Planner Pages – Sunday or Monday Start?

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™

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!

planner, planners, inkwell press, mandy jean chic weekly blog planner, pilot vanishing point, planner setup, week on two pages

Sunday start or Monday start?

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

planner, planners, planner setup, month on two pages, hobonichi

Hobonichi monthly calendar with a Monday start (this is my art journal); bold line drawn in to separate the weekend boxes–and I still entered information in the wrong box! (see circled boxes)

planner, planners, planner setup, month on two pages, limetree fruits

LimeTree Fruits monthly calendar with Monday start (this is my on-the-go planner); weekdays are together on the left and weekends together on the right

planner, planners, planner setup, week on two pages, the happy planner

The Happy Planner, week on 2 page layout, with weekend boxes highlighted in a different color to differentiate from the weekdays

planner, planners, planner setup, week on two pages, inkwell press, primary planner, personal planner, family planner, fitness planner

Inkwell Press weekly layout (this is my primary planner); thin washi tape was used to create a separation between Friday and Saturday vertical columns

planner, planners, planner setup, week on two pages, day designer, work planner

Day Designer weekly layout (this is my work planner); also a Monday start but weekends aren’t as problematic since Saturday and Sunday are ‘stacked’ in one column

Summary

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!

If you found this post helpful or know someone it could help, please like, subscribe, and share on social media!

Until next time,

โ™ฅ LilD โ™ฅ

17 thoughts on “Planner Pages – Sunday or Monday Start?

  1. Carla says:

    I love Franklin Covey’s tabbed month pages, but unfortunately they are Sunday starts. I’ve switched the SUNDAY and NOTES columns, so I get the entire week on one line. I also print my W2P with the weekdays on the left, and the weekend days and a grid section on the right hand page.

    • I know what you mean, Carla. I started my planner journey with DayTimers who primarily have the Sunday start and moved away from them in favor of a weekly Monday start. I’ve purchased, downloaded for free, and designed my own Monday starts however other than the LimeTreeFruits monthly pictured on this post, I’ve never tried a W2P with weekdays on the left and weekends and grid on the right–I’ll have to give that a try, thanks!

      • Carla says:

        There are quite a few variations of W1P + Notes or Task lists, Philofaxy or PlannerFun are my favorite sites, but the day spaces on W1P were too small for me. So, I’ve designed my own W2P. I can email an editable Publisher file or PDF (don’t know how or if I could send an attachment through here.) These are FC Compact size, but can easily be trimmed down to Personal size.

        • I also like Philofaxy, his inserts are great; I’ll have to check out PlannerFun.
          You are so sweet, Carla, I’d love to see your custom insert! My email is one of the contact icons on the left, it’s: LilD@lildivette.com

          Also check out my ‘Free Downloads’ section (in the side bar) for the inserts/stickers I created over the holidays. I plan to make more this year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Have a great weekend!

        • Hey Carla,

          Just want to let you know I received the email and the file–thank you!!!–but I was unable to respond because it kept erroring out saying there was a gmail server problem. I’m definitely going to give this layout a try. In the last year I’ve been really liking using grid and dot grid paper but hadn’t tried it as part of a weekly layout.

          Thanks again for sharing and have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚
          -LilD

  2. akapulko2020 says:

    My weeks starts on Sunday:-) ,weekend is Friday and Saturday ๐Ÿ™‚ So your preference for Monday start is similar to my preference for Sunday start in both weekly and monthly formats

  3. I’ve always used a Monday start on the weekly and daily. This is my first year with a Monday start monthly. It took some getting used to, but everything is much more streamlined and I don’t have to make the adjustment in my head when planning all 3 areas.

    • Hi Woodrow! I’ve tried a LOT of planner systems over the years and have never seen one with a Sat start however that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own! When I need a non-standard layout, I’ll use either Microsoft Excel (easy to draw boxes and assign labels) or grid paper to draw my own, bullet journal style (check out my latest posts titled ‘Bullet Journal Experiment’ and ‘One Book July’ for more information). HTH!

  4. Julie says:

    Great to have both options as I work in the pharmaceutical industry and our work week starts on Sunday. Many retailers start their pay week on Sunday. A weekly planner Sunday start is helpful in these cases for scheduling.

    • Hi Julie!
      I agree that it’s nice that both options are available so everyone can find a system that works for them. I never realized how much better a Monday start was for me until I started using one–too bad it wasn’t available back in the day!
      Thanks for sharing!
      -LilD

Share your thoughts and tips below!