Episode 32: Productivity Myth Busters: Is Digital Planning Really the Best?

As we move towards the end of the year, you may have started thinking about what type of planner to buy for next year. With more and more of our lives moving online and on our smart phones, you’ll hear people say that it’s “more efficient” to use a digital planner instead of a paper planner. But is it the best for everyone? Let’s take a look in this episode of the Productivity Myth Busters series.

Productivity shouldn’t be about stuffing more and more into our already-full lives and crossing over the boundaries God has given for our protection. It’s about honoring those boundaries and creating spacious places to live the delightful life God has planned for us.

2 Samuel 22:20 –  He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Psalm 16:6 – The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Digital planning offers some distinct advantages over paper planners but I DON’T believe going 100% digital is the best option for most people. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of digital planning, and then I’ll give you some ideas of how to use digital and paper planning TOGETHER to develop the best system for you.

Digital Planning is Flexible.
Digital Planning is Faster.
Digital Planning is Portable.
Digital Planning is Searchable.

Here are some common planning tasks and which are more suited for one method or the other.

Calendars and Appointments –Putting every appointment and activity into the calendar on my phone is probably the single most impactful thing I’ve ever done to keep myself organized and on track.
To-Do List –If you’ve used my To-Do List Toolkit, you know I suggest keeping multiple to-do lists, sorted by categories or focus areas. This is easier in a digital format you can assign the categories and move priorities around.
Weekly Planning –
The important part of this one is being able to see the week as a whole and get the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish.
Long-term Planning –
Hands down, my favorite process for this is sticky notes on a wall or big table.  But once the plan is set, then I think it’s best to put in a digital system to monitor it.
Notes and Brainstorming –This one is all paper.

Choosing between digital and paper planning also depends a lot on your work style. If you do most of your important tasks in one location where you can keep your paper planner out and open on your desk all the time, paper planning may be best. But if you are on the go a lot, and need quick access to all your info on the spot, some digital tools may help.

Check the shownotes  here for a list of my favorite digital tools and paper planner. The most important thing about your planning system is that it is based on tools you will actually use.

What part of your planning system is not working for you and causing the most pain? Focus on that one and pick a digital or paper tool to solve it. Pro tip: if you answered “all of them”, start with your calendar or your to-do list.


Check out these blog posts to help choose the tools that work for you: MyFavorite Digital Planning Tools How to Choose Your Next Planner

Book Recommendation: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud


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