Are you still using a regular planner? Have you ever thought about going digital? Maybe you didn’t even realize there was such a thing as a digital planner? Well, let me tell you a little more about them and why you should make the switch to a digital planner (or bullet journal) today!
First, let me say I am not talking about using your Google Calendar or using some fancy calendar app. I am talking about a digital version of a physical planner. It looks like a paper planner and it acts like one too but better!
See, a digital planner is just a PDF that is made to look like a planner and then you upload it into a note-taking app that allows you to edit the PDF such as GoodNotes or Notability. I am an iPhone user so I use GoodNotes.
GoodNotes is only available for Apple users but Andriod users can use Notability and others. So here is an example of what a digital planner looks like. This is from GoodNotes Goods, Co. It has hyperlinks in the PDF to allow you to jump to certain sections of the planner, like the tabs on the right take you to each month.
It looks just like a real planner, doesn’t it?! So why make the switch to digital? Let’s talk about all the benefits you get from a digital planner that a physical planner just can’t do.
Pros of a Digital Planner vs a Physical Planner
Can be use right from your phone or ipad
More convenient to use
Only need one pencil
Don’t have to buy a new one when it is full
Easily add more pages
Don’t have to buy stickers, tape, pens pencils markers
If you do buy digital stickers you only have to buy them once, when physical stickers you only get one use out of them.
You can use any font you want (not just what you can write)
Easily make edits
Add images and graphics
Add charts and graphs
Won’t rip or get all banged up
You can add links to other sites or link within the planner
Won’t bleed through and ruin the next page
Going digital you are able to make easier edits and adjustments with a few swipes of your magic wand…I mean stylus. I can’t do that on a regular planner. When I mess up (which happens a lot) I am stuck with that forever. Even if you are using a pencil it still isn’t the same.
Flaws of a Physical Planner or Bullet Journal
I joined a few Bullet Journal/Planner Facebook Groups to get inspirations and ideas on how to use my bullet journal. It is amazing how creative people can be! With a blank paper, they turn it into this beautiful functional work of art.
However, I have seen so many of these talented people share their layouts that have a smudge, a rip, or a bleed through on all their hard work.
For me, I struggle with having a steady hand and the patience to create a layout. But with each of these flaws I just see how much easier, it would be to use a digital version.
There are no mistakes that can’t quickly be fixed with a digital version that you can’t fix on a physical version.
What is The Best Digital Planner
There is no one perfect planner that fits all. One layout may work better for someone than another layout. I think that is the beauty behind the bullet journal. You are able to customize each page to your own liking. It can be a planner, a mood tracker, a notebook, anything you can dream up! So to me the best would be a digital bullet journal. I love them so much I created a free one just for you to test this whole digital process out for yourself! It works great with an ipad pro and the GoodNotes app or any other note-taking app.
I will say that GoodNotes does cost I believe $7.99 for the app. But I have spent more on wasted planners than that so this way I can now reuse the digital planners and bullet journals I create over and over again in the GoodNotes app so it is well worth it to me.
Plus, the options that are offered in the app are what makes me love it so much. It makes using your planner so easy!
How Do I Import a Digital Planner into GoodNotes
Once you get the app there is a dotted square with a plus sign, click on that and then choose import, from there you just find the PDF you saved and import it! In the GoodNotes app you can create folders to keep all of your notebooks and planners all organized. There are free templates and notebooks that you can create in the app as well.
Where Can I Purchase a Digital Planner
There are so many wonderful digital planners available on Etsy that you can purchase one and reuse. Or you could always create your own digital planner for free like I did. If you are thinking you may be interested in creating your own digital planner but need some guidance than no problem, I can help you!
I had the same questions when I first heard about bullet journals: What is a bullet journal? And how do you start a bullet journal? It wasn’t until I had one for a few months did I finally see the full potential of a bullet journal thanks to Pinterest.
When I first heard about a bullet journal it was from another blogger and she shared how she used hers for planning out her blog and scheduling her time. Nothing too fancy. I gave it a try and really I wasn’t having any luck.
Then I realized that there was such a thing as a digital version of the bullet journal. That’s when all the flood gates opened up for me on how to use a bullet journal!
Pin this to your Bullet Journal Board on Pinterest
What is a bullet journal?
First, let’s cover what is a bullet journal. It is a journal (not necessarily a notebook but more of a blank journal) with dotted pages (bullets). Each page has small light-colored dots on them to serve as guides while you are creating each page. In this picture, you can barely see the dots on the page but they are there and act as perfect guides to create this awesome layout.
Each of these is so pretty and they are really just the tip of the iceberg of all the different designs you can do with your bullet journal.
How to Get Started?
To get started with your very own journal you would first need to purchase one. I got mine off of Amazon. There are several to choose from so here are some of the ones listed on Amazon. They range around $8 for a journal.
There are tons of supplies you can purchase also to decorate your journal. Things like stickers, pens, markers, and even fun designed washi tape! Or you can just grab a bundle deal like this one.
