Why I Switched Back to a Paper Planner

By Megan MacNee

Megan MacNee
Megan MacNee

Back in my college years, I had a heavy-duty paper planner. I had a page for each day and by the second semester each year, it would have a cover made of colorful duct tape.

This was the pre-smart phone era and I was busy enough that I needed to keep my planner with me. It organized my classes, assignments, work, and volunteer work. It really was a life saver.

Then I started my first job and got my first iPhone. My office ran off Google Calendar and I gave up my paper planner. This seemed to work reasonably well at first, it got more complicated when I added grad school to the mix. 

Lately I’ve been struggling with managing my time and diverse commitments so I decided to switch back to paper. 

Why I Switched Back to a Paper Planner

This summer, it all started to feel like too much to manage. It wasn’t time management that I was struggling with but keeping track of all the moving parts. I was scattered on an Outlook calendar for work, Google calendar for personal and blog schedules, a journal for to do lists, and spreadsheet for my writing assignments.

My current life in categories:

  • The 9 to 5 job.
  • A robust travel schedule (I’m spending half of September and October out of town).
  • A personal blog and social media presence.
  • A growing list of freelance gigs and writing.
  • If I’m lucky, a social life.

I needed to get it all in one place. I did my research and remembered how much I loved my planner in college. I debated what format I wanted but decided on a daily planner so I could keep my to do list in the same spot as my calendar. In ways it’s a traditional planner and my version of a bullet journal. Plus, nowadays these planners are insanely cute.


How It’s Going 

Two months in and I love it. I feel like I can manage all of my commitments and understand what I need to get done each day, week, and month.

  • Planning Ahead Whether it’s a dinner party or your wedding give me the date as soon as possible. Having the next twelve months physically in front of me is helping me schedule the big and small things ahead.
  • Visual Learning On digital calendars, I never felt like I could really see my whole schedule, the spacing of my day over a week or even a total view. On paper, not only can I see my commitments but also my need for finding blank space in my schedule. Whether it is a quiet evening at home or a weekend in town. As a visual learner, having my schedule on paper has allowed me to find this blank space.
  • Everything in One Place I still keep a journal for my writing notes and some of my freelance tracking is still in spreadsheets, but my work schedule, my to-do list, my travel, my social life and even my football games are all in one place. I can keep track of the big picture of my life not just the pieces.


Consider Giving it a Try!

Already I find I’m missing fewer things and feeling more stable. Going back to a paper planner is helping me find balance in a busy life with all its moving pieces. And to be honest it’s more fun! Plus, you can use colored pens, bright stickers and so much more you’d never get to enjoy with your phone.

Check out some of our GOTG’s favorite paper planners to find the right fit for you:


Have you already switched back to paper, or never left it? If so let us know your favorite planner and any tips you have.

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