My Interactive Wallpaper Calendar

Time dates and deadlines, however firm or rigid, define schedules and task priority in my day to day life. I have always had a calendar of some sorts at my disposal, whether it be an analog planner, wall calendar or something integrating Outlook or another digital program. While these all serve a purpose and meet a need, they are all lacking in some way. Personally, my biggest breakdown on a day to day is not knowing where in the calendar I am. With this need in mind I have slowly evolved my work structure to fit my needs.

About a year ago I had nothing more than a wall calendar at my desk. I would mark the days manually to know where in the week we are. This worked great. The only downside is I had to pull focus away from my computer to the wall with my calendar. I know, it’s the little things in life that seem like such a drag, but this change in focus would sometimes prove enough to sidetrack me on a half dozen different tasks.

I then installed Google Desktop, for both the stock ticker and the tear-off calendar visualization. While this solved the issue of what day I was currently on, there was no reference point for where in the week I was.

dashboard

The next step was Smashing Magazine and their monthly calendar wallpapers. At last, I can see the month at-a-glance without taking precious seconds away from my computer! Still, I tried to find calendars with a dark background, weeks that started on Sunday (live in North America) and was built in a grid system, not a single horizontal line. It also created more work in this system where I had to look at both the Google Desktop for the current day and the Calendar for the reference point.

smashingmag

Finally, I had enough of that. I broke out my Pixel Ruler and measured the size of the Google Desktop calendar widget. I snapped open Illustrator, surfed Flickr for an enticing image and made myself a calendar. The date boxes, each labeled, are the exact size of the Dashboard Widget. Set as my background, I now have both the month at-a-glance and the reference point of where I am. The only labor is each morning I move the widget to the proper date. The data autofills and nothing could be simpler. How I didn’t get around to this hack sooner, I do not know.

current

currentB

Why do I write this article? It is not to showcase a fairly simple solution to an almost nonexistent problem. Instead I want to show how not every problem lends itself to a dedicated solution. There are plenty of systems in place that, if adapted properly can fit our needs. When moving ahead in design, I question not only the consistency and usability of a system but also the underlying need. If you are simply rebranding an old solution, look closely at the rationale. If you are creating a new unique system, then full power ahead.

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