As a blogger, I almost feel obligated to use a paper planner. It seems like every influencer I follow has a favorite planner that shows up in all their Instagram flat-lays and back-to-school posts, with an in-depth planner tour to go with it. To be honest, I really want to like paper planners. I’m literally writing a post about how I don’t use paper planners, but I have a tab open with the Day Designer’s new covers because I really, really want to use one consistently. But I’m hesitant to buy one because I’ve spent so much money on other paper planners that end up at the bottom of my drawer after a week.
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I tried traditional paper planners, like the ones you get in the Target office supplies section. They’re not usually a big investment, so why not?
I bought an Erin Condren planner my freshman year of college, and used it maybe a week longer than the Target ones because I felt so guilty about how much I spent on it.
I thought I just needed a different layout, so I got the Rifle Paper Co planner while it was on sale.
Gorgeous, but nope.
Lasted the longest, but still nope.
I pretty much concluded that paper planners aren’t my thing, so I moved on to trying out every digital planner imaginable. I have a long, restrictive list of things I need my digital planner to do for me to actually use it:
things i need my digital planner to do
- be flexible, so not time dependent aside from things out of my control like class schedules and events
- look good lol
- have keyboard shortcuts for creating headings/lists/events
- be available on all my devices
- organize any info I want (to-do lists, grocery lists, reminders, long term goals, schedules, things I want to do, things I need to buy that aren’t groceries, I like being organized!!)
- be color-coordinated, mainly a requirement for the calendar
- connect with my email/Facebook, also a calendar requirement
- allow me to share notes with my friends/roommates
Similar to my experiment with paper planners, there were a lot of digital planners that didn’t work out for me for one reason or another.
I didn’t like to-do list apps because they only serve one organizational purpose (hosting all the tasks I need to do), and aren’t that ideal for long-term tasks. I didn’t like the Reminders app for the same reason, but also because I like having a flexible to-do list that’s not time dependent.
I like Evernote for taking notes in lecture-style classes, but not for personal planning.
I tried several calendar apps but none of them connected with my other apps and devices the way I wanted them to.
Ultimately, I settled on three apps because I still haven’t found one that does everything I want it to, and I’m honestly content with the system I have going now!
1. Apple’s Notes app
3. Apple’s Calendar app
for random information, very long lists, and shared notes – Apple’s Notes app
I make a lot of notes, about literally everything. There’s no single format that works for these random notes, and I don’t usually need to access these notes on a regular basis. I use Apple’s Notes app for things like my 4-year graduation plan, my Instagram hashtags, my grocery list, my list of other things I want to buy but don’t need to (like that Becca highlighter that I’m convinced every YouTuber I watch owns), and anything else that I need to keep but don’t need to look at everyday.
I like that there isn’t one format you have to use on here, so I can make lists and long notes in the same app. I can also share notes with my roommates, and since they already have the app, I’m not forcing them to download something extra.
for to-do lists and things I need to see everyday – Simple Antnotes
I never thought I’d be a person that puts things on their desktop, but here I am! I downloaded this sticky note app a few weeks ago and I honestly love it. I use this for all my to-do lists and any other lists that I need to look at throughout the day for motivation (like blog post ideas) or reminders.
I love that you can change their color to whatever shade you want, and I have them set as transparent too. You can also use any font that’s installed on your computer (I’m using Futura)! Each note has a little pushpin at the top that you can click to pin that note above any other apps you’re running, so you can have a to-do list in the corner of your screen while using Chrome or something.
for time-dependent stuff – Apple’s Calendar app
Of all the calendars I tried, Apple’s Calendar ended up working the best for me for so many reasons. It’s already installed and connected on all my devices (I’m a hardcore Apple user), as well as my email and Facebook accounts, so I don’t have to make any extra effort to create events I’ve added myself or been invited to. I have a separate, color-coded calendar for events, due dates, classes, quizzes/exams, and other random things I need to do, which is extremely helpful when I have a hectic week.
Oh, and it’s gorgeous too.
Like I said, I still would love to use a paper planner because I like the idea of having a physical product and reminder of what I’ve done, but I just haven’t found one that works for me! If you’ve been in the same situation, comment with the planner you ended up using because I’d love to check it out.
Do you use a paper planner or a digital planner? Either way, let me know what brand or apps you have!