Hello everyone,

This is my first time posting in a forum but not on the site.

I was wondering what people thought of the non-linear planner called Chronotebook (a Google search will bring up more info than you want if you've never heard of it *lol*).

I'm very intrigued by it and have decided to give it a try (well, my own DIY version with a 24 hour clock), although I'm usually a very linear thinker.

After a year and a lot of paper, I still haven't found my groove (is a perfect planner unreasonable?). I've bought planners, made planners, downloaded planners, planned planners . . . but I'm still searching! Perhaps I don't know what I want. My schedule outside of the home isn't terribly busy, but I still like to have everything planned to death.

I've been thinking maybe I'm too uptight and need to do something completely outside myself--less rigid, less linear, less planned, just less (some say less is more). Enter the Chronotebook with its clock on a blank page, somewhat free but somewhat organized. It might just work.

I'm eager to hear what others think about this planner.

Thank you.

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Yes, but how are you supposed to use it ?

All the links I looked at were either a short review telling how spiffy the notebook looks or an e-tailer wanting to sell me one.

None that I looked at tells how you are supposed to use it.

One site ( ) does not really tell you how to use it, but does give you the means to make your own from any blank notebook.

Color me unimpressed and confuzzled over the whole thing.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Not sure if you looked

at this page: It gives some of the reasoning behind the design.


Funny, but I never saw this page by the actual designer.


Clever design and smart idea but...

not for people who switched to digital clock long ago.

Furthermore, it restrict notes sizes to a quarter of a page, not good for people with big handwriting.

However, I can see using it as an art book.

How to use

Perhaps you use it as you see best. The clock is meant for keeping track of appointments and other things that you want to do at a particular time. What you do with the rest of the page is up to you. This is my understanding.

Here's how I plan to use it. Mine is only one page with a 24 hour clock. I don't see the need for separating a.m. from p.m. right now.

The clock will be used to track appointments and anything else I want to put at a fixed time. From what I've seen on-line, you simply block off the time and draw a short line out from the clock to the description (like brain storming).

The top right corner will hold the date.

The top left will hold special notes for the day (garbage/recycling days, birthdays, holidays, etc.).

I can jot to-dos or notes to myself on the bottom left and right corners.

That's my usage. Everyone is different, and perhaps that's the intrigue of a blank page with a clock in the centre.

Yes, but...

@JWhitt - I did look at that page, but I am still confuzzled.
This method is too free-form for me. I need more structure.
If it works for other folks, great. I'll stick to my grids and such.

It is a very interesting concept.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

rectangular to polar

Must work out the planner conversions between Cartesian coordinates and polar. The angle would be the time involved. Magnitude could be importance/priority? Maybe there could be different rings around the clock specifying different rolls. By coloring in the ring and time involved it could give an indication of how balanced priorities are. I should print out some polar graph paper…


There's a dynamic template for that right? (just kidding)

I think the big picture Idea is the clock dial in the center of the page to keep track of the time and the rest of the page is wide open for however your mind works. As opposed to a day planner page that has the hours in a list along one side of the page. My mind just doesn't fit either mode. The way I use my hipster is the outside page holds the random junk I have collected which at the end of the day or whenever I get to it gets put in it's proper place. a big dot in the middle of my page won't work for me.

There'e a Mind map page in the last official set that could be used as a starter until ygor adds the dynamic polar page.

You want a Dynamic ?

Did you see the sticker template ?
It does all you need
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Yes. Saw it.

That guy has a good heart. Getting access to these planners is challenging if you're not in the right part of the world.

Different rings?

Now that's taking this simple clock on a page to another level. I guess that's the point. Do what you need with it.

I would love to see how those who use it have customized it. Maybe I'll do a Google search and see what pops up.

I'm with you

I like the flexibility of the free-form flow (say that five times fast); grids and lines sometimes overwhelm me. However, those lines are usually act as cues that motivate me to use the planner better. If I were to venture this way, I would have to use up that white space to draw boxes in each corner for my lists: to-do's, waiting on, phone calls to return, and a specific box for home.

Lines are not my friends

I struggle with lines and boxes. I've never been able to write on lines or in boxes comfortably (e.g. filling out applications and other forms) because of my big fat Canadian writing. When I switched to a paper planner, lines became a big problem, though they represent structure to me. There just never seems to be enough room, unless I get a planner as big as my desk (which is medium-sized banquet table).

Only in the last few months did I consider just using a blank page and getting over the fact that I may not write perfectly straight. But what about appointments? They must have lines . . . or maybe not.

So here I am today discussing Chronotebook.

I wonder if one can learn to be a non-linear thinker.

Thanks to all for your posts. It's encouraging that I can discuss something like this and not feel like I'm from outer space.



If you don't like lines, but wish you could write straight, why not try dots? That is, dots arranged in a grid pattern. Then you can draw lines if you want lines, draw boxes if you want boxes, draw diagonals or doodles.. It can help keep your writing straight without being as much constraint as lined paper.

