Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Are you after a good daily planner?
Are you lost and cannot decide what is better - digital or paper planner?
Fear not, this post will help you decide by offering benefits to both so you could choose.
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to capturing our thoughts using digital tools. There are apps, websites, desktop planners, iPad planners and in-built phone notes and reminders. Do not be afraid to try many different things, especially on your phone.
"Download and delete" - that is my mantra for phone apps and desktop tools. If something does not work out, I have no regrets about deleting them - unless I bought them, that is.
Here are my tops five tools/apps (in no particular order):
iOS / android notes - the easiest way to write down your plans and ideas. The notes are on your phone and available at all times. You can even capture your thoughts using your voice - no need to type anything.
Evernote - one of the most popular note-taking tool. Also serves as an excellent digital planner allowing you to create to-do lists, capture thoughts and set reminders. Free and premium options available.
MindNode - mind mapping and brainstorming tool, will enable you to capture your thoughts, ideas and goals more visually; also allows to connect and group plans together and see a bigger picture; easy to learn and use. Free and premium options available.
Trello - a Kanban-style list-making tool. It allows you to capture your plans and goals as multiple cards that could be easily edited, deleted and moved along the timeline. Free and premium options available.
As an admirer of a good old stationary, paper planners is something I have a massive crush on. Saying that I never finish one. It seems I prefer to admire it, rather than using. But there are alternatives to the actual planner notebook. I am rather more successful in using those.
Do not underestimate blank notebooks by thinking they cannot serve as resourceful daily planners!
Plain notebooks are a fantastic asset for anyone who needs to plan future steps. It allows you to be creative by adding doodles, illustrations, and various handwritten additions.
It lets your imagination run wild and create your own fields and boxes that would suit your individual goals and plans.
Oh the almighty post-it notes. They are cheap (unless you crave premium quality), palm-sized and light. Almost A perfect note-taking tool. They are the easiest way to capture your plans.
They are small - so your mind might be tricked into thinking an idea could also be short.
The downside is how easy is it to lose them, though.
There is a fantastic variety of printouts available on the internet. Many bloggers are offering free versions as part of the email opt-in. It is easy to try them out and choose the one that suits you.
Or you could use different printouts on different days or months. Because why not?
You could safely store them in an A4 folder. Or pin them to the wall, whatever feels right for you.
So, are digital tools better than pen-paper for planning?
Well, the jury is still out as there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Some people prefer handwritten planners, some swear by digital ones.
“I prefer the pen. There is something elemental about the glide and flow of nib and ink on paper.” - James Robertson, The Testament of Gideon Mack
Let us have a look at some benefits of both:
Writing by hand enhances creativity
The act of picking up a pen and paper, and sitting down to write something invites creativity and imagination.
Capturing our plans and thoughts by hand helps to fuel those creative juices.
Writing by hand helps to process information
Handwriting process, unlike typing, requires particular analytic input. We need to think before we write anything down as handwriting is not as fast as typing.
A strong link to learning and memory
It triggers parts of the brain responsible for learning when we write things down. Handwritten notes help us better remember things.
According to this research, the chances are we might understand what we have written better over the longer period.
Handwriting is a form of meditation in itself. The process of using a pen and paper forces us to slow down.
And because there is no way to edit our writing that easily, we need to be more careful about our handwriting.
Dr Claudia Aguirre, when discussing the advantages of planners says: "It forces you to focus on what’s important." As a result, we become more mindful about what we write and how.
But there are advantages to digital technology:
Time is our only real asset, and digital tools allow us to save it. Electronic devices, be it phones, iPads or laptops are never too far from our reach.
We can easily edit what we've written. We can easily copy and paste or send it to someone.
Helps to stay organised
Digital devices help us stay more organised as everything is in one place. We do not need to worry about keeping it tidy, no massive piles are lying on our floors. They need no extra storage space.
We take them everywhere with us. We don't need to write something on a piece of paper and then remember to take it with us. To then remember to write it down in our proper daily planner. Sigh.
So what to choose?
Digital planners have many benefits that would suit our modern lives.
But paper planners help to access our inner thoughts through more softly paced, mindful practice of writing things down.
Ultimately, the choice yours. Think about daily planners that make you truly happy.
As an option, try alternating - have a digital planner for day-to-day tasks and capture longer-term goals in your paper planner.