Vertical Dailies vs. Horizontal Dailies – Which is Better?
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My dailies are the heart and soul of my bullet journal. That’s where my tasks get organized, optimized, and accomplished. It’s where I get my groove on. For years, I have been using a horizontal layout – you know, the way we traditionally write across a page, from left to right. It felt natural. But in my grand quest for the ultimate productive planner, I wanted to try something new – vertical dailies.
In a dotted Leuchtturm, you have the ability to write any which way with ease and guidance. So I had no excuses not to try this new-fangled layout. I have seen people use vertical dailies here and there on Instagram and Pinterest for a while now. I’ve always pushed away the notion. For whatever reason, vertical dailies felt like a challenge to the way I did things. I felt like this vertical sorcery was aggressing my horizontal way of life. So I faced that very weird feeling head-on. After my little experiment, I encourage you to try something new, too. You might be surprised! Let’s look at my findings about both horizontal and vertical dailies, shall we?
Horizontal is the typical way that we read and write. It’s the layout that most bullet journal newbies start with, and most will probably stick with that format forever.
- Headers can be more elaborate and varied
- Plenty of freedom to doodle or add extra boxes/elements
- More room for long entries or notes
- Sticky notes fit width-wise
- Spacing can be awkward or inconvenient
- Limited space for bullets (depending on how far down the page you started)
- Sticky notes can hang down onto other entries
When I say unpredictable, I want you to take a gander at my weather doodles, water trackers, and the meal trackers on the spread. I placed all of them in kinda awkward spots because I wasn’t sure whether or not my day’s task list would be long or short. I was drawing out these trackers with a fear of accidentally encroaching on another day’s space. It was making me shy away from drawing anything out in advance, which meant I forgot to track several things for several days! This is one of my biggest complaints with the horizontal tracker.
One thing that is a huge strength of the horizontal layout is the ability to stretch a day out for miles. Look at this spread below. I have several short entries and one really long one. That was a stressful day, and I was relying on my bullet journal for everything. I needed horizontal’s flexibility that day, and I used it to the fullest extent. If you have long, elaborate days and need to take notes, you might find a friend in the horizontal daily.
Using vertical dailies was a bit strange at first, but I’ve found many benefits to this method. I think the same space is used more efficiently and it looks much more tidy than my horizontal entries ever did. All I need to do is grab a ruler, determine the center of the page, draw a line with my Micron, and bam! I have four days all laid out.
- Perfect for rapid logging or lists
- Plenty of room for extra information at the bottom (weather, meal tracker, water tracker)
- Layout feels more clean and orderly – in my opinion, anyway
- Set up in advance
- Little to no room for any doodles or drawings
- Headers need to be narrow and fairly simple
- Sticky note doesn’t fit in a column
- Potentially wasting space
- Set up in advance
You many notice that I have one specific trait under both the Pros and Cons – lemme explain. Having several days set up in advance is good or bad, depending on your perspective. Using the vertical dailies means that you have four days across two pages already laid out. There will be four days, regardless of how busy or slow your days are. Personally, I enjoy that, because it allows me to have four days available for planning. I can easily jot something down two days into the future. Some people might dislike this quality, and I totally get it! But I like having four days nailed down for writing down quick reminders to future me AND because I skip less days in my bullet journal. I mean, it’s already laid out. Why wouldn’t I use that daily entry?
Another reason that having them laid out all at once is ideal is that I don’t have to draw a new header or water tracker every single day. Sometimes, I would want to write down a task for the next day and I had to sit down and draw out a header. With the vertical dailies, I can draw out all my headers for four days at the same time. This encourages me to draw out each day’s header all at once.
