Ready to get started with digital planning? In this article, we'll show you how to go from paper to digital planning step-by-step. From the best note-taking apps to foundational digital planning tips for beginners - we've got you covered.
What is Digital Planning?
Digital planners can be used to manage everything from budgets, to-do lists, fitness goals, recipes, and plenty in between.
Digital planning uses a digital device (such as an iPad or tablet) to replace your notebook or journal - but otherwise, it's not too different! You can add stickers or handwrite directly onto your device as needed. It's like paper planning - but without the paper (and way more added features and benefits)!
But if you’re still on the fence about switching to digital planning - let's take you through our guide on digital planning for beginners. You’ll be an expert on all things digital planning by the time you get to the end of this article!
What is a Digital Planner?
A digital planner is a file that contains several planning templates and pages. In simple terms, it's a hyperlinked PDF file that you can access through your tablet, laptop, or mobile phone. You can create sections and categorize your data however you see fit. Digital planners are super easy to navigate, especially if you have a stylus pen to go with your tablet.
Why Switch to Digital Planning?
If you’re still wondering whether digital planning is a good idea, here are a few reasons to make the switch:
1. Sustainability: the most loved reason to switch to digital planning, is that we’re saving paper. Digital planning is eco-friendly.
2. Synchronization: you can sync and backup all your planner data across devices to the cloud, to ensure that you never lose any of your notes or planners.
3. Simplicity: you can easily undo a mistake that wouldn't be as seamless in a notebook or journal. No more crossed out pen marks or ripped out pages here!
Not to mention, digital planning doesn’t completely take away from the paper planning experience since you can still customize your digital planner to your liking. You can add stickers and give it whatever vibe you want. And if you really love the feel of writing in a journal, you can even use a stylus pen to handwrite on your phone or tablet.
How to Get Started With Digital Planning?
Now that you’re convinced that digital planning is a good idea, the next question is how to start digital planning.
There’s a small learning curve that you’ll have to surpass to get started with digital planning, but it's 100% worth it. Our list of tips on digital planning for beginners will make things all the more easier for you!
1. Get the Right Device
If you don't already have a tablet or mobile phone that supports digital planning we suggest you start here. The best devices are ones with plenty of storage and an efficient operating system.
Our top recommendations are:
- iOS/iPad (iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Mini)
- Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Samsung Galaxy A7
- Microsoft Tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro
In addition to your device, you'll also want some sort of stylus pen. If you're using an iPad for digital planning - the Apple Pencil is a great option. And for an Android or Microsoft tablet, any sort of stylus pen that runs smoothly on the device will suffice. This is what's going to give you the feel of "paper planning" on a digital device.
2. Choose a Digital Planning App
Next in how to digital plan, we’ll have to choose a digital planning note-taking app. Again, different apps have their own unique features and it all depends on what you’re looking for. You can even try out different apps before you make your pick. Many are free to download.
Here's our list of the best digital planning apps for beginners:
If you’re an iOS user and you're digital planning on an iPad, you can try:
And if you use Android, your options are:
- Samsung Notes
And for Microsoft devices, you can use:
- PDF Element
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
P.S. You can check out our article on GoodNotes vs. Notability here.
3. Get a Digital Planner
Once you have everything set, you’ll need the most important part of all: a digital planner that helps you stay mega organized!
Here are a few things to consider before purchasing a digital planner:
- What are your planning habits?
- Do you want a daily, weekly, or yearly planner?
- What areas in your life need organization?
- What are your planning goals?
- What features are important for you?
- What vibe / aesthetic do you want for your planner?
- Are you looking for niched down planners (like fitness, nutrition, self-care, etc.)?
At The Werk Life Shop, we have a wide variety of digital planners to choose from. We're talking aesthetic, effective, functional, and robust planners to help you organize literally any area in your life. If you're serious about getting started with digital planning - The Werk Life Shop has you covered!
Here are some of our favorite digital planning templates:
- Digital Planner: 90-Day Daily Goal Planner
- The Ultimate 90-Day Digital Planner Bundle
- Digital Planner: 90-Day Mindset Makeover Workbook
- Digital Planner: 90-Day Self-Care Journal
- The Mega Productive Digital Planner
- 2023 Digital Planner | Weekly Productivity Planner
- Digital Financial Planner
- Digital Fitness Planner
- The ULTIMATE Digital Planner Bundle
- Goal Chaser Bundle
And if you're not quite ready to commit - we hear you. We offer a number of free digital planning templates as well, to help you get started!
4. Digital Planning Accessories
If you’re a beginner digital planner, you might also want some planning accessories to make the most of your digital planning experience. These are not required but they will make your digital planning experience so much better – totally worth the investment!
- A stylus pen with grip (case)
- A screen protector (Paperlike has great options if you want to emulate the feeling of writing on paper)
- A phone or tablet case
- A detachable or Bluetooth keyboard
5. Start Planning
Now that you have everything you need, you just need to start planning!
Remember to stay consistent to reap the full benefit of your digital planner. And if you're new to digital planning, just know that ultimately -- using a digital planner really isn't all that different from a notebook or journal when it comes to your planning routine.
To get started, you’ll need to import your chosen planner into the PDF annotation app, rename it, and start using it. Yes, it is really that simple!
A few final reminders and quick digital planning tips for beginners:
- We recommend that you take some time to familiarize yourself with the interface and explore the different features of both the note-taking app and digital planner.
- If you want to navigate hyperlinks, stay in read-only mode, but if you want to edit your planner, then you should be in edit mode.
- Learn how to add, duplicate, and rearrange the pages so that you can customize your planner as you go. While it might take some time to get used to digital planning, we know you’ll love it! Just remember to sync everything to your cloud so you don’t risk losing all your data.
- Use digital stickers. These can be purchased but there are also plenty of free sticker options that come with many note-taking apps!
- Embed and collect links to the note-taking apps in your digital planner by including: YouTube videos, websites, blogs and more! This can't be done via paper planning - so take advantage of organizing those important links!
- Use HEX codes to create your own color palette to ensure that your entire digital planner follows a certain aesthetic or color scheme.
Start Digital Planning to Change Your Life!
Convinced to join the side of digital planning yet? If you're looking for a simple yet efficient way to organize your life, digital planning is a great starting point. Now that you know how to start digital planning - what are you waiting for?
Check out The Werk Life Shop for all things digital planning. You can call us your digital planning BFF. :)