Paper vs Digital Planner

Using a planner tool is not an option but a necessity if you are looking to be more productive, focus, and spend your time wisely towards activities that will move you closer to your goals. Getting things out of your head to a paper or a screen is the smartest way to be organised, but the question is, which one is better to use, paper or digital planner?

I get asked this question often, and my answer has always been that no one can solely depend on a digital planner or paper planner when it comes to planning goals, managing schedules, To-Do lists and notes. There are merits and demerits for each of those kinds of planners. Nevertheless, you have to have a basic tool you will use to capture information and as a roadmap for your daily activities. So which one will win the contest – paper vs digital planner? First, let us quickly consider the pros and cons of the two planner tools.

Digital Planners

Digital PlannerNo doubt whatsoever that digital planners are becoming increasingly popular these days. The reason why they are well liked is quite obvious. Most people go about with their mobile devices all the time, which makes it extremely easier to get access to any information on the go. You also can effortlessly schedule and update your activities with as many details as you want. For instance, you can schedule tasks specifying the name, category, the start and end time, set reminders, set location of an event, just to name a few benefits and useful features that make digital planners stand out. Certainly, with a digital planner, you can type in every relevant detail in an organized, reader-friendly manner to ensure you do not miss anything. Overall, if you are looking to be reminded of any upcoming event, task and would like to integrate it to a few different apps or systems, then you should consider using a digital planner. Now, let’s talk more specifically about the pros and cons of a digital planner.

Pros

Additional to the benefits highlighted above, which goes from the facility to schedule tasks, access the information on the go, set reminders and integrate it with other apps/systems, the other huge advantage of digital planners refers to changes. It is easier to make changes and update your schedule. You know, life happens on a daily basis and plans can change. Paper planners may make your desire for an organized workweek look chaos, from trying to neatly track all the changes that often happen, like when a meeting is rescheduled or the lunch location changes. However, in a digital planner you can easy change and update your schedule and plans. If you are into the tech world, it makes better sense to learn to work with digital planners. You can manage so much information and have so wonderful features available to you, like graphics, analysis and so on. Many digital planners are free, with no cost whatsoever, but maybe with fewer features available or ads in it.

I know you might be thinking about “What if my device crashes?” In such cases, it is possible to retrieve your information compared to if it was to be on a paper planner. First, you will probably be synchronizing your digital planner with your PDA/phone or even the cloud. Furthermore, backup is easily automated these days. However, if you are not using a service or program that automatically backs up your data, then you may think twice about using a digital planner.

Cons

One of the major disadvantages of the digital planner could be in the form of a distraction. Have you ever become sensitized to those notifications and reminders and forget about them? Or perhaps the vibrating, dinging or the pop-ups on your device screen gets so annoying that you just have to silence or swipe them off? What about the time it takes to master a new app and all its quirks or to open the app on your device, set the reminder and notifications, and whatever you would do to categorize it. In the process of doing this, one may be distracted by messages that popped up, such as social media messages forgetting the major reason why you picked up your device in the first place. If care is not taken, one may spend the better part of the day responding to unnecessary things.

Other downside of digital planner is the difficulty to get an overview of your weekly or monthly schedule, unless you are using a notebook, but this is not often the case as most people use their mobile phones rather then notebooks when it comes to digital planners. Yet, some of them can give the option to print your schedule or even sent to your email.

Paper Planner

Despite the popularity of the digital planners, some people (include me!! ) still opt for the conventional paper planners due to the countless advantages of the physical act of putting down a reminder or an appointment. They believe that writing in a notepad helps them to easily remember their schedules, appointments and all the items on their to-do list.

paper plannerPaper planners generally range from free to several dollars. And to choose wisely, create a list of criteria for your new planner. For instance, you may want a planner that is intuitive, simple, lightweight, portable, colorful and with plenty of room to write in every day. You could also go for a paper planner that lets you glance through a week at once to see where you are over-scheduling yourself, and that is easy for you to see your availability, among many others.

Anyone that is looking for the opportunity to create a planner that works best and that can help them to personalize things, then the paper planner will be a great tool. This also depends on how much effort you want put in it. So what are the pros and cons of a paper planner?

Pros

A recent research has shown that putting stuff in writing tends to help people perceive, process, and digest information better. The process of writing actually helps to prioritize the vital things better and indeed manage them in the most convenient way, both on a paper and in mind.