For speed and simplicity, I pick a style and run with that for all four days. Sometimes I grab my Pilot Metropolitan and use whatever beautiful ink I’m rocking at the moment. Sometimes I use my Tombows for brush lettering or just gorgeous vivid colors from the pen tip. Sometime I rely on my trusty Microns to see me through a spread. Whatever I use, I find that the end result is very visually pleasing. Whether I’m using neon highlighters or Staedtlers, I enjoy playing with my headers in small batches. It takes off some of the pressure to have each day be unique and Instagram-ready. Besides, having a simple, colorful header balances the utilitarian body of the vertical daily.
I also just love the fact that I have a nice little space for all my trackers every day. I don’t need to worry about stuff bumping into other stuff. It’s all tucked away in a perfect little nook. I mean, look at this picture! Aren’t all my trackers just so cute and tidy? *Squee*
It’s All in the Attitude
At the end of the day, it’s really just a matter of perspective. What works great for me isn’t necessarily going to be good for you. You might find vertical dailies too limiting or awkward, or you might think that horizontal is too unpredictable. Whatever the case may be, just be willing to try! Each page is brand new and fresh. If you don’t think it’s working for you, turn the page and start anew! Go forth and create the best bullet journal you can by trying all the methods you can! Just don’t stay exactly the same. Same is boring, and nothing new is learned from doing the same thing every day. Just keep trying, and I’m sure you’ll find the perfect formula for the perfect day in your planner.
Like this post? Check out my other post about the evolution of my dailies from when I was a bullet journal newbie.
How do you use your dailies? Tell me in the comments below!
i just started my buju adventure this week but im aldrey fan of it ! frist i dont think i needed the Dalias but then Corna closed Denmark down and i need to do something to keep the mood op and not be way to board… i fund out that the Daliys was a so genial and im sure the daliys in my buju will help me trugh the period where everthing is clossed down…. im glad that i started my buju adventre before everthing clossed down …
I’m glad you started your bullet journal when you did! It really is an excellent hobby to get through these isolated times. I hope you are able to use that time to really work on your bullet journal 🙂 have fun with it and stay safe out there!
I have avoided BuJo for so very long because I didn’t have time to get all that I need to complete without learning new jargon and having extra steps in my day. Then one friend told me that I pretty much did the BuJo except I kept a planner and notebooks for projects and To Do items. She explained I could combine them and that would be my bullet journal.
I have been doing my research to get some ideas and I do like the vertical for most of my items because I’m one who can fill up any space given to me with ideas, I’m like water in that method, and I tend to overdo on those. Vertical would limit me, save me time, and prevent the need to fill those extra spaces. I’m currently using a regular notebook and minimized my space to 2 pages to include the monthly, weekly, and daily items. The rest can go on other pages, but I like seeing my goals at one glance.
Thank you for the ideas.
Linda good luck on figuring out the perfect system for you! One of my absolute favorite things about the bullet journal system is the ability to customize it to make it fit your needs. Just keep experimenting!
I tried the vertical design for a couple months. I liked it and I didn’t like it! I felt it wasted so much space, and if I wanted to do a little journaling, then it felt too cramped. So I tried doing the weekly in the vertical design, and a horizontal daily. That worked for awhile, but so I’m back to horizontal weeklies and dailies. It just works better for me. But I am always willing to give something new a chance – that’s what I love most about bullet journaling! You can do what you want!
Sounds like you have found what works best for you and that’s wonderful!
I like a vertical better, but I do a single page for each daily with an hourly sidebar that I can fold over. It takes up a lot of pages but I can use the backs of the dailies for notes or other BuJo stuff. I like the hourly sidebar because I like tracking my time each day ala 168 hours… I don’t blog my BuJo (I probably should) so try it out when you get around to it. I’m fiddling with a horizontal layout that will get me the hourly log, but I’m not thrilled with it yet. It gets 6 days on a spread, which is an advantage, but I’m not in love.
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to each layout. What matters most is finding what works best for you!
Going through your archives in preparation for a journal migration and I just have to say this…
OMG THAT POKEMON RULER <3
😀 😀 😀 You’re probably the first person to ever point it out! Isn’t it the cutest darn thing?
