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Digital vs. Paper Planners: 4 Things to Consider

Paper organizer and digital organizer
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The war between digital and paper planners is a bloody one. You either love one or the other. There’s no such thing as neutral in this conflict. Maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but I take planners very seriously. If you’re looking to find the right planner for you, then the very first question you need to answer is: “Digital or paper?”


Digital planners are clearly superior in this battle. You’ve found the ultimate in portability when you have a calendar that literally spans decades and weighs less than a pound. On top of that, digital planners also double as notebooks and alarms so you never forget or miss anything on a hectic day.

Paper planners can also be carried around town with you, but they can be heavy and difficult to tote in a bag depending on what size planner you choose. Smaller paper planners are easy to fit into a purse and carry all day without feeling the added weight too much, but there’s less space to write things down in them. Large paper planners, on the other hand, have tons of room to write and will bog down your purse like a brick.

When it comes to paper planners, you have to choose between space and portability.

Related: Best 2016 Planners for Girlbosses


The unavoidable truth about planners is that things have to be changed. At some point, an appointment will be moved or canceled, and you’ll need to mark that in your planner. Luckily, both digital and paper planners can be updated when you need. Digital planners make changing information easier, because all you do is click the edit button and type in the new info. Paper planners, however, take a little more work to change plans around.

When you work in a paper planner, changing things can get messy. The only way to update information in a paper planner is by scratching out and rewriting in the small amount of space left—or using White-out. White-out is the cleaner option, but it’s not always something you have handy. If you’re constantly having to change things, then a digital planner might be best because of the ease—but a paper planner can be a good choice if you’re typically within reaching

If you’re constantly having to change things, then a digital planner might be best because of the ease—but a paper planner can be a good choice if you’re typically within reaching distance of some White-out.

Related: Planner Essentials: 5 Items You Need for Optimum Organization

Susceptibility to Damage

Digital and paper planners can be damaged or busted in different ways. For paper planners, damage comes disguised as an accident. Spilled coffee, unintentionally bent pages, and everyday wear and tear can mess up the delicate pages and the information they hold. If you carry a planner with you in your purse then you run the risk of scratched covers, weakened binding, and wrinkled pages. But you can spill a drink on top of a paper planner that never leaves your desk just as easily. The small consolation is that this damage very rarely destroys the entire planner. The mess can usually be contained and cleaned up, and your important dates are easy to save from annihilation.

Digital planners, however, can be damaged in a much different way. When you have your planner on a digital device there’s a chance of a technical glitch. We all know just how often technology can mess up at random moments. Sometimes these glitches are major and result in a complete loss or they can be minor enough to only require a device restart. This is the biggest issue with digital planners. Your appointments, notes, and other information are at the mercy of overly emotional technology.

Related: 5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Planner


Digital planners are meant to be efficient, not fun or creative. Paper planners are all about providing a space for you to personalize and use productively. So when you’re deciding which one is the best system for your life, you first have to decide if you want the most efficient or the most personable. If your life’s super busy, hectic, and constantly on the go, then a digital planner makes the most sense. It’ll allow you to travel with all of your appointments, notes, and can keep you on schedule with alarms and reminders. Digital planners will add efficiency to your life.

If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, love the traditional paper and pen, or just remember things better by writing things by hand, then a paper planner has the personality you need. You can write, doodle, highlight, and color code your schedule and tasks in the way that best benefits you. Many fans of the paper planner like to supplement it with stickers, some in a useful way and some simply to decorate with. Either way, they serve to add individuality to a planner. The creative, flexible feature of paper is what makes it so appealing to creative types.

Related: The Working Woman’s Guide to Choosing a Planner

So, digital or paper?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which one you go with. The important thing is you choose a planner to organize and improve your quality of life. Go with the one you think is the right choice for you, and if it falls short of your expectations, then try the other option. Keep testing out planners until you find the one meant for you.

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on January 6th, 2017

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