Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic One

The following is a guest post about choosing a paper planner over an electronic planner from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.

Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic Planner at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

I know this is the technology age. We use our phones and computers for almost everything. You can’t even apply for a job without being directed to a kiosk these days. But, I can not pass over my paper planner for an electronic calendar. I have tried and failed.

About 5 years ago, I told myself that I was going to start using the calendar on my iPad as my main calendar. I had a case for it and planned to carry it around with me in my work bag. I spent some time putting everything into the calendar and it looked really nice. Then, I never picked it up again.

I gave it a shot because several people I knew used only their electronic calendar and raved about it. So, I thought I was missing out on an amazing organizational tool. But, we were not a good match.

So, why?

After giving it some thought, I have determined there were four main reasons why it just didn’t work for me.


I have always associated speed with technology. But, not this time. For me, it is a lot easier to grab my paper planner and open it to the page I am needing than using my phone. I always use planner tabs that mark my weekly and monthly spots, so there isn’t any guessing.

With my iPhone calendar, I have to figure out where the icon is on my phone and then, find the month or day I am searching for, which takes a lot more time. And, I understand that this process would get easier the more I used the app. I guess I just feel it isn’t the best fit for me.

Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic Planner at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Planner Ease of Use/Experience

This goes along with speed. I guess you could say old habits die hard. I have always used a paper planner, so it is easier for me to use. I know how they are laid out and I know how to turn quickly to certain spots in my planner.

I have very little experience with electronic calendars, so I find them more difficult to use.

Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic Planner at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

The “Big Picture”

When I am using my paper planner, I can actually open up an entire month’s spread and see everything that I have down. So, I can get a nice overview of how a month is going to go and what things we have scheduled for that month.

I can’t do that for an electronic calendar. You can open up a whole month, but it doesn’t give me the same insight. I use stickers to indicate certain events, like football games. I will always label my husband’s football Fridays with a half box and a football icon sticker. So, when I open up my planner, I know exactly where the football games are. The same goes for appointments and practices.

Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic Planner at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Something about the Paper

This one is a little hard to describe. There is just something about having the actual paper in my hand. I am the same way with books. I like to be able to flip back and forth between pages when I am reading. I have attempted reading on a Kindle and it just wasn’t the same for me.

The same for my planner. I just need to have the actual planner in my hand and not on an electronic device.

Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic Planner at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

I would love to get a discussion going. Do you prefer paper planners or electronic ones? Why?

See also my other posts in this series:

The Six Ways I Use a Paper Planner
Which Paper Planner is Right for You?


My name is Kristin and I am a middle school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We recently made a life-changing move to Arkansas, so our new house is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with me!

Filed under: Calendars/Planners, Guest Bloggers, Kristin, Paper Organization, Schedules


37 Responses to Why I Use a Paper Planner over an Electronic One

  1. 1
    Pat S says

    I definitely use a paper calendar. Mine is wallet size and I see a month at a glance – which is what I need. I’m retired and single so I don’t need a huge calendar. This fits my needs perfectly.
    And I do. not. trust. electronic calendars.

  2. 2
    tisha @ quiltytherapy says

    I miss having a paper planner. Maybe it’s time to get back to that.
    We do use a family calendar at home to help keep us organized.

  3. 3
    Stephanie says

    I agree so much with this (and with the EC love).

    I have to use iCal for work since we have a team calendar/shared calendar, but I still keep a paper work planner and a paper personal planner. I love being able to flip through and visually see everything. And I can flip ahead and see what’s going on and flip back if I need to remember when the last time was I did something.


