I'm curious to hear what folks here are using to capture daily thoughts, links and other small notes that you want to keep track off.
I tried a bunch of tools:
1. Notion was my first attempt and felt great for it until the tool became too slow to quickly capture thoughts.
2. Roam Research was another one I tried but I never got into it and saw the real value of backlinked notes. The missing mobile app killed the tool for me.
3. Walling was my last attempt. It felt great at the beginning because it was lightweight enough to capture thoughts but then I dropped it because of the missing mobile app as well.
At the moment I'm back to paper and pen. I like the low friction of jotting something down and I know where to find it again. Though, the missing search is the biggest problem for me.
What are you using and are your experiences so far?!
Two simple apps for writing notes that I recommend are Tot and Drafts (both for macOS + iOS only, though).
Tot is a notebook that keeps 7 notes synced all the time. Basically think of it like a scratchpad, where you'll put stuff for a limited time before deleting it when you're done. By only having a limited number of notes, it keeps things from being too cluttered. And its sync may be the fastest and most reliable I've seen yet in a notes app; it's almost instant. I use it all the time to write down things quickly to remember them, or to put snippets of writing to finish later—and then will publish that text later or save it somewhere else if it ends up being important.
Drafts is another great app for quick notes. Every time you open it, it shows a blank screen to type a new note. And it integrates with a wide variety of other software, so you can type of something in Drafts then run a workflow to convert the text, save or publish it, and more.
Both of those work great for quick notes for me because they essentially keep you from having to worry about cluttering up your notes or filing things away for later. Then my actual longform notes (in Ulysses, iA Writer, Roam, Evernote, etc.) can be focused on things that I'm saving to remember for the longterm or using as part of a larger project.
Google Keep all the way. Cross platform + Android home screen widget earn it my vote
Wow I'm truly amazed by all the replies! I haven't expected so many and all of them are interesting and unique by themselves. I enjoy reading and replying to all of them and I'm impressed that personal knowledge bases and note taking is something that has so many nuances. I love how we nerd out about it here :-)
As I am using Apple devices most of the time, I am using Drafts. The beauty of this app is that it is so versatile but powerful. It can turn the drafts into final content for many apps, from email to reminder to web publishing. It also sync to all my Apple devices (Mac, IOS) very quickly
As am Apple user, I used default to the system Notes app. But I do a lot of writing and have Ulysses open at all times so now I just drop new notes in there to sort out later. It costs a bit of money, but the app is really worth it if you do a lot of writing.
I also tried Walling, but I got anxious about the limits on the free account. I've started trying out ClickUp for personal productivity (task lists, reading lists, etc.), and I'm trying to use its note features - both full page notes and small notepad notes - for this type of stuff now. I like the idea that it's all in one place (with a mobile app that is fine) --- we'll see if it sticks, but so far I'm liking it.
I have an Android Phone, and my best option to date has been Google Keep.
I use their quick capture widget for getting notes down quickly, and then you can add tags and color-coding for more sorting.
Draft is really good for that, it's a chrome extension that opens the same editor on every new tabs: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/draft-by-slite/ljkidlijlaapmiilabpldhmhekeionfh
Really depends on your workflow (it's not on mobile) but if it fits it can be game changer.
(Disclosure fooks in my team developed it)
For me Notion is the best general tool for capturing (and also working with) content.
Unlike with Google Keep I can create "folder"s using the Pages feature without limitation on how deep the hierarchy gets. (Google Keep has no such feature at all. (Google Keep would be really nice if it would have a foldering feature, but without it, it is just a mess.))
I think having links (Pages or folders) is key for keeping content organized using the 5 +-2 rule (it is about 5 for me not 7) when appropriate.
Using a physical keyboard and mouse I don't feel Notion to be too slow (and over time they can improve on the caching and on the backend to make it faster).
If you capture let's say drawings. For that you would currently need an other service and in Notion you could just link to that drawing.
There are only some minor features I am mission or would do differently in Notion. For example:
- Only content you visit in the mobile application are made available offline. (I hope over time they will provide some meaningful option to choose from in terms of synchronization and using it offline)
Physical pen and paper is nice to use, but digitally we can store the data more dense and at someone else's place(s) (like in the cloud). Over time I don't like dealing with lots of physical paper.
What part of the capturing do you feel slow with Notion? Is it really the capturing which feels slow for you?
Also for certain tasks with Notion I can use a custom kanban board which is very useful to organize content in terms of priority for example.
I still use a small notepad and pen. Nothing beats the flexibility (drawing a quick sketch, giving a note to somebody else, etc). About 90% of these scribblings go into Roam which I use to journal and explore connections between thoughts. I also have Drafts set up on multiple devices but find that I don't use it very often even though it's a great concept.
I use Clear app on iPhone. It’s meant to be a to-do list (it still is), but I add quick snippets to be filed or routed elsewhere later.
Paper & pen is always great. I have a block like this one to make sure I always have access to a writing surface: https://www.kikki-k.com/us/stationery/desk-tools/notepad-cube-pink-pause-guld-11522701.html?cgid=stationery-desk_tools
I also use another tool called Tot (https://tot.rocks/) to jot down stuff while I'm working in focus mode.
Drafts is what is actually always open, and what I'm constantly putting side by side with whatever other browser window or email or document I'm copying over notes and prepping to put somewhere else. It's cheesy, but I use it for exactly what the name says, drafting to paste somewhere else.
I have also started testing [[Product|Foam]] to replace Evernote. It is inspired by Roam Research, but built as a plugin for VSCode and backed by git.
I love using Spike built-in Notes. I use to use Apple's notepad, but since Spike added notes to the email app, it's been the most convenient thing because I can get them easily from my phone/ computer and share them with anyone. The only thing it's missing IMO is the ability to add the Notes to folders (although there are tags). Will be 100% when they add folders.
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