Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal? That is the question!

If you are anything like me, you like to drool over the stationery section looking for the perfect planner. It needs the right daily planner, a weekly layout, a monthly calendar, some blank pages. And because I’m big on productivity, some space for monthly reflections and the end of the year review.

Quite a tall order.

Oh, and cute, it has to be something I like to look at.

Over the years I have tried multiple planners. Kawaii Japanese ones, ones designed specifically for entrepreneurs, ones that promise my life will never be the same after using it. And after all that, it always comes down to just two. The Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal.

I’ll give you a breakdown of each. I believe that your personality plays a huge part in this decision and the only person who can decide which is the perfect solution for you is you. I’ll also share which I go for and why, maybe my insights will help you to decide.

a passion planner and rollbahn notebook on a desk along with pencils, clips and notebooks

Passion Planner Review

The Passion Planner is a pre-made planner designed not just as a daily journal but also has space for weekly focus and reflections. It’s beautifully made, printed in black and white and comes with a ribbon bookmark and a back pocket.

There is a choice of which day to start the week, Sunday or Monday.

And what I think is super smart is that they offer both dated and undated planners. So if you pick one up in the middle of the year, you are not wasting half a planner. This is a great idea for anyone wanting a planner that starts say in September rather than January. 

 Depending on the style, it now comes in 3 sizes. They also offer a free digital pages to download. If you are leaning towards the Passion Planner then I recommend downloading the PDF pages first and trying it out. You could print them at the different sizes to represent the size of the planner you have got your eye on and figure out which one would work best for you. 

The planner has a monthly layout, a double spread weekly pages and a monthly reflections page. There are also brainstorming and planning pages and blank pages at the back for extra notes.

The other thing that I love about the Passion Planner is that they contribute to many causes. When you buy a journal, the sales page shows which charity that journal supports, you can see all the different ways they give back here. As a consumer, I like to see what an impact my purchase is having.

The link at the bottom of the post will get you a discount.

a passion planner and fountain pen on a desk along with pencils, clips and notebooks

Pros of this type of planner

Compared to the Bullet Journal system, this physical planner is already to use. All you need is your pen! 

  • Helps you plan for your specific goal
  • Weekly planning
  • Monthly calendar
  • Blank pages for extra notes
  • Monthly review
  • Start any time of year
  • Purchase has a global impact

Cons of the using a Passion Planner

This is very much a personal thing. I like to use an A5 sized notebook because it fits in whichever bag I happen to be using. I have used many notebooks over the years and A5 is the size for me. But I found with the Passion Planner I was having to write really small to fit everything in. I wasn’t able to write at my natural size and use the planner successfully. Ultimately, this is why I gave up.

Another con is that for creative folk, it is quite restrictive. It is great for keeping focus but doesn’t allow for my creative needs except for the blank pages at the back.

Bullet Journal Review

The Bullet Journal, AKA the BuJo, is the brainchild of Ryder Carroll. You start with a blank journal (dotted grid pages are the preferred style of bullet journaling) and build out the journal to suit your needs. This is a great option if you can’t find a journal that works for you. Unlike pre-made planners, bullet journals take a little bit of time to set up. If you check out spread on Instagram or Pinterest you may get overwhelmed by some of the artistic spread people have. More of that in a minute..

First, check out Ryder Carroll explaining his system here. He has specific symbols for his BuJo. I like the fact that it is flexible to fit your needs, which may change over the course of a year, which a traditional journal doesn’t have. It is a great system for keeping what is important, in front of mind, but can be a bit overwhelming for bullet journal beginners.

I find the bullet journal method works well for both personal life, business planning and family needs, too. I’m able to combine everything into one journal rather than have the schlep 3 different planners around. 

It is also really easy to personalise with habit trackers (water intake tracking etc). Creative ideas, favourite things, gratitude logs and having your own layouts.

There are specifically designed notebooks for bullet journalling, I have seen them in places like Flying Tiger and Daiso, if you are on a budget this is a great option.

a rollbahn notebook and masking tape and pens on a desk along with pencils, clips and notebooks

Pros of using a bullet journal

The biggest is that you can truly make it your own. Ryder’s set up is efficient and minimalistic. It gets the job done. But as you will soon see, you don’t have to do it his way.

  • Helps you plan for your specific goal
  • Daily logs
  • Weekly spread
  • Monthly calendar
  • Blank space for extra notes or creative space
  • Review (as often as you like)
  • Start any time of year
  • Purchase can fit your budget

Cons of the using a Bullet Journal

The biggest drawback to Carroll’s system is learning it and implementing it. As busy moms, we don’t always have time to draw out a load of pages, then make sure all the page numbers are correct. If you are a perfectionist, it is super annoying if you make a mistake with the days of the week or something similar when you are writing out your spreads. It’s also to get caught up in the BuJo community and start comparing your own to some of the amazing artist BuJo’s out there.

The Third Option of Bullet Journal vs Planner…

What I do. I love a paper planner. It helps me organise my thoughts when I physically write things down. But I also use Google Calendar and have it set up with the family so we can all see what is happening and when. And I use Asana for all my work related planning and projects. I have systems set up for every part of my business and Asana, hands down, makes sure that everything ticks over as it should.

I use the A5 Delfonics Rollbahn Diary. It has a yearly calendar at the front, the pages are dotted grids and it has pockets at the back. The cover is hard, they release new design in October each year. Which I get quite excited about. I pick the designs I like then the boys buy it for me for Christmas. And what sets it above the previous two journals is that it is spiral bound. The only thing I don’t love is that it is printed on yellow paper.

I also don’t really follow Carroll’s way of doing things. My BuJo changes over the course of the year. Sometimes I have time to do that fancy pages and logging. Other times, I reduced it to a bit of a mad scrawl and braindump! 

My Big Secret For A Successful Daily Bullet Journal

Masking tape and stickers!

n open prollbahn notebook on a desk along with pencils, pens, masking tape, clips and notebooks

What I do is select a few favourite tape designs and create a key at the back of my BuJo. Then as I fill up my BuJo I add a bit of tape to the edge of the page so that I can quickly reference it. I also have the Delfonics removable bookmarks which I use to on pages that I often reference back to or are important.

I also use the narrow masking tape to mark out important dates through the calendar pages. Launches, holidays, work events etc. This serves as a quick reference when I’m planning. I’ve tried different layouts, I’ve found the best way is just to experiment and not get ahead of myself. many BuJoers will set out their full year as soon as they get their journal. I’ve learned over time that, that is a fool’s errand.

I also have this cute date and day tape which makes setting up a monthly spread a breeze. Doing it this way doesn’t take as much time and the great thing is, if I have free time, I can do the creative, arty-farty pages too. 

The downside is that I spend a small fortune on masking tape, stickers, and favourite pens!

To Wrap Up 

When it comes to deciding a Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal consider this:
For moms that are really strapped for time, the passion planner is a good choice. Take zero brain power to use, as it is all set out for you. The planners are beautifully made, and the company actively works towards having a global impact. Get 15% off using this link (terms and conditions apply).

​For moms that struggle to conform to a standard planner. Give Bullet Journalling a try. Don’t feel that you have to follow Carroll’s method. You can make the BuJo your own. The key with this is trying different systems and pick the layouts that work for you. If dailies work but weeklies don’t the ditch the weeklies. It’s not as if anyone is going to come around and demand to see your journal! 

Bullet journalling also fits for those on a budget. You can Bujo successfully with the cheapest of notebooks and a pen. And equally for anyone who is wired in a way that checklists rule their life, bullet journalling is suitable. Whatever you need, you can adapt your planning using a BuJo.


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