I’m big when it comes to planning. I love planning and organizing, whether that’s blog posts or a holiday. Some people are natural born planners (like me!) whilst others find it a little more difficult (like my boyfriend!) but we’re ALL going to need a method of planning our lives at some point! I’m thrilled to feature this brilliant guest post from Alexis at Cafe Beauty today, where she discusses the pros and cons of physical and digital planning. You can also find Alexi on Instagram and Twitter.

Planning is a great way to stay productive, manage your time, and organize your daily life. As we are moving through the digital age, more and more options are becoming available besides physical planners. But, which is better? A physical planner you write in, or a digital planner you can access any time? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both.

Physical Planner

A physical planner is a classic and gives you a designated area to plan out your day-to-day, weekly and monthly plans. You can decorate a physical planner with cute planner stickers, washi tape, or leave it plain if that’s more your style. Although physical planners are nice, they have a decent amount of cons that make digital planners a better option.

I love physical planners because it’s an experience to write in, and gives you a pen-in-hand feeling digital planning can’t replicate. Especially now as more things become more digital, we’re lacking more physical, tactile writing experiences. Plus, it’s always fun to search for in stores or online for the best design that suits you.

There’s a lot of options out there so you can skip a traditional planner and use either a set of sticky notes, notepads, notebooks, and even white boards. Another bonus is writing it down physically helps you remember and absorb your tasks for the day more easily.

Besides a nice writing experience and different media options, physical planners do have some cons. They can be bulky depending on what kind of physical planning system you use and can be a hassle to travel with. You also have to consider bringing pencils, pens and other writing utensils and decorational things along with you too.

If you‘re anything like me, you’ll find physical planners to be less convenient- making you less likely to use them compared to a planner on your phone.

Who Should Use A Physical Planner?

Physical Planners are best for those who want to be distraction-free and have a tactile experience writing every day. It’s also a great option for those who like to spruce up their planners with decorations, and are more motivated towards writing.

You usually need to be more dedicated, as it requires you to pack your planner frequently and need to fit your planning time into your schedule. By planning physically, it’s one less digital part of your day.

Digital Planning

Digital options are popping up on the market from apps to custom-designed DIY planners. It’s for a good reason too – it’s convenient, a time-saver, and less bulk to travel with. You don’t have to worry about carrying a dozen highlighters or stickers, or even a single pen. Digital planning mediums vary from apps, printables, PDFs, or calendars. Whichever option you go with, you have convenience on your side.

What I love about digital planning is that you can access your planner anywhere. Most likely, you’ll have your phone on you almost 100% of the time, and if not, there are laptops and other devices nearby. If you are someone who has a large number of tasks for different projects, having a digital planner is better than several, individual physical ones.

For example, you can have separate sections for work, school, personal and hobbies. Another great bonus point is that digital planning is great for people who need constant reminders to plan, and having the occasional notification on to remind you to plan for your day.

Although convenient, you are sacrificing the “experience.” Some may find digital planning less therapeutic or find it hard to remember things if not tactically written. They also lack customization unless you make your own planner, which takes a lot of time and effort. I find that planning on an app is easier, but not usually as detailed or easy to find again as a physical planner.

Who Should Use A Digital Planner

A digital planner is great for those of us who are busy and want basic to-do lists and monthly spreads. Many people don’t need or want a tactile experience, and having the convenience to write whatever whenever is important to them.

It’s also a great option for couples or a group of people who want a synced planner, and then everyone involved can be up to date. If ease of use and simplicity is your main concerns, a digital planner should be your choice.

Consider A Hybrid Planner System

If neither option sounds like the perfect fit, consider a hybrid option – both physical and digital planning. Maybe you save your daily to-do lists for physical planning on a notepad, but also do electronic planning with Google Calendar.

There’s a ton of mix and match options so if you are struggling to find a good choice for yourself, consider trying both at once. Just make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by having to-do list tasks in two places.

What method of planning are you currently using? Have you tried a hybrid planning system before? I’d love to know!

Check out some more guest posts here:

40 Comments

  1. I’m definitely a digital type of organiser, I’m forever going to my notes app to remember things haha! I do love the idea of a cute physical notepad / journal tho, just for the aesthetics haha!

    Courtney x
    c0urrtney.blogspot.co.uk/

  2. This is a fab guest post! I’m definitely a bit of both – I love using my bullet journal for creative planning, but digital planning is a lot more time efficient so a lot of businessy things are organised that way xx

  3. I actually do a little bit of both. I physically plan, so I have a form of backup and then have a more in depth digital plan that I try to access when I need it. Thanks for this post though, I really enjoyed the read! x

  4. after a lot of trial runs throughout college, i found that physical planning is best for me :’) however, i do sometimes like to blend the two. for example, i use notion to plan and outline how i’m going to work on a term paper! both are such great options x

  5. I love the idea of a physical planner but I just cannot stick to it! I use the notes app on my phone and macbook. I find it easy as they both sync so if I put a note on my phone, it’s on my laptop when I need it already!

    Corinne x

  6. It’s really interesting to read the pro’s and cons of physical and digital planning. I found it really helpful. I think digital is the way for me as I’m on my phone most the time anyway. I like the sound of a hybrid between them both. I’ll defo be taking this into consideration. Thank you so much for sharing lovely Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  7. I used to insist on writing lists, but since starting the blog & embracing technology, I use digital only!

    Being able to access Google docs, canva & social media on my phone is a bonus and I create my lists / plans /goals at the same time.

    It also saves on backache, sitting at a desk constantly. Never thought I would change from paper lists xx

  8. Every year I get a new planner with the intention of using it. It does well for a while then I forget about it! I use my notes a lot on my phone, I guess because can be accessed anywhere and convenient.

  9. I have seen digital bullet journaling and using google calendar etc. But called me old fashioned I love a paper planner or using a bullet journal. It gives me a chance to write as so much is done digitally now. Plus it gives me the chance to buy cute pretty stationery ha ha! Thank you for sharing about both forms of planning.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl.com

  10. I love to use a mix of digital and physical one depending on different tasks. I love to use a physical one to keep writing my to do list and scratch off what I achieve. While I write I use a digital one and it helps a lot! Loved reading this x

  11. I love having a physical planner. I like to doodle and add lots of colour, but I think for me it’s more the aspect of having something there in front of me which takes me away from my phone or the computer. I use my phone so much throughout the day for one reason or another I like to just sit down with a pen and paper to relax. Having said that I’ve never really tried digital planning other than adding things to my calendar on the stop.

  12. Great post! I’m definitely a hybrid planner type of girl. When I’m out and about I’ll be digital, when I’m at home I like things written in front of me!

  13. The only time I use a mixture of physical and digital planning is when I’m working on my blog. I’ll physically write down notes, lists, ideas, titles etc in my notebook but then transfer all the necessary bits to a digital spreadsheet when I’m scheduling. Aside from that, I much prefer pen and paper planning because I’ve a better memory for things I’ve physically written down and I simply like the act of writing things out.

  14. I question which kind of planning I prefer daily! I think I like a mixture- online is great because you can chop and change, but there’s something very grounding about a paper plan too 🙂 thanks for sharing!

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