Planner or Bullet Journal?

Hello Deskorators,

It is time to ask an incredibly profound planner question! Planner or bullet journal? Bullet journal or planner? Essentially, they both are doing the same thing, so why is it that they come in two different camps? Let’s put the two up to a little challenge shall we?

The Function

The ultimate goal here for both a planner and a bullet journal is to help you organise your time efficiently. The can both be set out to help you plan out your days, weeks, months and even years if you wanted to. However, both the planner and bullet journal have evolved to include much more than future plans.

Planners are great for keeping information you need on hand, such as contacts, notes, goals etc and bullet journals are renown for their collection lists such as bucket lists, your to read list, or watch list. Of course, these can be switched and swapped around, and you often see goals and personal information coming into bullet journals and bucket lists entering our planners, but which does it better?

For me, the planner is better. Although bullet journals are completely adaptable (we will get to this in just a moment), you are incredibly limited to how much you can stuff into one notebook. However, with a planner you have the opportunity to add in things and remove them when they no longer fit your needs, and you are able to have much more room to play around with to plan out your day!


Ringbound, coiled, disc or strings – which kind of planner do you go for? Horizontal or Vertical? Ok, you might be a bit stuck here if you enjoy planning all over the place. What size planner? Pocket, personal, A5, small, medium, large? This is a little overwhelming right? This comes with all the advantages though. The structure of ringbound planners allows you to get rid of things, and add them in a chronological way, without the need to constantly flip around pages.

The inserts themselves, whether they came with the planner or you bought/made some, will always have a degree of structure to them as well.

Notebook… or notebook? Apart from choosing your preferred size, there isn’t an awful lot more you need to stress over when choosing a bullet journal. You can make the option whether to keep the standard dot grid or convert to lines if you need that, but other than the type of paper, you don’t have half the hassle when it comes to find your best friend in stationery form, which can make the Bullet Journal much more accessible if the thought of trying out a million planners until you find the right one worries you!

When it comes to the planning part though, there is no structure what so ever. You have to completely design your own structure and manually create it every day, week or month, which if you would prefer something already done for you, the bullet journal may not be the way to go.

Creativity & Personalisation

I think it is safe to say here that on the whole, the bullet journal provides the most opportunity to get creative. You start with a notebook… that is it. There is no structure at all. Despite this being a con in the previous round, there is a massive advantage to this. You can personalise your planner and create it exactly how you want, with no worries on trying to work on someone else’s inserts or being confined in space because of printer cut off lines. You have the full page to do whatever your heart desires.

This doesn’t mean to say, that planners cannot be customised at all. Erin Condren planners are the hardest to customise as they are coiled, making it extremely hard to add anything extra in, unless you add it as an extra option when buying the planner. However, ringbound planners and disc planners can have inserts added to them. Therefore, if the diary in the planner doesn’t suit you, you are able to buy inserts which suit your lifestyle a bit more.


Overall, the bullet journal is the cheaper option, when you simply go for the basics. You can buy a smart price notebook from ASDA, and a pack of black ballpoint pens for £1, and for less than £3 you have a planner. Of course, price is subjective. The most popular bullet journal (and the original) Leuchtturm 1917’s A5 Bullet Journal is currently priced at £19.95 on their website (approximately £15 on other sites such as Amazon). If you then want to add extras to that such as nice pens, colouring pens or highlighters, and perhaps some washi tape for a little added flair, your cheap planner alternative can soon mount up to around £50.

For £50, you can get a Kikki K or Filofax, some of the most popular ringbound planner companies currently on the market. However, if this a little out of your price range, then Wilko sell planners between £5-£10. This makes it cheaper than a single Leuchtturm 1917 Bullet Journal alone, before you add the accessories!

Planner or Bullet Journal?

So… Planner or Bullet Journal? Bullet Journal or Planner? At Deskorators, although we have a soft spot for bullet journals, the planner is definitely the go to planning method, as they are sturdy, big, and can be as chunky or thin as you like them to be.

If you are struggling, a ringbound planner over a bullet journal or a fixed planner such as an Erin Condren, might be your best bet. Due to the rings, you are able to customise it in the same way as a bullet journal – you can even buy dot grid paper and put it in – but you get the planner feel!

Until next time…

Amy x

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