Quiz: Should You Use a Digital or Paper Planner?

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Quiz: Should You Use a Digital or Paper Planner?Have you ever wondered whether you should use a digital or paper planner?

There’s pros and cons for each camp, but what if there were a quick way to help you decide?

In this post, I offer a brief, five-question quiz to help you determine whether or not a digital or paper planner is for you.

For the purposes of this post, digital planners include things like online calendars, productivity apps and programs, while paper planners include notebooks, desk or wall calendars, and of course, hand-written lists.

Of course, keep in mind that this is just a general quiz.

There may be certain instances where you prefer to use a digital planner over a paper one (say, sharing your work calendar with your colleagues,) or a paper planner instead of a digital one (say, jotting down your private, self-improvement plan for the year).

Before jumping on board with any particular type of planner, you may want to consider the pros and cons for each:


Digital Planner Pros

  • Ability to sync information across many devices
  • Can easily share information and materials with others
  • Can quickly transfer information from one application or program
  • Can print out information as needed

Digital Planner Cons

  • Sensitive or private information may be stolen, leaked, or hacked
  • Frequent app, program, and system updates, upgrades, and backups are necessary
  • Files may be corrupted, infected by a virus, or completely lost
  • Information is not really private as it is shared with third-parties

Paper Planner Pros

  • Private way to collect and store information
  • Writing makes you slow down, and take your time
  • Can look at things side by side on a table or desk
  • Can access without an internet connection, or electricity

Paper Planner Cons

  • Cannot search information easily
  • Updating large chunks of information takes time, or is completely unwieldy
  • Transferring information to another format requires typing, scanning, or reading
  • No backup: once you lose a planner, it’s gone

Now, let’s move on to the quiz!

1. Do you prefer taking notes by hand, as opposed to typing them?

A. Yes, I have my favorite brands of pens and pencils, and I could easily spend hours in the notebook/planner department of an office supply store.

B.  No, I’d rather type things on a computer keypad, or dictate notes to my digital device using a transcription program, or app.

2. Do you like having all of your notes, appointments, and meetings available to you, at any given place, at any given time?

A. No, I like being able to pick and choose what items I can carry, and look at, at any given moment.

B. Yes, I’m constantly on the go, so being able to see all of my information at once is a must.

3. Does the thought of having to constantly update your applications, programs, and backup your devices, send chills up your spine?

A. Yes, I’d rather sit down and make edits to my notes or information, instead of wrestling with a computer or device.

B. No, I love seeing the new changes, updates, and possibilities when it comes to technology. I love trying new things out.

4. Do you need to search or sort different bits of information on a regular basis, at the drop of a hat?

A. No, I can pretty much find what I need in my notes, when I need them.

B. Yes! I’m always churning out lots of ideas, information, and notes, and need a way to easily search/sort through things.

5. Do you need to be able to easily share your notes and calendar(s) with other people?

A. No, not necessarily. If I need to share items with people, I’ll do so by talking to them, sending an email or text, but otherwise, I like keeping things to myself.

B. Yes, I like being able to share my notes and calendar with my coworkers, family, and friends. It saves me time.

Mostly A’s. Paper Planner.

You’re enamored by all things analog. You have an amazing collection of  pens, pencils, notebooks, desk and wall calendars. You love putting pen to paper, and turning the pages of a calendar or notebook to see your notes, meetings, and appointments. There are a wide variety of planners from which to choose: daily, weekly, and monthly planners; spiral-bound, ring, or book bound planners; lined, graphed, or blank pages; planners with notes, to-dos, and activities sections; as well as a variety of planner sizes, from pocket, to jumbo.

Mostly B’s. Digital Planner.

You truly are diggin’ the digital life. You own a variety of digital devices, from smart phone, tablet, laptop, to desktop, and aren’t afraid of getting your feet wet when new apps, programs, or updates come along. You love being able to collect, share, refine, and revise information easily, efficiently, and on the go. You have an entire world of specialized and generalized apps and programs to choose from: plain digital calendars, task-based calendars, to-do lists, reminders, mind-maps, flow charts, and project managers.

Print your own planner at home with our new collection of calendar printables! 

How about you? Do you prefer paper or digital planners? Perhaps you like to use a combination of both in your daily life for certain projects or activities? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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4 Responses

  1. Inés

    Hi! What planning application would you recommend ?

    • Rashelle

      Hi, Ines. Thanks for your comment. You might want to take a look at Omnifocus. It’s a task management application that allows you to capture your ideas, thoughts, and tasks, and then sort them into different projects or buckets. You can learn more at: https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus. I hope that helps. Regards, Rashelle

  2. Elizabeth

    I actually use a combination of paper and digital. It’s taken a while to figure out what works best for me, and I really wish it was easy to transfer the aspects that work best in digital to a paper format, but that would take more time, effort, and resources than I have. 🙂 So for now, this is how I work.

    • Rashelle

      I use a combination of paper and digital, too. As wonderful as technology is, nothing can replace writing out information by hand.