Aug 22, 2013


Pic from Google. Designed by Patrick Ng.
In the struggle to find better and better ways to keep track of appointments and have an easier glance at the time distribution of the day, some rather curious "contraptions" have been designed by very, very ingenious people. One of them is the Chronodex, whom I believe is Patrick Ng. So what is the Chronodex? Umm... it's the thing you can see there at the left. "But what is that?" That's where the fun starts! ^_^

Based on the idea of a clockface (you know, the old fashioned ones you see at different institutions, with three little sticks going round and round?), and it offers you a view of your day's activities at one glance. The way it works is as follows:

1. First, don't let the odd shape of "spikes" confuse you. No hour is "more important" than another. What it does is basically "mark" three concentric circles around the full circle at the core. It basically shows a 12 hour day, from 9h to 21h (or 9 am to 9 pm). The creator kept within the core 6h, 7h and 8h, but the idea is that people don't really use those hours (so much), however, if you need them you can use them too. The chronodex is actually really flexible, and easy to adapt to your schedule and your needs.

Pic found through Google Search
2. Now, assuming we really only need a 9-to-9 type of daily schedule what you do with the Chronodex is simply to color or shade in the segments of the clock where you have a given activity, task, meeting, appointment... you name it. You can color code if that's your liking, or simply shade it in any way you prefer. Using colors is quite pretty and visually nice, but if you prefer the more solid look, you can simply shade it with a pencil, a pen and separate different blocks that might touch by - say - changing the direction of the lines you draw into the shading, or the lightness-darkness of the shading. It's really up to you. 

Awesome but not mine. Pic found through Google.
If you color code, you probably don't need to add any comments, as you's know that blue is for your work schedule, yellow for meeting your best friend, pink is the book club, purple is time with the kids, red is some home chore related nightmare... and so on. Still whether color coding or not, with lines or arrows you can write around the Chronodex what the shaded block is about. If you print out a large enough Chronodex, or your handwriting is small enough, you could also  write into the time slots, or use codes, symbols or whatever you prefer.

Pic found through Google.
3. About the spikes, well, as I told you earlier, the spikes  work as markers that allow you to create up to three concentric circles, if you need them. Four, if you count the shaded inner blocks in the core. What that does it help you make the Chronodex more flexible and adapt to your needs. For instance, if your day starts at 7h or 8h... or 5h... whatever, you can use the spikes to draw an inner circle that will mark your a.m. hours, and leave the outer  portion for your p.m. hours... or the other way around. Really, whatever suits you. That way you get a 24 hour planning frame where you can add anything your want.

The concentric circles the spikes create also allow you to plan or keep track of simultaneous things. For instance, you could shade in a friend or a relative's program ("yoga from 9 to 12") in one circle, and in another you add the tasks you and your friends/family have to complete to prepare the surprise party you are planning.  And stuff like that happen often! Make sure you finish homework and send it while the teacher is occupied with another class, or the extra time you have to finish a project at the office, because the boss will be busy at a meeting from 2 to 4. Or stuff as important like mark in that TV show you can't miss, so you remember to set the recorder!

Honestly, the more you think about it, the more you wonder how come you ever managed to organize your life with a linear planner.

Pic found through Google. Design of Kent from Oz.
The beauty of Chronodex is that it drives people to think in a different way, but also to be creative. Kent from Oz, an Australian guy, took the Chronodex and designed his own version, taking out the spikes and creating an 18 hour spiral. The principle is the same, but this is a bit better for people with longer schedules. It's visually less "architectural", to call it someway, and it has the advantage of giving you an even flow through the 18 hours, as you don't have to break into a.m. and p.m. circles.

In this Chronodex, your day starts at 6h and ends at midnight, but additional hours can be drawn into as needed. Also, the simultaneous activities can be marked in simply by dividing the blocks in any way you prefer.

I've started experimenting with this system, and after the initial struggle, it has pretty much caught on me. I made myself a test page for my filofax fitting both types of Chronodexes on a week-on-two-pages format, and also checking three positions on the day slots: left, center and right.  The central position is pretty much the best, though that eliminates my task section.  From this test page some handmade Chronodexes have started spilling on ym regular pages, drawn all on the "appointment side" of the slots (and killing the task side), and by doing so my own Chronodexes have morphed to my own version.

Original picture, except from the small element pics on the corners.
It's a rather simplified version yet with two concentric circles with an inner a.m. and an outer p.m. disc. The point of it was to allow the potential use of a 24 hour Chronodex (by drawing in with plenty of space the missing time slots). Not like you'd use them all the time - which is why they aren't drawn into it permanently - but there are times when you need to schedule something at that time. Catching a plane, a game you don't want to miss that's being played at the other end of the world, picking up a friend arriving at an unholy hour or leaving to a trip. 

The flow isn't as smooth as Kent's spiral, and the general look isn't as neat as Patrick's, and I guess it will have to evolve some more, but I like it and so far it's working really well for me.

How about you? Would you Chronodex your schedule?

1 comment:

Sartassa said...

This is definitely worth a try. I would use something smooth like yours or the spiral. The one you posted on facebook earlier simply confused me and the spikes look agressive to my eyes :D nice idea. I would've never thought of it myself.
Although, at primary school we once made a clock (also with an inner and outer circle for am and pm) and painted little icons next to the numbers like say a ghost at 12pm, a tea pot next to 7am... weird, that sort of was a chronodex.