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I’ve used Goodnotes since a Mac Power Users episode where Teddy Svoronos described its merits for making notes on a screen while teaching. It became one of my go to tools while teaching classes in other schools where there was a projector present but not our usual interactive whiteboard tools.

I would occasionally use Goodnotes for other purposes, such as going through a PDF which had activities and spaces where I could write answers, as well as occasional note taking in meetings and random note writing. However, this year I had returned to using actual paper and pens more than using the iPad and any app for these functions.

However, with Goodnotes 5 I thought I’d give it a go again and see what had changed. So far I’ve used Goodnotes for a couple of tasks including going through the Focus Course workbook as I go through the course again. but I’ve noticed something that I think could make it very useful for me.

A weekly planner.

There are so many beautiful paper planners out there with unique and interesting templates to help you stay organised.

The best of these either offer custom layout for very specific functions (I.e. a meeting template) or an array of custom pages, arrange with specific intention.

Unfortunately, many are either japan or US focused and living abroad in Poland means my access to these resources is practically (won’t deliver) or financial limited.

When you add in the risk of disliking a planner and then having to deal with the physical object afterwards, taking up space, it’s enough to put me off spending money.

Goodnotes custom paper templates and notebook system offers a way to create your own planner templates to use for specific functions.

Let me show you an example.

Weekly planner

For a week, you probably want to see an overview of the weeks events, a list of key projects for that week, a habit tracker for the week, a list of tasks and events on any given day and perhaps have a review at the end of the week. You may also know that you will have a regular meeting on a certain day or other standing appointment.

With Goodnotes, you can select a set of custom paper types, arrange them in the order that works for you. And then use this notebook as a template which you can duplicate each week for your planner that week.

My weekly planner looks like this.

If a meeting comes up during the week, I can add in a meeting notes page. If I attend a talk, I can add a page for taking notes at the talk. Basically, I get the ridged structure of a planner but with the flexibility for my needs

I can also adapt the template in the future If I need to, and with the new improvements in Goodnotes 5, I can easily search my notes for a project or idea I mentioned.

Other ideas

Of course you could do more than a single week in your planner and you could add days as you go along using a single notebook for a year/forever.

Alternatively, you might want to have a specific meeting notebook and create your own meeting template.

Still a paper boy

On balance, I still prefer physical paper for this sort of thing (and I have been considering getting a local print company to make a custom notebook for me) but this is a great way to test and try some of these planner designs and the search functionality is great.

If you don’t care for paper, but still love handwriting, you may well love Goodnotes 5.

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