6 ways to Organize

Grids vs. Lines vs. Dots

Author Headshot - Reuben Hochstetler
Reuben Hochstetler
July 24, 2020

Think about the last time you sat down to plan out your day. What did you write down on the page? Did you make a list of all your tasks? Did you plot out your events for the week on a calendar? Where did you jot down your random ideas or other notes you needed to record during the course of your day? Planners are a great way to stay organized. So let’s take a look at some of the best modern planner styles!

The design of your planner is critical to optimizing productivity and maximizing creativity. How you set up your page is dependent on how you work most effectively. Everyone has a different style. Depending on what you use your planner for (work vs. personal, general organization vs. specific projects, etc.), your page may have to look different. 

That’s why you should consider opting for a planner with a customizable design. That way you can pick the design that suits your needs best and use whatever formats you like to make it fit your particular working style. 

Let’s take a closer look at three distinct planner styles you can use to create your own customized planner. These pages feature one of the three designs listed below:  

  • Grids
  • Lines
  • Dots

To understand the context of how each of the planner styles works, it helps to look at each option. That way you can examine the features, weigh the benefits, and choose one that’s right for you. 


There are multiple advantages to a grid layout. Grid designs essentially resemble graph paper, with multiple rows and columns of small squares. The advantages of this format include: 

  • It allows you to create lists very easily. 
  • Using a ruler to ensure your lines are straight, you can create multiple calendars of your own. 
  • You can also create weekly schedules for multiple activities. 
  • If you’re planning for family-related purposes, you can quickly grid off different activities for your family. You can apply the same approach for multiple work projects. 
  • It’s easier to create checklists if that’s the way you prefer to track task completion.
  • You can create multiple squares to be colored in for a mood tracker, or tracking any kind of project (water consumption, diet, fitness, work productivity, etc.). It’s versatile in that regard. 
  • Grids look cleaner and allow you to create straight, even lines.

Grid designs are perfect if you’re going for a distinctly minimalist vibe for your planner. In some cases, this is optimal if you’re attempting to cut down on tasks and laser-focus on one or several areas. It can help you not take on too many tasks at once.

Grid Layout Planner


Planners with lined pages resemble a notebook-style. Think back to the lined pages you used in high school or college and you’ll get a better idea for the look of a lined design. Here are some of the advantages of using lines: 

  • If you often find your planner to be text-heavy, lines are great for that. 
  • People who make a lot of lists will find lined pages conducive to doing so. 
  • If you don’t use a calendar to track your schedule, lines pages are a good option. 
  • Likewise, lined pages are also great if you don’t find yourself doodling or drawing a lot, opting for a more structured approach to your planning.  
  • Lines are also effective for tracking to-do lists and projects with a lot of descriptions and writing involved.
  • If you find yourself having to take notes during the day (on work meetings, calls, or for other reasons), lined pages give you a convenient place to do that. 

If you don’t want to set up your own hand-drawn schedules, calendars, or other planning pages, lined pages are the option you want to use. You can simply crack open your planner and start writing. 

One other note: if you find yourself journaling (or want to get started), there’s no better design than lined pages. Journaling can be great for both your productivity, creativity and mental health. You can use it to brainstorm on projects, write about what you’ve accomplished and what you have left to do on a specific project, or just discuss what’s on your mind. It’s an incredibly healthy outlet, and the lined design facilitates more journaling. 


A planner with dotted pages resembles a grid, only without lines connecting the intersecting points. There are typically rows and columns of dots on the page you can use how you see fit. The advantages of that approach are: 

  • With dots, you can have a lot more flexibility with the design of your planning page. You can create your own grid, or set up multiple sections on one page of varying sizes and shapes. For example, you could have a calendar, to-do list, and daily schedule all on the same page. The best part is you can design them to look however you’d like. 
  • Your design isn’t obstructed by gridlines. Dots offer the creativity of a blank page with the structure of a page with gridlines. It’s a combination of the two, meshing the best of both worlds for a truly versatile design. 
  • You can use it to set up a bullet journal.

If you like a little order in your planner but like some room to experiment with the types and shapes of sections you include, the dotted design may be for you. 

Which planner styles should you use? 

None of these designs are better than the other, they’re just different. If scheduling and tracking meetings and events are very important to you, grids may be better to have multiple calendars. If you plan using to-do lists and taking notes, the lined design may be best. And if you want a mixture of the two that allows for a more freewheeling approach to planning, perhaps opt for a design that uses dots. 

If you want to journal, having a diary-style planner might make sense for you. Or you can opt for a planner that combines the various elements discussed above. Whatever you choose, make sure to pick one that fits your specific working style. 

Lines, dots, and grids all have different features and advantages associated with them. Determining the best one for you is all about understanding the principles behind each style and how each one plays to your strengths.

Ready to get organized and get things done? Buy a weekly planner today.

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