For most of us, it is easier and faster to type, but we may find it difficult to distill an idea down to its most actionable. Technology generally can be distracting. Moreover, sometimes we just need a break from our screens. By using a paper planner, you will be able to engage the brain more actively, clarify your thoughts and in the process, connect with what needs to be done. Another advantage of a paper planner is the unlimited flexibility. You will be able to quickly check out your activities in the past weeks, goals, habit tracking, etc, which can also be satisfy.

Cons

One major drawback of the paper planner is that some times they can be big to take it with you wherever you go. We also need to remind to put it in you bag every day. But if you put your mind in it, going everywhere with your planner can quickly become a habit. Another disadvantage is that a paper planner cannot be easily accessible as your phone. Many people have complained about the pressure in filling every space in the planner or the stress in making it a work of art. Paper planning should not be an extra stress. Unscheduled time and open spaces is awesome and needed. If decorating your paper planner does not bring you joy, then make sure you don’t do it.

Paper vs Digital Planner – Which One Is The Best

paper vs digital planner
To answer the question about which one should be the primary planner tool between the paper planner and the digital planner, for me, I would say there is no winner as there is no one-system-fits all that is perfect all the time. First of all the choice you make should depend on your lifestyle and your unique needs. Secondly, it large depends on what kind of planner are you looking for, what is the purpose of that planner, what are the features that are important to you. Some planners like budget planner or daily schedule I think can might work better on a digital form, however, others like goal planners and life planners are far most efficiently when using a paper form.

As you consider your planning tool, keep in mind those important elements for choosing a planner that suits you and will assist you to manage your time and keep you on course with your goals and commitments. Ultimately, I will suggest you use both tools to enjoy the best of both worlds and achieve an unmatched level of organization and productivity, but it is completely up to you. After all, you will be the one using it every day.

To learn more have a look on this post – Best way to use a planner.

Final Thought

Regardless of the tool you choose, it takes continuous practice and 100% commitment to use it properly. If it seems harder to organize your loads of appointments, to-do’s, and information that comes at you each day, then consider to have a planner in place. Think about what is working and what is not, and be willing to make some changes.

I personally like to use paper planner. They work better for me. I feel I have more control of my life. Check out Clever Fox Planner Pro Review, it is the one I’m using at the moment. I also leave below some other options for you. Remember, the success factor is mostly influenced by the habits you create other than the type of planner you use, but a good planner can help you to achieve your goals quicker and have a much better life. Check it out today.

                             

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8 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Well done on such an informative and in-depth article. I think that it is great that you include not only pros, but also the cons associated with this.

    I’m mostly a digital planner, but my hour-by-hour activities are scribbled on my day journal.

    Keep up the good work!

    Sharon

    1. Thank you Sharon. Combine both, digital planner and paper, is a great idea. Most important is to have a plan, see the big picture, prioritise, and focus on one task at the time. That’s the way to boost your productivity and achieve your goals quicker. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hi. Thank you for sharing the pros and cons for both paper and digital planner. For me, I’m actually being fancy by the colour and design of the paper planner. Therefore, the chance for me to check back on my planner is higher than the digital. However, I like to use digital planner because I can type faster and make correction easily. So if I know I need to write alot of stuffs, I will prefer to use digital planner.

    Like what you have said, both can be use as depend use for what purpose.

    1. Absolutely Janet. Depends on your intention. You can use both. There is no rule or right or wrong. Always simplify and choose the one that suits you the best. We know if we complicate things chances are that we are not use it and then there is no point to have a plan if you don’t use it. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Ah yes, all those choices. You have listed them quite well. And you’re right, handwriting is good for the brain. It activates more parts of the brain than digital working does.
    Still I go for both ways of working: I have my gratitude/review/sleep diary to handwrite my daily evaluations and my digital tools for my planning. 🙂

  4. I always want to get things automated and digital, thinking it make me more productive, but often it doesn’t. It’s convenient if you’re on the road a lot, but at the end of the day, nothing beats a good, traditional planner you can write in. And cross things off of – therapeutic!

    1. Exactly 🙂 I especially like to cross things off. It is a feeling of accomplishment & satisfaction. I like the old fashion paper planners but it can be combined with a digital one. It depends on your life style and which planner you are using. Fo example, a life planner, a daily activity planner. The most important thing is to get yourself organised. It increases our productive and focus. Thank you for your comment and all the best.

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