We all have a finite amount of time to live on this Earth.
For some people being able to visualise how much time has been spent, or how much time might be left may be a motivator to use their time wisely.
The basic concept of a weeks of your life chart is that on a single piece of paper, or poster, you will see all the weeks of your potential life. By colouring in each week as you live it you’ll see how much time you have used up. You have the weeks of your life 1-52 on the top, and your age along the side.
If you take into account the age you might expect to reach you’ll see what proportion of your life has been used up.
I first saw a ‘weeks of your life’ style calendar advertised to me as I was browsing the web and found the concept intriguing. When I looked more closely I discovered that there are many very similar versions of these life calendars available – some are digital, and some can be bought as a printed out poster.
I was curious as to where this idea came from. On 5th December 2012 Craig Weller wrote about a very basic life calendar that he was using where he was filling in the ‘week’ boxes in what is a simple printed 52×80 grid. He calls it a ‘Memento Mori’ chart – it means ‘remember you will die’.
Another blog called Barefoot Fitness also wrote about memento mori charts several years later.
I found a more refined version of the life calendar from a 2014 blog post by Tim Urban which explains the concept in detail with many examples of how you can use it. His Wait But Why website sell printed copies of the poster too. This version is tidy looking as each box is separated by some space.
Looking at other life calendars
There are other printed versions of these life calendar on the internet such as LifeTime™ 4K Weeks Poster* and the Weeks of My Life Poster – both of which will pre-populate your completed weeks based on your age. I’ve also seen similar posters available on sites such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
There is a simple online version from Bryan Braun that lets you enter your date of birth and then you’ll quickly see the filled-in calendar on the website. The source code for this project is available so you could even create a custom version.
The 52 weeks in a year problem
One slight issue with all of these life calendars is that they list 52 weeks in a year, which of course is not quite accurate. There are 52 weeks + a day or two in each year, which means that at some point in the year you’ll have to fudge one of the weeks.
To solve this there is a more technically accurate weeks of your life calendar from Erik K. Nyquist. This version accounts for every week of your life and you can see which week your birthday lies in.
My version of the life calendar
I decided to have a go at creating a version of the classic 52 weeks calendar as a fun spreadsheet project. I wanted to set up some formulas so you could enter your age and then it would pre-fill the squares up to that year. If for example you are 30 years old there are 1560 squares that need to be filled in, so you definitely don’t want to do this by hand.
It turns out that you need a lot of squares – to cover 90 years you need 4680, all of which have a border and a formula in which either leaves the square empty or inserts an ‘x’. I then added some custom formatting so that if the square contains an ‘x’ it is filled in black. It works quite well, however, due to the number of cells you won’t be able to easily load this spreadsheet on an old machine. It struggles on my 2014 MacBook Pro for example. On a more modern machine from 2019, it was fine.
As a finishing touch, I’ve increased the gaps between columns at significant points in time, e.g. 18, 21, 30, 40 years. This makes the calendar easier to navigate I think.
Download the weeks of your life calendar for free
I’ve tested this weeks of your life calendar with Microsoft Excel, and with the free Libre Office and it loads and prints fine on both. I’ve set the print area so you should find this easy to print to either A4 or Letter paper.
Hope you find this information to be useful, let me know what you think!
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