I occasionally dabble in digital planning. I thought maybe because I was only using it here and there that it could be the reason why I wasn’t completely sold on it, so decided to try it out for a full month.
Thoughts after trying digital planning for a month
I did 4 weeks of consecutive digital planning in November using various types of weekly spreads from my Rainbow Digital Planner.
I did a mix of dashboard, vertical and horizontal to see which I liked best.
I used Goodnotes although there are other digital planning apps that look similar that I intend to try in the future (zoomnotes, noteshelf etc.)
My favorite type of weekly spread to plan digitally is still dashboard (same as on paper) with the days of the week on one side and a checklist on the other.
You could use the lasso tool in Goodnotes to select a task or event and delete it once completed so you end up with a completely blank / fresh spread ready for the next week. Or if you have anything left at the end of the week, it’s already there for the next week without needing to re-write it.
I don’t like using vertical weekly planners on paper, but didn’t mind using one digitally. I can use my fingers to expand the screen, write what I need to and then zoom out again so it’s easier to fit text in narrow columns.
If you like these digital weekly planners, they’re available in this bundle from my shop.
Things I liked about digital planning
- Easy to move plans around easily using the lasso tool
- Can color match the colors of the planner you’ve made or have purchased
- Quick to set up simple spreads
- Can use any color I want
- Easier to create uniform appearance – can just make something once and then copy and paste as many times as you need
- Saves time when you have recurring tasks
- Can add extra pages if you run out of space
- Can duplicate a weekly spread to save time setting up the next week
- Can reposition pages in your notebook if you want to keep a recurring weekly tasks list, your monthly habit tracker etc. next to your weekly spread for quick access
- Can change colors after you’ve used them. I created one circle using the highlighter tool then copied and pasted to all days of the week, wrote in the numbers and then changed the colors of each of them
To change colors or resize, use the lasso tool, draw a circle around the element then tap and hold until the black pop-up menu in the screenshot below appears.
I thought the battery on my iPad would die quicker than it did. A few times I forgot to turn it off before I went to bed and the battery had only dropped 2 or 3% by the next morning.
Things I didn’t like about digital planning
- Bit limited in the decorating you can do in Goodnotes – there’s really only the highlighter tool and different colored pens. Unless you import in digital planner stickers there aren’t many different ways to customise. A stamp tool or some pre-imported images, or some border templates within Goodnotes would be handy (although I haven’t seen other digital planning apps offer these either)
- I wish there was a search function (CTRL + F) in Goodnotes. I’m definitely using only digital notebooks with a hyperlinked index that goes directly to the page you want from now on, and will be keeping my weekly spreads in a separate Goodnotes notebook
- Small screen size. If you want a decent amount of space to plan each week you’ll probably use 2 pages which will require flicking back and forth on your iPad screen
So am I sticking with digital planning?
Even after trialing digital planning for 4 consecutive weeks instead of a week here and there, I still prefer pen and paper. I like being able to use different supplies and my spreads have more variety on paper. I can use stencils, washi tape, stamps, colored pens etc. I think there’s more ways to customise spreads on paper than digitally.
I have my master task lists in Excel (which can be opened in Google Sheets if you’re on an iPad) so it would be convenient to switch between the two… However I like having one open on a device (computer or iPad) and being able to see my paper planner at the same time.
I like digital planning and will probably use it occasionally, but I won’t be making a permanent switch to digital weekly planning.
Past digital planning spreads
- Drawing bullet journal spreads on paper versus digitally on an iPad: which is faster?
- 10 Useful Tips for Digital Planning using Goodnotes
- How to resize any printable PDF and add it to your digital planner (in Goodnotes)
- Digital habit tracking in Goodnotes versus habit tracking on paper
- 15 Productive Things You Can Do In 15 Minutes or Less
- 50 Reminders to Put in Your Planner or Bullet Journal
- 10 Different ways to do a monthly goals review in your planner
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