Some people live by their paper planner. They find comfort in putting pen-to-paper, writing down each note, task and meeting for the week or month ahead. But if you have stacks of agendas and planners in your closet, half-filled, covering a range of years and sad, empty pages — this probably means it’s time for you to try another method.
Traditional paper planners aren’t for everyone. Especially with more people working remotely or following a hybrid work schedule, the ability to check your upcoming tasks while on the move is more important than ever. So if you’re looking for a solution to help you to stay on track — without having to carry along a paper planner wherever you go — follow along for some of our favorite free online planner tools.
The benefits of online planners
With so much going on in our lives today, and so much of it digital, it makes sense to get a calendar that lives in the cloud. Most of us need a tool that is as flexible and adaptable as our daily schedules — and that’s why an online planner is the way to go. And getting one for free? Now that’s the way to go. The benefits of a free online planner include:
Accessible from anywhere
If you have an internet connection, you should be able to access and update your planner from any device. This is ideal for busy people who are constantly on the go.
Shareable and collaborative
With an online calendar, you can easily share your schedule with others (like your spouse or family) and work on projects together by assigning tasks and setting deadlines.
Easy to use
Most online planners have drag-and-drop features that make moving around events and tasks easy. You can also set up recurring events so you don’t have to keep repeatedly inputting the same information.
So if you’re someone who needs the flexibility and the scalability of an online planner, here are our favorite free options to try today.
Hive is a leading task and project management app that functions as your all-in-one online planner. With Hive, you can create tasks, assign them to yourself (or others), and give them a due date to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks. Tasks can be organized into projects, or can be grouped by custom labels for specific categories. You can use the built-in Hive Notes feature to jot down reminders or thoughts, which can then be turned into Action items themselves.
With Hive, simply check your My Actions view to get a quick snapshot of all upcoming tasks, whether they are due now, overdue, or due in a few days. To get a view of what’s going on in a given week week, you can easily toggle My Actions to be shown in Calendar View as well. Hive is an excellent tool to use on your desktop when working at home or in the office, and via the Hive mobile app when you need to check tasks from your cellphone while on-the-go.
Hive is a great way to track not only your work, but also your personal tasks as well. And the best part is that Hive is free for individuals and small teams — making it a no-brainer solution if you’re looking for your next free online planner. Get started for free today!
Trello is both simple and easy to use, making it a perfect free online planner for busy people who want to get organized without all the bells and whistles. With Trello, you can create lists of tasks and set due dates and reminders. You can also share your lists with others so they can help you stay on track. And if you need more than just a basic task to-do list and want to jump into more of their Trello Powerups, you can upgrade and pay a monthly fee.
Trello is a fantastic first-timer online planner because it is straightforward and has a very intuitive drag and drop layout. It’s a great option if you’re not looking for anything fancy — just a place to dump ideas and tasks, set a few reminders, and be done with it. And if you ever need to access lists on the go, you can easily pull them up on your phone or tablet.
3. Google Calendar
Google and Gmail run the modern day workplace. (You can even set up notifications from Hive to be sent via Gmail!) What is so great about the Google Calendar is that almost everyone uses it these days. Most people have a Gmail account, and most people are familiar with working in Google.
This makes it easy to share Google Calendars and tasks with your spouse, in-laws, friends, and even coworkers. Google Calendar can cross over the Android/iPhone platforms and connect everyone through reminders and tasks. And because Google has become the gold standard, it’s likely you won’t even have to explain to them how to use the platform or where to get it.
While Google Calendar might not be everyone’s go-to for daily tasks and reminders, it is something that is easily accessible to everyone and technology that seems to have stood the test of time. So if you want a personal online planner that is simple to use, easy to access for everyone, and pretty much widely accepted, check out scheduling your life in the cloud through Google.
4. Cozi Family Calendar
The Cozi Family Calendar is the digital version of the nirvana most people expect to obtain with their paper planners. It is like one of those gold-lined paper planners that you hold in the palm of your hand that has a line and a dreamy picture for everything — but it exists in the cloud. And it exists for free!
Cozi is a family planner on steroids, and it keeps every part of your life organized and on track. With the Cozi Family Calendar, you can create events and set reminders. You can also share your calendar with others to see your schedule. In addition, it has a to-do list, an agenda, a shopping list, and even a place to store recipes.
It’s like a one-stop-shop for productivity. It can track all of your work tasks, and it also keeps track of soccer practice, doctor’s appointments, and when it’s your turn to volunteer at your kid’s school. Plus, the Cozi Family Calendar is available on both desktop and mobile, so you can access it anywhere, anytime.
