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Many paper planners are making the switch to digital planning, and you should too! Here are the top ten reasons to take the leap from paper to paperless and get started right away.

10 Reasons you'll fall in love with digital planning!
In this photo: Ultimate Time Blocking Planner, Undated (Etsy)

I’ve been a long time paper planner lover, but I needed to make a change. Paper just wasn’t working. One planner couldn’t handle my entire life anymore. I am juggling kids, work, home, budget, and financing, all while also needing a space to journal and record ideas. I’ve yet to find a paper planner that can help me manage all that in an organized manner. 

I would often resort to using two or more planners, but I found that I couldn’t juggle more than one planner no matter how hard I tried. There’s something about having to find, open, and close multiple books that wasn’t working for me. It was too much. Planning became a task in and of itself and wasn’t as much fun anymore. 

From paper planning… to apps… to digital planning.

Then, for a time I tried all of the different productivity apps – Evernote, Todoist, Trello, Asana… but things kept getting lost. Tapping and scrolling don’t have the same effect as physically writing things down. I was missing things, forgetting appointment times, and basically getting no benefits from these apps. The productivity app solution to that is to set alarms, but living life by a set of alarms going off all the time is less than fun. And, it makes everything feel like an emergency when all of your devices start blowing up at once.

I eventually found the perfect balance between paper planning and productivity – digital planning.

What Is Digital Planning?

Digital planning is similar to paper planning in that you have a planner with calendar, weekly, and daily pages that you write on, except instead of pens, you’re using a stylus or Apple Pencil. It’s like a productivity app in that it’s digital and saved to the cloud.

Most people do their digital planning in PDF annotation apps like GoodNotes, Notability, or Xodo, which allow you to upload a PDF planner, navigate with hyperlinks, and write directly on the pages.

Student with digital notebook

1. Digital planning is sustainable.

It’s time to start thinking about what we’re doing to the environment. Years of planners add up. They’re difficult to recycle, so they must end up in the trash or stashed in a closet, adding clutter to your home. 

Trying out all kinds of pens and highlighters seems like fun at first, but these add up over time too. Most of the time, they dry up before we even finish using them. We throw these away, too, creating more waste, more plastic in the trash.

Digital planning is more eco-friendly. There’s less paper waste, less plastic waste, and you only need one pen (a stylus or Apple Pencil) that you can recharge and use for years.  

2. You can access your digital planner from anywhere.

Many digital planner apps cross platforms – iPhone, iPad, Macs, iOS, or Android and Windows products. It’s all saved to the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere you are.

Fewer things get lost because you’re no longer transferring an idea or appointment from sticky note to calendar app or calendar app to paper planner. Everything is in one place and saved for you automatically. Write it once and done.

3. All of your plans, journals, & notes are in one portable package.

Along the same lines, your planner is now totally portable. Sticking your iPad or your tablet in your backpack or briefcase is much easier than hauling a big planner around – or a stack of planners. Now you can plan while you’re waiting for your coffee order, sitting in the car waiting for your kid’s appointment to end, or on the way up to your office in the elevator. As long as you have your device, you have your planner.

Your app will become more than just a stack of planners, too. You’ll be able to organize and compartmentalize your notes and notebooks, work documents, journals, and any other paperwork that might usually get lost in your email or paper files.

4. You can take handwritten notes.

This is where digital planners have a leg up on productivity apps. The ability to handwrite notes, highlight, circle, and physically journal is far more satisfying than tap tap tapping on a tiny virtual keyboard. Plus, there are other benefits to writing by hand – better focus, recall, and comprehension, because you’re processing as you’re writing rather than mindlessly inputting the information. 

Woman with digital planner

5. Digital planning can be very similar to paper planning.

If you’re a paper-crafting hobby planner, you just might love digital planning. The initial transition may be a little tough. It’s not easy to give up browsing Michael’s and happy mail in your real-life mailbox. 

But once you make the leap, you’ll love the benefits. You only need to buy stickers and washi tape once, and they’re infinitely reusable. You have access to all the pen, pencil, brush types, and colors you can imagine. And there are even planners that replicate the look and feel of a paper journal – tabs, binding, and all! You don’t have to give up the creative aspects of planning when you move to digital.

6. Your plans and notes will be secure.

One of the overlooked benefits of going paperless is that your plans, journals, notes, and thoughts will be secure. If you have a nosy roommate (or sister, mom, partner, kid, etc.), you know what I mean. You can be free to write down your innermost thoughts and know that they will be protected by a password or facial recognition.

7. Digital planning gives you an unlimited number of sections and pages.

One of my favorite benefits of digital planning is unlimited pages. There is no 210 page limit – or whatever fits comfortably into your coil or disc-bound planner. Many digital planner templates come with a blank section that you can dedicate to whatever you choose. You can also add as many pages as you need to each section. This feature is fantastic for people who write a lot or would normally keep multiple planners. Now everything can be in one place – you can even easily access planners from past years.

8. You can import additional images and PDFs.

Piggybacking on the unlimited sections and pages benefit, you can also import other PDFs and images right into your planner. This feature is really helpful, especially if you have classes, a job, or a business with paperwork constantly flying everywhere. Instead of printing and filing, you can import your PDFs directly into a specific section of your planner where you can easily access them, fill out questions or forms with handwritten notes, highlight and annotate, and find it when you need it later.

9. You can add your own photos.

Something I always meant to do but never actually got to do with paper planning was memory keeping. Printing mini photos and pasting them into my planner was a little too tedious and time-consuming for me. Especially when you factor in my hate/hate relationship with printers, which I’m convinced are inherently evil. Unlike battling a demon printer, adding photos to your digital planner is easy.  

10. Digital planning is completely customizable.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, I wish this planner also had…If I could just combine these two…or if you built a two-inch-thick master binder… or combined multiple planners to create a massive franken-planner you will love digital planning. 

You can seamlessly add pages to your planner, and many come with a variety of templates to choose from. Whether you’re a weekly vertical planner, a daily full-page planner, a bullet journaler, a monthly calendar planner, journaler, or all of the above, you can customize a digital planner to fit all of your needs. 

Bonus Reason: Compartmentalizing

And one more bonus feature to digital planning. I’m not sure if everyone will relate, but it turned out to be a game-changer for me: compartmentalizing.

Remember when I said that it was too hard for me to juggle multiple planners? Well, it became a real issue when I set up my planner system a few years ago and ended up with eight planners. Yes. Eight. One for my daily plans and to-do list, another for finances, one for menu planning and recipes, a 12-week fitness planner, homeschooler planner, work planning / goals / tracking, my personal journal, and a separate planner for the mom’s group I was running at the time. It was a nightmare, and I was a mess.

I still have most of those things cooking in my life, but now I can have multiple digital planners all in the same place. It’s easy to tap a planner or add a section whenever I feel the need to compartmentalize. This has helped me stay focused and organized, whereas compartmentalizing with paper created an unfocused, disorganized mountain of a mess.

Shop Digital Planners

Have I convinced you? Are you ready to make the jump? If so, check out the variety of digital planners available in our shop.

or visit the DiJoShop on Etsy

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