The Printable CEO IX: The Plain Old 5-Day Planner

The Printable CEO IX: The Plain Old 5-Day Planner

"The Plain Old 5-Day Planner" In yesterday’s post summarizing the 5 day liveblogging of my day, I made a grid in Excel that to help me visualize not only where the time had gone, but what kind of time it happened to be. This was an interesting exercise, and the shape of it stuck with me as I began this week’s chore of figuring out what I needed to do when. I realized that I could easily adapt the new Emergent Task Planner design (which I haven’t yet released) to a 5-day planning format.

The 5 Day Planner It’s pretty straightforward, which is why it’s called the “Plain Old 5-Day Planner”. Basic grid paper, downloadable as a PDF. You’ll need something like Adobe Acrobat Reader to print it out. Additionally, for the first time I’m starting to make A4 sizes part of the series. I’ll eventually refresh all the designs in the coming months to include European sizes.


  • Fill in the hours on the left-hand side.
  • Jot down what you need to do, when.
  • Keep notes on the right-hand side.


» Download the Plain 5-Day Planner US Letter size
» Download the Plain 5-Day Planner A4 size



  1. Fred Schechter 15 years ago

    so, ya gonna call?

  2. Lynn O'Connor 15 years ago

    Just left a comment about the incredible progress I made today, imitating you, and I found out how productive I really am, only I didn’t know it.

    Now my weakness is poor planning. This new form is going to be perfect I think. I am managing now to do a little better, using Omnifocus, with a context category as the first @context, called “@@@Goals for the Week” I think your new form may integrate with that well. I’ll let you know how it works.

  3. a4lova 15 years ago

    :: A4 sizes

    Thank you.

  4. awake 15 years ago

    I’ll definitely be trying this out.  I started having problems with the daily task planner because I had to carry 5 or 6 of them for a week, due to this need to always look back or forward a day or two to access/schedule myself.

  5. Scott 15 years ago

    This is an abbreviated version of my marker board and will work perfectly with the Emergent Task Timer. Curse you David more making me a more productive corporate wage slave!

    My only comment would be to add a starting hour for each of the days (I may be productive, but it doesn’t mean I wake up in a timely fashion…)

  6. Rahul 15 years ago

    How is this any different from the weekly view in a calendar program? I have to maintain a calendar – I can easily look at it at the start of the day. What, I believe, would be more helpful is a task list for the week rather than a scheduling sheet.

  7. penny 15 years ago

    a4—thank you. this should scale to my a5 filo much easier.

    5-day—thank you!

    blank times—thank you!

  8. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Lynn: Glad it’s working! It’s good to just share the experiences and see what works for other people!

    Scott: Hm, starting hour for each day is an interesting idea. I’ll see if I can think of a way to squeeze it in.

    Rahul: It’s just a “plain old 5-day planner”. I’m not making any other claims beyond that, other than it’s part of the same cloud of planning tools that I’ve been working on.

  9. That One Caveman 15 years ago

    Could you consider adding hour lines to the other 4 days as well?  Not all of my days revolve around the same block of hours.  (May go from 8 to 10 one day and 6 to 8 the next.)

    I’m sure this is a very non-standard case, but something to consider for a future revision.  Thanks!

  10. Lynn O'Connor 15 years ago

    Still morning (10 AM, pacific time) and the 5 day planner—I think—will work for me, in terms of looking at the whole week with a perspective a bit different from looking at the calendar week. It gives me the space to clearly fill in the hours I’m with clients or students, and then the obvious other blocks—well I will continue to use the ETT this week, both to motivate me to do something, and to document what I actually do. Yesterday was a real awakening to how productive I really am, it was just I didn’t consider all the writing I do aimed at my students and past students/colleagues on my own listserv—commenting on things I send to them, relevant to work as psychologists etc. I know someone suggested you get rid of the time(s) column on this new form, but I really need it as each day has different appointment times (the hard edged stuff, planned, scheduled meetings with clients and/or students. Also, using the 15 minute timer yesterday was a terrific “starter”—and after starting I didn’t pay that much attention to it, just kept restarting it. It did make me more aware—mindful—of what I was doing, and with the ETT, the time spent on things. Thank you thank you David, for going into what you thought was a “productivity crisis”; I don’t know how you are doing today, but as of yesterday I am in a new world of productivity perspective.

  11. Regan 15 years ago

    I use your Resource Scheduler to map out my week, list my main goals/tasks for the week as the “deliverables” and mark off appointments and blocks of time. Then I use the ETP to plan the details of each day.

    IMHO, the “5-day planner” is neither here nor there. Too big for a map, too small for the details. Plus, I think in terms of my whole week, not just weekdays.

    @Awake, I shrunk the ETP to a half-page size, and carry them, the Resource Scheduler and a couple of project plans/task lists clipped into a 5X7 spiral notebook. Not elegant, but it works.

  12. Maggie 15 years ago

    I’m loving this form, David.  I’ve been in such a “here then there” funk at work that this will be very, very useful for me. Thank you (as always) for sharing.

