How To Start Digital Planning - Digital Planning for Beginners

So What Is Digital Planning Anyways?

In simple terms, a digital planner is an interactive PDF file that acts as an electronic version of a paper planner… typically used on a tablet with a stylus, but sometimes with a computer or smartphone. Instead of physically writing on paper, you interact with the planner digitally using a PDF annotation app. 

beginners guide to start digital planning - everything you need to know


Just like a traditional paper planner, a digital planner helps you stay organized, manage your schedule, and track your tasks and goals. However, instead of flipping through physical pages, you navigate through the planner by tapping on hyperlinks (often in the form of “tabs” along the side, just like their paper counterparts).

Digital planners typically come as a PDF file that contains pre-designed pages and templates, along with hyperlinks to help you easily navigate through the different sections. They can include monthly and weekly calendars, daily planning spreads for time blocking, to-do lists, goal planning, habit trackers, and more.


To use a PDF digital planner, just import the PDF file into a note taking app on your tablet. This app allows you to interact with the planner by typing, writing with a stylus or your finger, and adding or editing images. You can fill in your appointments, tasks, and take notes directly on the digital pages, just like you would with a physical planner.


The 4 things you need to start digital planning - tablet, stylus, annotation app, and PDF digital planner.


Are Digital Planners Worth It?

Only you can say for sure whether digital planning is right for you, but let's cover the pros and cons...

 Digital Planning Pros

1. Portability and Accessibility:

Depending on the annotation app you choose, digital planners can be accessed from multiple devices, such as your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can carry your entire planner with you wherever you go, without the bulk of physical pages!

2. Customization Options:

Digital planners offer a wide range of customization options. The layout, colors, fonts, and digital stickers are limited only by imagination and make the spreads uniquely yours!

3. Flexibility:

Making changes in a digital planner is a breeze. You can easily edit or move notes, add widgets, and move or insert pages. This flexibility allows for quick adjustments to your schedule and organization.

4. Eco-Friendly:

By opting for a digital planner, you reduce paper consumption, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle. Digital planners save trees and help minimize waste, making them an environmentally friendly choice.

5. Cost:

Digital planners are much more affordable than their paper counterparts. A printed planner with daily spreads can easily cost $60+, while digital planners with upwards of 500 pages are much more affordable, averaging around $20.

Digital Planning Cons

1. Screen Time:

Using a digital planner means more screen time. If you're already spending significant hours on digital devices, adding a digital planner may contribute to screen fatigue and eyestrain. Remember to give your eyes (and body!) breaks at regular intervals.

2. Learning Curve:

Transitioning from a paper planner to a digital one requires some adjustment and learning. Familiarizing yourself with the features and tools of the digital planner and understanding how to navigate through the app or software may take time.

3. Cost:

Notice how cost is a pro and a con? While digital planners themselves are inexpensive, tablets are an investment. There are 1001 ways to use a tablet in your everyday life, but if you don't already own one, consider whether the investment is worth it for you!

4. Handwriting: 

Some people love the tactile experience of pen & paper and are hesitant to transition to a digital planner. If you love the physical act of writing (or find it more effective for memory retention), the good news is that with a stylus and paperlike screen protector, you can replicate that feel! On the other hand, getting your handwriting to look neat on screen usually takes some practice.

5. Distractions:

Digital devices are multifunctional, which is awesome but also causes distractions in the form of notifications, social media, or other apps while using a digital planner. It can take discipline and self-control to stay productive and avoid the temptation to switch to other apps! If you use an iPad, try setting it to a "do not disturb" mode during your productive times, or consider investing in an e-ink tablet instead for a totally distraction free experience.

    Get Started With A Free Digital Planner Sample: 

    Free sample digital planners - try our popular mom planner, adhd planner sample planners for free.


    Ready to get started with digital planning? Join our mailing list for access to the Freebie Library, where you can access our most popular planners are available as free samples (plus other free goodies). See how they look on your device and test it out!

    Please note that only the first 2 weeks of January (and select trackers/templates) are active in sample planners.

    How To Start Digital Planning - Digital Planning for Beginners
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