Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal: Pros and Cons + How to Build a Passion Planner Bullet Journal for the Best of Both

The pros and cons of the Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal plus how you can bullet journal in the Passion Planner for the all in one solution so you can get more done in less time.

Note: This post contains affiliate or referral links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.   

The new year starts and so does the confusion. You start looking for that perfect planner or tool to make THIS year the best year yet. The one planner or bullet journal that will help you accomplish what you have your sights on.

But the more you look, the more overwhelmed you get with all the choices in the market. Well, I’m here to make it super simple for you with this planner comparison of the Passion Planner vs. Bullet Journal so you can decide which is better for you.

If you’re like me and you want the best of both, then I’ll even show you how to bullet journal in a Passion Planner so you can have the ultimate planning solution and everything you need in one place so you can get more done in less time.

First, we’ll start with the basics….

What is a Bullet Journal?

I discovered bullet journaling a few years ago and it revolutionized the way I organize the chaos of my scatterbrained mind. The theory of bullet journaling started by Ryder Carroll is simple…jot down your ideas quickly and index your pages so you can always find what you need when you need it. The bullet journal system teaches you: 

  • how to create simple monthly, weekly, daily and future logs
  • how to use signifiers to keep track of to dos, their status (done, in process, migrated, canceled), events and notes to enable rapid logging of your thoughts and ideas
  • how to migrate tasks 
  • how to develop collections/lists
  • how to index all your information so you can find it easily

It does not need to be fancy or have a predefined layout unless you want it to. You just go with the flow and what works best for you. Bullet journaling is the ultimate DIY planner, as Ryder says on his blog “all you need is a notebook and a pen” and the rest is up to you.

Pros and Cons of Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling Pros:

  • it’s cheap to start – you really only need a notebook and a pen. use what you have and check out the free videos
  • it’s simple – something comes into your mind, you write it down, and index the page number so you can find it later
  • you can make it whatever you need it to be
  • it’s flexible – it’s easy to change your layout or mind if a particular layout isn’t working for you

That’s really all there is to it.

Bullet Journaling Cons:

  • information could be hard to find if you do not keep up with the indexing (I’m terrible at indexing info so I prefer to put labels on page flags so I can find what I need easily)
  • it can take more time to draw or map out what you need to see every week or day

Is a bullet journal right for you?

See this Planner vs Bullet Journal: Which is Right for You? + Free PDF post to help you decide if a bullet journal is right for you. I think a bullet journal is a great place to start if you are overwhelmed. By drawing out what you really want and need to see and do every day, it will help you figure out if a bullet journal is right for you or if there is a planner on the market that matches your needs.

Passion Planner Journals

Passion Planner makes blank journals now so you can have the same awesome 120 GSM paper in your bullet journal.

Here are more easy bullet journaling tips for beginners.

My thoughts about bullet journaling

The bullet journal system works especially well with the principles taught in David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity because you can keep separate lists or “collections” of your projects big and small and the next actions you need to complete them. 

As a list-maker extraordinaire, the bullet journal system of getting my ideas into various collections in one notebook is very appealing. I have collections for the books I want to read, house projects, financial to do’s, tracking progress on my blog courses, places we want to travel to. Seriously, every goal, dream or to do is in a list in my collections. 

Now with the bullet journal, you create your own monthly logs and weekly and/or daily to do lists. I LOVED the simplicity and flexibility of this method. However, the problem I had with that was that it was a lot of handwriting for me to create what I needed my planner to be. With hands that have been damaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis, writing a lot tends to hurt my hands.  So I needed a planner that had the premade monthly and weekly layouts but still had plenty of room for my epic collections of lists…and then I found the Passion Planner.   

 What is a Passion Planner?

Passion Planner covers 2017-2023

The Passion Planner is a planner company founded by Angelia Trinidad. She was a broke college student who needed a planner to help her find and pursue her passions. She created the Passion Planner and has grown it to a successful business that gives back to nonprofit organizations and it’s community. The Passion Planner interior pages are black and white with clean lines to help you focus on what you need to do.

I wrote a full weekly Passion Planner review where you can find:

  • pictures inside the Passion planner
  • pros and cons of the Passion Planner
  • who the Passion Planner is right for
  • best pens and accessories to use and pdf downloads
  • Passion Planner discount codes
  • if the Passion Planner is worth the money

Pros and Cons of the Passion Planner

Passion Planner Pros:

  • minimalist design helps you focus on what needs to get done
  • more notes pages than most planners is ideal for list lovers or people who have a lot of things to keep track of
  • equal space on weekly spread for personal and work to do lists helps promote work-life balance

Passion Planner cons:

  • could be more expensive than a bullet journal (depending on notebook you choose)
  • book bound might be a con if you don’t have a lot of desk space or prefer a spiral

See my Passion Planner Review for even more pros and cons on the Passion Planner.

