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The non-digital planner that almost works with my brain

Elaine left a comment this morning wondering about what planner I use, so here’s a quick explanation.

Blue Sky Planners

But first, we have to talk about synesthesia.

What’s synesthesia??

I’ve written before about the spatial sequence synesthesia that I and some of my kids have.

You can read more about it in the post that I linked above, but basically, some people’s brains organize relatively non-visual concepts in really visual, spatial ways.

some of our brain images, drawn on paper. Ha.

(Days of the week, months of the year, years in history, the alphabet, numbers)

It’s not bad or good; it’s just the way some brains operate.

I bring synesthesia up because when I visualize the days of the week, they go from left to right, basically like they do on a monthly calendar.

And then when I visualize the hours of the day, I see the morning at the bottom of the day and the evening at the top.

This is a really odd way to think of hours, and I know this because almost every hourly planner puts the morning at the top.

Blue Sky use to make a landscape-oriented planner with days of the week from left to right, AND these pages had no hour markings.

So, I could do my weird thing and make my days go from bottom to top.

But last year, they stopped making my beloved planner.

(I was, as Sonia and Zoe’s friend likes to say, upsetified.)

I tore my clothes and did the sackcloth and ashes bit and then reluctantly bought Blue Sky’s regular planner.

Here’s how the days were arranged in that planner:

Blue Sky Planners


I hated it so much, I didn’t even use those pages, and I just squished everything together on the monthly calendar pages.

My 2020 planner

For 2020, I did manage to find a landscape-style planner from Blue Sky.

Blue Sky Planners

Unfortunately, it is twice the price of the portrait-oriented planners.

And unfortunately, it does have hourly markings going from top to bottom.

So, I am either going to have to ignore those or write over them or something because I am not going to schedule my days from top to bottom.  I will just confuse myself!

Blue Sky Planners

But at least the daily planner part goes in columns from left to right, which means that I will actually use these pages this year.

If you are not as picky as me…

Then Blue Sky makes oodles of lovely planners that will work for you, at half the price of the landscape one.

Sonia got this pretty blue and gold flowered version.

Blue Sky Planners

And Zoe chose this black and gold flowered planner.

Blue Sky Planners

I wish that I liked the cheaper ones, but alas, I do not.

And I figure that a $32 expense spread out over the course of a year is really not worth stressing over. 😉

Why I like Blue Sky planners

I like that these planners offer plenty of space for organizing and planning.

And I also like that they are not terribly complicated.

I don’t need a fancy system; I just need a tidy place to put appointments, goals, meal plans, and so on.

And I need it to be a physical, paper thing vs. digital.

I know digital planning makes so much sense, and I’ve tried it, but it just does not work for me.


Alrighty! Thus concludes my long-winded answer to a short question.

What planning system do you use? Share your ideas with Elaine!

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Wednesday 29th of July 2020

I've been looking all over the place for the Blue Sky Landscape Oriented planner. I saw you mentioned it but when I click the link it takes me to a different planner. Why oh why?! Has it already disappeared from existence??

I know I can make my own planner, or use a bullet journal, but I get so obsessed with how everything looks that way. I'd rather just by a landscape planner that makes sense to my brain. I have ADHD and process visually and the Mon-Sun days of the week listed vertically is the only thing that makes sense in my brain.


Wednesday 29th of July 2020

Sadly, it's been pretty difficult to find. Sometimes after a bunch of searching, I've been able to find one, but not this year.

Sad sigh!!

I understand the vertical issue; my brain just does not want to think of the days any other way.


Sunday 12th of January 2020

Check our In the Leafy Treetops planners. Their vertical version might be just what you want. Or I think they have an hourly, and on Etsy you can find stickers to put the hours the way you want.

Sarah Walker

Saturday 11th of January 2020

I am on year three of designing my planner on Agendio. It is not a frugal thing; at all; but it lets me create a planner that works for my weird routine and brain. Last year I had a separate Agendio planner and budget planner. This year I figured out how to combine the two and thus save a few dollars.


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Hi, it’s Elaine. Thank you for all the suggestions, observations, and comments. Before reading them, I had no clue that there are so many options available. It was a bit overwhelming so I grabbed the Hobby Lobby recommendation and arrived there still not knowing exactly what I wanted but at least armed with ideas on what to look for. I’m happy to report that just the right planner was waiting for me and it was half price so cost less than $15. Since I threw away the wrapping, I don’t know the brand but it is spiral bound and the front proclaims “Plans 2020”. It has a yearly overview calendar, events by month page, monthly spread, and weekly spread with a grid box which I’m using for daily habit reminders. There is no hourly breakdown for each day, just blank lines and so far I’m good with that. There are quite a few lined pages and grid dot pages at the end. So far I have used a couple for impotent lists. I’m sure you will be just as happy as I to know they also included a list of “Hoildays”. Thanks again for the good information!

Mary in VA

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

I use a 4" x 6" Week-at-a Glance day planner. It has to be small enough to fit in my purse. It has a phone number/address section in the back, and every year I copy over the numbers/addresses to the next year's planner. Yes, that's a bit nutty, but I enjoy the ritual. By the way, all of this talk about planners reminds me of the '90s. Anyone remember when the goal was to carry around the biggest, heaviest planner you could find, stuffed with everything? It meant you were somebody important! :-)

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