Ghosts of Planners Past: Weekly Planners

As part of my struggles with planning, I’ve been reviewing the various planning systems I’ve used over the years and how they have changed. One of the most persistent of these has been the Weekly Planner.

Weekly planners generally take the form of a week on two pages, with the left page used for the actual weekly planner part and the right page used for notes. I’ve used Moleskine pocket weekly planners, I’ve used tiny weekly planners from Word Notebooks for two years (2016 and 2017), and I’ve used a large squared Moleskine notebook that I turned into a weekly planner myself. The format appeals to me, which is why I’ve had some form of a weekly planner with me for well over a decade.

The classic Moleskine weekly spread.

The pluses of the weekly format seem obvious: you can get an overview of your week at a glance without too much clutter. You can easily tell when you can block out time for things, and what is your general availability for the week. You can tell if it’s a “heavy” week or a “light” one and plan your projects accordingly, and you can schedule pre-work and prep for upcoming events. It’s the ultimate planner’s planning format.

The minuses are that you don’t have enough space to plan out the individual days, which usually necessitates a secondary planning system, and that if you live in a country that starts the week on Sunday and not on Monday (like I happen to), your choices in this category are few and hard to come by.

Yet if this format is so compelling, why did I stop keeping a dedicated weekly planner late last year?

The answer is that I wasn’t referencing it enough to justify lugging another notebook around. It was great to get a sense of the week to come as I was planning for it on Friday or Saturday, but once I finished the planning, I would reference it again maybe once or twice a week. That was just not good enough.

My solution for now is to use one of the “Stay on Target” notepads from The Well Appointed Desk‘s Etsy store to create a small weekly plan on one piece of paper that I can see at all times (I keep the pad propped up at my desk). It just has one or two major events for each day tops, and it helps me keep track of my long term goals on a weekly basis (running, blogging, sketching, reading, gym and NTC sessions, meditation sessions, vitamins and fountain pens written dry). Here’s a censored example of next week’s plan:


Like the rest of my planning, it’s messy, not Instagram ready and not festooned with calligraphy, but it’s mine and it’s useful. My handwriting these cold days is beyond appalling, but as I can barely feel my hands even as I laboriously type this out, it’s the best that I can do under the circumstances, and I understand what I’m writing so that’s good enough.

And that is the main takeaway from this entire series (there are a few more posts to come): find what works for you, and don’t create a system that makes you work for it.

4 thoughts on “Ghosts of Planners Past: Weekly Planners

  1. graysummers

    Interesting read. The considerations are for portable or office use it seems. I use an A4 Monograph system for planning. Because it is a punched hole system at the top with a clip board capability. And you can add long written thoughts over more than one page. Two designs too. A side tab added re: month/week identification is an option. Here is a link. https://www.aitchinteriors.co.uk/product/monograph-pair-of-notepads/ All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Daphna Kedmi

    Once I transitioned to Outlook – that is what everyone was using when I was still working – and later, when I retired, to Google Calendar, I completely abandoned my lovely Seven Stars (I think that was its name) leather bound manual diary. A paper diary always gives you the sense of a new and clean beginning when you replace last year’s pages with new pages for the forthcoming year, and I really missed that. When you eliminate a task by manually striking it out, it is so much more rewarding than electronically deleting it. I think it’s great that you haven’t given up on the advantages of a paper diary.
    ובכלל, אני מתה על זה שלמרות היותך תותחית תוכנה, את משאירה כל כך הרבה מקום לעולם האנלוגי ,
    המופלא שסובב אותנו ולא נכנעת למה שהכי מהיר, הכי יעיל, והכי מתגמל במיידי. זה באהבת הספרים שלך, בציור, באוסף העטים מעורר הקנאה, וכן, גם השימוש ביומני אולד סקול.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. writingatlarge

      You hit the nail on the head. I have Fantastical for my calendar and I’m forced to use Jira at work but I think better on paper and it is much more satisfying to cross things from a page.
      איזה כיף לי שאת נהנית גם מהחלק האיזוטרי הזה בחיי 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Ghosts of Planners Past: Daily Planners – Writing at Large

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s