You can visit Passion Planner’s website to download free printables of their various pages to try it out and see if it works for your planning and lifestyle needs.   

Is the Passion Planner right for you?

I wrote about who the Passion Planner is right for and if it’s worth the money in my Passion Planner Review. I think the Passion Planner is the best planner for:

  • students (especially teenage boys, 2 of my 3 sons are using it and i’ve seen them achieve their goals)
  • people who want to bullet journal but don’t have the time
  • people who want to keep memories for the year in one book

You can visit Passion Planner’s website to download free printables of their various pages to try it out and see if it works for your planning and lifestyle needs.   

I think both the bullet journal and Passion Planner are excellent options but I found it worked best for me when I did a hybrid bullet journal planner and I bullet journaled IN my Passion Planner. I saved my hands from drawing out all the layouts and used all those beautiful notes pages for my collections, notes and trackers. Here’s how…

How to Bullet Journal in a Passion Planner

The minimal design allows you to get things done and add your personal, colorful flair to it if you wish to.  You decide if you want a minimal or fun and creative outlet for your bullet journal. Passion Planner’s minimal slate allows you the freedom to do either or both depending on your modd.

Please note: I used my 2017 Limited Edition Blush Bird and Bees Classic size Passion Planner to bullet journal in so pictures below are from that version. The discount code shown no longer works The 2023 planners have the same layouts as what is shown below so this post still works to show you how awesome bullet journaling in your Passion Planner can be. 


Big Dreamsetting with the Passion Planner Roadmap

The Roadmap is one of my favorite things about the Passion Planner. It encourages you to think about “if i could be anything, do anything or have anything, what would it be?” That’s the basis of your roadmap and then you start thinking about what you want in 3 months, one year, 3 years and in your lifetime.  My biggest goals and highest priority projects are in this roadmap. Here’s what mine looked like in January when I started using this planner. It’s amazing to see as I look back now, we’ve actually accomplished quite a few of these!

Monthly Calendars 

The monthly calendar helps you break down how you will achieve your goals. With spaces to track

  • personal and work focus
  • people to see
  • places to go
  • things to learn
  • personal and work projects
  • mindmap of this month’s gamechanger

there is a great overall view of your month.  Personally, I wasn’t making good use of the monthly calendar. I keep my appointments and hard deadlines in my Google Calendar on my phone since that’s the one I have with me when running errands. I didn’t feel like it was worth the time to copy those appointments into the monthly calendar and then again onto the day it happens.

Passion Planner monthly calendar

Some other possible uses for the monthly calendar that I’ve done before and heard others do: 

  • Daily gratitude/small victories journal. Write down one good thing about every day.
  • Happy memories tracker
  • Editorial calendar for my blog
  • social media tracker
  • Bill and expenses tracker
  • Ideal days tracker (pictured below) for achieving work-life balance
  • Top 3 daily priorities tracker

I also cut little post it notes to cover the “people to see”, “places to go” since I put people and places to go into my weekly layout.I turn them into boxes where I track “books read”, “family movies” we’ve watched and “happy mail sent” since those are worthy goals to me and it’s fun to look back on and see what I’ve done. It’s much easier to use the template Passion Planner provides and just adjust the pieces I need to.

For the ideal days tracker, I came up with this to help me develop my ideal routine to achieve the work-life balance I desire. I used to work full-time outside the home and the hardest part was feeling like my life wasn’t balanced. Even though now I want to earn an income working from home, I am not willing to sacrifice the work-life balance I’ve worked hard to achieve.

So I use this tracker to help me stay focused on the routine I created for myself, the one that helps me feel the best. If you need help creating your ideal routine, you can download my Craft Your Ideal Routine and Ideal Days Tracker Workbook here.   At the end of each day, I count up how many boxes I checked off out of the total possible for that day and come up with an ideal day score. Then I color in the box underneath it based on the color code (blue are my best days, green are pretty good, yellow is OK and red is downright stinky) so I can see at a glance how my days went and why they were good/bad.  


Subscribe to my Planning and Productivity Newsletter and get the Craft Your Ideal Day Routine Workbook and Tracker to help you create and effective routine, define what an ideal day looks like for you and track your routine for 31 days to assess objectively how many ideal days you had. 



My goal is to then color in these boxes into a Year in Pixels spread on the gridded notes pages in the back of my Passion Planner  (like this one from fischrjournals on Instagram).


You can see also in this spread how I start to use a bullet journal technique for tracking my tasks done in both the ideal days tracker and the monthly personal and work goals (marked with an “X”), in process (marked with a “/”) and migrated to the next month (typically marked with an arrow “–>” once I move the task to the next month which I haven’t done yet). I also taped in my Instagram challenges I wanted to complete and taped in a checklist for Flylady cleaning zone tasks. These simple adjustments helped me make better use out of the monthly calendar. And I was loving it in September.   


