Which Planner Layout is Best For You to Get Stuff Done?

Last Updated on June 3, 2022 by Stephanie

One of the things I mention all the time is that you have to make things your own. If something isn’t working for you, change it. Don’t keep using it because you think that everyone else is doing it. Everyone is unique and the planner layout that works for you, might not be the planner layout that works for me.

So, let’s dive into the different standard types of planner layouts. Then, I will share my own personal planner layouts and how they have evolved even in these past few months!

Which Planner Layout

Standard Planner Layouts

If you were to look at some of the top planners, both digital and physical, you will see some terms pop up. The most common are these:

  • Vertical Layout
  • Horizontal Layout
  • Dashboard Layout
  • Hourly Layout
  • Daily Pages (these have several different variations)

There are also a million different planner types that you can search that will have layouts specific to a certain thing.  For example, I’ve got a digital goal planner in my shop that is specifically set up for the goal-setting process. This isn’t meant to be something for keeping your appointments. There are teacher and student planners, faith planners, wellness planners, fitness planners, and more. You name it and they’ve got planner layouts for it.

Vertical Layout

The vertical planner layout is a weekly planner that has days set up in a vertical fashion. Sometimes, like in the Happy Planner, these are also sectioned out. In the picture below, I’m showing you an early example of my paper planner with a vertical layout. I had blog stuff in the top section, social media in the next, and products in the bottom. Some might arrange this into sections like work, family, wellness, or various members of the family.

Vertical Planner Layout from The happy Planner
Vertical Layout in Big Happy Planner

Horizontal Layout

The horizontal layout gives you longer boxes on each page. Each day has several lines for you to write out what is going on during the day. In the picture below, I’m showing you a page from my lettering challenge planner! I did the 2022 #BigLoveLettersChallenge this year (I joined a bit late) with Judi of @JLBCrafts. For that challenge, I’m using the horizontal layout from The Happy Planner.

Horizontal Planner Layout in Happy Planner
Horizontal Planner Layout in Classic Happy Planner

Dashboard Layout

A dashboard layout is awesome for people who like to be able to see all the things at once. Typically these are set up weekly with things like to-dos, goals, accomplishments, etc. on the left-hand side. On the right are all of the days of the week with smaller boxes for you to write specific daily items on! I have never used a dashboard layout, so check out this one from one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram: @mamahasplans.

Dashboard Planner Layout
Dashboard Layout by @mamahasplans

Hourly Layout

An hourly layout is quite similar to a vertical layout, but it gets a bit more specific. I’ve included a snapshot of one of my spreads from my Digital Passion Planner to show you an hourly layout. I do love a good hourly layout, especially when you are wanting to plan out your days. If you have other space (like the Passion Planner does), then you have plenty of room to also include your goals and to-dos for the week as well.

Hourly Layout Using My Spring Coffee Stickers

Daily Pages

I do not do daily pages because I do not have the time for that…not even a little bit. However, there are a lot of people that do have that time and thrive using a planner with daily pages. Passion Planner has a daily planner that several people use. There are a lot of spaces to write what you want to/have to do that day. They usually also include some type of hourly section for you to map out appointments and schedule things. Check out this awesome daily layout by another one of the cool people you should follow on Instagram: @aime.plans

Daily Planner Layout with blue watercolor accents
Daily page in Daily Passion Planner by @aime.plans

How Do You Pick The Right Planner Layout for You?

I have touched a bit on this in my post about How to Use a Planner in a World of Stickers, etc., but it will take you a bit. If you are at all a follower of the planning community on social media, we refer to this as “planner peace”. The planner that has a spot for everything we want to do, is organized in a way we like and makes sense, and looks adorable. I will be honest that very few find their “planner peace”.

The reason why is that during different times in our lives we need different things. If you are involved in a big project at work with lots of meetings and deadlines to keep track of, you might need a daily planner. Then the next few weeks, you don’t because things aren’t as busy. One of the reasons I love digital planning and notebooks as well as the disc system by The Happy Planner is because I can move things around so much! I need to be able to switch things up based on my needs.

So, to pick the right layout for you, think about the time you have, what you want to keep track of, and the space you feel like you need.


If you don’t have a lot of time to plan things out, a daily page is not going to work for you. A dashboard layout might be perfect because it is a super compact look at your week. Everything is in one place for you to glance at. You could also be happy with a vertical or horizontal layout for your bullet points. 

Things like hourly schedules and daily to-do lists can take up more time to write down. If it takes you more time to plan your work than to do your work, you need to change something.

What You Want To Keep Track Of

Do you need daily to-do lists or do you want a running to-do list for the week? Check out my post about effective to-do lists to help you in this area as well! Are you someone with a lot of meetings that are going on during the week? Are you responsible for several different jobs or do you wear a lot of “hats?”

Think about this when looking at a planner layout for yourself. Look at what things are printed on the page already. For example, the Passion Planner has a daily focus, goals, prioritized to-do lists, etc. If a lot of what you need is on there, great. Remember that you can always cover up sections that you want to be a bit different. I do this digitally and in my paper planners all the time.

How Much Space You Need

Oh the many sizes of planners and their layouts. I cannot write in anything smaller than a Happy Planner Classic-sized planner. My preferred size is paper-sized or their “big” sized because anything smaller and I feel like I don’t have the space I need to write everything I want. There are certainly days and weeks that I don’t fill the space, but I will always worry about not having enough space, so I always go bigger with planners. That also means that I don’t carry it around with me (which is fine because my personal planner is digital and my business is the paper one)!

Thinking about what you want to keep track of and the space you need to do that go hand in hand.

My Personal Evolution

These two spreads are my two most current. The first is my business planner, which is a Big Happy Planner in a vertical layout (kind of). The second is the Passion Planner Digital Weekly Planner that I’ve also modified a bit and used my Pretty Florals Digital Stickers.

I have learned a couple of things through my planning and productivity journey. I’m going to share them here with all to see in hopes that it helps you as well.

  • It doesn’t always have to be pretty.
  • If you find yourself having to think of things to put in the same boxes each week, maybe you don’t need those boxes and can use something else.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other planners, but use them for inspiration.
  • Stickers (both digital and paper) cover lots of things…
  • If it all together does not work, start all over… it’s okay!

I hope this helps you see the different layouts and helps you make an educated guess for what you would like to use. I hope this also helps give you the permission to play around until you really find your “planner peace.”

Leave a comment with what kind of layouts you’ve tried below!

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  1. This is great! I struggle figuring out what layout or even what planner I want to use. I have gravitated toward the passion planner, but have enjoyed trying out all different spreads!

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