Digital planning is increasing in popularity and you want to know what all the fuss is about, right?
Well, brace yourself because digital planners and organizational goods are actually a thing! And a good thing at that!
Paper planners, notebooks and journals have long been an effective way to manage time, accomplish tasks and help keep your life organized. Sure, paper planners are great, but in modern society, they do have their limitations.
And that’s where digital planners and organizers come in! They offer a wide variety of benefits which paper planning lacks.
What are digital planners?
So, what exactly is a digital planner and how do they work?
There are many ways you can digitally plan, but the way I am referring to is doing it through a note-taking app.
A digital planner, in that sense, is essentially a digital version of a traditional paper planner. They were created to mimic and re-create the experience of using a paper planner or notebook, but on an iPad or tablet.
Digital planners are usually PDF interactive files containing hyperlinks which are imported into a note-taking or PDF annotation app (such as GoodNotes, Notability or XODO).
Once imported and opened, you can swipe or scroll to go from page to page or use the hyperlinks to go directly to a particular page in the planner. You can use an Apple Pencil or stylus to write in the digital planner, or you can type into it if your prefer. You can also insert images into your planner without having to print it out like you would with paper planners!
If you are worried about the writing experience of digital planners, don’t be! With today’s technology (using the Apple Pencil on an iPad, in particular), writing on a tablet-like device is a breeze! And pretty dang awesome. If you want a more realistic and comfortable writing experience, there are matte screen covers available which gives the iPad/table screen a ‘paper-like’ feel but I think it’s great without it!
Types of digital planners
Although digital planners have come into the spotlight recently, the range of digital planners have certainly increased and the inclusions have unquestionably improved over the past few years.
You can now find digital planners to suit everyone!
Digital planners can come as a dated planner or an undated planner (which you can use year after year because you input the dates in yourself).
Other than that, some people prefer to use their digital planners in landscape orientation on their iPad/tablet while others prefer portrait orientation. One layout is not better than the other – ultimately, the choice is yours and comes down to what you prefer and feel comfortable with.
In terms of content, templates and layouts of digital planners, there is also a wide variety available to choose from. Other than the standard digital planners with yearly, monthly, weekly and daily pages, you can get digital planners with other helpful templates such as financial trackers, meal planner, goal-setting pages, and habit trackers!
There are also digital planners for specific needs such as social media planners, planners for wedding organization, planners for travel, student planners/notebooks, teacher planners, gratitude journals, planners for bloggers, fitness planners, prayer journals, recipe books and more!
Then there are also differences in style across different digital planners. Some creators and sellers create fun colorful planners with fancy fonts, while others (like myself) prefer the minimal and clean look.
Another thing to consider is the price of digital planners. The price range varies significantly across different sellers and brands. Don’t just choose a digital planner based on the price – that’s hardly ever a good indicator of quality. My tip is to make sure you are certain of what’s included in your purchase, the seller/brand is reputable, there are good reviews and from what you can tell, the quality of work is impeccable.
We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to digital planners!
Digital planner additions – digital stickers, inserts and covers
Some people like to decorate their digital planners and journals with digital stickers, change up their templates with different inserts and switch up the look of their planner covers!
Yep, you can do all that with digital planners!
Digital stickers are normally PNG files and sometimes, sellers create GoodNotes digital sticker sheets where the stickers on that GoodNotes file are already pre-cropped in GoodNotes and (if you are using GoodNotes) all you have to do is lasso select the sticker you want, copy and paste it where you desire. Easy!
What do I need to get started?
So at this point, you might be interested in giving digital planning a go, right? I mean, I wouldn’t blame you!
But what exactly do you need to get started?
These are the things you’ll need:
- An iPad or tablet
- An Apple pencil or stylus (if you want to write in your digital planner)
- A note-taking or PDF annotation app (such as GoodNotes, Notability, Noteshelf, Zoomnotes and for android users, XODO and Metamoji)
- And a digital planner of your choice!
How to choose the best digital planner for you?
Everyone is different and at varying stages of life, so it’s not surprising that we all have different needs when it comes to planning and organization.
Because we are now spoilt with choice, it makes the decision of choosing a digital planner that little bit harder. I get it, I’ve been there – it is overwhelming at first.
To help you narrow down the choices, I have created a little questionnaire for you!
I recommend you to write down the answers for the following questions and then look for digital planners using your answers as a guide to narrow down your search!
- Dated or undated?
- Portrait or landscape orientation?
- What will be the main purpose of the digital planner?
- What are the must-have templates I need?
- Cute and colorful or simple and clean?
- Price range?
Once you have the answers to the questions above, you are ready to begin your exciting search for your digital planner! You can search on Google but the most popular platforms to find digital planners is Etsy, Pinterest and in digital planning groups on Facebook!
Please note that most people have a few digital planners/notebooks/journals for different things rather than just one. Also, if you purchase a planner but it doesn’t end up being the one for you, don’t give up on digital planning! It may take a few trials and purchases to find your digital planner peace but like others, it was definitely worth it for me!
Free digital planners?
Many reputable sellers/brands will most likely offer freebies or samples of their digital planners or notebooks for you to try out.
I highly recommend you to download those first, before you make a purchase.
Not only will you be able to try it out and make sure the digital planner is compatible with your planning app and device, it also allows you to get a feel for their layouts and style. It is also a great way to get an insight into the quality of their digital planners and products!
You may need to subscribe to their email list first, but I don’t see any problem with that because you can always unsubscribe at any time if you don’t want to remain a subscriber.
So there you have it! The complete guide to digital planners for beginners!
If you are a ‘traditional’ pen-to-paper planner user but you are looking to go digital or paperless, then this may be the answer for you. Even if you’ve never used paper planners in the past, digital planning is a whole new experience and takes planning to a whole other level.
Digital planning was a complete game-changer for me, and I use my digital planners every day. I hope you will find it helpful to your life too!