Weekly Layouts

The weekly layout for the Passion Planner is just perfect for me. With spaces to track

  • this week’s focus
  • good things that happened (a space just for my small victories…yippee!)
  • personal and work to-do lists (equal space for each y’all to help me with work-life balance)
  • time tracking for 6am to 10:30pm in half hour increments
  • space of infinite possibility (I use for my menu plan and nowadays a budget tracker though pictured below I was doing a mini habit tracker)
  • inspirational quote and challenge to do

Again, in the to do list section you can see how I use bullet journal signifiers to denote whether a task has been completed (marked with an “X”), in process (marked with a “/”) and migrated to the next week’s (marked with an arrow “–>”). If a task was canceled because I didn’t feel like it needed to be done or it went back onto one of my lists in the back, I would mark it with a “–“.

I also use my weekly layout to track how my time is spent in my 4 main categories of task. In this case, yellow represents home, green is family, blue is my blog, and pink is for self-care. I color in both the tasks and the time blocks spent so I can easily see at a glance how well balanced my life and work was. In the picture above, it was the first week of summer, so we spent time in mom’s summer camp and I tried keeping my 3 boys busy! I think keeping track of how I spend my time is the single most important thing I can do to boost my productivity each week. And it’s so easy to do!   

Monthly (or Weekly Reflections)

In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity , David Allen suggests conducting a weekly review so that you can know how your time was spent, what went well, what went wrong and how to improve upon it next week. And the Passion Planner is the first planner I have seen where we have enough space and are encouraged to do that review. In addition, we are encouraged to think about our best memorable moments and update our Passion Planner Roadmaps for goals we accomplished so we can keep motivated to stay on track. 

Now the Passion Planner says to do this monthly, but this post from anadel.plans on Instagram showed how she did the exercise weekly:

I loved that idea, so that’s what I started doing too since it is easier for me to remember how the week went every Sunday then it is to remember how the month went on the 1st of the following month. I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast, let alone what happened earlier in the month I might need to remember. So weekly reflections it is for me…

Doing a weekly review in the Passion Planner of how your time was spent and how you can improve upon it next month.

There is also an End of Year Reflection using this same format.  


Notes Pages

Now here’s where it gets fun for list lovers like me and where you can really bullet journal in a Passion Planner. These various lists are what bullet journalers consider “collections.”  I love the large size Passion Planner so these are full blank pages where I can write everything down I want to do and keep track of. And of all the planners I’ve had over the years, the Passion Planner gives the most notes pages, 20 blank and 20 dotted.

Even with all my crazy lists, I still haven’t filled it up.  Again, in the to do list section you can see how I use bullet journal signifiers to denote whether a task has been completed (marked with an “X”), in process (marked with a “/”) or canceled (marked with a “–“).    Here are some ideas for how I use the notes pages: 

  • Things to do to make our house a dream home, one of my biggest priorities
  • Laundry and cleaning schedule routines
  • Home maintenance schedule
  • Financial to do’s
  • Ways to save money or earn more money
  • Photo albums I need to create
  • Our travel bucket list
  • Individual kids lists to help make their dreams come true
Passion Planner notes pages are perfect for keeping your bullet journal collections. Here I have all the things I want to do to make our house into our dream home, one of my biggest goals of the year.
  • Self care projects I’d like to do
  • Things to do on a bad health day (self care)
  • Productivity books to read
  • My planning routine
  • Easy meals and recipes to try
self care projects and my planning routine in my Passion Planner notes pages
books to read trackers in my Passion Planner bullet journal collections
  • Bible reading tracker
  • exercise and fitness tracker
  • blog statistics and Elite Blog Academy* course completion tracker
blog stats and Elite Blog Academy course completion trackers in my Passion Planner bullet journal


passion planner pocket

A full size pocket in the back to hold little goodies.  

Passion Planner Sizes

  • small (5.8″ x 8.3″),
  • medium (6.9″ x 9.8″),
  • and large (8.3″ x 11.7″) 

Note: these sizes are for the 2018 Passion Planners, for 2020, there are 3 sizes small (5.8″ x 8.3″), medium (6.9″ x 9.8″), and large (8.3″ x 11.7″) . Here’s a size comparison from the outside…the blush pink is the large size that are all pictured above and the purple small is the undated one I have just to keep track of my health and wellness. I have a medium also that I just have to add to these pictures for you! 

The Passion Planner helps you think through your true passions in life and with monthly goals and reflection pages helps you work towards those goals you set. See how the Passion Planner compares to 10 other planners on the market in my ultimate planner comparison with a free downloadable comparison chart.


To see the size difference, you can print up the different sizes and test them out to see what works for you on Passion Planner’s website.


