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Systems and efficiency expert and the creator of The Daily Page Planner.
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planners + notebooks
Ever wish you could step back and view the entire year laid out in front of you in one place? That’s exactly what you get with The Forever Calendar! The magic of this calendar is that 1. It’s reusable year after year, and 2. There are many ways to fill it out! Once you’re finished, it is such a powerful tool for planning out your year and such a great way to see the big picture. I love it for planning product launches, mapping out content, and keeping track of production deadlines. But I’ve heard from customers who use it in all kinds of ways — from sheep farmers using it to rotate their flock to divorced parents using it to manage complex custody schedules.
The Forever Calendar! measures 20″ x 30″ and is available in either portrait or landscape orientation. Which one works best for you will just depend on your preference! Some people find it easier to “see time” in either a vertical or horizontal format. You can find frames for it via Frames USA , Amazon, or Target and I highly recommend these Staedtler Correctable Pens for use with the calendar.
The Forever Calendar ships in a tube, so it might arrive with a slight curl. Use the glass from the frame you plan to use and cover the calendar with it on a clean, flat surface. If you want, you can add a few books or weights on top to help press it out. A few hours is probably enough to smooth it, but I let mine sit overnight.
ADD PERMANENT DATES
Once the “pressing” is complete, you can add any events, birthdays, or holidays that are the same year after year onto the calendar. As noted above, I recommend using a permanent marker for this (I used an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie) and allowing a few seconds for drying before you touch or rub the ink at all. Since this will be layered under glass, it can also be fun to use an alternate color — like a pencil or a light marker.
What you pen/marker you chose, you might want to do a small “test patch” on the back of the calendar just to see how the pen performs on the paper and whether or not it smudges.
I chose to add our birthdays, our parent’s birthdays, and a few annual events. While I was adding these, I kept the glass on top just to help hold the calendar flat and slid it kind of like a ruler.
Keep in mind that if you plan to use the calendar year after year, you’ll only want to write things on it that are always on the same date. For example, Christmas is always on December 25, but Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. Therefore, you can add Christmas to The Forever Calendar permanently, but Thanksgiving will change year to year, so you’ll want to write that on the glass instead.
Locating the dates is easy. For example, my Birthday is November 16th, so to locate that day on the calendar, I go to the column for November and then to row 16 to land on November 16th. Since my birthday is on the same date every year, I’ll write it directly onto the calendar with the Sharpie.
When it comes to framing, you can choose a frame that has either glass or plexiglass (both will work with most erasable markers). 20″x30″ frames are typically considered a “poster frame” and aren’t super common. Both Target and Amazon have a selection of lovely 20″x30″ frames.
I’ve also found this great company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that makes beautiful wooden frames that all come in 20″x30″ sizes. Most of them range in price from $20-$30 and will cost about $10 to ship. I love this oak one. They also have an eco-friendly series made out of Bonanza Wood for a few dollars more. Take a look at their website, you can honestly find any color or material you’d like.
Another great option if you are in the US is Framebridge. For around $150 you can custom design a frame for your 20″x30″ print. It’s slightly more expensive, but you have many more options for frame style and color. You can take 15% off your Framebridge creation by using this link.
If you are outside of the US/Canada check out similar frames from Vivarti. They also offer a variety of materials in 20″x30″ size and the prices are reasonable. You can also find their products on Amazon.uk.
CUSTOMIZE IT FOR THE YEAR
Once the calendar is framed, you are ready to customize it for the year ahead. You can use dry-erase or wet-erase markers to write on the glass or plexiglass, which makes this calendar great for getting down into the details and planning out your entire year.
These are my favorite markers, and I highly recommend ordering a set to use with The Forever Calendar. First, they have a fine tip (two sizes are available, see below) which is perfect for the daily squares on the calendar. Second, they can only be erased with the small eraser on the tip of the pen, and it’s so nice to have such a precise eraser! Even though it’s spacious it’s still nice to have a pen and eraser that are precise.
The Pens are called the Staedtler Correctable Pens, and they come in two size options:
Once The Forever Calendar is in the frame, you may want to add the days of the week to make the calendar easier to navigate and a bit more useful. I chose to just add a small initial (SMTWTFS) in the top right corner of each box. You’ll want to reference a calendar while you’re doing this, and it goes rather quickly (took me less than 10 minutes).
Think of The Forever Calendar calendar as a 12-month calendar that can span any time period because you can start using the calendar at any point in the year. Since it’s currently November 2019, I filled out the November and December columns with 2019 dates but then started with January 2020. Once November is over, I’ll erase it and add in the 2020 days of the week and so on. This way I can update and use the calendar all year.
Now your calendar is all set up for the next 12 months and ready to use! How you use it from here is totally up to you. I love having this print hanging in my office so that I can see the entire year at a glance. It really helps me plan out big projects, as well as the phase-by-phase planning of a product launch or rebrand. I can’t wait to add some new product launches and great vacations for the year ahead!
CLEANING + RESETTING
You might choose to erase each month when it ends and reset it for the next year, or you might prefer to use the calendar for 12 months and then clean off the entire thing and reset it. The little eraser at the end of the Staedtler markers works fine for erasing one month, but if you’re clearing off the entire calendar (especially if you’ve written on it a lot!), you might want to follow the process below.
These are tips for cleaning and resetting the calendar. First, I suggest taking it off the wall and laying it flat. You might even want to take the calendar apart. This is a nice time to add any new annual events onto the paper portion, but it’s also nice to have the glass or plexiglass laying flat while cleaning it off rather than have it suspended in the frame (sometimes pushing down on the glass while cleaning could cause it to break).
I would definitely avoid spraying any cleaning product or fluid onto the glass while it is hanging, as it can seep around the edges of the glass and damage the paper.
If you are using wet-erase markers or the Staedtler markers that I recommend, you’ll need to use a wet towel or cleaning spray (like Windex or similar) to clean the glass off. Paper towels work fine, but I’ve found that a kitchen towel or piece of felt work even better for quickly removing all the marker. Since wet-erase markers can leave a bit of a residue, I also suggest wiping it off with a clean towel, a little plain water, and then a clean towel again.
Once everything is erased and cleaned off, you’re ready to start the process over again, with a fresh, new year. Make sure the glass and the surface you are working on are completely dry before reframing it with the paper calendar.
Update! Nearly four years later and The Forever Calendar is still one of my favorite things in my office. I’ve used it to launch several new products in my shop, three eBooks, and two online courses. It’s also vital for keeping travel and visitors organized. Can’t imagine life without it! Although it’s great for entrepreneurs and business owners, I’ve heard from a sheep farmer who uses it to rotate their flocks in and out of pastures (so cool!) and many parents who love it for organizing the various moving parts of their lives.
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