Digital Planning vs Paper Planning

If you’re trying to decide between digital planning vs paper planning, you’ve come to the right place! There are pros and cons for both planning methods, but this is a battle that doesn’t necessarily have a winner. Not only can you use these systems to plan on their own – you can also develop a hybrid planning system that fits your lifestyle perfectly!

Digital Planning vs Paper Planning

Digital planning vs paper planning

Planning can take on many different forms! In the digital planning vs paper planning conversation, the different planning options multiply. There are so many ways to plan both digitally and on paper. Tons of options can be difficult for those of us that find it difficult to make decisions when there are so many options available (me!). In this case, I actually welcome it because more options means more chances to find something perfect for me!

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Let’s Set the Scene

As many of you already know, the most common form of paper planning is your standard planner. There are weekly, monthly and daily templates as well as tons of other page layouts to help you stay organized. Within the last few years, bullet journaling has become extremely popular. This form of planning takes customization and creativity to the next level by leaving the planner design completely up to you. It also means that any piece of paper, any notebook, and/or any writing surface can become a planner!

While paper planning is more widespread, digital planning is building steam! The capability to use digital planners across multiple electronic devices is a huge draw. The ability to utilize apps and systems that are designed to streamline, automate, and organize every aspect of your life adds to the digital planning experience. For example, using Google Calendar in conjunction with a to-do list app is considered digital planning. Using well-known project management apps like Asana, Clickup, Trello, Monday, etc., is also considered digital planning!

Using a digital planner on your tablet or other PDF reader application has become even more popular. Think of any planner you would buy online or at a store, but now that template is on your tablet and you use a stylus to write on it. Even the bullet journal has found its way to another medium, with people using tablets to create their very own digital masterpieces.

Digital Planning vs Paper planning

The Lowdown on Digital Planning vs Paper Planning

The digital planning vs paper planning conversation opens up many doors for people trying to improve the way they organize and schedule their lives. Before jumping into any one of these planning methods, there are some things you should keep in mind about each option.

Paper Planning Pros and Cons

What I love most about paper planning is what I’m sure most people also love: the act of writing things down…and crossing things off 😉 Using pen and paper helps you retain and process information better, meaning you actually remember what you have to do, unlike mindless typing. There are also a ton of great templates with prompts to help you plan your day. If you go the bullet journal route, your creativity can run wild with all of the planner spreads. You can tailor each one specifically to what you need in your life.

While I believe paper planners are the easiest way to get started with planning, I have personally moved away from paper planning. Click here for a detailed step by step explanation of how I made this transition!

While I wish I was creative enough to hand draw beautiful templates in my bullet journal, I unfortunately lack those drawing skills and simply do not have the time for it. I found that having to carry my heavy planner around with me and pull it out to reference something was cumbersome for my “on-the-go” lifestyle. With all that being said, my cons are not necessarily “cons” for other people. They are things I have experienced that others may not think of before purchasing a paper planner.

Digital Planning Pros and Cons

Digital planning may have a bit of a learning curve, or just be a pain in the butt for people who aren’t used to using different apps on their phones or tablets. You need a bit of patience, a love for tech, and the ability to think outside of the box to plan digitally. Once you’ve started playing around with different apps and tools, digital planning is truly a game-changer.

A huge advantage that comes with digital planning vs paper planning is the ability to sync apps with each other and use popup notifications or reminders (i.e. Google Calendar). You can quickly and easily access these programs on your phone, which we all carry with us 24/7. Even bullet journaling digitally is a huge benefit for those of us who aren’t as artistic on paper. I can copy and paste shapes, templates, texts, stickers, etc. with the tap of a finger. (Not to mention the undo button! Who doesn’t love that?!) Digital planning is not as cheap as paper planning in some ways because it requires using laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It also doesn’t have the same ease of use as its counterpart. Still, I have found that digital planning has decreased my creative frustrations, and the general accessibility of digital planning perfectly complements my busy lifestyle!

Creating the Perfect Hybrid

While there are clear benefits to both digital and paper planning, there are really no rules when it comes to organizing your life and schedule. You can do whatever you want!

After using both methods for some time, I realized that the best system for me was a hybrid of both digital and paper planning. I always have random ideas, notes, brainstorms, to-do’s, and due dates that pop into my mind all day. I started using a small notebook to keep track of all these ideas in a brain dump format. Then, when I have a few minutes, all of my important to-do’s get a due date into my Google Calendar. I’ll also add in any events or appointments that need scheduling. Using paper to keep track of my thoughts and using my phone/online apps to project manage everything else is the perfect hybrid system for me.

In the face-off between digital planning vs paper planning, there is truly no winner! It really depends on what you value and what works for your lifestyle and schedule.

I love helping people create their perfect planning system, so don’t be shy to reach out and we can work on yours together!

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