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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Do you Uncalendar?

Product image copyright Uncalendar www.uncalendar.com

Uncalendar is a brand that doesn't get nearly enough attention, in my humble opinion. I stumbled across these awesome planners several years ago when I caught sight of a co-worker's open Uncalendar. I didn't know this person very well, and certainly not well enough to ask to see the inside of her planner. But I HAD to know what it was and how it worked so I shamelessly interrogated her a little bit. Uncalendars have this effect on people.

The most basic premise of the Uncalendar is that it's undated (get it?) so you can start any time. But the Uncalendar system goes waaaaaaay beyond just not having numbers pre-printed on the days. Uncalendar is an entire life-management system. Seriously. And yet, you have fun doing it.

There's more. Throughout the book are tips, guidelines, motivational techniques and other methods that can be used with any planner but work especially well with an Uncalendar. These range from basic to advanced, and are helpful to anyone who needs time management or motivational advice. The tone is very friendly and helpful. Do you have a goal? Uncalendar will help you reach it! Do you want to make some positive changes in your life? Uncalendar will help you do it! Just reading the pages of tips makes you feel like whatever you want to do with your life, Uncalendar will help you every step of the way.

A couple of years ago Uncalendar upgraded itself to Uncalendar Lifestyle by adding lists of things to remember about Diet & Exercise, Family & Friends, and Career & Work. For example, the first three reminders for Family & Friends and Career & Work are the same: Say something positive! Go easy on the negatives. Catch someone doing something good. The book has loads of these reminders to help guide you into making positive changes in your lifestyle (get it?) to get where you want to go.

Getting where you want to go is the name of the game with Uncalendar. There is a Goals section that is structured in a way that gets you to write down a big, overall lifestyle goal (top left page). Then below that you can break it down into sub-goals. Then you can further break these down into do-able tasks. There's even a page to help you break your annual plan down into monthly goals, which you then transfer to your weekly pages. It's one thing to have goals. It's a whole other thing to transform them into a workable plan.

I haven't even gotten to the weekly planner section yet! It's a week view on one page, with the opposite page full of list boxes. The weekdays are columns and the weekend days are open blocks. The daily columns are not timed, but have shaded boxes that delineate the column into sections. You can write times into the lines, or not. It's a very flexible system. (Click on photos to enlarge.)This two-page spread with notes boxes on the left and schedule on the right is incredibly flexible for infinite uses. There's space for those daily reminders to help motivate you. You can note that week's goals. You can write your shopping list. Students can note assignments, teachers can plan lessons, business people can keep track of multiple projects at once, parents can keep track of their progeny and their own busy schedules. It's an incredibly powerful planner. Below I have written in various ways to use the daily spaces:

There is also a month view section (also undated so you can start anytime) with huge daily boxes, and an empty box at the beginning of each week that is good to note goals, financial information, keeping track of whatever, planning, etc. There are also Notes pages



and Data pages with graphs for tracking progress, charts for logging info, places to write frequently used phone numbers.

As if the book itself weren't motivational enough, the Uncalendar website has The Training Room, which is completely free and has lots of good advice for goal setting, time management, people management, money management, life management. There are tips for how to best use your planner (which really can be used with any planner system) and general advice. I like to browse through it every now and then for inspiration.

And as if all of that weren't cool enough, the company is a small family-owned business out of Arizona. Their customer service is very personal and excellent. And they ship anywhere in the world!

Uncalendars come in Full Size (8 1/2 x 11 inches) or Half Size (which has a different weekly format that works better on the smaller page). Each size comes in spiral bound or 3 ring binders (which is called Lifestyle Pro). The Full Size in the ring binder can take standard American size 3 hole punched paper, so you can add your own full size pages.

Sooooo... your New Year's resolutions this year are the same as they were last year, huh? Hmm. Well, maybe it's time to get a system that will help you actually achieve your goals instead of just thinking about them.

I'll tell you this much: if you have goals and you are ready to work to reach them, then the Uncalendar would definitely get you there!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, this definitely seems like a useful calendar, filled with lots of handy tools and information and places for all of your plans. I don't know that it would work for me though. I like things very streamlined and uncluttered (simple, really) and this seems to have too much to look at, making me feel overwhelmed. Plus, I can't use calendars that don't have the dates in them - that makes more work for me, having to look at another calendar to insert the dates and holidays, etc. Sounds great for those who could use it though! I would love to hear how you use it, Laurie.

