Bullet Journal vs. Traditional Planners

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It seems everywhere you look these days planners and bullet journals have become a cult following all of their own. On Pinterest, Facebook, at the hobby stores, and among friends – the time, money, and effort put into decorating and using them are astounding.

If you’ve been interested in starting a bullet journal or planner of your own but don’t quite know which one is for you, I’m going to give you a quick breakdown of some of the popular options to help you decide.


Bullet Journal – You can get started on Bulletjournal.com. They have become much more decorative in addition to utilitarian. Bullet journals are basically a blank book where you can make bulleted lists, notes, and calendars. You can track your spending, income, and goals in a bullet journal as well.

Bullet journals are fantastic for people who like more freedom in their planning or want a very simple list form.  All you need to get started is a notebook and pen. Many people choose the dot grid paper style for bullet journaling. You can get creative and use various colored markers, pens, washi tape, stickers and other items to make it your own.


How quickly you fill up your bullet journal depends on what you use them for. They tend to fill up much quicker than a traditional planner, as you can use them to replace a planner, notepad, and other items.

Some of the traditional planners you have probably really heard about or have seen a lot about are …


The Happy Planner – Happy Planners are a traditional-style planner that are broken down into a 1-month double page spread as well as weekly spreads with larger squares and more areas to combine personal, family, and work all in one planner.

They have beautiful covers and are decorated throughout as well. They include things like quotes, a list of things that you’re reading, listening to, etc. at the beginning of each month. So it makes The Happy Planner a fun little journal of sorts as well to look back and see your lists.

You can buy accessories like stickers, various inserts for things like notes, meal planning, and quite a bit more. They come in a few different sizes, and you can change out the binding discs on the side or take out and add pages as you go along. It’s ever-evolving!



Erin Condren Life Planner – Ah… Erin Condren, often considered the Cadillac of planners. They come with many options for beautiful unique covers customized with your name or your business name, full monthly calendar spreads, coil options, different size options -7” by  9 “ and  8.5” by 11 inches, a yearly overview, and encouraging quotes.

The Erin Condren Life Planner is a bit more structured than either the Happy Planner or the Bullet Journal. Customizing it does take a little bit longer too, so it’s usually about 2 to 3 weeks until your planner arrives. If you just like the look and style of Erin Condren, but don’t need all the bells and whistles, then you can order one off Amazon and have it in 2 days.

Like the Happy Planner there are coordinating accessories you can grab to spruce it up – stickers, page tabs, pens, elastic bands, etc…

Each of us has a unique preferred method for organization and time management.  Research your planner or bullet Journal before starting to make sure it’s the one for you.  I love how each of the options above gives you plenty of room for making it customizable and showing off your personality.  How rigid or relaxed your planner will be is up to you, whatever works with your personality best.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. I am a bit of a planner addict (ahem, 8 planners!) and completely agree! I have multiple planners to help me organize the various areas of my life. I don’t use each one every day but have found planning peace by experimenting with all. Thanks for your tips & recommendations:)

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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