Non-linear Scheduling

Muji Chronotebook Non-linear Day Planner
Photo from the Muji Web site

LifeHacker points to the yet-to-be-released Muji Chronotebook Non-linear Day Planner, which provides an interesting way to plan your day. Gone are the normal grids and standard sequence of hours and dates. They have been replaced by pages that display “time on an axis, like an analog clock.” One page is dedicated to the morning and the other to the evening. So you add your events to the AM or PM page, writing your “plans like spokes on a bicycle wheel.”

I don’t think it would work for me (I’m not a heavy user of day planners anyway), but I really love that they are forging a different solution to the problem of planning one’s schedule.


  1. says

    This would drive me totally insane.

    Time isn’t cyclical, it’s linear. It’s a fact of science and physics, even! (we can dismiss the nonsense that is String Theory and wormholes. hocus pocus.)

    Dividing the day into AM and PM cycles with different circles doesn’t even make sense! Why does the morning loop back on itself?

    What we need is a long… hopefully VERY long… scroll and timelines. We add bookmarks and tags and tabs for whatever arbitrary milestones make sense (sun rising setting and moon phases are fine, really… our bodies sync to those)

    Somewhere along the way, I’ve trained myself to think of weeks starting on Monday, not Sunday, and I get screwed up practically anywhere online where you get to choose dates on a popup window with “normal” calendaring.

    Why do we have weekends? What’s _really_ different about a Sunday vs. Wednesday? Social convention. And I noticed weather seems to follow weekly patterns, no? I wonder if commuter traffic impacts that. hrmmm.

    It’s a pretty book, though.

  2. says

    What maynot make sense in US could be making alot of sense in the East. Noticed that the journal is made in Japan? But then that’s still an assumption, the reason behind the assumption is that the time being cyclical make sense vs. my ethnicity.

    What is the advantage this layout has vs. the tradtional top to bottom calendar? I really don’t have an answer for that, but the answer could possibly be found in Edward Tufte’s small multiple explanation.

  3. says

    The LH writer is incorrectly using the word non-linear:; in fact when we think of “linear” as sequentional, using non-sequentional doesn’t apply either.

    Granted this planner is different from what we’re use to seeing, but fundamentally it’s the same in that it attempts to capture sequentional items for the day. As with a lot of Muji products, simplicity is the goal, and this planner strips out as much of the unnecessary as possible. The designer has come up with a novel but compact concept of associating an item to the time of day allowing increased flexibility over the established paradigm in that you are no longer constrained to a set number of lines or a box for a time slot. Instead with this layout I can envision taking advantage of a time-line concept where position of the item is relative to importance and where time is organized into an easily relatable format by drawing “spokes”.

    However, I think the paper format limits the posibilities for this concept. If it were interactive it could be sorted based on importance or time. I could be reading stuff into this since I’ve always wanted a “to do” list linked to a time line in Outlook especially in the today view since I don’t find it easy to relate the time aspects without a proportionate visual representation when scanning a list of dates.

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