The key to succeeding in a project is setting goals and seeing them through.
Project planners, whether digital or analog, not only help to set those goals but also help to show us the problem areas. They also allow anyone on the team to identify critical issues, help to resolve them, and ensure no details are left out.
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Digital project planners have the advantage of being on our phones or laptops. If you have struggled with keeping up with project planners in the past, then a digital project planner might be right for you.
It’s easy to leave a notebook behind, but it’s unlikely we would leave a phone behind.
Our Top Picks for Digital Project Planners
Large, small, and multi-step projects can be hard to manage, especially as a team manager where every person has to play their part.
Digital project planners are convenient as they’re available for browsers, mobile, and desktop applications and synced by the team.
Trello – Best for Team Managers
Trello is a project planner available online and as an app that works best for detail-oriented workers who prefer to have all their information in one place. It gives the leader total control of the format.
Although lists are available, boards and cards are the main features of Trello, where people can be assigned to specific parts or simply mark off what they complete for the rest of the team to see.
Asana – Best for Beginners
Asana is a popular digital project planner app, user-friendly with a simple user interface that anyone who has ever made a ‘to-do’ list can use. Team members can sort pieces of the project or individual tasks, and anyone can create a daily task list.
Adapting to a project is as simple as the team lead or project coordinator drawing up the task lists, setting due dates or steps to completion, and assigning team members as necessary.
Podio – Best for Large Teams
Full of features and holding all the information for each project, this app runs well even with large teams. Categorize all the files, images, emails, and documentation by project and assign data to each member or level.
Project Planner Free Templates
An excellent tool for offices that may want to try a method out before they purchase applications, free templates can add structure without the hassle of setting up a program and licensing software.
This is a project planner excel template that uses the Gantt chart model to keep track of each of the smaller parts of a larger project producing a visual in excel to show how far the project is from completion. Chart-based templates are a great addition for visual team members.
Many templates use Excel for marking the progress of projects, but this project planner uses Microsoft Word or Apple Pages to create a template that each team member can copy and edit along the way.
A simple but effective template that uses Excel or Google Sheets functions to update the bar charts as team members complete tasks. It requires a little bit of setup, but overall maintenance for the document is relatively low and doesn’t require the project manager to do all the updating.
Our Top Picks for Notebook Project Planners
Even with digital tools coming into the marketplace, paper project planner notebooks still have a place on our desks. In fact, with the proper tools, you can use notebook project planners in conjunction with digital tools to touch every aspect of your day.
Poketo Project Planner – Best Overall
This planner has room for over 100 projects and has dedicated space for daily, weekly, and monthly goals or project milestones.
It has dedicated space for breaking projects down into reasonable goals, helping to meet deadlines, and allowing you to see your progress.
We like to add notes for each step of the way. You can then refer back to later on or see the journey you’ve taken.
The High Performance Planner – Best for In-depth Planning
This is more than just a project planner; it also features a journal for daily reflection. It includes daily writing prompts, weekly evaluations, and plenty of space to track short and long-term goals.
The planner’s creator, Brendon Burchard, believes that following the daily prompts and recording progress in all aspects of your life can help build positive reflection and time management habits.
Ampad Gold Fibre Classic Project Planner Pack of 6 – Best for Quick Starts
While not as detailed as other project planners, this one is great for teams that are always on the go. Perhaps journalists who operate from the office, home, and in the field or tech professionals who prefer to keep notes analog since the rest of their work is digital.
Each page is perforated along the edge for easy removal from the notebook without ruining any other pages.
Moleskine Professional Project Planner – Best for Goal Setting
This notebook is organized like a bullet journal with separate sections for project planning, progress logging, and inspiration for long-time goals and new projects.
It is a great addition for professionals who want to keep track of their progress, become more goal-oriented, and enjoy a stylish planner that matches their aesthetic. Choose the extra-large, hardcover options for more room to write and added durability.
TOPS Docket Gold Project Planning Pad – Best for Travel
Always having your planner close by is an important aspect of building good goal-setting habits.
The coil-top and extra strong backing board give this project planner book even more durability for work at home or outside.
Using the format of a planning pad, the project planner offers quick starts for short projects but still allows for some goal setting and carrying over of projects.
Whether the head of a team or a key member, choose a planner that can hold all the information you require to do your best on a project and that lets you collaborate. It doesn’t matter if that is a digital planner or a notebook planner. The best project planners are ones that you actually use.