It can be tough to decide whether to use a bullet journal or a planner but I hope this post shows you the pros and cons of the Passion Planner vs Bullet journal and how to bullet journal in the Passion Planner for an easy bullet journaling solution.


More Bullet Journal Planner Posts

More Planner Review Posts Like This You Might Enjoy: 

Do you prefer a bullet journal or a planner? Why settle for one or the other when you can bullet journal in a Passion Planner and keep all your fabulous thoughts and ideas in one place! If you need an all in one planning solution and like the feel of a book bound planner like I do, then check out the Passion Planner, download the free printables and take it for a test drive. I bet you’ll love it!


  1. I snooped your reading list, if you like Lisa See, you will love The Tea Girl on Hummingbird Lane . Its her best book IMO, if you havent read it yet its a must read 🙂

  2. This is such a great post! I’ve finally disciplined myself to follow my planner and journal every day. It has taken so long to get to that point of focusing my attention to it. For so long I had been able to keep it all in my memory. With two kids and a husband not to mention my own schedules it’s no longer attainable. This definitely inspires me to take it to the next level. Very well thought out.

  3. thank you for this in-dept look into how to “bullet Journal.” I’ve yet to make my own but it looks like a great way to stay organized. Thanks for sharing it with us at #OMGHWW

  4. Thank you for sharing your ideas for the Passion Planner. They have been very useful to me. I have been attempting to subscribe to your blog for some time now as I am interested in the Ideal Day workbook and habit tracker. I understand they are only available with a subscription and though I have made several attempts, I have yet to receive a confirmation email for subscribing to your blog. I find that as a Lupus patient, it is very pertinant to my situation. Would you mind letting me know the best way to remedy this situation as I believe the ideal day habit tracker is the tool that will assist me be more accountable to myself. Once again, thank you for sharing and hope to hear something soon regarding the habit tracker.
    Have a Wonderful Day,

  5. I haven’t tried this kind of tracking activities, but it definitely is something worth considering. I like how colorful you’ve made it. Plus, I like that there is a spot for almost every aspect of your life.

  6. Hi, I’m a friend of April’s (Stories of Our Boys), just back here again to read the full post about the Passion Planner. I’m getting ready to set mine up for the year. Thanks so much for your thorough explanation of how you used yours and all the tips! Can’t wait to get started. ~Amy

    1. Hi Amy, setting up the Passion Planner is so fun, I’m still working on my 2018 as well. I’m so glad you found this post helpful, if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow me at @momssmallvictories because I share lots of pictures of my planner in action and how I’m setting up this year’s. Best of luck and I’d love to hear and see how you set your planner up and use it.

  7. I’m gonna have to say this is the best blog post I’ve read about planning EVER! I’ve been using a passion planner for about two years now, with varying degrees of success. I’ve been reading on and off about bullet journaling and have been really intrigued by the idea but somewhat daunted by the scope of it. And here you are with all these great wonderfully organized ideas that I can actually USE! Thank you for this beautiful and helpful post. I’m feeling more motivated already. Now I just need to figure out what the heck I did with my planner….

  8. I feel the same way. I want to be creative!! But it is so difficult for people who think logically. I guess logic can be creative to. I just haven’t seen it yet. I admire those who can create with out plan.

  9. By far my greatest struggle is keeping it all straight. I wear so many hats in this wonderful life and it’s hard to manage it all sometimes. I, too, enjoy bullet journaling but I feel like I spend too much time drawing things out (although I really enjoy doing that!) and sometimes miss opportunities to simply get to work. I have been curious about the passion planner as it seems a great compromise between the two journaling/planning ideas.

    Love your blog! Found you in the blogger’s toolkit! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


  10. I’ve begun to think about pursuing a PhD. This is an exciting and scary idea. The planner would help me figure out how to plan out the steps needed to start working towards that goal.

  11. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway which would be ideal for me. I enjoy using a journal as it gives me hope and enjoyment. I am dealing with my health issues, RA and hoping that I will be able to travel, feel stronger, have the energy and stamina which I had several years ago and look forward to a quality of life which has been missing. This is my priority and has become my entire focus since it is vital that I conquer this difficulty. A journal would be a real treasure for me as I would record my thoughts, hopes, dreams and appointments.

  12. What a great post! I’ve always wondered about bullet journaling and I love Passion Planner! Thanks so much for this!

    1. Thank you ElleBee, I wish I could be more creative and my hands could handle doing a bullet journal. But the passion planner is functional and fun for me so I am a huge fan and I found ways to incorporate my favorite bullet journal elements into it. So glad I can finally give this one away, good luck if you entered to win it!!

    2. I feel that when I am more organized and though out, life runs smoother. I have a tendency to start something and then I get out of that habit and the wheels fall off. I would like to be consistent with my planning and I believe that this would help me with that goal.

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