Personally I like a really faint square grid (no dots). I printed mine a gray that was almost invisible--just enough to be seen up close. I still wrote on an angle sometimes, but other times I used the lines to keep things tidy. Since the lines were so faint it really didn't distract me.

Another choice is to print a grid (or lines) in heavy black on one sheet, and stick that *behind* the sheet you're writing on, so you can see the lines but they're not actually on your paper. Only works with papers thin enough you can see the black through. I used to do that on a clipboard--tape down the heavy grid so it won't move, then clip a sheet of paper over it. Works very well with a storage clipboard--the kind intended for storing extra forms under the writing surface.


Never thought of dots.

Thanks for the suggestion. Never thought of dots. Where could I see an example of this?

Dot paper


I think there's some dot paper in some of the official template files.. I'll check.

Yep, the dynamics have a dot page where you can adjust the grid of the dots as well as the size of the paper.


Won't work for me

Hi again,

I've looked at some dot paper and other types of grid-like paper.
I can't even tell where to write. I think there’s too much choice (lol). I would have to work out a system just to keep things orderly (like skip 3 lines between points, indent five dots for subcategories, etc.).

It seems as though I either have to go with traditional lines or a blank page. My husband always says I'm very black and white, all or nothing. Oh well. Thanks again.

I'll find my groove and fortunately for me, there are enough enthusiasts here willing to help me find it.


I'm with ygor on this one. It might work as a supplement if I was a busier person, but I also need more structure. I would NEVER use something like this either. I have to trick my brain into using these types of things with fancy pictures and fonts. :^)

I have a better idea

Sometimes I do something similar, but on lined paper, no clock, I mix appointments, todos and comments on the same page, and make appointments standout in different ways (different color, highlighter, or heading). Kind of like Autofocus, except my intent is to strictly deal with a very busy day on a single page. It is really a duplication of my GTD setup, for days when I just want to look at my day on a single page.

Like others, I need lined paper, and I don't mind a dedicated daytimer setup, though I very rarely use one, I just use a calendar template according to how busy I am. Monthly normally, weekly at times, daily on harried days.

Chronotebook sounds like a way to not get bored with my work, I may use it just for that (tinkering beats doodling).

"Life is not so much about where you are, but about where you are headed, so focus not on perfection, but on direction. Every step takes you to a destination."

Update on my chronotebook planner

Hello all,

I know it's very early into the year. Sheesh! The year has barely begun. But I just wanted to say that my Chronotebook style planner did not work out *sigh*. I found it annoying having something in the middle of the page that I had to work around.

I've decided just to set up my page in the Cornell note-taking format. It was very effective for me during my driving school classes. The left margin will be used for notes for the day (garbage day, birthdays, holidays, etc.), the main section for appointments or other time sensitive items, and the bottom section for to-dos (only 4 per day so I don't need much space).

Thanks to all for your support.

It's not for everyone...


It's not for everyone..that's for certain. I've played with it on and off but switched to it permanently awhile back after Day-Timer quit making my 24/7 Work-Life planner..

Getting used to the analog clock in the middle is the hardest part for many but now, I like being able to set up my days and jot things down around the margins as I see fit.

But certainly, many folks are linear in thinking (I'm quite abstract) so a traditional lined style is best...Whatever keeps you on task is best!

The 24/7 planner is here

Do a search for it, someone posted a very good classic size template for it in the user templates.

If anyone is still interested in this

I saw this at a Borders store this evening. It is has a black leather-like cover and has the word "sundial" on the front. It is in the clearance section selling for $6.99 USD. The left page is has an "A.M." sundial and the right page has a "P.M." sundial. The bottom corners of the pages have a few lines with the title "tasks" at the top.

-- Jenn

What you saw...


What you saw was Piccadilly's takeoff on the Muji book, called the "Sundial Agenda". They put it together in more of a "classic" size and sell it online or at Borders stores with their Moleskine knockoff books (which are quite nice!).

The Chronotebook is smaller and has a brown cover on it.

I like mine...

I like mine...

I use it in conjunction with my GTD + R system: and both fit nicely in my new Messenger Bag!

The Muji book is much easier for me to track my days and weeks than a traditional linear planner!

Thank you, :)

Thank you, :)

Inserting date pages in the Cronotebook

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the notebooks I ordered. Meanwhile I may have discovered a logistics problem. Here's an example: say I have something planned for Monday. Then, say Tuesday or Wednesday I make another appointment for the following Saturday. All is well, until I I need to make yet other appointment or two for midweek: because of the order in which the appointments were made, I cannot insert any new days - pages-wise - between Monday and Saturday.

Any thoughts around this?


Leave a day for each page

Your logistics problem is the reason that although I love the look and feel of bound books, I don't use them for planning.

A solution could be to leave a page for each day, so if you write an appointment on Monday, skip ahead 5 days for Saturday. That way if you have to come back to midweek you have room.

If your calendar is not usually very busy, this could leave many pages in your notebook unused (sigh). But I don't see another way.