Bullet Journal vs Planner – Find The Right One For You [2023]

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Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Saskia Friedrich

Bullet Journal vs planner – are you wondering which one is the better organization system to use? Are you just not sure which one is the best option for you? Both have their pros and cons and going for one or the other really depends on the kind of person you are and how you want to organize your life and to-do’s.

First of all, a bullet journal and a planner are two different things. A bullet journal is your creative space where you can keep track of your goals, habits, as well as appointments. A planner is a pre-structured and simple calendar to stay on top of your daily, weekly, and monthly to-do’s.

If you’re looking to finally stay on top of your busy schedule in 2023, you’ve come to the right place today.

Having done journaling and planning since a young age, I have used many different types of planners, journals, agendas, diaries, and notebooks, so I’ve got a few tips to share.

Today I will help you figure out which organization system is best for you: bullet journal or planner.

Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

Bullet Journal vs Planner: Overview

  • Why Do I Need an Organizational System?
  • Planner: Pros and Cons
  • Bullet Journal: Pros and Cons
  • Can I Have a Bullet Journal And a Planner?
  • Bullet Journal vs Panda Planner
  • Hobonichi vs Bullet Journal
  • Projo Planner
  • FAQs to Bullet Journal vs Planner
  • Bullet Journal vs Planner: Before You Go
bullet journal vs planner
Example of a bullet journal

Related Posts to Bullet Journal vs Planner

Why Do I Need an Organizational System?

There’s just something about sitting down, having a cup of coffee or tea and putting pen to paper. It’s so liberating to clear your mind from all the things you constantly think about and having them all in one place to better keep track of them.

We spend so much time in front of screens, and getting organized with a bullet journal or planner is a good alternative to the notes on your phone.

By getting organized, we stay focused on the things that are important to us, such as practicing self-care on a regular basis and setting our daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

If you answer some of these questions with a yes, it’s definitely time to get on top of the chaos with a bujo (bullet journal) or a planner.

  • Do you feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do?
  • Do you rush around and get to appointments last minute or too late?
  • Does your mind constantly wonder off instead of enjoying the moment you’re in?
  • Do you forget things?
  • Are your to-do lists, grocery lists, schedules, etc. spread all over the place?
  • Are you lacking time for self-care?

Self-Care Related Posts:

You’re probably feeling overwhelmed now nodding to all of the above questions. Don’t worry, I’ve got you. At the end of reading this post, you will know what planning system is best for you so you can finally get prepared and organized.

But, what’s the difference between a bullet journal and a planner? Let’s get to it!

Related: Sunday Planning For A Productive Week

Bullet Journal vs Planner

bullet journal vs planner
Example of a planner

Planner: Pros and Cons

What Is a Planner?

A planner is an organizational system that comes in the format of a calendar or agenda. You can stay on top of appointments and schedules by day, week, and year. You would usually buy them at the end of the year to get set up for the new calendar year.

However, you can also start in the middle of the year, if you’ve missed the right time (they’re also cheaper then).


  • Pre-defined system to save you time
  • Clear overview
  • Simple to fill out
  • Easy to stay on top of upcoming events
  • If the planner is small, you can take it everywhere with you


  • More expensive than a bullet journal (but there are also cheaper options)
  • You have to follow the outline of the planner
  • Not much room for creativity
  • You can only use it for the current calendar year
  • You can ‘t rip out pages if you’ve written down something wrong

Best Planners to Buy

bullet journal vs planner
Coboll Planner
planner 2023
BooQool Planner
planner 2023
Blue Sky Planner
planner 2023
ZICOTO Planner

Bullet Journal vs Planner

Bullet Journal: Pros and Cons

What Is a Bullet Journal?

Why are bullet journals better than planners?

A bullet journal is a much more creative organizational system than a planner. It’s basically a notebook (a blank space), that you can customize yourself and tailor to your needs. You can either buy a blank, lined, or dotted notebook.

A bullet journal is your place for EVERYTHING. Instead of having multiple to-do lists, grocery lists, etc., you write it all in the bullet journal.

