Planner vs. Bullet Journal: Which Is Better?

Hello, dears!

As you guys might know, I’ve used and loved bullet journaling for a long time – at least since 2017. But I decided that I’m not going to use a bujo next year. O.o Instead, I’m going to use a planner… that I designed!

In this post, I shall go through some pros and cons for each system, plus I’ll show you what I’m using in 2021 and why I decided to stop bullet journaling. My posts are normally more fun than helpful, but we’ll see what I can manage this time. πŸ˜‰

So, shall we see which type of planner would work best for you??

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Traditional Planners vs. Bullet Journals

In general, planners are purchased premade and ready-to-use. I’m sure we all know what a planner is and have probably used one or several before, hehe. You know their general purpose – time management, keeping goals, scheduling events, etc.  The point is, you can buy planners ready-made, whereas with bullet journaling… 

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Bullet journaling is a system rather than a specific notebook or layout. If you’re new to this idea, check out the official bullet journaling site for more info. Basically, it’s a way to keep all your lists in one place (to-do, meal planning, books to read, etc.), thereby creating your own planner of sorts.

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I don’t think one of these systems is better than the other; they just each serve different needs. Your best option will depend on your needs and personality.

Pros of Using a Planner

  • Practical, functional planning
  • Faster to use than bujos – just fill in the templates instead of creating them
  • Huge variety of beautiful styles and designs to choose from, no art skills required
  • Specific, guided options for almost anything: homesteading, student life, completing goals… 
  • Premade so it’s easy to pick up and get started right away
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Pros of using a bullet journal

  • Super inexpensive (you can literally just use a notebook and pencil)
  • Gives you the option to add artistic/creative touches if you so desire
  • Gives you complete flexibility and control over every part of the process
  • Unlimited space for filling in calendars, weekly spreads, etc.
  • Can’t find a specific page/layout you need in any planners? Make it yourself!
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Which should you choose?

PLANNERS are great for easy, reliable scheduling, although the premade nature of planners could cramp your style if you tend to use a lot of writing space or need unique layouts. If you’re not interested in fancy creative stuff that just takes more time; if you’re looking mainly for functionality and ease-of-use, or if you want specific built-in tips or layouts (like for students), I’d go with a planner.

BULLET JOURNALS give you the most flexibility and control over your process – you can literally make them whatever you want. That freedom, however, means it takes more effort and time to set up and continue, even if you opt for a minimal design. If it sounds exciting to completely customize your planning and scheduling, bullet journaling might be the way to go! 

Which did I choose?

As I said, I’ve been bullet journaling for years, and I’ve really enjoyed it! I’m the type of person that really likes flexibility – plus I’m an artist and I like making pretty things. πŸ™‚

But this past year, I’ve realized that I’m not really taking advantage of the flexibility and freedom of my bujo anymore, choosing instead to repeat the exact same minimal layouts every month. Which is totally fine, but in that case… why not just use a planner and skip having to draw the pages each time??

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I still might not have gone for a planner, except… I was hired to design one! πŸ˜€ Several months ago, Jill Winger from theprairiehomestead.com reached out to me (well, her blog manager did) and said they were looking for an artist to illustrate and design a planner for them. I was QUITE excited, hehe, and after a ton of hard work, inky fingers, stressful revisions, and honestly a lot of fun, we finished The Old-Fashioned on Purpose planner!

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Jill runs a homesteading blog/platform, so that’s what this planner is themed around as well. Because we have a full-time farm with different tasks and requirements than a homestead, not all of these pages are applicable to me… but so many are! Most importantly, the pages I’ve been drawing each month for my bujo are all right there ready to be used in this planner (ironically after I drew them and re-did them a ton of times anyway XD). 

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All that to say, I’m going to use Jill’s planner this year and give myself a break. πŸ˜› It will be interesting to see whether I go back to a bujo next year or not…

Bullet journaling has helped me discern what I need and don’t need in a planner. Having the freedom to create my own layouts and the opportunities to adjust them whenever needed helped me refine my planning methods over the years. Now that I know what I use, I’m comfortable being “locked in” to a planner that has the same layouts already made for me.Β 

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That’s it for today, my friends! I hope that was helpful. Or I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures if you’re not into planning. XD

Are you a planner? Do you use a planner, bujo, or something else? 

Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!

***Allison***

34 thoughts on “Planner vs. Bullet Journal: Which Is Better?

  1. That’s so neat Allison! Congratulations on being hired to do that, what a fun and exciting opportunity! 😊 I loved the comparison of the two as well, this was a helpful and enjoyable post! ❀πŸ₯°

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Magaidh! Oh yeah, it IS kind of confusing, but the one price that’s on there is the price for the planner – it just also includes some digital stuff. πŸ˜‰ So the planner is $27.

      Like

  2. AHH girl it’s so awesome to get to see glimpses of the planner you’ve been telling me about! It’s absolutely GORGEOUS, and I think your points are really great. I’m verrrry minimalistic when it comes to bullet journals (just a pen and no colors or anything) so it works for me. I’d like to try a planner just for school assignments in the next semester, so I have more room to sketch out what I need to do each day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AHH THANK YOUUU! I love how you have a minimalistic bujo like that! Honestly I think that’s the most practical way to go, although I love seeing pictures of beautiful bujos. πŸ™‚ Yeah, there you go – sounds like a plan!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is really cool! I would love to design a planner someday…
    I think I’ll probably stick with bullet journaling myself because I like designing the themes. But, I also have a planner, so, you know.

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  4. The Old fashioned on Purpose Planner looks so cool, although it would probably not be very helpful for me because I don’t live on a farm or homestead. πŸ˜‰ I have generally just gotten a cheapish planner from target. I tend to forget to actually use my planner anyway, so I really don’t need anything super fancy, complex, or flexible. This past year I did try drawing my own (mostly because all the planners in Israel were backwards and thats confusing πŸ˜‰ ), but I don’t exactly care for all the work, especially when I use a super basic, typical layout anyway. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Thank youu! Ha, I know, that’s the thing about specific planners like this one – extra helpful for the target audience and kinda not for others. XD
      Wow, that WOULD make it complicated to have planners with backwards dates and such! Yeah, I know, it is a lot of work to make your own.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s so awesome that you got hired to make a planner!! I loved that you went over the pros and cons of both things. I have always just used a planner and not a bullet journal, but I wouldn’t mind trying bullet journaling.
    AWESOME POST!
    *hugs
    -kaelyn πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I actually did the opposite of you. I’ve been using a planner for a few years, but this year, I decided it wasn’t quite a good time to use a planner when everything has been changing. I would love to use a more creative/open planner when I do decide to use one again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very interesting! I liked reading about the differences between bullet journals and planners, as it was insightful. I try to use planners, but it’s hard for me to keep up the practice. I did pretty well in the summer time, but once the fall semester started, planning things other than school assignments basically went out the window. Because it’s difficult for me to even use a planner, I’m certain a bullet journal would not work at all. I wouldn’t have the patience for creating all the layouts and such!
    Also, I think it’s cool that you’ll be using the homesteading planner for yourself! It seems like it’ll work well for you, and it’s so pretty to look at, so I’m sure it’ll be enjoyable to write in it.

    Liked by 1 person

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