so I can easily turn to the right page.

• No spiral-binding. Yes, I know that makes it lay flat easier, but I'm left handed. That binding hurts. Plus, I like to feel like what I'm writing in is a book.

Sound picky? Well, it is. You looking for the same thing I am? Or do you have any suggestions? Anything a must in your weekly planner? Please, share!

kepart's picture


I went through a similar process a couple years ago. However, I had slightly different requirements. I also wanted to be able to have my calendar fit in my pocket so I could go anywhere and have it with me.

What I wound up doing was buying a cheap 3-hole punched 8.5 x 11 weekly planner ($10 / year or so), keeping all weeks in a binder, and just carrying the current week folded up around with me. I called it the "PPA" -- personal paper assistant.

If I was somewhere without my big binder and had to schedule a future event, I'd write that down as a todo note somewhere on the current week's page, and mark it in the binder when I got back to it. The couple of times that I did double book myself it was far enough in the future that I could renegotiate the meeting.

But this didn't work perfectly. First, there was no big space for weekly notes, which I sometimes needed. Second, because it was meant as a 3-hole binder system, the week started on a Thursday and ended the next Wednesday, which was a little irritating.

Eventually I wrote a ruby program to generate postscript to make these sheets exactly the way I wanted them. The final version even pulled repeatedly occurring events and well-known events (e.g., Birthdays) from a text file so when I printed it, it would be prepopulated with some stuff.

Since then, however I've switched jobs so I'm never far from a computer, so I don't need to carry it with me. Plus, I found out that this system made it difficult for me to do long-term planning, because it all had to be associated with particular dates. I now use VIM on a couple big text files with a hierarchical outline.

But the DIY situation was great. Since you have specific ideas, you might try making your own. It will take a few hours (either to make a document template and manually change all the dates, or to code up a program to generate the appropriate sheets) but you will get what you want. You could get them all nicely bound at a printing store probably for not too much money.




An Oblique Strategy:
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