In a world increasingly driven by technology, even traditional practices like planning and organizing have gone digital. Digital planning is the modern way to keep your life, work, and goals organized efficiently. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the essentials of digital planning, from understanding what it is to choosing the right tools, setting up your planner, and staying consistent.
What is a Digital Planner?
Before diving into the details, let’s clarify what a digital planner is. Simply put, a digital planner is a digital version of a traditional paper planner or diary. It’s a digital space where you can write just like you do on paper to organize your tasks, events, goals, and more. Digital planners offer the convenience of customization and other various features that make planning a breeze.
Why I Made the Switch to Digital
At the start of 2022 I decided I was going to be 100% digital for the entire year for several reasons!
Convenience and Accessibility
First and foremost, the convenience and accessibility it offers. I was sick of writing random things on post-it notes and then they would disappear. Or I would go to my office and forget my planner and not have notes from a client call that I needed for work to be done that day.
Customization and Flexibility
Digital planning also allows for greater customization and flexibility. You can tailor your planner to suit your unique needs, from changing layouts to adding interactive elements like hyperlinks, multimedia, and more. I also love that if I have someone on my list for today that didn’t get accomplished, I can easily move it to the next day without my planner looking like a hot mess.
What Makes Digital Planning Different from Paper Planning?
Let’s explore some key differences between digital and paper planning:
Digital planners enable interactive features such as clickable links, multimedia attachments, which makes it easy and fast to find exactly what you’re looking for without flipping through all the pages.
Flexibility and Infinite Space
Unlike traditional planners with fixed layouts and limited space, digital planners offer infinite room for notes, lists, and ideas. You can zoom in, zoom out, and create additional pages or duplicate existing pages as needed.
Finding specific information in a digital planner is a breeze thanks to search functions, while paper planners often require manual flipping through pages. This has to be one of my favorite features of digital planners! I can easily search a client’s name if I need to refer back to notes quickly!
Syncs across devices
I have all Apple products, so my digital planner on my iPad syncs with the planner on my desktop also! This is a really handy feature so I know I’m never without my notes!
Choosing the Right Digital Planning Tools
Computer or Tablet
Now, you get to pick the kind of digital planning that vibes with you! Personally, I’m all about using a tablet and a stylus – it gives me that old-school paper planner feel, which I absolutely love. There’s something about jotting things down by hand that just clicks with my brain.
But hey, if you’re more into planning on your computer, no worries! There are some cool apps out there for that too. In that case, you’ll probably find yourself typing away in the text feature more often than busting out your handwriting skills.
Stylus or Apple Pencil
If you’re planning to go digital with a tablet, you might be thinking about the writing tool. You might be wondering if it’s a must-have, and the truth is, it all boils down to what you like. Personally, I’m a fan of using my trusty Apple Pencil for jotting down notes. But hey, if you’d rather go without a stylus or Apple Pencil, no worries! You can still make it work with the text tool or just your fingers. It’s all about what feels right for you.
This is the Apple Pencil I use! Adore writing and drawing on my iPad with this!
I swap out the tip of my Apple Pencil with these tips so it feels more like I’m writing with a pen.
I like using these little grips especially when I’m drawing in Procreate!
Discovering the Best Digital Planning Apps
When it comes to organizing your life digitally, the array of apps out there can be a bit overwhelming. Each app, like Notability, GoodNotes, OneNote, and Zinnia, comes packed with unique features and strengths. Whether you’re a note-taking newbie or a digital diary devotee, there’s something out there for everyone.
My Journey with Digital Planners
Last year, I was totally hooked on Zinnia. I even splurged on their subscription for those extra cute stickers and goodies. But, as they say, change is the only constant. Recently, I found myself on a quest for something new for my planning adventures. Enter Goodnotes. Their latest update is nothing short of amazing, and guess what? Many of the features I loved in Zinnia are now in Goodnotes too. And the cherry on top? It syncs effortlessly between my iMac and iPad!
Picking Your Perfect Planning App
Here’s a tip: try out these apps for yourself. You never know which one will gel with your personal style until you give them a go. And while you’re at it, why not grab a digital planner? Test drive it in different apps to see how it fits into your daily routine. It’s important to find an app that feels like a second skin since you’ll be spending a lot of time with it. It’s all about finding that perfect digital planning partner.