I’m in my 4th week of this BuJo journey and this week I tried this vertical thing too. Before I was just using a page a day for the first 3 weeks. Somehow that works best for me, gives me the most freedom. With the vertical thing it feels far more like ‘just a to-do list’ each day. When I got started I was thinking of what I needed and wanted from the BuJo and the design I made for my ‘page a day’ system seems to fit my needs best. But … I’m still learning and trying all kinds of different things, a real great learning curve … I enjoy that most of all.
From the Netherlands, with love,
It’s fantastic that you branched out and tried something new! Sometimes you just gotta try something to realize that it doesn’t quite work for you, but it’s worthwhile to try anyway. I’m glad you found planning success with your dailies, Esther!
First of, I just found this blog and I love it. I have read so many posts in the last few days it is amazing. Personally, I plan a month of dailies at a time. I do a week on 2 pages. Each day gets equal space. I am switching to a moleskine on July 2. Yes, I am thinking that fast ahead, and my July dailies are already written out. Each day gets 9 lines. I don’t have any trackers INB then right now, but I like the water tracker. I live in a desert, so I don’t think the weather is that important, it is almost always hot and sunny.
Thanks so much, Nikoah! And if it helps you to plan that far in advance, then by all means, do what works for you! I try to keep clear plans set about a week in advance and fuzzy, general plans set for three to four weeks in advance. And I can totally see why you’d ditch the weather tracker, it’s pretty moot if the weather is always the same! I’m smack in the Midwest, where every day is a new season. So basically, the weather tracker is off every other day anyway! 😀
I just started a BuJo in June and since I wasn’t sure if I would stick with it I went cheap…and apparently a bit small. When I finish this journal I’m definitely getting something larger than 5×7. So with the size constraint, I’ve only tried horizontal, but I’m thinking of taking a blank spiral notebook and playing around with other layout and design ideas so I’ll know what I like when I buy a “real” journal later. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on horizontal vs vertical. It’s given me some ideas to try.
My pleasure, Molly! I actually hadn’t even thought about size constraints and how that might effect the preferred layout. That’s definitely some food for thought. I hope you enjoy playing around with the two layouts and find something that’s right for you!
I love that you did this because I see so much of the horizontal layout, and it does NOT work for me. I’ve used vertical in a variety of ways for work and school and it is the only thing that makes sense to me. It’s nice to see vertical layouts getting some love.
I’m glad you’re in the vertical camp! It really does feel so much cleaner and much more simple. I’m surprised more people don’t use it!
I’ve been using a horizontal but I’m trying verticle this week. I think I’ll end up liking it better in the long run because I prefer one long bullet list than 2-3 columns of lists which is what I’ve been doing. So, hopefully this will work for me this week. If not, that is the fun of a bullet journal, isn’t it? Keep experimenting.
There’s definitely no harm in trying! I hope you find that you like the vertical layout – I’m sure you’ll find a way to experiment and make it perfect just for you!
I appreciate your weighing the pro’s and cons. The last few weeks I have been doing Monday through Thursday vertically and Friday-Sunday horizontally. There are things I like about both, and I can’t quite decide which one I prefer. I guess that’s the power of the bullet journal…being able to change with every turn of the page. Thanks for sharing your ideas and creativity; I always enjoy seeing what you have to share!
Thank you so much! It’s awesome to be able to switch between both as it suits you. You’re right, the power is in the flexibility. I love the ability to try something completely different on another page and not feel the strange conflict like I did with old planners. Thank you for sharing your experience with this, it’s wonderful meeting folks who have tried both!
Love this! I’ve been struggling with my horizontal dailies. They just haven’t been cutting it. But seeing you pros and cons of the two, I’m excited to try out vertical starting next week. I too like to be able to jot things down a few days in advance.
I’m glad you like it! And yes, writing stuff down a few days ahead is such a wonderful ability, I can’t believe I went so long without it!