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Why Buy a Paper Planner in the Digital Age? Part 8: Touring the App Graveyard

Scott Brown

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

Check out our previous entries:

I've tried a number of planning apps in the past. Some have been better than others, but while I was using them I had this persistent fear that I was on borrowed time -- that at any point the app developers could shutter the app, change features that I held dear, or push through some update that disagreed with my device.

In all of these scenarios, I am now on the market for a new app, and my old app has all of my carefully-entered planning data. All of my goals for the next year or two, and all the steps that I needed to accomplish to achieve those goals. In some of these cases, there is a chance that I could import my data into some other app, although in my experience this always comes with tons of issues that have to be reconciled. In many cases, this will seem too daunting a task or isn't even an option, and your plans are just gone.

This has happened to me with a number of apps, although thankfully it was never a huge deal.

There was an app called Sunrise Calendar, which allowed me to see Evernote reminders and Google calendars all in one view. Acquired by Microsoft and shuttered. R.I.P. 2015.

Then there was IQTell, which I thought was the answer to all of my prayers because of its to-do list features and integration with Evernote and Google Calendar. R.I.P. 2017.

Most recently, I hopped in and out of Wunderlist, a hugely popular to-do list app that, like Sunrise in 2015, was acquired by Microsoft and promptly shuttered. R.I.P. 2020.

Then there are the myriad planning app startups that are out there. They look promising, but what if they don't receive the funding that they need to keep building? It's a bit risky to put all the time in to build out a plan in one of these nascent apps before they've exhibited any staying power (not to mention the security concerns that come with entering information into something created by a developer you've never heard of). It's similar to the inherent risk that comes with diving into a new television series and watching the entire first season, only to find out it wasn't renewed for a second, only with much higher potential for lost time and mental output.

Of course, there are apps that don't pose much risk of going away any time soon to which you could limit yourself if you were worried staying power, but these apps offer far less functionality than a full-bodied planning practice requires. And with any app, there is always the danger that something will break when you need to access your plan the most. Your device will have a dead battery. Your internet will be down. The app is performing routine maintenance, or is offline for some other back-end reason for an unknown duration.

These are never concerns for the paper planner user. Your paper planner is always going to be there for you. It will never die. It will never unexpectedly close, go offline, or shutter. Your data cannot be erased by a bug or server glitch. Paper planners may seem old-fashioned, but the reliability that they promise will never go out of fashion. 

 

This post is part of an ongoing series entitled Why Buy a Paper Planner in the Digital Age. Part 9 coming soon!


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