Decide What Kind of Planner You Are
To start digital planning, you need to decide what type of planner suits your lifestyle and preferences. Consider the following aspects:
Goals and Objectives
Are you using your digital planner primarily for work-related tasks, personal goals, or both? Define your overarching goals to guide your planning approach.
Determine how often you’ll use your digital planner for daily and weekly planning. Establishing routines for regular updates can help you stay organized.
Choose between a horizontal or vertical layout based on your preference for organizing your tasks and notes.
Once you decide on those things, you’ll know what type of Planner you’ll be looking for!
Where to Find Digital Planners
Digital planners are scattered all around the internet, but if you want to dive into a treasure trove of them, head over to Etsy – it’s like planner paradise over there! Last year, I hopped on the Etsy train and picked out a digital planner that I absolutely adored.
However, this year, after a bit of introspection, I realized that I didn’t really tap into all the fancy features of my planner from last year. It hit me that I needed something simpler, something more tailored to my own needs. So guess what? I rolled up my sleeves and got creative. I designed and crafted the Blogprenuer Planner, tailor-made to suit my needs, and guess what? I’m sharing it with you, absolutely FREE!
Introducing the All-New FREE Blogpreneur Digital Planner – Your Secret to Year-Round Success!
Digital Planning Terms to Know
As you begin your journey into the realm of digital planning, you might come across some terminology that’s new to you. Don’t worry; I’m here to demystify some of the most commonly used terms in the digital planning universe for you.
- Inserts: Inserts are pre-designed templates or pages that you can add to your digital planner. They often include calendars, to-do lists, and other organizational tools.
- Stickers: In digital planning, stickers are digital images that you can add to your planner for decoration or to highlight important items, much like physical stickers in traditional planning. Again a lot of stickers can be found on Etsy!
- Lasso Tool: The lasso tool is a feature in many digital planning apps that allows you to select and move items around on your planner, making it easier to customize your pages.
- Hyperlinks: Digital planners often allow you to create clickable links that can take you to specific pages or external websites, enhancing the interactivity of your planner.
- Layers: Layers are individual levels within your digital planner where you can add different elements, such as text, images, or drawings. Layers allow you to work with different items independently.
- Export: To export means to save or transfer your digital planner pages to a different format or location, such as saving them as PDFs or sharing them with others.
- Syncing: Syncing refers to the process of keeping your digital planner consistent across multiple devices. When you make changes on one device, syncing ensures those changes are reflected on all your devices.
- Backup: A backup is a copy of your planner data saved in a secure location. It’s essential to prevent data loss in case of device issues or accidental deletions.
- Bullet Journaling: Bullet journaling is a popular method of digital planning that involves using symbols and shorthand to organize tasks, events, and notes in a systematic way.
- Templates: Templates are pre-designed page layouts or structures that you can use as a starting point for your planner pages, saving you time and effort.
- Cloud Storage: Many digital planning apps offer cloud storage options, allowing you to save your planner data on remote servers for easy access and backup.
These terms should help new digital planners to better understand the tools and features available as you embark on your digital planning journey.
Start Your Planning!
Now that you’ve gathered the necessary knowledge and tools, it’s time to start your digital planning journey. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Get Familiar with Your Digital Planner
Begin by exploring all the links and pages inside your new Planner so you can familiarize yourself with all the options!
Set SMART Goals
Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals! This will keep you motivated and focused on your objectives.
Incorporate Inserts and Stickers
Add inserts and stickers to enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your digital planner. Experiment with different designs and styles to make it your own. Or.. change styles from month to month to be really creative!
Tips for Staying Consistent
Staying consistent with digital planning is key to its effectiveness. Here are some tips to help you maintain your planning routine:
Schedule Regular Planning Sessions
Set aside dedicated time for planning each day or week. Consistency in updating your digital planner will help you stay organized and on track.
I personally sit down every Sunday evening and write everything down for the week ahead. This helps me be consistent and get everything out of my head so I can have a productive week!
Sync Across Devices
Ensure that your digital planner is synchronized across all your devices, so you can access it anytime, anywhere.
Explore communities and online resources to stay inspired and discover new planning techniques and ideas.
Digital planning is a versatile and efficient way to organize your life and achieve your goals. By understanding what digital planning is, choosing the right tools, customizing your planner, and staying consistent, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a digital planning pro. Embrace this digital transformation and watch your productivity soar. Happy planning!