As tools like Notion have combined notes with every other app feature you could want, the iPad and Galaxy Notes have digitalized handwritten notes, and Roam Research has made backlinking and building a web of notes the new norm, how have your personal note taking habits changed?
Did you switch the way you take notes to fit new apps, or tweak the apps to fit your workflow? Do you write down more or less in notes apps today? Have you thrown all the apps out and gone back to paper and pen?
Most curious if the new software approaches to notes have actually changed how you think about text and writing ideas down.
Full disclosure, I am a "shiny object" person and always want to try the new thing. I have also had a lifelong addiction to Moleskines. Flirted with Evernote, the Apple Notes app, and then found Notion last year. I fell HARD, told everyone within reach that Notion was going to take over my life, went too far down the rabbit hole and created a Frankenstein Notion space that was so convoluted and tricked out that it wasn't useable. Then my husband showed me NotePlan 3. I've been using it very simply, to keep my calendar and to do items and notes in one place, for a couple of months now, and I think it's "the one." Not as nerdy as Roam, not as flexible as Notion, but just perfect for me. I'm using it on my iPad, so I can take notes in meetings with my Apple pencil (handwriting converts to text), and I have it on my desk in place of my Moleskine so I can keep my to do list in front of me without switching tabs on my desktop. Curious to hear from others on this subject too...
I have been a OneNote evangelist for almost 10 years now. I've been tempted by other great notes apps such as Notion, but OneNote has really stuck. The only thing that has changed is the use of an iPad and Apple Pencil with OneNote. Its support for the Pencil is outstanding and I've managed to convince others on my team to leverage whatever tablet and stylus they have to take hand written notes within OneNote.
Fascinating, that's neat to hear! OneNote has always seemed to be one Microsoft product people really love. It never clicked for me, as such, but I did always like the way it would OCR text in images, keep it hidden for search by default, but then let you copy the text and use it elsewhere if you needed. Great to hear it works equally well with the Apple Pencil as with Microsoft's hardware!
I just switched to using Noteplan 3 with Obsidian as a complement, after having been a 12-year Evernote user and I have just this week escaped its walled garden.
I am enjoying having my notes be stored locally and in plain markdown so that I can take them and do what I want with them as opposed to them being stuck in an .enex database. I love the calendar and reminder integration along with the ability to backlink notes.
I use Noteplan for 90% of my notetaking and use Obsidian to view the developing knowledge graph, create powerful templates and take advantage of some of its powerful plugins.
Fascinating, two Noteplan recommendations in the discussion so far—I will have to give it a try. Curious, was it the calendar/date focus in Noteplan that won you over, and if so, has that time-centric perspective changed how you write notes?
I'm not sure if anyone else is this way, but with the influx of note-taking and productivity apps, I've found myself looking for more "hidden" note-taking spaces. I've personally found that note-taking in Notion or Roam Research is a great experience, but it falls too much in the "work" brain space, where many of my thoughts don't necessarily fall. I guess over time I've been finding myself looking for more demarcation btw work and personal writing/notetaking/brainstorming.
I searched for a while and have been using http://noto.ink/ (paid version) and loving it!
Oh that resonates for me. I've been using different folders in NotePlan to keep my work brain and fun brain separated. (Not that work can't be fun!) Noto is really pretty.
That's fascinating! So essentially Noto's design and less "serious" take on notes is what made it stick for you?
Pretty much. It's essentially a better designed version of the native Notes iOS app haha!
A weird change for me over the past year, that's worked but I'm not sure is the best solution to data overload: I take more ephemeral notes that I don't plan to keep around.
I started using Tot, a simple Mac and iOS notes app that only lets you save 7 notes in tabs, and keeps them synced between your computer and phone. It's almost a post-it note style app, where you write stuff down to remember it by virtue of it being right there in front of you.
And it's worked well for me. When I think of something I need to do, or am writing down ideas for blog posts and more, they'll go in a blank Tot note. When I'm done, I'll just erase the note and reuse that space for something else. It's kept me from saving notes forever that I'll never need in the future. The limited number of notes has also helped me remember stuff, as I'll flip through them and remember something I wrote down—which likely would have been entirely forgotten if I had put it in a more traditional notes app with unlimited pages.
I've always been an obsessive note taker. Back when Evernote was launched, I was hooked. I used Evernote for university, projects, movies I watched, etc. It was satisfying to know that I was building a second brain and could access notes and notions I've had in the past. ** But that's exactly where it failed me. ** I experienced diminishing returns as i could not keep tabs on what tags or notebooks I chose for a given note. It soon became an unorganized brain dump that was no longer a pleasure to use (nor effective).
