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!