A bullet journal can be used for writing down the following:

  • Thoughts
  • Daily & monthly goals
  • Life goals
  • Affirmations
  • Habits
  • Moods/Emotions
  • To-do’s
  • Projects
  • Ideas
  • Routines
  • Appointments
  • Spending activity


  • Cheaper than a planner
  • You can start a bullet journal any time
  • You can be super creative and build every page how you like it
  • You aren’t restricted to a certain year
  • Can be used until all pages are filled
  • Very visual
  • Once you have completed a task or wrote down something wrong, you can simply rip out the page


  • Takes more time to set up as you have to fill every page yourself
  • You have to be creative and think about what you need to put in
  • You can get overwhelmed by all the things you want to write about

Best Bullet Journals to Buy

PAPERAGE Lined Bullet Journal
PAPERAGE Dotted Bullet Journal
bullet journal vs planner
The Tree of Life Lined Journal
bullet journal vs planner
Dingbats Dotted Notebook

Can I Have a Bullet Journal And a Planner?

Still not certain, if you want to go with a bullet journal or a planner? It’s hard to make a choice, I know! So why not have both?

When having a bullet journal, you sometimes focus too much on your goals, habits, and moods, and forget about the appointments you have on for the week.

If you’re that type of person, I would buy a planner simply to keep track of appointments and events. Then have a bullet journal to track all of your routines, spending, etc. and to expand your growth-mindset.

Having both has worked really well for me over the years. In saying that, life constantly changes. One year, you feel like you need both, the next year, you might be happy with just a planner.

Go for what works best and feels right for you!

Bullet Journal vs Panda Planner

Have you been wondering what the difference is between a bullet journal vs the Panda planner?

Here are the main features of a Panda planner:

  • 3 bookmarks for monthly, weekly, and daily sections
  • Undated
  • Elastic band to keep closed
  • Inner pocket for storage

Monthly overview includes:

  • Month overview to schedule your events and appointments
  • Monthly focus & daily habit
  • Setting goals
  • Reflect on your month and develop a growth-mindset

Weekly overview includes:

  • Review your last week
  • Break down your projects into little steps
  • Plan how your next week can get better
  • Setting goals

Daily overview includes:

  • Develop positive habits by creating a morning routine
  • Manage your time wisely by scheduling tasks
  • Set 3-5 priorities each day
  • End-of-day review
Panda planner
Panda Planner

Hobonichi vs Bullet Journal

While the bullet journal is an empty notebook, the Hobonichi planner is a yearly planner showing the months and days.

However, unlike other planners, the Hobonichi planner leaves you with lots of room for creativity. This is another great system for combining both a journal and a planner.

bullet journal vs planner
Hobonichi Planner

Projo Planner

If you want the best of a bullet journal and a planner, then the PROJO is perfect for you! It combines all the goods features of both organizational systems.

A projo (project contract and journal) planner is undated and comes in a quarterly format. It helps you organize and complete your projects. It’s the ideal balance between structure and creativity.

The good thing is that you’re not tied to a certain year.

bullet journal vs planner
Undated Projo Planner

FAQs to Bullet Journal vs Planner

Why Do People Put Stickers in Planners?

Visualizing a planner is fun and motivates you to keep track of your events. Stickers are amongst the best bullet journal supplies.

bullet journal ideas
Planner Sticker Sheets

What Pen Should I Use for Bullet Journal?

bullet journal ideas
Planner Colored Pens

Is It Too Late to Start a Planner?

It’s never too late to organize your life and put structure into your daily routine. Having a plan in place makes you feel less overwhelmed and it helps you focus on the important things in life.

Can You Use a Planner as a Journal?

Yes, you can use a planner as a journal. Your planner already shows what you do each day, so it’s easy to switch it into a journal to track your habits, goals, and emotions.

What Goes Into a Bullet Journal Daily?

A bullet journal should consist of the daily tasks you want to accomplish as well as notes, appointments, and other ideas that pop up in your head. A daily bullet journal also helps you be accountable to follow the routines you have set up for yourself.

Why Do People Still Use Paper Planners?

People prefer to use paper planners to get time away from the screen of which we already have too much in a day. There’s just something about sitting down with a cup of tea and putting pen to paper. It’s calming and fuels your creativity.

Bullet Journal vs Planner: Before You Go . . .

I hope I was able to help you figuring out the difference between a bullet journal and a planner. Hopefully you can now make a choice about which one is best for you and your needs. Or maybe you realized that you need both 🙂

Let me know which one you prefer and which one helps you better to stay on top of your life. I’d love to hear about it!

I love using my planners and journals when planning ahead and to get my to-do’s in order. Check out the following posts:

If you need some bullet journal ideas, go check out these journaling prompts for beginners!

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About The Author

Saskia is a mom, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves sharing tips on self-care, personal growth, and productivity & organization. Find out more about her or get in touch with her here.

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