When wrapping up an extra busy day, all we want is a glass of wine, a bowl of popcorn and a favorite TV show. And let’s be honest, these are the moments when we can easily forget to add something to our to-dos for the next day. That’s when Any.do comes to the rescue. The to-do list style task management app includes a free online planner that can be accessed anywhere from multiple devices.
Any.do has an easy to use single interface with a dark mode feature, which is great for late night planning on the sofa. Every night, a notification feature called ‘Moment’ sends a reminder to quickly review your tasks and figure out how to schedule them. You can also mark anything that you have completed already. Any.do makes it simple to reschedule tasks too — which is especially convenient when anything unexpected comes up.
The software can level up your planning game with customized and managed workflows. Plus, you can share your plans with others, assign tasks, chat in real-time, and even onboard an entire team. From planning projects and appointments to managing my kids’ schedules and coordinating with my partner on how we will stay on top of our responsibilities, Any.do is a great tool for anyone looking to get a little productivity boost.
If you’re someone who loves to stay organized and keep track of your to-dos, Notion is another great choice for a free online planner. Notion offers an all-in-one workspace where users can create and customize pages to manage everything from my personal projects to team collaboration. You can also create templates, which saves a lot of time when setting up an online planner for the first time. You can also choose from various pre-made templates, such as a daily planner or a project management tracker, and customize them to suit your specific needs.
Notion also offers a calendar view, which provides a bird’s eye view of all upcoming tasks and deadlines. This is especially for staying on track and ensuring you don’t miss any important deadlines. Notion helps you stay organized and on top of your to-dos, while also providing a great platform for collaboration with others. Plus, it’s free to use and accessible from any device, making it a convenient and flexible option for anyone looking to boost their productivity.
Evernote is a note-taking app that can be utilized as a powerful free online planner. It’s a unique and versatile tool offering a variety of features that support planning and organization. Evernote’s structure is based on notebooks and notes, and allows users to create specific sections for different planning areas, such as work, personal life, or special projects. Its checklist and tagging features are helpful when setting up tasks and reminders, and you can also create templates for repetitive tasks.
Evernote also has a robust search functionality which can even find text in attached images or PDFs. It also supports multiple devices, syncing your notes and plans across your smartphone, tablet, and computer, keeping your plans and schedules always accessible no matter where you are. There’s also the ability to clip web content directly into notes, allowing you to store and organize all your resources in one place. The free version has limitations in terms of monthly upload limit and number of devices, but it still offers a wide range of capabilities that can aid in effective planning. You can upgrade starting at $10.83/month and you’ll be able to sync unlimited devices as well as receive a substantial increase in your monthly uploads.
Curious how it stacks up against similar tools? Check our choices of the best Evernote alternatives out now.
Visme is an all-in-one content creation platform with online planning capabilities. It offers weekly planner templates that you can customize and make it so eye-catching that you might want to print your online planner schedule.
Visme has an easy-to-use table creation tool that lets you design your weekly planner within a few clicks. You can set up a column just for appointments, another one focused on your to-do list, and one more for your weekly goals — the possibilities are endless.
Visme Explore Visme template library, then customize your form with your brand colors, fonts, borders, and background design. Visme also Integrates with major tools like Google Sheets, Airtable, Salesforce or Hubspot.
Toggl is a free online calendar planner ideal for project managers. It displays a user-friendly interface and a very intuitive drag-and-drop feature that gives you flexibility when creating an event/task/project and customizing it. One of the best things about Toggl free online calendar planner is its Google Chrome extension, which lets you connect your calendar with the tools you use like Calendar or Slack. Toggl goes beyond an online calendar, the software lets you create and see task statuses, set deadlines, add subtasks, and define task estimates. Plus, the tag feature for tasks makes searching, filtering and classifying projects and segments easier. Toggl is free for solo users. The premium plan costs $8 per user/per month and comes with additional features such as team planning, recurring tasks, and time tracking.
How to pick your online planner
Now that you know a little bit more about some of the free online planners available, how do you decide which one is right for you?
The best way to pick an online planner is first to assess your needs. Do you need something simple and straightforward, or are you looking for a planner with all the bells and whistles? Do you need to share your calendar with others or manage projects for work? Do you already have one for work, or do you need one just for personal use? Do they work together? Can you get them integrated? Once you have a good idea of what features are important to you, it will be easier to narrow down your choices.
Then, take some time to try out each option on this list. The choices on this list are all free, so you don’t have to worry about any sneaky payments hitting your account after the “free trial ends.” So, pick a planner, and test it out before committing. And if you find one that doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to try another one. With so many free options available, there’s no reason not to find an online planner that will help you boost your productivity and keep your life organized.
What is your favorite free online planner? Are you using one of my choices? Let me know in the comments below.