Now here is where I want to stop you for just a sec. As I mentioned above I came across digital bullet journals. I want to share those with you real quick so you can move forward in the direction you choose.
What is a digital bullet journal?
A digital bullet journal is just like it sounds. It is a digital version of a bullet journal that you can use on your iPad, tablet, or even your phone. It comes as a PDF so you just need a program that will allow you to edit or write on the PDF for it to work.
For example, there are note-taking apps that allow you to write on a PDF such as GoodNotes, Adobe, Notability, and OneNote. It just depends on your device and your style on which one works for you.
To learn all about how awesome digital bullet journals are (and why I feel like they are actually the better option) check out my post here. Or to see how you can use your Notes app on your iPhone as a bullet journal, read this post here.
Or if you’re sold and you want to give digital bullet journals a test run for yourself you can grab a copy of my free digital bullet journal here!
Once you have chosen your bullet journal format (physical or digital) people will often get stuck on how to use them. Use these 5 quick steps to help you get started.
1. Ask yourself why you got a bullet journal to begin with?
Was it just for fun because you love all things office supply related? (That is literally half the reason I got one myself) or was it because you are trying to get your life organized and running smoothly? (that’s the second reason I got one)
2. Now elaborate on your answer even more.
If it was just because it looked cool then you are free to draw on each page to your heart’s content! Or if it was to become more organize then think about what part of your life needs the most help. Do you need help tracking your tasks, do you need help tracking how much water you drink or what you eat, or do you need help with all of your daily activities?
Really think about why you got the bullet journal to begin with so you can then find the best way to utilize it to help you!
3. Search ideas on Pinterest.
For an overload of inspiration on how you can use each page to track your habits, daily tasks, and more, you can research on Pinterest for more ideas. There are thousands of ideas on Pinterest to help get your creative juices flowing on how to best use your new bullet journal.
4. Go with your gut.
Then go with your gut. Pick the one that makes sense to you. If you see a beautiful design but you are confused about how that design helps you achieve your goal, then don’t go with that one. Some people love the over the top designs and some people are more cut and dry and to the point.
Pick the layout (or spread) that works for you. Find your inspiration and use it to create your own pages that fit your life!
5. Follow through daily.
This is probably the most important step of all. Work on your journal daily. If you got it to help you get more organized and stay on task then you have to look at it daily. You can’t design all these beautiful pages that have all your daily activities on them and then not look back at it again for a week or two later.
That is where everyone goes wrong. Just like how you check social media daily to find out what’s going on in the world, you need to check into your bujo (bullet journal) or planner daily too. Consistency is key.
If you stay consistent with using your bullet journal then you will consistently achieve the goals you set out to accomplish on why you got it to begin with!
Comment below with your spreads!
I most definitely want to see the new spreads you have created with your new bullet journal! Please comment below so we can all enjoy it!
I love journals, planners, pens, pencils, stickers, anything office supply related. And I know I am not alone! There is a whole community out there of people who are obsessed with office supplies too! I don’t even know why I want all these things but I do! One year for Valentine’s Day my husband got me office supplies and I was so excited! That’s why I can’t wait to share with you what I found that is even better than the bullet journal!
The bullet journal has taken over by storm. Every blogger I see is talking about this bullet journal and how awesome it is. I finally decided to get one for myself after seeing all the fun everyone was having with them!
I ended up getting this journal, this washi tape bundle, and these pens. But this bundle right here comes with that and much more so looking back I should have just got this bundle instead.
My sister told me about these gel pens that erase so I got those too and they are much more my style because I like to erase (I’m a perfectionist some times).
The big craze with the bullet journal is that each page is customizable. Every page just has dots to use as a guide to be able to create all kinds of beautiful pages. One page could be your grocery list, another your calendar, and the next your cleaning schedule. There is no limit to what you can do with each page and I do really enjoy that flexibility.
I just had one issue, I would always forget it. I don’t think to always have my journal with me. So even though I like to write things out and use the fun pretty colors and all that, I would never bring it with me. It was just one more thing I had to remember to lug around. (However, if you do love to carry that thing around and you are looking for more ideas on how to use your bullet journal, Suzi has an amazing post that you can check out!)
I tried to use apps and a Google Calendar instead to make it more digital and less inconvenient but it didn’t work. I like the fun bright colors and I did find one app that worked well enough to keep me on schedule however, I didn’t have the flexibility of each page being something different.
So I needed something that was a digital version of the bullet journal. The only thing I could find was the Notes app on my iPhone. I use it quite often to keep all of my important information all in one spot. I started that about a year or so again and that has been great! There is an option where you can write things out with my finger but then you couldn’t read any of it. So I was missing the fun artistic appeal the bullet journal has.
That is until I got my new iPad! I have been wanting to get a new iPad to be able to make my business more mobile. When school is out and I don’t want to lose work time and I don’t want to lose precious time with my daughter either. I thought if I could be more mobile then I could work on things while we are at the pool or the park. That’s when I decided to invest and get the new iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil and keyboard.