  13. Mogore 15 years ago

    Thank you for the A4 size :)

  14. HORNET 15 years ago

    “A4 size” thx!

  15. sh1ft3r 15 years ago

    I still can’t believe how much I enjoy these forms.  It’s paper, it’s 2009, but they are really helpful.  Thanks.

  16. Arnout 15 years ago

    Yay for A4!
    Keep up the good work David.

  17. Layla 15 years ago


    I just came across your website (the older CEO forms) yesterday & was throughly impressed!!

    I was thinking, now if I could just tweak this into a weekly schedule, lol!! :)

    I think this form is a bit too ‘freeform’ for me, could TPT & ETP be somehow done into a weekly scale?

    In the past what was effective for me was a weekly fixed ‘schedule’ (when I was teaching) and some lines under each day for changeables; also somewhat effective was a 7-day weekly ‘grid’ with fixed tasks each day that I ‘ticked’ (similar to TPT/ETP) – stuff that needs to be done each day & I tended to avoid otherwise..

    Any thoughts?

    Not sure if a combination of all of the above is possible..? (& how?)

    Otherwise, keep up the great work!! It’s muchly appreciated!!

  18. Layla 15 years ago

    Oh, another question.
    Could you maybe provide the weekly planner as a 7-day editable?

    I’m thinking I could tweak this by just adding (editable) ‘unmovables’ on top (such as things that need to be done daily & I avoid, eg daily walk/jog included!) & an (editable) weekly ‘need-to-do’ in a box on lower right?

    I usually had my weeklies in the ‘upright’ format.. & was just ‘ticking’ things that could be done at different times but were necessary to do.. (?)

    It could probably be done in Excel or other ways, but it wouldn’t be so pretty!! LOVE your graphics & tickable boxes & 15-minute boxes!!
    (& no idea how to make them otherwise-?)

  19. Stacy 15 years ago

    The Plain 5-Day Planner is almost perfect.  It lets me visualize my block schedule and (hopefully) quit forgetting things.  Love it!

    I’d love to see a 7-Day version.  I would use the back for my notes.

    I’ve been following your work for a couple of years now.  Thank you for what you do. Your inquiries into productivity and balance, and your design work is incredible and so valuable to me.

  20. Layla 15 years ago

    Glad to see the comments up already! :)

    It was really a priority for me to make a sort-of workable weekly list, & thanks to you it finally seems doable! So BIG THANKS!!

    I played with scissors a bit & created a sort-of macro (a mash-up of this weekly & my old weekly/ideas here presented..) Hope that’s okay?
    I’m happy to label it ‘Inspired by..’ or..? (& put it up or send a scan/pic, if you wish to see it.. :)

    I’ll use it for a week & let you know how it goes!
    (Basically it’s a mash-up of goal tracker/CEO & daily to-do’s & what was mentioned already! :)

  21. John Haining 15 years ago

    Adding to the chorous: Thanks for the A4

  22. CricketB 14 years ago

    I just put my printer where my mouth is. Just love printer drivers that do 2 in 1! The 5-day prints beautifully on the top of a standard page, leaving room at the bottom for planning. The note section on the right can be moved to the bottom, leaving room for the weekend.

  23. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Is anyone finding that there is too much / too little space for the planning area? That is the primary concern I have. I can probably condense out the hours, actually, and just have morning, afternoon, and evening sections.

  24. CricketB 14 years ago

    I like having the quarter hour blocks, but I’m only one person.

  25. Chris 14 years ago

    Dave, is there a colour version of the A4 Plain 5 Day Planner on your site somewhere. The B&W version works well for me, but as a visual person I need just a bit of colour. I know, its a minor thing.

  26. Chris 14 years ago

    Love it David, been using it a lot. Can you please update for 2010.

  27. George@IDE Drivers 14 years ago

    I think it is really fun!!!!!!!
    i want a bit of colors..
    Thanks for sharing..:)

  28. john renfrew 13 years ago

    Arrived at this stuff late, better late than never though. And it’s quite an inspiration. However…

    A) I am left handed so all your forms with a write stuff here block on the right doesn’t work that well for me ( well at all actually ) B) What about my planned Saturday working?? ( I do a lot of this when we have big presentations to prepare, and it’s not a weakness it is a planned way of making money )

    Unlocked PDF would be nice to allow me to make adjustments like these

  29. quaid 13 years ago

    Does the 5 day planner come in an excel version?

  30. Ilze 13 years ago

    Hi Dave,

    I was wondering if you are planning on making a 7 day version? I personally like to have the whole week at a glance as weekends aren’t really separate from my life/professional/personal goals context.

  31. Riovas 7 years ago


    Is this planner open-source? I would like to have word version so i can translate it.

    Regards, Riovas

    • Author
      Dave Seah 7 years ago

      Hi Riovas! This is not open source or available in Word format. It should be pretty easy to recreate, though, if you use even something like PowerPoint. There is also an open source program called InkScape that is the rough equivalent of Adobe Illustrator, the program I used to make this.