Why Buy a Paper Planner in the Digital Age? Part 1: Putting the "Art" in The Art of Planning

Scott Brown

This post is part of an ongoing series entitled Why Buy a Paper Planner in the Digital Age. See our introduction to the series here.

Think of the most customizable planning/to-do/calendar app you've ever used.

Did it include:

  • Color-coding options for backgrounds and text?
  • The freedom to draw attention to text via user-selected icons or stickers?
  • Line tools to connect two bits of text to each other visually?
  • Form tools to emphasize bits of text with borders, or to break up unrelated sections of text on the same page?
  • Doodling tools to graph out a plan or draw a mind map?
  • The ability to do all of the above, with just the right amount of color, visuals, and animations, with no loading or processing lag?

In my experience, some apps can do some of these, but not with the same ease-of-use and freedom that a paper planner can do them.

Now, for many of us it's not a big deal if our planning app doesn't have, say, a drawing function. A lot of people wouldn't use it anyway. Similarly, not everyone finds value in "tagging" their planner with stickers. But for many, adding these visual flourishes, whether for decorative or for documentation, isn't extraneous or tangential. It's a key component of the planning process. Such non-text touches helps connect the planner to the material while they are adding them, and after the fact they help the planner identify the mind-state that they were in at the time, prioritize and guide the eye during review sessions, and identify the type of information that was recorded, to name a few reasons why customization is an essential part of the planning process for many.

Apps simply don't offer as much customization as few markers/stickers and free range over a true paper planner page.


This post is part of an ongoing series entitled Why Buy a Paper Planner in the Digital Age. Read part 2 here!

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