Do You Prefer Paper Or Digital To-Do Lists?

Do You Prefer Paper Or Digital To-Do Lists?

Every day there’s a new to-do app promising productivity, but many people still find pen and paper to be the most reliable and efficient way to organise tasks. Which do you prefer, digital or analogue?

Picture: Rob and Stephanie Levy

Looking back, many people really embraced the Bullet Journal productivity method, and all that takes is a simple paper notebook. We have passionate thoughts on the best paper notebooks too.

However, pen and paper has declined in popularity. Are digital to-do apps getting better, or are we just glued to our smartphones anyway? What are your experiences with to-do list apps versus a paper checklist? Let us know in the comments.


  • I use a combination of the two mediums of notetaking. I use the bullet-method notebook in the morning to lay out what needs to be done during the day, then throughout the day I use Any.Do to address the on the more on-the-fly task like food shopping, and finally at night I address the outcomes of the day with my notebook.

  • Swift To-Do List for work and personal projects (not sure why I don’t hear about it more) and Any.Do on my phone for personal day to day stuff.
    I make sure that any pen and paper list (created after a meeting for instance) are transferred in Swift by the end of the day. Else, they’re as good as lost.

  • Tried reverted back to an A5 Pad.

    Personally it just feels rewarding to physically cross an item off the list

  • Digital – Mindjet on my Android phone. I find mindmaps great for to-do stuff. You can break complex tasks down into individual steps, you can group similar tasks (shopping, pay bills), you can drag tasks around into priority order. You can even drag completed tasks into their own section if you want the satisfaction of “crossing them off”.

  • Both. I usually make the list on my laptop, stick a printed copy on my wall, and refer to the digital version on my phone when I’m out. I find it helps to change the tool from time-to-time so that I don’t stop noticing the list; I go through phases of Word, remember the milk, Post-it digital notes…

  • Digital – Onenote

    Also have a shared notebook between me and the missus to put things into like the shopping list.

  • I prefer real life lists but virtual lists are easier to manage and are a more practical solution for a mobile and fast-paced life

  • I still prefer paper and pen, and sticking it somewhere noticeable like the fridge. Whenever I try to go digital I always forget to look at whatever I wrote.

  • I use my own YouDo Android application (that was designed for procrastinators) for long term planning with a paper based list for the next few hours of my workday.

    @greywolf wrote “Whenever I try to go digital I always forget to look at whatever I wrote.” To address this issue, YouDo would remind you about most important tasks (assuming you carry your Android smartphone with you all the time).

  • Digital – Wunderlist. Available on every platform, beautiful design, full sync and easy to use. It just needs Exchange integration to make it 10/10 (which is hear is coming.

    Every 3 months I give paper to-do lists a crack again but I need the flexibility to add an item when I’m out and about on the fly. Paper just doesn’t allow me to do this effectively.

  • At home I use a paper list. It’s enough for me. However, at work I use a web based application that helps me to organize tasks and to share workload with my co-workers – Kanban Tool

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