Paper Planners and Notebooks in the Digital Age

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I recently joined a new group where everyone uses their smartphones for planning, notes, and apps, and yet most also use paper planners and/ or notebooks. It’s very interesting to see what combinations people use.

For example, one woman uses a pocket size planner for appointments, but keeps her task lists on her smartphone. Another woman uses her smartphone for all planning, but has several notebooks for lists and notes.

I do all of my planning, listing, and note-taking on paper only, and I don’t own a smartphone (for many reasons) so sometimes I feel behind the technology curve. Yesterday I was working on a project with someone and she said, “I’ll send you the app for this.” When I said I don’t use apps, she looked at me like she couldn’t quite understand what I was saying. How could I not use apps? When I explained I don’t use a smartphone, she took a quick breath of surprise, then composed herself and said, “That’s okay, you can do this on your laptop too.” Now we’re speaking the same language!

I asked my online planner friends if they have ever felt self-conscious about using paper planners when everyone else around them uses their phones instead. Everyone replied no, they love their paper planner and wouldn’t want to give it up. Most even said that when people see their paper planner, their reactions are usually, “Wow, I wish I were that organized!”

Do you use a combination of paper and digital for planning, lists, and/ or note-taking? How do people react when you use your paper planner in front of them?

9 thoughts on “Paper Planners and Notebooks in the Digital Age

  1. I do all my planning via a paper bullet journal. I find phone apps to be unintuitive and difficult to use. They take too much time to load up, they change all the time, and compartmentalize far too much. I use the phone and texting features along with a handful of apps such as maps, but otherwise I am not tied to the phone. Half the time it sits dead in my purse.

  2. I also keep everything in my paper planner(s), though I use and love my iPhone for other things.

    If anything, I might be inclined to put appointments in my devices for the benefit of a timely alarm, but leave tasks and other time management matters to my Filofax. I cannot imagine doing the reverse…writing down appointments but listing tasks in a phone? How cumbersome to unlock the phone, launch the app, and try to type via one’s thumbs a to-do list, repeating the first two steps every time I need to consult or update the list. The display never goes dark on my planner, sitting open on my desk. 😀 I’d also rather have the paper record of when I accomplished what. 😉

  3. I found your blog through philofaxy. What am interesting conversation! I actually use both in tandem. I find that I don’t remember what I type as well as what I write, so my calendar, to do lists and college notes are all on paper. However, my family rarely sees those papers! 😉 So once a week, I add all of our events to an app that everyone has access to. This is also helping my husband while he is deployed keep up with what is going on back home!

  4. this group can be very interesting! I’m now in a transition time to use more apps, and less paper…
    is this group online? if yes, could you share it? 🙂

  5. I will never give up my paper planner! I use it for everything personal, and as backup for business appointments only. For my business To-Do Lists, Tasks and Contacts, I use Outlook on my work desktop computer. I don’t want those cluttering my beautiful Space 24 planner, and I don’t want to even think about them when I am not at work. I do have a smartphone, but I HATE it and do not use the internet functions, just the texting and phone functions. I do not have any extra apps and have not put any personal information on it other than a few contacts with coded names because of privacy reasons. I don’t mind a bit what people think, but my experience has also been that the comments on my paper planner are largely favorable. Laurie, I was interested to hear that you don’t use a smartphone either and I am very curious as to what kind of cell phone you do use as I am trying to figure out a way to dump my smartphone yet still be able to text if I need to.

    • What I’d be interested in is: Do you Pam appointments with others. I work in an IT company where we have a lot of meetingss which are organized on our exchange infrastructure with outlook. That planning is so dynamic, that I can’t use a paper planner for work, but I’d really love to have only one calendar, I’d also like to carry with me. That’s a real struggle for me.

  6. Using a phone for planning and note taking is just too cumbersome for me. The only exception is when there’s something I need to be audibly reminded of that I post it in Outlook on my desktop (which synchs with my phone) so I get an alarm. I check my planner the night before, make a daily page and keep it visible for most of the day

    Even though I do have a smartphone, I would never consider it taking the place of my planner. Ever! 🙂

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