With all the variety of planners out there, it’s easy to get lost. What planner is right for YOU? Well, we are going to look at two planner types today and this might get you on the right road of choosing or creating your dream planner.


Some Background

When I first started on the road of helping people find their personal planner style, I kinda thought it would be simple. But how wrong I was.

I think observing people and seeing their inclinations and preferences is absolutely fascinating. Looking at people’s planners fits into this even more so for me. It’s absolutely fascinating.

I remember one person telling me as I was designing a planner for them ’No, I don’t want boxes, I really don’t like planners with boxes.’

This opened up a whole new world for me of the difference of ‘boxes or no boxes’.

It turns out many planners are designed for people that prefer structure – boxes.

The thing is that many people who like more open ended plans, still like to plan. But the planners are just a bit harder to get.

What’s the difference in the two planner types?

The difference in the planners is quite simple. The structured style likes things to be contained into sections and boxes. The open style prefers to let the pen roam and not to have boundaries to their plans and notes.

Usually open style planners will have a lot of open space with just headings to guide the content. Whereas structured style planners will have very definite writing areas.

Just to note – I use a structured style and my husband uses an open style.

Structured Style

Picture of a structured planner as part of the article - two planner types explained structured and open style.

Features of the structured style..

  • Information is quick to find
  • Sections are clearly defined
  • Has an overall ’organised’ aesthetic
  • Many planners available in this style
  • Example = structured style planner printables

All about this planner type

When looking at planners I think this is one of the first things to consider..do you like this structured style of planning. If you do, you certainly have a lot of options open to you.

As you can see from the simple example in the picture structured style planners have a fairly typical look.

Of course, you can decorate it and add other sections but this is often what a standard calendar looks like.

It has boxes of equal sizes for each day. But of course, this translates to all pages – habit trackers, goal planners, etc. All of your planner is likely to be laid out with structure and with boxes.

You probably have a desire to keep things contained with boundaries, you may like structure in other areas of your life, although that is not necessarily true.

Now let’s move onto the next style..

Open Style

An open style planner as part of the article two planner types explained structured and open style. This one has open style so no boxes around each day.

Features of the open style..

  • Has an open and free aesthetic
  • Will not run out of writing space
  • Great for a journaling style notebook
  • Leaves more options for decorating the page
  • Example = Open Style Planner [I couldn’t find any Etsy examples]

All about this planner type

As you can see the open style planner is not quite the normal look that you find when shopping for planners.

There are only headings and the writing space is without boundaries for these planner types.

It is fantastic for doodle type note taking and planning. [This is what my husband does on his planner]

It can also be useful for those who want a very minimal clean look.

It is possible that in general life you might prefer more open ended plans. This could translate to wanting to let your pen roam free.


In summary, this is an important factor to creating your dream planner. Looking at different planner types can really help you to find your own bullet journal style which helps with consistency.

Of course there are many other factors to take into consideration too in choosing your planner style.

You may want to look into this article ..

Please do let me know if you have discovered from this article whether you are a structured or open style planner type.