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  2. Hi Kanalt,

    I use my Uncalendar as a supplement to my planner, specifically for setting goals and recording progress. I 'homeschool' (term used very loosely) my 2 preschool aged children, and am specifically trying to prepare my oldest to start kindergarten in the fall. I use the weekly worksheet for lesson planning and in the daily columns I record what activities we did that day, what books we read, etc. I also use the weekly pages to record my exercise schedule, what I did that day, how it felt, etc. In the Monthly section I keep track of moving stuff: we will be moving internationally (again) this summer, so I like the big boxes and monthly overview to keep track of all these details. The Goals section is great for capturing all of those goals for the year, and it really helps to keep me motivated throughout the year.

    After several years using the spiral-bound full size Uncalendar, this year I have upgraded to the 3 ring binder full-size system. I have a lot I need to accomplish this year. I use my planner for my day-to-day tasks, but I'll be relying on my Uncalendar specifically to help me stay on track with the bigger-picture items.

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  3. Sounds like you've got this worked out, Laurie - you are busy! =)

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  4. I reviewed this planner last year. I used it for work but I didn't use the goal setting pages but I did find the whole planner to be very flexible. You can see my whole review by searching for uncalendar at www.schoolsupplydance.blogspot.com

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  5. Dunh-dunh-dunh-da-dunh-da-duhn-duun-duuuhnaaa LOL

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  6. Didn't work for me. I found the boxes both too rigid and too freeform, the guidance kind of loose and generic, and, I have to admit, the layout/design and bright primary colors are very ugly and started to work on my nerves (too much visual noise). At the time, I was using fountain pens, where the paper didn't shine, either -- note this is just how the planner worked for me. Undated planners negate their value to me and the suggestion for writing in pencil also did not work. The reasoning for both seemed valid and I labored to give it a fair trial. Love the page format that puts the year in monthly blocks on one page (same format as the indexing). Just pulled it out last week again when an excellent mention from, I think, Leapstream, made me think I should reconsider. I ordered my planner from Jesse a few years ago when I got no reply to my questions emailed more than once to the actual producer. He was very fast and responsive (sorry, when I have more time I can get the links if anyone is interested). Responsiveness matters in this cloud commerce world: I had success years ago with PlannerPad and I'd tried emailing them with a question to which the company never responded (a change from older policy). That led me to give the UnCalendar a try instead ... Every one in awhile I email PlannerPad to see if they have gotten any more responsive to no avail. At one time I was an annual orderer. But back to the Uncalendar. I had found out about Uncalendar from a really excellent review that Melinda of School Suppy Dance wrote a few years ago and second her recommendation to read it if you are interested.

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  7. I used this product for years. When I first started, the pages had the same layout, and it had the same overall form (weekly pages, monthly pages, goals, data, etc.) but the design was in a simple light gray, light blue and beige (on white). They were also comb-bound with paper covers, and tucked into a semi-rigid leather-like cover, which gave you clear sleeves front and back for stamps and business cards, receipts, etc.

    When I saw they were switching to the current design -- bright colors and big, thick lines -- I was so bummed! I bought all I could of the design they were phasing out. I think there were 10 or 15 left. I bought them all. Alas, I went through the last one years ago. I tried the new design after, but just couldn't grow to like the bright splashy color and the heavy lines -- the product feels too childish for me now, not something I want to spend time with (and a planner really does require spending some time!). Even though the maker is here in my home state of Arizona, I had to leave it behind.

    I've been using Moleskine since. The thin, soft-cover half-size is about the same dimensions. The weekly version at least has a week per page with a facing page for notes, lists, etc. It doesn't have monthly pages that accommodate notes in a grid format, but I buy the 18-month version, use it for a year and turn the extra weekly pages into grid calendars with a blue pen = )

    It works well enough, and the product as a "feel" to its simple, sedate design that I like. It's something I don't mind pulling out at a business meeting or settling in with at a coffee shop. But that said, I would switch back to Uncalendar in an instant if they brought back a cleaner, less colorful design.

    Sigh... the perfect planner, and it went away...

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  8. My favorite was the pocket version. I would pay premium to have that again.

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