Digital or Paper Planner DIary

Paper Planner Or Digital Diary? How To Choose.

People ask such great questions on my Facebook page. Here’s an extract from a recent one from Jennifer:

I do a lot of long term planning and while the paper planner works just fine there are
also advantages to using a digital planner such as outlook or 
calendar (for mac).
Right now I get frustrated as I try to manage both and it doesn’t always work well.
Any suggestions or advise would be so appreciated!

I think most people who like to be organized have wondered the same thing.

The perfect diary planner system – whether digital, paper, or a combination – will depend on the person.

Not only that, but the ideal solution may change over time with different life situations and preferences.

But in choosing among the diary and planner options, these 2 suggestions will help.

Diaries And Planners: Choosing Between Paper And Digital

1. Use One System For All Your Appointments, Reminders, And Contacts

One definite no-no of diary systems is to use multiple places to record dates and appointments.

Instead, use one place to record everything specific – such as appointments, reminders, and contacts.

When everything is smooth sailing you might be fine with double-entering or double-checking. But when life is most hectic, things will fall through the cracks. We’ve all been there, right?

So which one system should you use?

Paper diaries can have a lovely visual pleasure to them, and many people just enjoy the way they feel.

Digital diaries offer many advantages over paper, including:

  • Your address book and phone are integrated, so calling people and recognizing callers is easy
  • You can (and definitely should) take advantage of the cheap and easy cloud-based back-ups now available, so that losing your diary doesn’t mean losing all your info
  • Many events (including Facebook and Eventbrite) give you the option of downloading the event to your digital diary
  • You can share calendars online with others if you want to
  • Regularly occurring information (birthdays, anniversaries, exercise sessions) can be input once as recurring entries, saving you time.

Whether you prefer the tactile stimulation of a paper diary or the compact effectiveness of technology, stick to one place for all your appointments, reminders, and contacts.

2. Use Worksheets And Notebooks For Planning

Writing is great for thinking and strategizing – planning, brainstorming, mapping, etc.

You can feel unfettered and be unstructured. You can let loose your creativity. You can sketch, list, write out long explorations, or scribble short prompts.

Writing by hand might even let you access a subconscious part of your brain that typing bypasses. It’s worth experimenting and seeing what you discover.

What I Use

Digital Calendar, Reminders, Notes, And Contacts

To organize my schedule I use the Week Calendar app on my iPhone, which works beautifully with Calendar on my Mac. I color-code different calendars (business, personal, social, gym) to see my life balance at a glance.

To organize my general to-dos, ideas, and notes I use Reminders and Notes, a system that really boosts my personal organization and productivity.

And for my address book I use Contacts.

Everything seamlessly and instantly updates and backs up via iCloud across my iPhone, desktop Mac, and notebook Air.

Paper Worksheets And Notebooks

I use Moleskine notebooks for free-form, big-picture stuff – planning projects, exploring ideas, and workshopping problems or obstacles. I love having a pen in my hand and I definitely unlock greater creativity this way.

For planning and workshopping specific goals I love to use interactive planning worksheets (time management, business & marketing, home organization, and life management). They help me to structure my thinking and to feel organized and focussed. Because I associate planning with a pen, I print them out; but you could type, save, and edit them on your computer if you preferred.

And for daily focus on moving toward my goals and getting my top priorities completed, I use the Goals & Priorities Diary. It helps me structure my goals into tasks and to get these important tasks done, day after day.

What About You?

What do you use for your schedule? And for planning?

Do you use paper, technology, or a combination of both?

Do you have any tips to share?

27 thoughts on “Paper Planner Or Digital Diary? How To Choose.

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