Productivity Planner: Digital vs pen & paper

Productivity Planner: Digital vs pen & paper

March 1, 2022
, Last updated: 
May 11, 2023

Productivity planner: should I use old-fashioned pen and paper or go digital for my task planning and prioritizing?

The single best way to boost your productivity is to plan better. That means deciding your priorities for the day, week, or even month and then executing against that plan.

There are many reasons why planning is so critical to improved productivity, which we’ve covered quite extensively in other blog posts. To summarize, planning your priorities helps focus on what’s most important, not what’s most recent or at the top of your inbox. Planning also reduces decision fatigue and stress by pre-deciding what to work on any given day.

Read more articles on planning and productivity

But what is the best way to do better task planning? Of course, we think digital tools like Taskable are great, some like good old-fashioned pen and paper.

Here we’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of both physical and digital productivity planning tools.

Physical productivity planners

Despite loving software and digital products, I totally understand the affinity for pen and paper for tasks and time planning.

There are a few advantages for a physical productivity planner. Their physical presence is a reminder to actually use them. When a planner is sitting on your desk, it’s easy to remember to look at it, capture new items in it, and reference it as you move throughout the day.

Additionally, there are few distractions in a physical planner. When you do your task management on your phone or computer, it’s easy to get distracted by notifications, social media, or funny cat videos when you log on. There is very little chance of accidentally binging YouTube with a physical planner.

Physical planners have drawbacks. For one, they require extra work. If you capture tasks and write them down in a backlog, you have to continually go back and forth between the backlog and the day you are planning. Also, it’s not easy to drag and drop tasks around between days and your backlog.

Additionally, it can get cluttered with old tasks you’ve crossed off. You constantly have to create new lists and copy over incomplete backlog items.

Finally, you need to physically have it at all times. You can’t quickly capture items there or reference them if you left them at your desk during a meeting, at home, or if it gets lost or stolen.

Examples of physical productivity planning tools

Hobonichi Techo Planner - Japanese planner that is compact and can easily be carried around

Rhodia Large Weekly Desk Planner - A large planner for your desk that lets you plan out your week

Digitial productivity planners

In contrast, a digital productivity planner like Taskable and others are omnipresent. You can always access your tasks from any phone or laptop if you have your email and password. If a device gets lost, your task backlog isn’t lost with it.

In addition, digital task planners make sorting, reordering, and dragging and dropping tasks between days super simple. No rewriting things down or getting bogged down in a bunch of crossed-off tasks. You can take better control over the information you see at any time and quickly put tasks where they need to be.

Finally, more and more digital tools provide other benefits, like integrations with email and calendar to make timeblocking and different workflows easy.

Examples of digital productivity planning tools

Taskable - smart do list and personal productivity assistant that makes maximizing productivity a breeze

Todoist - Task manager that works across devices

Productivity planning with Taskable

We built Taskable to help people focus on their priorities. Our integrations bring tasks from all your tools into a single place. We help you plan your day, week, or month with our drag and drop board view. Our Today view shows you the things you need to get done today. Our calendar integration makes it easy to timeblock your day.

Learn more about timeblocking

May 11, 2023

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