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Journaling and planning: what's the difference?

January 07, 2024
In this article, we discuss and compare planning and journaling: two concepts that are frequently used in our blog and social media.
Journaling and planning: what's the difference?
Photo (c) Jonna Studio
In short, planning is more future- and goal-oriented, and journaling deals with capturing the present moment or past events. Planning is about increasing productivity and striving for goals, whereas the journaling practice is about valuing what we already have. The two aspects are combined in the bullet journaling method, where both planning, habit-tracking and daily notes and impressions are combined in a single notebook. I wrote a little more about bullet journaling in a previous post (see here).

Broadly speaking, paper planners can be divided into two: planners with a fixed year and structure, and so-called free planners. A large number of planners belong to the first group, i.e. those that have a specific structure printed in advance and that always start in January, e.g. the Leuchturm1917 planners offered in our store. In their case, it is possible to choose different designs and sizes, depending on your planning habits and how much writing space you need every day. For example, "Daily Planners" (Leuchturm1917 Daily Planner), have a whole page for each day, whereas "Weekly Planners" (Leuchturm1917 Weekly Planner), fit a whole week on one or double-A5 pages. In most cases, they also include monthly and annual overviews for long-term planning.

The second group of planners includes "free planners," which have a minimum structure but are not related to any year or month and which you can start when you need to and do not have to wait until January (e.g. Trolls Paper Free Planner).  

Thirdly, you can set up a planner in any notebook, e.g. using the bullet journal method, or another organization system. Small journaling cards or notecards, such as Pion Planner Paper Set or Trolls Paper notepads (Weekly Memo, Daily Memo and To-Do-List Memo) are also helpful for setting up your own planner system. In Jonna Studio, we use many different planners, e.g. Hobonichi Techo Planner for planning and capturing our personal lives, Leuchturm1917 Paperback B6+ dotted notebook for organizing the admin side of the store, etc.

While by using planners we are trying to maximize our productivity at any moment, then journaling is exact the opposite. In short, journaling is more about the activity or the (creative) process itself, and less about the outcome.  Journaling invites you to rest and feel good about where you are because everything we do does not have to be useful or productive :) Journaling practice is a diverse field and includes many different ways to journal, including junk journaling, gratitude journaling, art journaling, moon journaling, travel journaling etc. The notebook does not have to be written, you could also keep a visual diary (read about art journaling here).  You can even use your planner for journaling, like I do with my Hobonichi Techo Planner which I use to record my life with my daughter.

In Jonna Studio, we are passionate about both, though we gravitate towards journaling. 

Find a selection of various notebooks and planners here.

Check out all our product categories here.

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Thank you for being here,
Until next time,


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