Don’t Break the Chain Calendar

When I watched Charlie McDonnell (charlieissocoollike)’s video Don’t Break the Chain last week, I knew that I had to design a calendar to try it out for myself. The idea is that you set a task and a minimum time for something that you want to do every day – whether it be exercise for 30 minutes or study French for an hour. Every day that you complete the task, you X the day off the calendar, and as you get a longer and longer string of X’s, it becomes more motivation to do that task every day so that you don’t break the chain.

Originally I had wanted to draw the whole calendar by hand, but as I began sketching it out, I knew that it would take far too long and I’d never get it done by May 1st. So, I hopped on Photoshop and laid the whole thing out in one of my new favorite fonts, which I originally bought for last week’s style videos. I decided to only design it in black and white so that people with only black and white printers wouldn’t get a sub-par product, and also so that people could customize it however they wanted, like this or this.

Fun fact – on the night April 30th when I was finishing up the design, I had a terrible headache, but I really wanted to get it done by the 1st. So, I ended up squinting at the computer lining up numbers and editing photos while clutching my head in pain. But I’m so glad I got it finished that night and I think it came out really well!

And finally, to answer a very frequently asked question, I will indeed make a full-year version. Just send me a reminder in December, and if there’s still interest, I promise I’ll design it by January 1st :)

You can download the PDF of the calendar right here and check out the original Tumblr post right here. Thanks so much to Charlie for making the video that inspired this, and I hope all of you find it useful when trying to stick to your goals!

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  • Rachel Boyd

    I’m really excited you did this. Also inspired by Charlie, I’d printed out some basic calendars but they were all very… blegh. It’s amazing the difference just have something aesthetically pleasing to look at can make. And you better make the full year one in December!

  • Karen, look up my Calendar. I’ve chosen another kind of diagram to display the boxes over the paper:
    You may also take a look on my blog (that link too). It’s all about creation with two hands: my girlfriend and I. Thanks!

  • Tamara

    Hi Karen, I love the font you used, what’s the name of it or do you have a link where I can download it? Thanks a lot :)

  • Sonson

    thank you so much I love this! :) will you do one for the entire year???

  • Guest

    Thank you so much! This is extremely helpful!

  • Hazir178

    thanks karen. i love it =)

  • Andrea

    Thank you! This is fantastic!

  • Inda

    Thank you so much, it’s beatiful!

  • Bianca Torres

    Oh i love this. (: Yea you should make one for the entire year. (:

  • Jenna

    I’ve been using this since may! the font is so cute that I quickly want to mark another day off. Karen will you please tell us where you got the font? 

  • Kylie Morena

    this is the best! exactly what I wanted!!!

  • Sanna

    Thank you so much for doing this and sharing it for free! It is so extremly nice and generous of you <3
    Alot of love from Sweden! 

  • Lei-Lei

    This calendar is absolutely beautiful! I have used it since May, and I’m proud to say I haven’t broken the chain once! Please make a full year calendar!!!

  • Yahoolady818

    Charlie actually got it from J. Seinfield… better change your credits… LOVE charlie btw

  • Ehparry

    Love it! You should definitely make a whole year calender. My only problem is I’m starting in November so it looks like I haven’t done much xD It would be great if there was an option to start the calender on different months but still have it for a year (if that makes sense).

  • Jack(Guest)

    Please don’t forget to remake one of these calenders for the year 2013!  They’re really helpful and I don’t have the computer skills to be able to do one myself. 

  • Jenna

    Hey Karen! Just a reminder even though its not december yet… Remember to make a full version of this! I’ve been using it this half year and it was great! Thanks to Charlie and you :)

  • Christiane

    thanks for the cute calendar, it’s perfect and I love it!

  • Shuaib

    I am also a big fan of the “Don’t break the chain” productivity tip. Created an iPhone app around it called “A Step A Day” (

  • Clanetea

    Hey Karen, January is coming soon , could you please design the one for next year ? I loved this one ! Thank You ! 

  • bente

    I just found this and Id love a calendar for the new year!

  • Giulia

    Hey Karen can u please do the full-year calendar i would really appreciate thanks love yo blog

  • Lisa

    Hey! I love this design so much and have been using the calendar for writing since last May! I was wondering, if you will do one for the entire year?

  • Eleanors

    I need one for the new year !!! It’s a great design but its January now!

  • Karen, I was inspired by Charlie as well and I set out to look for a great calendar… this one is so beautiful, but it’s a new year now!  Will you be making another one (if you haven’t already)?

  • italeigh

    Thanks for posting the 2013 calendar!  I just found it on the website and have already started using it.

  • Hey can you remake the productivity calendar for the first half of the year? I need to get this thing.

  • Goalkeeper

    In case you guys haven’t found it yet :3

    And a big thanks to Karen for making this, it is really awesome!

  • This is a very good idea to do daily routines without forgetting. The design of calender is simple and good.

  • Claudia

    Lining up numbers in Photoshop?! Kill me now. That kind of project calls for InDesign :)

  • Kyle Taylor

    This is such a great concept. Just wrote my first blog post on it actually:

    Love your calendars. Think I’ll use them to track my progress. I used one of your images in my post. Hope that was ok. Sent a link back your way.

  • Polabear