Planners Vs Journals: Which One Should You Use?

Planners vs Journals: who wins? Read this post to find out if you should use a planner or a journal or both...

Planners vs Journals: who wins?

I love planners, highlighters, coloured pencils, ballpoint pens, to do list and anything else that gives me the illusion that I’m getting my life together
— Rebel Circus

That’s right. Planners give me that illusion that I’m getting my life together.

I love planners. Especially those beautifully coloured and artistically decorated (I AM NOT ARTISTIC– AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE) ones.

Hi there, My name is Grace and I am a “plannerholic.” I am a planner addict. Planners, notebooks, diaries, journals, pens, pencils, papers are my absolute favourite things.

There is a notebook for everything which are almost never filled before I grab the next one I find. And I still set alarms and log my schedules into my To-do apps, habits apps and other planner and organization apps I find on Google– because all of the notebook planning isn’t enough for my elephant-like memory.

I am that friend or sister you need to hide your new notebooks and pens from because I’ll definitely “take” them.

I derive an obsessive pleasure from planning out every detail of my life and ensuring there are organized and categorized. I am your typical pen and paper girl. I am obsessed.

I have been told several times that I have a “slight” obsessive-compulsive disorder about planning and organization, but I’ve found that the phrase that best suits people like me is– PLANNERHOLICS.

But, I love Journaling. Not the kind that reports the news. I journal worries, lists, lists of everything, questions, memories, ramblings, ideas, observations, thoughts, venting, prayers to God, the kind of stuff no one really gets to read (because that’s the point)– you get the idea.

I love it because alone with my pen and notebook, all I worry about is putting out those words in the way that pleases me. I don’t worry about my handwriting or advising, or teaching, or entertaining anyone.

Magic happens in those times. The magic is affirmation, imagination, validation, clarification. My feelings, ruminations, thoughts are free to grow and roam. The notebook receives them without judging. God sees them and smiles.

So with all this rambling, what really is planning? Journaling? Are you a Planner or a Journaller? Between Planners and Journals, which one should you use?


Plans are Nothing;
Planning is Everything…
–Dwight D. Eisenhower

For me, planning is basically everything you do to prepare yourself for the actions that result in the fulfilment of your big goals.

It is:

  • determining what my big goal is,
  • breaking down the goal into manageable bits,
  • determining, researching, analyzing everything (intellectual, human and financial resources) that will help me achieve that big goal(even if that includes reading, learning some new skills or taking some courses, or breaking some habits, or fostering new relationships),
  • determining the things or the lack of that might hinder or sabotage the achievement of that goal and figuring out ways they can be avoided, curbed or dealt with,
  • figuring out what actions I need to take quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily to achieve my big goal,
  • sometimes, this planning is done in my Journal notebook- as a journaling activity and I get to use each section listed above as a prompt,
  • then I transfer them to my planner and schedule them.
  • My daily planning simply involves breaking down the predetermined actions into small tasks that can be completed within 24 hours and scheduling them, then ticking them off when done (it doesn’t always go this smooth– because– PROCRASTINATION, PERFECTIONISM)

There are a lot more elaborate definitions and examples of planning you can find on Google, but I’ll take the wild bet that my “simple” definition and illustration is sufficient.



Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
–William Wordsworth

Journalling simply is writing about yourself or the life happening around you daily.

It is according to the words of William Wordsworth: “filling your paper with the breathings and content of your heart.” or

“telling yourself to yourself and throwing the burden on your book and feeling relief afterwards” according to Anne Lister, or

in the words of Susan Sontag, “going beyond expressing yourself more openly than you could to any person and creating yourself in the process.” or

“it is bringing out all the things that lie buried deep in your heart” — Anne Frank

Journalling takes different forms. You can basically write as you are inspired. Or you can subscribe to journalling blogs. Or use Pinterest to get some prompts and inspiration.

There is a big difference between planning and journaling.

So which are you? Planner? or a Journaller?

You can be both. And it is okay to be both.

So, Planners vs Journals: Which one should you use?

Obviously, I’ll advise you to use both.

They serve different purposes and functions. And both are an absolute personal development tools or activities.

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Planners vs Journals: who wins? Read this post to find out if you should use a planner or a journal or both.

Hi, I'm Grace

Personal Growth + Blogging Coach for Introverts

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