    • 3.1
      Julie says

      Please help me out. I am a Franklin planner through and through. New job requires a shared google calendar. Help. This is driving me nuts

  4. 4
    Mandy says

    I also have been a paper planner gal!! My issue is that I use my planner not only for a calendar but also for meal planning for the week, for to do lists and a place to jot down things.I feel like I can’t get all of that in one electronic planner. I also am a visual person so seeing the week/month laid out for me is key. On another note, I keep all of my planners so that if someday I ever want to look back on what life was like during a certain time in my life, this would be a pretty accurate way to do that. Kind of a lazy gal’s journal or diary! 🙂

  5. 5
    Judy H says

    I concur with all your reasons for paper over tech planners. There is something about holding my life (and my family’s) in my hand and seeing what we have accomplished and what is left to do. All the drips and spills, things inserted, scribbles and post-it notes shows a life well lived.

    • 5.1
      Kristin @ The Gold Project says

      What a fabulous explanation. You are so right. All of the crossing out of things, wite-out marks, and even spills show our true lives. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. 6
    Pamela says

    It seems I am with everyone else….I prefer my paper planner!! I want to hold it in my hand and for all the other reasons you mentioned. I also do my budget on paper in a binder for all those reasons.

  7. 7
    Gerry says

    Paper for the win!

  8. 8
    Susan C says

    Yup, same here! I still make my to do lists on paper too. You can carry them around with you and whip them out for a quick look much easier. Another thing, have you noticed how fast the kids are these days with their fingers on their phones? I can touch type but entering anything in my phone is a slow and painful process, lol.

  9. 9
    Margot says

    I keep items in my phone calendar but the paper wall calendar is the “bible” in our household. As you mention, it is so much easier to get the “big picture” on paper.

    • 9.1
      Kristin @ The Gold Project says

      I need to put up a wall calendar in my house. With my kids getting older, our schedules are getting more hectic and it would be very helpful.

      • ANna says

        my sister found that with teens, it makes it easier for everyone to remember where various members are and their work schedules. PLus it makes them feel more independent to just mark it on a calendar rather than feeling like they have to “report in” and let the family know where they will be

  10. 10
    Jeana says

    I like holding a planner too and all the other good points you made about a paper planner, but what I ran into was the chore of having to keep my planner with me all the time…as in, it is bulky and something else to carry in my already heavy purse. Sometimes, I’d change purses, and it wouldn’t fit so I’d have to carry it additionally. Many times, I ended up leaving it behind and did not have it when I needed it. Also, I cannot set alarm reminders when I REALLY have to be somewhere. I tend to get consumed with whatever I’m doing and forget where I need to be. The alarm helps me to remember those appointments/commitments that I would otherwise forget in the midst of a busy day. I gave over to electronic for these reasons, BUT I would so much rather have paper if it worked better for me.

  11. 11
    Jane says

    I agree with all the comments above and would like to add that a paper planner can be accessed by anyone so you can direct a family member to look something up and if it is on the wall or table it is so easy to do!

  12. 12
    Nubia says

    Wow…it is so nice to hear that others have this same issue. As I was reading your article I felt as if I had written it. I related to pretty much everything you said. I have tried countless times to stick to only my iphone calendar, but keep on going back to my paper planner. I’m convinced that I will never go paperless. I love my planner. 🙂

  13. 13
    Amy says

    I agree for many of the same reasons. Also, I retain information that I write by hand much more easily than information that I type, which is another reason I prefer paper planners.

    • 13.1
      Kristin @ The Gold Project says

      Very good point. I didn’t even think about retaining information. I did that in college. I would continuously re-write my notes to remember them.

  14. 14
    Susan says

    I guess I am a bit of a contrary person sometimes and when it comes to planners this is equally the case as I find myself bridging the gap and using both paper and digital planning tools (surprisingly well together). I use Remember the Milk which I have on my PC and phone for quick tasks like ordering prescriptions and booking appointments. This system contains dated tasks as well as a big dump of one-day tasks. I use my Google Calendar for things like the date my magazine subscriptions are due and people’s birthdays etc. Then my paper planner is more for looking pretty and creating my days. I have Fibro so can’t really plan ahead any chores etc so in my paper planner I add things in as I do them often so I can see my daily achievement. Let’s face it, even if you use different coloured fonts for different parts of your digital calendar that is as pretty as it gets there is something great about stickers etc. Do we ever really grow out of those pleasures kids get from reward charts? The pleasure I get from using a big task achieved sticker suggests not 🙂

  15. 15
    Bernadette says

    I’m another person who can remember things written by hand more readily. I also like to be able to flip through sections in my paper planner, which I can do much more readily than on my phone or laptop.

