Naturally, since people use all of these planning devices to organize tasks and information, there is bound to be some overlap in functionality. But what are the differences and which will serve you best?
I’ll break down the similarities and differences between daily planners, bullet journals, and digital journals, and leave it to you to decide which you like best.
How did daily planners begin? A todo list? A calendar?
Examples of simple planners and diaries can be found throughout history. Perhaps the first planner similar to what we use today was created by Morris Perkin in the mid–1960s.
As lives became more complex, so did the ideas for pages one could add to planners to organize everything from daily tasks to long-term projects.
Day planners usually consist of a combination of:
- A monthly calendar for recording upcoming and recurring events
- A weekly calendar for weekly planning closer to the actual date. Used to organize and coordinate specific days and times for meetings, appointments, tasks, etc.
- A daily calendar for planning a step-by-step list of things to be done that day, using the monthly and weekly calendar to fill in day and time slots.
- A page for creating lists, recording ideas, or even journaling
- A contacts list for addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers
How it works:
A planner typically contains templated pages and calendars that are simply filled in with information relevant to the user. By following the intended use for the pages in a planner, the information is organized for easier viewing and planning.
The monthly calendar is used to record upcoming and recurring events that need a place to be recorded until weekly or daily planning is necessary.
Some people prefer to plan detailed tasks in their weekly calendars, while others prefer a daily view for more in-depth planning of time and resource allocation. There are sections for journaling, idea generation, project tracking, and even finance tracking.
An aspect of the planner that a person has to master is the back-and-forth nature of the data entry. If you have a project sheet with dates on it, those also need to be integrated into the monthly, weekly, and daily calendar, and then adjusted in all those places if anything changes. The same would apply to appointments and standing tasks. This means a lot of repetitive work with many chances for error.
- Helps keep you organized