There are 3 main planner layouts:
My personal preference is horizontal planners but if you’re still trying to decide on a layout, here are some pros and cons to consider for each!
Pros of Horizontal Planners
- Room for writing long tasks without needing multiple lines to write those tasks
- Can split the daily planning space into 2 and still have enough room to write tasks
Cons of Horizontal Planners
- Less planner stickers available that are pre-sized to fit horizontal planners although you can use stickers designed for vertical planners and trim to size like I did when I used the mini MAMBI Happy Planner
- Can be awkward to use with stickers – e.g. an icon sticker can cover multiple lines leaving your planning space a bit of a puzzle to squeeze everything in
- Most horizontal weekly planners don’t have an extra notes section for habit tracking etc.
- Make sure you check weekends aren’t combined (i.e. the space for daily planning split into 2 so Saturday and Sunday have half the planning space)
- Difficult to do time blocking
- Most horizontal planners don’t have hours of the day pre-printed (if you want one where you can choose your own I recommend the Ashley Shelly planner)
Using an Erin Condren size sticker kit in the Horizontal life planner
This could be a pro or a con depending on your personal preference, but horizontal planners tend to have neutral color schemes (black and white)
Who should use a horizontal planner?
- If you write long tasks
- Most vertical planners have 3 or more categories per day but if you only need 2 then a horizontal layout provides a good amount of space, if you rule a line through the middle of the box
- If you don’t like tasks to extend over multiple lines – you want to keep your spread clean and simple
Using the Goal Digger planner for week 30
Pros of Vertical Planners
- If you have short tasks you’ll fit a lot in
- Many options for planner stickers to choose from (especially themed kits)
Cons of Vertical Planners
- It can be harder to find vertical planners that are lined (not good if you write crooked without lines like I do!)
- More prone to wasting space – if there aren’t lines I like to leave a gap between each task so it doesn’t end up crowded. The problem with doing this is that you’ll soon run out of space
- If you have long tasks, you’ll waste a lot of space – most of them you can only fit about 3 words before needing a new line – you’ll probably need to use abbreviations e.g. MP for ‘Meal Plan’ or write really small to fit it all in
- Overall, I feel there’s less functional space for planning in a vertical planner
Who should use a vertical planner?
- People that don’t have many tasks
- If you like using planner stickers & decorating your planner in general
- Bloggers – vertical layouts are ideal for blogging as the workflow tasks for a blog post ‘write draft’, ‘edit’ post’ etc. are short, so they fit perfectly in a vertical planner without wasting space
Something in between?
A good cross between a vertical and horizontal planner are planners with lots of categories to compartmentalise your life such as the Plum Paper ‘Me Planner’ and Limelife Planners (layout C).
Pros of Hourly Planners
- Ideal for scheduling – if you’re someone that procrastinates an hourly planner will help keep you on track
- You’re not left wondering what you should be doing next – the day is all planned out for you so if you stick to the plan you know you’ll get it done
Cons of Hourly Planners
- Less planner stickers available that are pre-sized to fit hourly planners although you can use stickers designed for vertical planners and trim to size
- Sometimes you have extra tasks that pop up, if you’ve already scheduled your entire day for each hour it doesn’t leave much room for flexibility
- If a task takes longer than you expect it to, you’ll be whiting things out and it can leave you feeling like you didn’t accomplish much that day
- The hours pre-printed may not work for you. Some people like to wake up at 5am. I’m not one of them. I’d rather the planner start at 9am and go to midnight. I created hourly planner stickers but if you’re having to cover up the hours each week (or white them out using correction tape) it’s going to get a bit annoying and time consuming to set up the weekly spread.
Who should use an hourly planners?
- People that work from home or don’t have a traditional 9 – 5 job for example, if you work for a direct sales company
- People that work a 9 – 5 job that involves a lot of client meetings, deadlines and appointments
- Students for managing class times, extra-curriculars, social events and part-time work
Dashboard is another option that’s not as widely available (but you could always rule up your own in a bullet journal, or making your printables). This layout has days of the week on 1 page and lists, notes, habit trackers, meal planners (and sometimes other sections) on the right page.
Pros of Dashboard Planners
- Wider columns than vertical planners, but less dead space than in horizontal planners
- If you turn the pages back on themselves i.e. only want to view / have open one page at a time you can still see your entire week – it’s not spread out over 2 pages
Cons of Dashboard Planners
- While there are more planner companies offering dashboard layouts nowadays, there are still less options than vertical, horizontal and hourly planners
- The categories / titles on the second page may not suit your needs so you could end up spending a bit of money on stickers, or having to spend a bit of extra time setting up your spread (whiteout, re-writing your titles)
Who should use dashboard planners?
- People that don’t have a lot of appointments, they prefer to work off a to do list and don’t need to complete things on a specific day
- Would rather work off a to do list (hence the smaller weekly planning section)
- if you want to keep things separate e.g.one page for your schedule, and one page for all of your work stuff
- Buying a planner versus DIYing and making your own (pros and cons)
- How to choose a binding system for your planner (comparison and which one I like the most)
- 60 Facebook groups for planner addicts
- The Process Behind Making a Printable Planner
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