    Back in the day when I worked in an office, a shared electronic calendar worked really well to see what everyone was doing. Now that I work from home and with partners rather than a team, I’d never go back to electronic. My only problem now is which paper planner…

  16. 16
    evelyn says

    I have a paper planner and will not go away – I am a paper person! I have gotten a kobo-e-book-reader for christmas two years ago and although I enjoy using it and it’s very convenient to read in the dark while I wait for the baby to fall asleep, it just does FEEL a little bit weird and akward… If I want to look at a page I have already read, I just flip back – in a real book, that is. In the ebook, I am just completey lost, it’s very hard to find the page I am looking for…

  17. 17
    Tiffany says

    I prefer paper planners (been using them since my school days ??????). I am also OCD about everything and I have to have everything organized on so many different levels. I use to use a binder paper planner; only if I knew where to buy the refills, sigh)! However, I am a veteran that served in the Army. Sunstained TBI/ PTSD and other injuries. (Jumped out of the sky, chasing after running vehicles way too much). Everytime I wake up I have amnesia and have to try really hard to remember everything. I write in notebooks for that reason. However, I use the electronic version to have two alarms with traffic control for an appointments, etc. I also have to add names and how they are associated to me, etc. I include birthdays, holidays, shopping lists, etc. It’s a good thing I have a handy dandy smart phone. (I prefer the paper version in case the power goes out on the whole planet ???? , lol) I also have all of my lists organized, titled, coded, etc. for everything I need to do. I am still very OCD, hopefully not worse because I have to have everything organized to the ‘T’ or I will even forget more things and get frustrated if things are not in order. I was a great speller, proper grammar, very smart in all areas, and used to have a photographic memory. So at least my smart phone can sorta make sure my words are spelt correctly and I can see everything in front of my face. Negative thing about planners on electronics is, I can not put stickers on events, etc. If my devices break or the power goes out, there goes my memory. I have to keep checking and going over my lists continuously. For my family and my sanity; I had made a elegant magnetic dry erase board for my fridge. So it is in plain view for everyone to see it and no one can miss it when they open the fridge door. My family will add items on the shopping list(s), when the item(s) run out. I write chores and projects, activities, etc. My family members will add their schedules down, so then, I can add those things to my electronic device. And the world keeps turning. I would post a pic of my board that I had DIY’d myself, but, I can not figure out how to post a pic. (If that can be done, can someone explain to me how I can post a pic? Thank you for this input piece about planners because there are so many different styles that goes along with the different types of people.

  18. 18
    Tracy says

    I fall into both categories. I use my calendar app to put in appointments, because I can also set a reminder if I think I’m going to forget. If I swipe right on my lock screen it’ll tell me what’s up over the new few days. I always have my phone on me so it works.

    I’m just playing with the Reminder app, to see if that will work or not, for all my school to-do’s, and maybe some home stuff as well.

    Everything else I need to plan is on paper. My menu plan is on paper and I like it like that. I am a teacher and I always put my planning together in a Word document and then print out my daily plans so I have them on paper. I just need that paper in my hand.

    I do miss a paper planner. I am totally missing out on the washi tape craze, which I know I would love! I love that paper planners can look organised and pretty and “lived in”, in a way that electronic ones can’t.

  19. 19
    Sandy says

    I and My Husband AM MORE of a Paper over Electronic planner kind of people. However through Crystal Paine’s, of Money Saving Mom, 7 Day Make Over Your Calendar Course, we are finding a Good Blend that we’re starting to like.

    We are using Google Calendar so we can see BOTH our schedules and the plans we have together BUT we STILL HAVE AND USE our Paper Planners. For us writing it down in the planners helps to “cement it in our minds” more.

