Bullet Journal vs. Planner

Bullet Journal vs. Planner

What are some of the differences between bullet journals and traditional planners?

How do you decide to use the bullet journal method (traditional or modified) or one of the many planers on the market? Let’s look at some of the differences and similarities of each style of planning.

Bullet journal example

Bullet Journal Basics:

Ryder Carroll is credited with creating the Bullet Journal Method. Find his website and more details on his method here. I do enjoy a good Bullet Journal because I can get very creative. It gives me the ability to change layouts daily, weekly or monthly. Which is great for the busy mom on the go or the entrepreneur with a mile-long to-do list. The basis of bullet journaling is that it is a minimalistic way to plan and keep up with your to-do list. At its core Bullet Journaling is using an analog system with a key in a type of running to-do list. You use the key to track what has been completed and what still needs to be done. 

What it has evolved to is an artistic outlet to keep up with your day to day, memory keeping, habit tracking and so much more. Colorful drawings, doodles and sketches, stickers and printable pages have made it very easy to let your artistic ability soar while bullet journaling. 

Traditional Planners:

Unlike bullet journals, traditional planners are already “drawn out” or “set up” Although, you can decorate the planner still in any way you would like. For example drawing, stickers, picture inserts or decorative dashboards. Traditional planners at its core is a book of calendars. Usually with a mixture of yearly, monthly, weekly and daily calendars. Depending on the type of planner it can be highly customizable with inserts and pages. 


There are several different sizes of traditional planners as well as different bindings. From micro planners to U.S. letter-sized planners and so much in between. Bound, spiral, disc or binder/rings. Are you a vertical, horizontal or dashboard planner? There are so many choices and in some systems, you can mix and max to make your planner your very own! Some choices in planner systems include:

In the end, how you plan is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong way to get it done. What works for one person may not work for another. And it may take you several attempts, brands, styles, and systems to find your planner peace. Getting there is half the fun. It doesn’t matter if you bullet journal, just write out to-do list in a notebook or use planner system. Want to see how I decided on Using the Happy Planner system? Check out this post about my planner journey. 


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