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Finding YOUR Choice Between Bullet Journal vs Planner

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Picture of a bullet journal on the left and a planner on the right. Part of an article: Finding YOUR Choice Between Bullet Journal vs Planner

The bullet journal vs planner debate has been going on a while now. Which is best? Most importantly, which is best for YOU? That’s what we hope to find out here.

Table of contents

Bullet Journal vs Planner – Introduction

Let’s give a brief overview of the two sides of the debate:

The growing popularity of bullet journaling

So – Why is bullet journaling so popular?

It’s popular because of 2 factors: One is it’s versatility and customization options, and the second is it’s ability to be a creative outlet. Each bullet journal is a unique tool for the individual creator, just like a personally created snowflake.

It’s no wonder is it really that this great tool has been adopted by so many people.

Traditional Planners: A tried-and-true Approach

It has to be said that a tried-and-true approach is good! There is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned planner.

If you are interested in how to make sure you get the most out of your planner you might like to read this article.

picture of a bullet journal, and a planner below then the heading says: Finding YOUR Choice Between Bullet Journal vs Planner

Understanding the Core Principles

Let’s get into a little bit more information about these two methods of planning..

Bullet Journal Basics: Flexibility and Creativity.

Like I mentioned about these are the two reasons why bullet journaling is popular. But how does it work?

Basically a bullet journal is a blank canvas – a dotted notebook, to be exact – and you can create from that the planner that will work for you.

Maybe you don’t actually want to do monthly planning, you just want to do a daily log, well…you can!

Maybe you have lots of goals or passions and you want to keep them all together in one place while also knowing what events you have coming up in the week. This is what we mean when we say flexibility, you can create just the planner that you want and that suits your life.

Planner Essentials: Structure and Predictability

To be honest there are now so many options with planners that if you find the right system and planner for you, you are sorted.

You can just get on with using it without the work of creating it. Also, you have the luxury of going back and getting the exact same thing again and again.

I know some people who do this. They have their stand by to death planner – they wouldn’t change for the world. Isn’t that great! It works, it’s easy and predictable.

Pros and Cons: Bullet Journal vs Planner

Of course there are pros and cons of everything. So we have to explore each of these here.

Bullet Journaling Advantages and Challenges


We have already spoken a bit about the benefits of a bullet journal.

READ: Try The Transformation And Experience These 5 Bullet Journal Benefits

My journey was from planner to bullet journal and I found so many advantages:

  • Improved productivity
  • Creative outlet
  • Personal development growth
  • More self awareness

The list could go on and on to be honest, I might be a little bit biased on this one.


The big challenge is that it can be time consuming. It can be hard recreating your desired decoration over and over again.

Another is that you can be tempted to create pages that you won’t use. Because of how popular it is and how much inspiration there is out there, it is possible to start trying to add things to your bullet journal just because it looks pretty rather than being something that helps you with your life.

The Benefits and Limitations of Traditional Planners


The benefits of a traditional planner are fairly easy to see:

  • Saves time
  • Provides the structure
  • Extra supplies are not necessary
  • No imagination required
Picture of lots of stationery - pencils, scissors, notes, crayons etc. part of an article : Finding YOUR Choice Between Bullet Journal vs Planner

It can just work, providing a tool that helps you to stay on top of what you need and doesn’t get you lost in a lot of fluff and extra work.


If you love planning and you find you are limited by your planner – I hear you.

That’s why I made the switch from planner to bullet journal. It can be that you have ideas of a way of planning that you don’t see in pre-made planners.

It can be that you are not actually inspired by your planner because it has a very basic black and white aesthetic that doesn’t spark joy for you.

READ: Decorate Your Planner With These 10 Creative Ideas

Personalizing YOUR Planning Experience

This is where you have to get your thinking cap on! What do you want your plannning to look like?

You have the option of crafting your own unique planner with as many pages as you want and with the personal style that really motivates you.


On the other hand…

You have the option of finding a good planner that you love and using it religiously because it works in your life.

But there is a 3rd option.

Now a days, there are plenty of people creating pre-made bullet journals. So rather than it being planner vs bullet journal, you can have planner and bullet journal in one.

A popular example is the amandarachlee planner.

Well done to Amanda for creating a planner but with the look of a bullet journal.

My honest opinion is that I would like more ‘bullet journalyness’, if that makes sense. The pages are not all dot grid for example.

If I was to choose a pre-made bullet journal I would go with Rylee Autumn’s one. It is really nicely finished and very bullet journaly.

Final thoughts – Is the Debate Over?

So what do you think, have you made your mind up in the bullet journal vs planner debate?

I hope that reading this article has helped you see some of the different angles to look at your choice from.

Ultimately, I hope it has helped you make a decision – please let me know below in a comment, if you have finally decided on your planning system.


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