Do you use a digital or paper planner?  What are the pros and cons of each one of them?  Organize your day, doing the right things for better success.  Read my blog post for more.

I’m a self-improvement blogger and designing my activities for the day, month, year, and even longer-term is part of meeting my set goals.  I’ve used both paper and digital methods over the years.  While I’ve maintained physical note-taking for some types of things, I also prefer using my phone for others.

Let’s dive into it and consider both options.

Digital planner pros and cons

Digital vs paper planners - pros and cons
Image from canva.com. Digital vs paper planners – pros and cons, Tips from Sharvi.

Pros

Free.  Most phone apps have a free version and upgrading tends to be optional.  You can save money for years with it, as you’ll never have to buy physical notebooks or diaries.  

Save on stationery.  Buying pens or pencils is unnecessary.  This makes life easier, saving money, and you can instead treat yourself to some more coffee, chocolates, ice cream, or anything else!

Save storage space.  No need to allocate space in your cupboard, or bookshelf for them.  Less clutter as well.

Portable.  My calendar stays with me all the time.  I can check my tasks, events, anything that I need to do today, this week, a few months after, at any time.

Set reminders. Being on time is vital and when life gets in the way, anyone can forget some things.  I ensure that I never miss out on wishing close ones a happy birthday.  I also get alerted in advance when a webinar is due to start.    

Editable.  It’s easy and convenient to edit annotations from apps.  No mess, no crossing out, just edit and save. 

Collaborate.  Share ideas with your team and ask for feedback.  This feature may not be available on every app, but it’s common for people to collaborate easily and cost-effectively.

Cons

Distractions.  I’ve done my best to avoid getting unnecessary notifications on my phone.  However, some alerts are primordial and I keep them on.  Working on your devices always does have the risk of some form of disturbance.

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Online risks.  The information you save in your planner can be seen by others if they access it.  You can even lose your jottings if they’re deleted or edited without your permission.  It’s normal to remember one’s agenda of the day, but I back up other (longer-term) important documents to have a copy somewhere else.

Screen addiction.  In case you need to spend less time on devices for wellness reasons, then using an app for your tasks, to-dos, and calendar might not be ideal.  When people generally look at devices for a reason, they may tend to start checking more things online and therefore, end up spending more time than intended.

Potential unreliability.  The information you save needs to be available for a reasonable amount of time.  What if you lose your records just because the company who provided the app closes down?  I only choose those that I trust and are likely to be available for a long time. 

Paper planner pros and cons

My Instagram post – Do you take notes?

Pros 

Memory.  It’s said that when people jot with a pen, they tend to remember things better.  This has decreased with technology.  However, I still save certain types of things for paper, even though most of my notes are online.  I especially do this for reflecting and problem-solving exercises.  Taking paper notes for courses that I follow also helps me retain better.

Avoid distractions.  Enjoy special me-time without distractions such as app notifications.  Live in the moment and read a good book, sipping tea or coffee.  Having your planner online tends to divert your attention to your phone if you need to look at it.

Traditional habits.  Using paper is natural for some generations.  Our elderly might prefer their physical agendas and calendars.  The feel of paper and pen between the fingers is essential for many.  

Digital detox.  If you need to minimize screen time, then switching to tangible forms of journals can help achieve that.  When I spend a weekend dedicated to activities such as reading a physical book, I feel refreshed.  

Cons

Yearly expense.  You need to buy an item, such as a binder, pad, or diary.  Even worse, you’ll have to get another one, perhaps every year, or when it’s filled up with writing.  This is an extra expense, as opposed to using a free app. 

Confidentiality.  While the online methods have security risks, physical ones are also prone to be seen by unauthorized persons.  You may keep them under lock and key, but keys can be found.  

Store paper.  You need space to keep your journals or agendas.  If you use one a year, then after a few years, you’ll have quite a few to keep.  This can add to clutter.

Environment.  Last but not least, we all need to protect the environment and save the planet.  By using less and less paper, we can support having more trees.  

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There is no one-size-fits-all and everyone chooses his or her best methods.  As I already mentioned at the beginning of my article, for me it’s mostly digital, but I keep certain types of physical jottings.  Think about the benefits that you enjoy, methods that you prefer, and the reasons for it.

Pin it for later!

Digital vs paper planners - pros and cons
Image from canva.com. Digital vs paper planners – pros and cons, Tips from Sharvi.

Conclusion

Digital and paper planners both have their worth.  Some prefer one over the other.  However, you can opt for a combination, as per the needs.  Would you like to comment on your favourite method and tell us about the advantages?  If you found my article helpful, please share it.  Thank you!!

Featured photo credit: Photo by Miesha Moriniere on Pexels.com

Resources:

Personal organizer

Note-taking

Storage (memory)

22 thoughts on “Digital vs paper planners – pros and cons

  1. I am definitely more of a digital person, I hate paper. It’s wasteful and you have to keep track of it. I use google calendars and the reminders app on my phone. It all connects to my watch so I always get my notifications. Also, the calendar is shared with my husband so we both know when things are happening for all four of us in the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to use paper planners, but I’ve switched to digital now. The main reason for that is that they’re editable. I use a combination of Google Calendar, G tasks, and my own weekly and daily planner.

    Liked by 1 person

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