Digital or Traditional Planners and Notebooks: Which is Better?

Last Updated on April 7, 2022 by Stephanie

The honest answer to this question is that whichever works for you is the better option!  However, I know that isn’t why you are reading this.  You want answers.  You want to know what is going to keep you organized and happy. If you haven’t checked out my post about building productivity systems, you should definitely check it out.  Planning systems, to-do lists, planners, etc. are all useless unless you use them.  If they are too hard for you to use on a regular basis, then there is no point in keeping them.  A system needs to work for you. So the question is digital planning vs paper planning.

Let’s dive into the Pros and Cons of each!

Person on computer; Which is better: Digital or traditional planners and notebooks?; creating time for life; digital planning vs paper planning

Traditional Planners and Notebooks

In the past few years, planning and planners have become all the rage.  If you go into any hobby or office store, chances are you will see a crazy amount of stuff for planners.  Back in the day, the planner was for the busy office executive, but today a planner is for everyone.  They are also ADORABLE. In the question of digital planning vs paper planning they are really all adorable.

Some popular names in the traditional planner world include Erin Condren and The Happy Planner.  Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and several other stores even have their own brand of planners and planner accessories.  From the basic planner to sticker packs, to dividers, and extension packs.  You can plan out just about anything.  With many people using Cricut and Silhouette cutters as well, places like Etsy are EXPLODING with stickers and printables for you to use in your planners.


  • You get to use actual pens and pencils and art tools.
  • Distraction-free because it isn’t on a digital device.
  • No learning curve because you know how to use a pencil or pen.
  • There are a million different versions.
  • Lots of different accessories are available to personalize your experience.
  • You don’t have to back it up!


  • You have to purchase an extension or new planner every year.
  • Erasing and Whiting out can sometimes make for a messy spread.
  • When you use up a sticker or a piece of washi tape… that’s it.
  • Once you run out of pages… that’s it. (unless you use a binder or disc planner)
  • They are not always customizable.
  • Depending on the size, they can be cumbersome to travel with.
  • What the crap do you do with it when you are done?

Digital Planners and Notebooks

I was introduced to digital planning and notebooks several years ago and I will fully admit that I fell in love!  My example honestly doesn’t answer the question of digital planning vs. paper planning. I still do some things on paper, but admit that my love for digital grows more and more.  If you are hesitant to start with digital planning, please look things up and explore this world.  Download my free digital notebook and grab an app like GoodNotes or Notability to try it out!  There are so many tutorials, freebies, and videos for you to watch if you are new to the idea of digital planning.  Now that I’ve told you how much I love it, let me tell you the pros and cons.

Person using digital planners on iPad


  • It can be with you everywhere you go and depending on the app, it syncs with multiple devices!
  • There are a LOT of different options out there.
  • There are a LOT of different stickers and templates available.
  • Notebooks are never-ending.  If you run out of room, you add a new page.
  • Most are easy to back up.
  • Infinite numbers of colors and sizes and pen styles and fonts!
  • You can completely customize everything.
  • There are so many different tutorials out there.
  • Personal opinion – they are typically cheaper than traditional.
  • Less paper waste.


  • A bit of a learning curve with different apps.
  • You need to back things up on a regular basis to keep them safe in case of computer or device crashing.
  • Looking online can be a bit overwhelming because there are so many different options out there.
  • Make sure things are charged and ready for you to use.

My Personal Usage

I fully admit that I am a completely hybrid person. There are certain things that I like to have a physical notebook for and there are certain things that I’m okay with having digitally. It is okay to be this person because you have to do what works best for you.  If you don’t use something the way you need to, you aren’t going to see the benefits of it.  Like I said earlier, the best choice for you is the one that you will use!  So here is my breakdown:


  • Calendar
  • Planner
  • Main Project/To-Do List
  • Notebooks
  • Book Journal


  • Journal
  • Notebooks

My calendar and main project/to-do list are in Google Calendar and ToDoist.  My planner and several notebooks I use are in the GoodNotes app.  I also have a journal and note-pad that is traditional.  Sometimes you just need to do things with a pen and paper and that is totally all right.

Next Steps in the Contest of Digital Planning Vs Paper Planning

If you are at all curious about digital planning and digital notebooks, I highly suggest that you look up some information.  Right now, the question of digital planning vs paper planning is gaining momentum. I feel like the customizable nature of digital stuff is totally awesome.  Being able to add pages, create your own templates, and use unlimited numbers of stickers and decorations is well worth it.  If you want to try out a digital notebook, try out this one below!  In my freebie section, I’ve also got some free digital stickers to try out as well.

Digital Note book; 12 hyperlinked tabs; 13 templates; picture of ipad with sectioned notebook; creating tie for life

Do you want to know more about digital planning?  Post in the comments below any questions you might have!

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