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What's the difference between a planner and a journal?

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

By definition, a planner is a place where someone's tasks and actions are laid out over a day, week or year. This could be a wall planners, a digital app, or a physical paper book. Things that need to be done, such as errands, chores and work get assigned a time to do them.

A journal on the flip side, is a record of thoughts, news and happenings during a person's day. It is a place where the writer can freely express themselves, reflect on their day and visualise their future. Journaling offers many benefits including:

  • emotional venting

  • a greater sense of self identity

  • a record of ideas

  • stress relief

  • organised thoughts

  • better sleep

  • more self confidence

  • boosted creativity

planner for mental health | anxiety planner | mindfulness weekly planner

Some amazing journal-keepers on Instagram are creating beautiful memoires of their family life, which I'm sure will be a joy to look back on in years to come. (wixey.scraps, home_hauls_planners and contagiouscreativityco, I'm taking about you!)


How to update a planner for mental health


Many of my journaling heroes have managed to find a grey area. A 'pournal', or a 'janner' if you will 🤭 Something between planning and journaling that combines productivity with daily reflection. This powerful combination will no doubt help these wonder women and men reach their life goals.


So if you're on #TeamPlanner, how can you get a little bit more 'journally' without detracting from your plans? Well, one thing you could do is allocate a small space in your layout to a gratitude list. This list isn't for those general things like a house or car, it's for those things that give you that warm, fuzzy feeling all of a sudden during the day. It could be a robin in your garden, the sound of your children laughing or the feelings of your warm duvet in the morning.


Gratitude is such a powerful tool, and it takes up very little room in your planner spread!


Easy steps to a mindfulness weekly planner

You could also try the daily reflection planner stickers from Smooze. These small, yet effective journal prompts have been designed to help you explore your feelings, in the privacy of your own planner. See which sticker resonates with you that day, and answer the question:


planner for mental health | anxiety planner | mindfulness weekly planner

Similarly, I would highly recommend tracking 'lessons learned' and 'wins for the week' in your planner. I'm hoping to write a whole blog post on this in the future, but these two items really are the yin and yang of journaling, to help you to gain a balanced perspective on the week you have just lived.


Want to know what my lessons and wins are for this week? Well, I've learned that my local supermarket car park has cameras (hello parking fine 🤦‍♀️), but my win is that I've hit 2,000 5-star reviews on Etsy. Wow! Thanks everyone! 🤯 Suddenly, the win makes me feel a bit better about the fine, plus I appreciate the lesson learned! What are your wins and lessons for the week?


Some planners also offer some brilliant intro pages to help you to gain perspective on your life and goals. Check out this emotional wellbeing page included in all Smooze planners where you colour code your emotions every day for a year:


planner for mental health | anxiety planner | mindfulness weekly planner

There are of course, many other things that your could do in your planner to get your creative juices flowing. A beautifully laid out planner spread can offer a huge level of satisfaction and calmness, similar to how tidying your house makes you feel. Get the washi tape and stickers at the ready!


So, are you ready to take your planner to the next level and embark on a bit of planner therapy? Follow me on Instagram @SmoozeShop for daily planner tips and the occasional planner meme!





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