After I got it I started researching all of the ways to use my Apple Pencil with my iPad. That is when I came across digital planners. I fell in love with them! It was everything I was missing in a physical bullet journal! So I created a digital bullet journal that you can download for free to try out for yourself! Don’t worry you don’t have to be an Apple user to use this. Learn more about digital bullet journals and planners here.
Or here is why I love the Notes App on my iPhone and how it can be used to replace your bullet journal!
Notes App Features
You can add tabs and organize thoughts
There are options to Bold or Underline Text
You can have clickable links in it
It automatically saves new changes on any device
You can scan documents
Take Photo or Video
Mark Checklists that actually checkmark off for you
I like the option to add documents or photos to the note. I have actually taken pictures of notes and stored it in a note in the app instead of retyping it all in there just so I could throw the paper note away! As you can see I really do use this app a lot. All along the side are major categories in life and then there are folders under them to organize further down.
Then lastly within each folder is individual notes as you see in the second column. This helps me break things down and everything is easy to find! Now with the new iPad Pro, I can use my Apple Pencil and write on the screen just like you see (sorry I have horrible handwriting).
I can change the color, the style of pen or pencil, and even the thickness of the stroke I am using. With a bullet journal, you can’t break down into categories or sections as easily as you can with this notes app. You would have to bookmark every new section in a bullet journal.
But wait it gets better, there are lines and grids!
You can add lines and grids to your note! Just like the bullet journal you now have guides to help you design your page. Also, you only need one pencil and you can change it to any color!
Before if I would remember my bullet journal I would want to bring all the pens so I had all the colors I wanted to use for each page! This way you only need one pencil and one device.
Now you don’t have to take your iPad with you everywhere you go (but let’s face it there is a better chance you bring that than your journal). Because if you need to refer to that note you created such as this one below… Then you can still do that from your iPhone and no one’s going to forget their phone! You can make all these changes from your iPhone too it just isn’t as easy using your finger but you can still access the same note.
So if you are at the grocery store you can still cross off your list as you get each item. The Add Sketch feature is pretty cool because it gives you a ruler to use as a guide that you can move around!
All This For Free
A lot of people are Apple users so if that is you then you have all this for free! If you have been on the fence about switching to Apple then here is a little insight into some of the features! I’m sure there is something similar on the Andriod phones too though.
It is just nice to know some of the ways you can utilize what you already have access too. If you have an iPhone then odds are you have an iPad and might have been in the market to upgrade to the new iPad Pro. So far it is amazing!
Not just because of this example but so many other reasons! But if you are like me and you want to be able to have all the fun colors and designs but are not good at using a bullet journal then I hope you learned something fun and new with this post! I know I was so excited when I realized it!
Thanks for reading!
Here is more information on the iPad and Accessories that I bought.
This is the exact iPad that I bought. I did go with the lower storage because I need to get a hard drive anyway so this way I can just get one of those and save money on buying the extra storage.
We looked into purchasing the iPad through our phone carrier to add data to it but that costs more also. Plus we found out that our T.V. provider has hotspots I can use when I am away from home. Just some things to think about!
I wanted the bigger screen so that was my main priority. I wasn’t as worried about storage because I have a bigger icloud storage plan and then again I plan to get an external hard drive to save all pictures and important documents on it.
Now I don’t pretend to be all tech-savvy, I know just enough to get by. I know that I am a busy mom and this all makes my life easier and more portable. I do want to say that it comes with a completely new charger.
Supposedly it is to be able to connect to your computer better or other techy stuff I don’t understand but my point is no more USB on one end and no more of the other normal end that all Apple products have.
The cord has the same end on each end. So either way, it connects to your converter to plug into the wall and then into the iPad to charge. Just a heads up.
Then since I got the bigger screen I had to get this keyboard that fits it. They are both 12.9 inches so that gives plenty of room for using your screen and typing on a good-sized keyboard, not a tiny one.
The iPad connects magnetically to the keyboard and there are three dots on the back of the iPad that connect it to the keyboard.
Then you can have it in two different positions to adjust it to your liking while typing. Then when you aren’t using the keyboard you can fold it over to close and you will hear the iPad lock. Also, you can flip it around and under the iPad to quickly use the iPad only.
There are no buttons, it looks and feels just like a regular pencil. It doesn’t erase like one although I think it should. I keep wanting to flip it around and erase with the pencil eraser like you normally would.
But it doesn’t work like that, to erase you just double-tap your finger on the pencil and double-tap again to go back to writing. Another fun feature of the Apple pencil is that it connects to the side of your iPad magnetically to charge.
This is great to keep track of the pencil and know that it is always charged up. No plugging it in or cords involved! Once you connect it to the iPad it will tell you what charge level the pencil is at as well.
I don’t know if that effects the double-tap feature to erase or I don’t know how the gripper effects it charging magnetically and staying safe on the side of the iPad. I worry that it might come off and I would lose it.
There you have it. Let me know if you have an iPad and use it for digital planning!