    The Electronic allows us to “share” without having to call each other too often at work. At the end of the work day, the Paper allows us to create a “to-do” list for the next day WITHOUT having to turn our computer or phones back on and get “sucked into the technology vortex”. 😉

  20. 20
    Melanie says

    I agree – paper planner. I find it much easier, quicker, and I like seeing the big picture. I also work in an office where I schedule clients, and it takes longer to schedule a person who solely uses their phone to make the call as well as use their calendar on it. They have to take the phone away from their face to look at the calendar on their phone and this takes time away from me doing my work.

  21. 21
    Jessica C says

    I use both. Paper is critical for me for a lot of the reasons other have mentioned. I also have a need to refer back to appointments a year prior for my work. It’s either for my son if I put family appoints on our shared family calendar on our phones. The trick is keeping everything synchronized

  22. 22
    Christine says

    I always use a large monthly planner so I can see everything at once. It’s kinda of like using a watch with hands…I can actually see that it is 15 minutes til 5:00 instead of 4:45.
    What brand of planner do you prefer?
    I love stickers and colored lens and markers, too!!

  23. 23
    Melanie Reed says

    I have tried both. Several years ago I wanted to get “electronically organized!” It failed. Here is why: I don’t have an office job. I am on the go in my work with no set workstation. I think if one worked in an office at a computer it would be easier to use the electronic planning options, family share apps and so on. We used the Cozi ap for several years which was nice because you could share with other family, kids and so on. But in the end for me, the paper is my go to.

  24. 24
    Anita says

    I’m a paper planner girl. I’m a visual person, so if it’s not on a piece of paper where I can see it all the time, I tend to forget things. I’m actually a multiple planner owner. I have my main planner, which holds all appointments, work schedules, meal plans, chores list, errands lists, bills due, and all the other things that go along with real life. I also have a traveler’s notebook “selfie” journal, which holds my morning and night routines, lists of things I need to do to take care of myself, lists of healthy foods and drinks that I want to try, books I want to read, favorite inspirational quotes, etc. I have another that is my brain dump and holds my monthly list challenges that I participate in. It also holds my shopping lists when I’m out and about, and is the one that goes with me. It’s small enough to fit into almost any purse I carry, except the smallest ones. It totally works for me, and as a scrapbooker, it sparks my creativity to be able to indulge in the whole sticker, washi and mixed art media thing that’s currently the rage in the planner world.

  25. 25
    Diane says

    I don’t use a paper calendar anymore but am still drawn to paper. I love the creative possibilities associated with a paper calendar but because iCal has become so easy for me with EVERYTHING on there, a paper planner does end up taking more time. But I LOVE to look at them. I still think that one day I’ll go back to them.

  26. 26
    Claudia says

    I still love using my paper calendar, though not a paper planner but it offers that same one month overview of my month.
    I have 3 school kids and it helps me to stay organized. I do however find my phone calendar very handy as well specially for scheduling appointments. The more I use it the easier it gets and it’s becoming a must.
    I’ll never do away with my paper calendar. After all there are some beautiful ones out there every year!

  27. 28
    Pam says

    I am looking for a planner where I can “put it all”! Teacher plans, home routines, activities, bill paying, you name it. I need the perfect life planner. Any suggestions which one is the best?

  28. 29
    Lenore says

    I still use a giant wall calendar at home, with color coded entries. But I do use Google Calendar on my computer and phone and so does my husband. We “share” it, so if either of us adds something or changes something on the schedule, it shows up there. This is also color coded and can have unshared calendars which I use for personal reminders. And, I have it set on Month View all the time. I am also one who likes to see the big picture.

  29. 30
    Trish says

    I agree with the majority of everyone commenting. Paper planners are both a necessity as well as beneficial to my inner self. I love being able to cross off tasks and look back to see all of each month’s accomplishments. Nothing can beat holding paper planners!


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