Bullet Journals Vs. Planners: Which One Should You Use?

Hi, friends! It’s no secret that planning is an important part of being a college student. Planning helps us keep track of assignments/tests, appointments, and other commitments. Two of the most popular types of planners are bullet journals and traditional planners (such as Lilly Pulitzer or Vera Bradley). At some point in my life, I was torn between the two, so I did some research. I found that they both have their advantages, but depending on the person, one might be a better option than the other. In this post, I’ll help you decide which one works best for you: a bullet journal or a traditional planner.

Which planning system should you use: a bullet journal or a planner? If you're not sure, this post will help you decide!

Torn between a traditional planner and a bullet journal? I'll help you decide which one is best for your lifestyle Click To Tweet

A bullet journal is for you if:

You’re artistic

Bullet journals are perfect for those who love to doodle in their notebooks. There’s plenty of space for you to add your own artistic touch…

You want extra features not offered by a traditional planner

Arguably the best thing about bullet journals is that they’re so customizable. You can add features that aren’t included in typical planners, such as a list of goals, habit tracker, or a meal planner. So if you want features that are not included in a traditional planner, you should go for a bullet journal.

You can’t work with a traditional planner format

There are quite a few planner formats (hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly). If you haven’t found one that works for you, you should create your own! A bullet journal is the perfect way to create your own planning system if you can’t find one that works for you.

If you’d like to learn more about bullet journals, this website will be useful! (I’d also recommend scouring Pinterest and YouTube for tips on how to set up your bullet journal.)

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A traditional planner is for you if:

You don’t have the time or patience to create a bullet journal

Bullet journals require lots of time to write out and decorate. If you would rather focus on the actual planning rather than the setup, a traditional planner will work better for you. Plus, when you buy a traditional planner, it’s already pretty, so you don’t need to invest time making it pretty. If you don’t want to spend the time or energy decorating a bullet journal, you should go for a traditional planner.

If you’d rather use apps for things like habit tracking, meal planning, and goal setting.

Some bullet journalers include pages such as habits, meal planning, and goal setting in their journals. This is convenient, but unfortunately most traditional planners don’t have these pages. If you have apps that you already use for these functions, then a traditional planner might be better for you.

You like to plan ahead.

A bullet journal is created as time progresses, so you can’t plan too far ahead. This is especially inconvenient when your dentist tells you to come back in six months, but you haven’t gotten that far in your bullet journal, so you can’t check your planner to see when you’ll be available. For a girl who likes to plan ahead, a traditional planner is more convenient.

You don’t mind spending money

All you need to make a bullet journal is a small notebook and a few pens. On the other hand, a Lilly agenda costs around $20! Thankfully, there are cheaper options for pretty planners at Target or even at Walgreen’s, but they still won’t be as cheap as a bullet journal. If you don’t want to spend that much money, a bullet journal will be better for you.

Related:  The Art of Prioritizing

Here’s how I set up my traditional planner!


My Personal Opinion:
Personally, I like using a traditional planner. I’m not very artistic, nor do I have the time or patience to put together a bullet journal. I like to plan ahead. I use apps for my meal planning, habit tracking, and goal setting. I don’t feel the need to create my own planner. Honestly, I’d rather dish out $20 on a Lilly Pulitzer planner.

On the other hand, my little sister is very artistic. Regular planners are boring to her, so creating her own would work the best for her. I’m trying to get her into bullet journaling because I know hers would be absolutely beautiful.


In conclusion, both bullet journals and traditional planners have their advantages, but one might work better for one person than the other. If you’re an artistic person who wants extra features not offered by a traditional planner, I would recommend using a bullet journal. If you don’t have the time or patience to put together a bullet journal, and if you like to plan ahead, I’d recommend using a traditional planner.


Do you use a bullet journal or a traditional planner? Do you prefer one over the other? If so, why?