Digital vs Paper Planners

This year I made the big switch from paper to digital for my planner and to-do list. It hasn't been an easy transition and I sometimes still miss having a nice paper planner.

The nicest thing about paper is it made it easy to put to-do lists, ideas, projects, and so much more all into one little book. All you needed was your little book and pen. Sure, you wouldn't want to take it somewhere where it might get wet, but any electronic planner has the same problem. Maybe a paper planner is more easier to leave behind than a phone but that was never an issue for me.

When I first made the switch to digital, I used several free apps. Each of them did part of what my paper planner did, but I still felt very scattered between them all.

For time-related planning, I used Google calendar and in fact, I still use Google Calendar to plan out the general flow of my day. It’s easy to set up recurring things like work, sleep, church, or other social activities. It’s easy to put in appointments, events, and much more and it's very easy to adjust them if you need to. All in all, I don't miss having to write down the same things for each week in my planner, so this has been a definite improvement. It works on almost any smartphone or computer, too.

For a while I used Raise the Bar as my to-do list program. It has a couple options like timed goals, specific goals, level up goals, and lists. It's only on smartphones, which became my main issue with it. I couldn’t back up or sync my lists with a computer and the simplistic phone interface meant I couldn't reorder my lists. It felt like it was lacking some key features I needed and so I abandoned it for something I'll talk about later.

To complement my to-do list program, I also had a note program called Evernote where I’d write down notes of things to do for projects, exercising, or whenever else I'd need something written down. It wasn’t bad but it was always a pain that it wasn't tied into my to-do list as well. I'd always have to cross reference between them or update them both. It was a pain and led me to the current program I’m using.

Recently, I've been loving and using ToDoist for my goals, errands, and projects. It takes the best features of both my earlier programs I used for this and combines them into one thing that also syncs with the computer. On top of this it has a fun karma system that rates how well you are at using the program and getting your tasks done. If you need more in-depth organization, you can use a computer to easily set up new projects and tasks that sync with your phone for when you're on the go. It feels like the productivity I’d been searching for the entire time since I made the switch at the start of this year.

Regardless of the specifics, if you're switching to digital for your organization needs, find a couple that work for you. You want the to feel natural, fun, and exciting so you have more energy to go and do what matters.