Planning vs Journaling

I have realized that a lot of people talk about planning and journalling interchangeably. Though, in essence, they are slightly different. One of the key things that I have noticed in my planning is that I do them both at the same time.

For me, the main differences in the words are how the are defined and used. Planning to me is goal setting and task orientated. You plan out the thing that you are wanting to achieve that day/week/month.

Define: the process of making plans for something.

Journaling for me generally involves the practice of keeping a diary or journal. It’s there to explore thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. It is a much more free form style of writing and this can either be longhand or more creative.

Define: A personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis; a diary.

I both plan and journal throughout the day. But they have certain functions for me to ensure that I am keeping on track. This also ensures that I am not losing sight of the little things that make me happy.

So I am going to share with you the three main things that I do during my day. I hope this gives you some insight into my planning style and helps guide you to find yours.

Planning and Journaling


I get up at 6 most mornings if not a bit earlier and the first thing I do is my morning pages. This can be as much or as little as I want to write. If I were to put a strict page count on this I wouldn’t do it. I then spend some time looking at my day setting my intentions and goals for the day.

I find it really helpful to have a daily focus. This can be either work, home or blog related. I will have a specific task am I going to do to move my goals forward. No matter how big or small that is.

Mid-morning and it’s time for a quick check-in. I grab my planner and a cuppa and have a 10 min check in to ensure I am on task for the day. I review what I have done so far and break down what I am going to do next.


Lunchtime! This is a time to get away from the pc and check in with my planner and maybe do a bit of reflection on the day so far. I will write just a few sentences in my journal about how I have felt that morning.

After work, I’ll yet another check in to see what I have got done and what has been added to the list. I use a hybrid of multiple systems and this is influenced by the Bullet Journal Method and GTD (getting things done). I have a hard time explaining my system to people but trust me I am going to try next month.


After dinner, I will do a bit more reflection and get thoughts out of my head and then before bed, I will sit down and plan out the next day. I do a mind sweep of any niggling thoughts that pop up. These will either get written into the next day’s tasks or they will go onto Trello for further investigation.

I will also have a look at the next day’s appointments and see if there is anything that I need to prep – ya know food or parcels and whatnot. Once I am happy with how my day is looking I will do a bit more journaling and then put my head down.

I have for many years thought that I should have a separate planner and journal but once I just started to do it in between my weeks in my Bullet Journal it just clicked for me and I have not looked back.

I hope that this helps you with bringing the two together in a way that makes sense for you and your life.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m not sure how to “like” this post, but I do! This is a simple and straightforward explanation. I’m looking forward to reading as you explain your system!

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