Skip to content

Two Planner Types Explained – Structured And Open Style

  • by
Picture of two different styles of calendars, one is structured with boxes the other is open style. Part of an article - two planner types explained structured and open style

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.


Pictures of two different calendars. The title says two planner types explained: structured and open style

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’. The planner writing space is important.

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 structured vs open style 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 planner and my husband uses an open style planner.

Structured style

Picture of a normal structured planner - calendar page

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 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

Picture of an open style planner - calendar page

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 = [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 conclusion these two planner types can have a big impact on whether we find planning enjoyable and helpful or a burden and annoyance.

It is so important to tap into which of these planner styles suit you and how to get the planner of YOUR dreams that suits YOU!

Maybe now you have decided you might want to move on to:

Create DIY Personalized Planner Pages: Tips and Tricks

I hope you found this article helpful.

Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate your time.

beginner budget friendly bujo bujo tips bullet journals Bullet journal spreads bullet journal style Bullet journal supplies choice choosing planners community Components creativity decisions decoration design digital planners diy planner doodles eco goals layout ideas making a planner markers monthly spreads motivation notebooks pens personalization Planner alternatives planner covers planner customization planner decoration planner inspiration planners planner types premade printables routines simple and easy starting out supplies switching tips using planners


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *