Depending on where you live, calendar and planner pages will typically be formatted with either a Sunday or Monday start for the week. Living in North America, Sunday usually marks the beginning of a week on most printed calendars. Imagine my surprise when I ordered my first planner with a Monday start—what a culture shock and totally genius! So is a Monday start better for planning than a Sunday start? The answer may shock you. 😉
I’ve been using planners since the early 90s and over the years, I never gave the Sunday start format a second thought because it was the norm. I tend to—like many in my country—think of my week in two parts:
- ‘the weekday’ which is Monday thru Friday and typically referred to as the ‘work week’ or ‘school days’ and…
- ‘the weekend’ which is Saturday and Sunday, also known as our days off
*Note: There are exceptions, of course, for those folks with unusual schedules who work late night shifts, part time, or something other than a Monday thru Friday, 9-to-5 job; planning tools for these types of schedules will be covered in a future blogpost.
As a result, Monday is considered the beginning of this cycle—hence all the grumbling done Sunday night because the weekend flew by too fast and everyone has to wake up early the next morning, ugh! 🙁
Sunday Start versus Monday Start Planner Pages
When I first started using a weekly layout with a Monday start, I quickly realized how conducive it was to present and forward planning. Why? As a ‘big picture’ person, I like to see both the ‘50,000 foot view’ and the details to quickly determine how busy (or crazy!) the week will be as well as check for conflicts and plan for the unexpected.
With a Sunday start format, I would either have to turn the page to determine the scope of a full week or weekend schedule (which can get annoying) or—more commonly—NOT turn the page and miss important details because it was ‘out of sight, out of mind’. This happens because the weeks are always split: when the planner lays open to the current week, the Sunday shown always belongs to the previous week causing you to flip back and forth to view the activities of any given week or a weekend. Using a weekly layout with a Monday start completely solves this problem!
Sunday start or Monday start on monthly AND weekly pages?
The funny thing is, in retrospect, I never consciously acknowledged the slightly negative impact a Sunday start had on planning until I began using a Monday start. The realization ‘clicked’ in my mind when I saw how easily I adapted to a weekly layout with a Monday start. But…while the weekly layout felt ‘natural’ something strange happened: I struggled to adapt to a monthly calendar with a Monday start. No matter how hard I tried, I found myself constantly entering information in the wrong box—ugh! To fix the problem, I tried using several visual cues to get past the ‘mental block’ like thickening the line between Friday and Saturday (I also do this on my weekly layouts) or coloring in the Saturday and Sunday boxes with a highlighter (some planner companies are starting to block out weekends in a different color on the monthly and weekly layouts which is great!). These visual cues helped when I was simply viewing the monthly calendar but when I was in ‘planning mode’ and entering information, I still made mistakes (though not as many as when the visual cues weren’t there). Luckily many planner companies are now printing their layouts with both formats available in one planner (which is my personal preference): monthly pages with a Sunday start and weekly pages with Monday start. This may seem odd to some people—especially in other countries—but hey, at least I’m trying! 🙂
At this point, all my planners—there are currently 4 in my rotation (primary, work, blog, and on-the-go planners)—all use a weekly layout with a Monday start; depending on the planner, the monthly will be either a Sunday or Monday start (yes, I’m still trying to adapt!). This has proven to be a great setup for active and future planning especially if your week is ‘typical’.
Do you have a preference—e.g. always a Sunday start, always a Monday start, or monthlies with a Sunday start and weeklies with a Monday start? Do you think your preferred format is the most effective when planning?—we’d love to hear more about it in the comments below!
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Until next time,
♥ LilD ♥