Two key issues:
1. No system (my fault)
2. No bi-directional links (see where I'm going with this?)
As an Evernote user, I did not stick to any methods (such as Zettelkasten). Do you need one? I won't go down that rabbit hole but you should apply some general rules ("no copy pasting"), at the very least. Having a system within Evernote (or any alternative) will enhance your experience 100x.
Cue Roam Research. I have been using it everyday for the past 6 months or so. The game-changer? ** Bi-directional Links **
With bi-directional links, you can effortlessly link your new notes to past research. You don't need to think about what "tag" fits the topic or if you should create a new one. After some weeks of use, you a network of thoughts, ideas, notes, and research. Every node is a note. It's a lot more "natural" and smooth of a process, albeit a small learning curve.
Roam Research changed the way I look at note-taking.
Very neat to hear. Curious: How do you decide what in your notes to link, what's important enough that you might want cross-referenced between other notes?
I’m a serial early adopter and will try many types of software at least once. Roam has completely streamlined my notetaking overlaps. I modified the UI a tiny bit with my own fonts using roam/css, and now use it every day.
I spent years using Evernote and Omnifocus, but when I started using Roam, I thought that was it. But I didn't like that I wasn't able to control my files, so switched to Obsidian and love it, but it is missing the calendar integration that I really need. So I then switched to NotePlan3 (once version 3 was available as part of SetApp). I still use Obsidian although I haven't quite figured out where the line is as to what goes into NotePlan vs Obsidian...still working that one out.
@tallaria Did you find that using Roam changed the way you think about notes? Do you think you could switch back to an app that didn't use wiki-style backlinks today, or do you think Obsidian and similar tools are the only ones that'd stick for you now that you've used Roam?
@maguay You are absolutely correct...while I have toyed with wikis over the years, it took Roam to really show the power of the backlinking and how it did change how I think about note taking. Can't say never, but anything that I am looking at right now would at minimum have that functionality.
Nice, that's fascinating to hear. It's definitely become something I find helpful in doing research for blog posts and such.
I use Obsidian with it's calendar extension that works quite well. I also use Hook to make links to NP3 and TheArchive. I also have notes in Quiver which I love for the graphing/flowcharting ability. The only thing in common for all of these is that they are local filesystem programs. I do not like cloud based solutions because my net connection isn't always the best (especially while traveling).
For the main question, I'm always adapting programs to the way I think. I use Alfred workflows to customize things all the time. I also have a lot of cli hacks that I write to help with my organization and finding of notes. Therefore, I don't change the way I think for programs, I mold the programs to suit my needs!
I do use the calendar extension, but it is more of a navigation tool. I need to be able to drop my work calendar into my note taking system...right now, NotePlan3 does what I need there. I also paid for Hook, but I haven't had time to dig into it and actually use it for anything. I do need to revisit that.
I used to use only the Apple Notes since it was easy to access from my iphone/mac. But I found it hard to search across multiple notes. I still use it to save some personal info on a single note.
Since Spike launched integrated Notes (I do work there, but it's not the reason I have wholly adopted using the Notes) it has made jotting down ideas, sharing lists and editing documents with anyone extremely easy.
The best thing about it for me is that I can share the note with anyone (including anyone not using Spike) just by sharing a link.
We have 15k newsletter subscribers, and have around ~2k of them in a Slack group. We're starting to encounter issues in terms of community management - specifically, it's hard to pin content like c...
Google lets you subscribe to a calendar using a URL - although when using an Outlook 365 Calendar link, events are copied over once, and then the syncing stops. This seems to be a relatively new is...
Three major considerations I have been using to evaluate the plethora of options available: 1. Effortless/non-intrusive: It shouldn't feel like a video call 2. Price: As this app would be complime...
I'm the same on paper notebooks—I have far too many, and continue to reach for paper and pen especially for brainstorming and planning away from screens.
What do you feel like made NotePlan click so well for you—the date/time focus? Did that change how you write notes?
The big thing for me is the ability to grab my iPad and take handwritten notes during a meeting. And then mixing the notes and comments with tasks too. I know there's more under the hood that I could be playing with, but it just does exactly what I need right now.
Nice, yeah being able to handwrite and turn it into typed text anywhere has to be the one of the best features of iPadOS 14.
I moved from Roam to Noteplan purely because it integrates the calendar, making it much easier to navigate between days (cmd + opt + arrow key). I still get backlinking and the daily notes that allow you to start fresh every day, which were its two killer features for me personally.
^ first comment I've made in Capiche and clearly don't know how to correctly add to threads yet lol.
No problem! The "add your thoughts" may not have been the clearest to start a new comment thread. :)
Noteplan is picking up some steam in the bracket survey, even as a write-in! (Not an intentional exclusion; there were just too many apps to have a totally exhaustive list.)
Nah I was trying to add to this noteplan thread but the comment got nested a layer deeper under @maguay's comment :)