All-in-one software, or one app per task?

Do you prefer to try to keep everything about your work in one place—in a notes tool like Notion or a CRM or project management app—or do you prefer to use a best-in-class app for each task? Even if you use Notion or similar all-in-one tools, do you use them for everything or do you have some specific tasks you prefer to use it for, and then use other software for other tasks?

#Notion #Quip #Coda #Office Suite #CRM #Figma #Google Docs
mister-chad's avatar

i definitely prefer having as much as possible in one robust system rather than discrete apps. in my mind, everything is connected and related to everything else, so i want to be able to interlink and connect as much as possible. in my dreams, every object or file exists with metadata that allows it to be mixed or connected with every other object or file in deep and complex ways. it should be easy to relate things to each other logically and easily.

there isn't a set technology or system that works seamlessly for me yet, however i have found obsidian to be amazing. (i know, i rarely post here and it is usually about obsidian, sorry if i sound like a fan-boy). the obsidian system has grown quickly and the community has grown even quicker. there are third-party plugins that push the tools far beyond the base system. a dedicated mobile app will be released very soon so you can have access from every device, although since you are fundamentally working with markdown files there are plenty of pretty good options now. i love the idea of having flexibility and openness with my files and data. so even though i use obsidian, i'm not forced into it.

my notes system is built around interlinked notes and content so i'm getting closer to having that fully interconnected world. i do use ticktick for my calendar and tasks because it is (surprisingly) one of the few systems that actually integrates both. i would love to be able to connect ticktick to my obsidian vaults in a seamless way so there isn't a disconnect. with some of the calendar and task plugins for obsidian, i may soon be able to abandon ticktick completely.

as a teacher, i have dedicated self-contained obsidian vaults for each class. i still have to use other programs and systems as needed to do my job, of course. many of those are ones i have no control over. i deal with the friction and redundancy because i have no choice.

as an artist, on the other hand, i love flexibility and freedom to use whatever programs and tools i can find. i'm invested in the adobe suite from experience and because that's what i teach, however i also love the affinity suite. both suites work with my ipad and laptop. i have lots of other art programs and apps that do specific things. i always try to have generic file formats so i can move pieces into and out of different programs as needed to get the look or effect i'm aiming for.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mister-chad )

This is great, thanks for sharing!

On getting a calendar that'd work with Obsidian: I wonder if NotePlan and/or Agenda could work there? They're both calendar-centric notes apps that let you save your notes as plain-text with Markdown formatting.

Curious, are you using your Obsidian notes on mobile right now?

1 point
shawnyeager's avatar

I’ve historically been all about finding my own best-of-breed tools. I’ve also tried and abandoned the usual suspects: Notion, Airtable, Quip, etc.

About six months ago I tried Roam Research. It took at least two months of concerted effort to get it. Then it clicked. Now it’s a blackhole, consuming everything.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @shawnyeager )

@shawnyeager Seems a common feeling from people who found Roam clicked for them. Curious: How do you bridge the gap from Roam to team software, to truly have everything in one place? I feel like that's the dream of Notion, where you could have personal and work notes together, though that's still hard to pull off across multiple Notion accounts.

1 point
shawnyeager's avatar
@shawnyeager (replying to @maguay )

It’s a key question, and one I don’t have a good answer to other than to use one-way copy/paste markdown. That said, most products will render markdown reasonably well.

1 point
ansh's avatar

For an all-in-one tool for developers I think VS Code is perfect with its vast and diverse extension ecosystem. Using something like allows you to use markdown files to basically get the same features as Roam, Obsidian, Noteplan, etc. all in VS Code alongside with a task management system!

2 points
maguay's avatar

It's funny: I'm eternally lured in by all-in-one apps, only to fall back to individual apps for specific tasks over time. And so, I've split the way I use software.

I tend to use individual, smaller, focused software for specific tasks I'm working on my own—things like writing in iA Writer, coding in Sublime Text, resizing images in Preview then optimizing them in ImageOptim, and so on. I then use all-in-one apps for team stuff—so I copy stuff from the single-purpose apps, and paste it into tools like Notion. And if anything, Notion feels designed for that use-case with its embeds to show designs from Figma and Docs from Google Docs and so on.

It's a bit more trouble, a bit of duplication, and yet it gives the best experience for all tasks which makes it worth it.

1 point
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