Zeitgeber: Your Planner as a Collection of Cues


When my son first saw the Zeitgeber planner logo, he asked me what it was. Specifically, he asked what a “zeetjeeber” was. While I liked the way he said it, it’s actually pronounced “tsahyt-gey-ber” (you can listen to it here).

So what exactly is a zeitgeber?

The term comes from the German words for “time giver” or “synchronizer,” and it’s defined as:

a cue given by the environment, such as a change in light or temperature, to reset the internal body clock

While the Zeitgeber Planner doesn’t magically reset anybody’s internal body clock, it does function as an external cue. Actually, all planners are cues, or collections of cues, for an event or series of events.

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New Zeitgeber Planner Pages for February and March 2015 now available… for free!

blue-logo-zeitgeber-planner-optimize-300px2015 is swimming along nicely, don’t you think? I’ve had a very busy start to the year, including a new job. My planner has been such a big help during this transition. Schedules had to be re-arranged and so on.

Now that things have settled down a bit, I decided to share a little gift with fellow planning enthusiasts. I know you probably have your organizer all set up by now. But, as a planner, I know many of you (like me) are always interested in new pages and systems. So, I’m making new Zeitgeber Planner pages available for free.

The Zeitgeber Planner, which I designed and use every day, isĀ  built around the principles of purpose, focus, and balance. It’s a system for project-based planning, setting priorities based on the time management matrix, and tracking time using a visual representation of your day.

My blog subscribers already have access to the pages that I’m sharing today. Yep, it’s a little perk as a thank-you for those who follow my blog (they get first dibs on stuff like this!). But now, it’s your turn. Here’s what’s available for instant download:

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Introducing Zeitgeber Planners: DIY Printables to Help You Optimize Your Day

blue-logo-zeitgeber-planner-optimize-300pxLike almost every paper-based planner I know, I’ve gone through different kinds of planner inserts. Daily, weekly, store-bought, etc. One of the challenges I’ve faced is 1) I like 24-hour daily planners, but 2) seeing all the 24 hours makes my brain think that all those hours are fair game. I call this the myth of the 24-hour day.

I ended up creating my own system, and I’ve decided to make it available for others to use.

Introducing the Zeitgeber Planner…

The Zeitgeber Planner

Zeitgeber, you say, what’s that? The word comes from the German words zeit (“time”) and geber (“giver”), and can be loosely translated as “synchronizer.” As defined on Dictionary.com, a zeitgeber is:

an environmental cue, as the length of daylight or the degree of temperature, that helps to regulate the cycles of an organism’s biological clock

The Zeitgeber Planner is a planning system that helps me optimize the way I manage my time, by synchronizing my daily rhythms with my body’s natural 24-hour clock. It combines project-based planning with a visual planning tool. read more…

The Myth of the 24-Hour Day

24-hour-clock-300pxNo one has 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Yes, there are 24 hours in a day, and there are 7 days in a week. But the concept of 24/7 full-time availability is just that, a concept, a myth.

No one has all the hours of every day available to do with as he or she pleases. Our bodies need regular periods of rest. In order to function optimally, we need to sleep sometime in those 24 hours.

Of course, a person can stay awake for longer than a day. But at some point, he will experience “progressive and significant deficits in concentration, motivation, perception and other higher mental processes.” At some point, he’ll need to catch up on that missing sleep.

So why do some planner pages show the full 24 hours of the day? And why do I like those pages? (I suspect I’m not the only one.)

I admit I like the flexibility of the 24-hour daily planner. I like to think that, if I had to do something at any hour – even at 3 a.m. – my planner page could do its job of recording that hour.

However, I’ve been wondering if being able to see “the full day” is tricking me into believing the myth of the 24-hour day.read more…