10+ Reasons Reflect Notes Should Be Your Primary Note-Taking App

I recently had the pleasure of trying Reflect Notes, and I am impressed. I have previously detailed my love for Obsidian—nothing has changed. However, Reflect is an excellent app, though it gets less attention than it deserves. Hopefully, this post will help change that.

Reflect is a beautiful note-taking app. It fits in with many of the other apps I have posted about before. It recently added an AI assistant, which I am confident users will enjoy. The AI assistant will help avid note-takers enhance their notes.

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Reflect Notes has some important features.

  1. Daily notes. It does an excellent job with this. If you have used similar apps, you are likely already used to this format. However, with Reflect, I especially liked being able to scroll through all my daily notes in one place (i.e., without hacking it with a plugin).
  2. Backlinks. The backlinks feature does not appear to be second thought. It seems to now be an unspoken requirement for note-taking apps. Reflect does a nice job with this.
  3. Tasks. I can’t say much about tasks. As you may know, I use a dedicated task manager and have at times used Sunsama when I am working with teams that use different project management tools. However, if you do like integrating your notes and tasks, you’ll be able to see them together on the daily note associated with the task due date.
  4. Calendar. Reflect integrates to your calendar (i.e., Google or Outlook) and allows users to keep track of events.
  5. Integrations. Users can connect with other applications using Zapier. You can also sync and import highlights with Readwise and Kindle. I highlighted a book with my Kindle and Reflect was able to create a note with the book’s details, highlights, and page number. This is a plus for anyone who actively reads on their Kindle device.
  6. Web clipper. The app includes a web clipper that Chrome or Safari users can use to save clips while browsing. The web clipper was better than I expected because it includes an annotation and auto highlight feature! The import worked well and was generally well organized. I read too often on my mac to dismiss the added import of this! The other thing I noticed was the my highlights appeared to be preserved when I visited the site later! However, users should note that removing a highlight does not automatically remove it from Reflect.

There is so much more the Reflect Notes team can boast about.

  1. Design. Reflect is beautifully designed and simple to navigate, which allows for a distraction free writing experience.
  2. Map. I don’t often use the map—or the graph as it is called in some other apps—but it is available too.
  3. Search. The search function is quite good. Users will be able to search for those notes in a frictionless way.
  4. Secure. The app includes end-to-end encryption—only you can access your notes.
  5. Fast. It is fast.
  6. History. The page history was an added plus, as users will be able to restore their notes to a previous state.
  7. Mobile. It is only available on iOS (at the time of writing)
  8. Pricing. At $10/month (if billed annually)—it seems well priced. Reflect offers a free trial period.

Lingering thoughts

  • ✅ You can import your notes from Evernote
  • ✅ You can export your notes in various formats
  • ✅ There are slash commands
  • ✅ You can create templates and evoke them using the slash commands

Reflect is definitely worth trying. Consider it as your primary note-taking app if you are looking for an app with daily notes and back-linking functionality, and integration with many different apps. If you read a lot on the Kindle and need a place to revisit your highlights, definitely give this it a try. Reflect is well designed and likely to meet the needs of diverse users.

You may be interested in these posts…

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A Virtual Study Space for Productive Work

I was inspired to create a Notion template that mimicked a virtual study space after researching and writing about online study websites and virtual work spaces. I’ve previously written about LifeAt, Bindr, Fiveable, Study Together, and StudyStream. These sites aim to provide aesthetic and functional online work and study spaces and are increasingly popular.

Notion is also gaining traction from diverse audiences, including students, freelancers, and small to large-sized teams. Notion is considered an all-in-one workspace and many people do their work within the app. I’ve written previously about the Notion templates that students may find useful.

The Notion Study Lounge

I worked with Notion template creators at Hypen to develop the Notion Study Lounge, a virtual Notion template for productive work. The template offers many different features and is customizable. The workspace includes:

  • Inspiring daily quotes
  • An editable pomodoro timer
  • 24/7 lofi radio station
  • A task list
  • A reminders section
  • A notebook for quick notes
  • Quick links

When you log in, you will get a greeting with the current date and time. You’ll also be able to add external and internal quick links.

The internal workspace links will allow you to jump from one section of your work space to another.

We included toggles so that your workspace remains uncluttered.

This is great if you are easily distracted. With one click you can hide other areas.

The workspace can also work as a daily productivity dashboard. It includes a table where you can drag and drop your task lists. You’ll then be able to sort, group, search, and track your tasks over time.

This template also includes a customizable timer and a 24/7 Lofi station — we absolutely love these two features!

You will likely need to jot down some quick notes and reminders. We have a section for that too.

We wanted to create something that would also look good in dark mode, with different fonts, and in full width. This template achieves all of that!

Get the template ($10.00 USD) here and reach out if you have questions about the template or ideas about future ones. The template includes our credits section–we give credit to the creators that make the widgets we use possible.

Buy on

Mention mystudenthq when purchasing here to get 10% off.

If you are looking to try Notion, you can use my affiliate link for a Notion Plus account.

You may be interested in these posts…

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5+ reasons to use Sunsama to organize your day

Sunsama is an app that allows users to be intentional about their daily tasks and weekly objectives. By letting users organize their tasks, events, and email in a central place, Sunsama helps users to control their day.

I started using Sunsama while looking for a new calendar or day planner app. Although I was initially drawn to Friday, after a short run, the app is shutting down. Friday’s integration with Todoist was an excellent addition to my workflow and a feature that I require any new day planner I use to implement. As of now, Sunsama meets that need and more.

Sunsama allows me to visualize and track progress

Sunsama works for me because it helps me to see how much I am taking on and accomplishing each day. The daily kanban and progress bar work for me because I can see the number of tasks I’ve accomplished and how many are still outstanding. I can also reorganize my tasks across the week to lighten my load or pull in tasks from Todoist, Trello, Gmail, or Notion to fill in open slots in my day. Sunsama is also effective for time-boxing, which allows users to block out time each day to work on specific projects or tasks.

Sunsama helps me to unify my tasks

Sunsama has genuinely changed the way I approach my work. As a Ph.D. candidate, I work on many different projects with research teams that use different project management software. I am also working on my dissertation and need to plan my time accordingly to meet my professional and personal goals.

Sunsama has changed the way I work

The app lets me to prioritize my daily tasks and weekly objectives, which often become blurred when there are demands on my time and commitment. Sunsama asks about your plans for each day and inquires about your accomplishments the day before. It allows me to ask: do I really intend to have a 14-hour workday? This small addition allows me to stay on track throughout the week.

Sunsama is flexible

The ability to toggle between different views is a highlight of the app. I keep Sunsama open throughout the day, which allows me to use it as a reference point. I enjoy seeing my tasks and calendar events simultaneously because it gives me a better sense of the day and enables me to prepare for upcoming activities. So far, I’ve had no issues with Sunsama’s Google Calendar integration. Sunsama currently integrates with Todoist, ClickUp, Gmail, Outlook, Asana, Trello, Github, Google Calendar, Slack, and Notion.

Sunsama has reporting and tracking features

Sunsama’s reporting and tracking feature is another reason I’m drawn to the app. As long as I time box and use the channels as intended for my workflow, I can see exactly how I’ve spent my time each week.

Sunsama has a mobile app

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the move to remote work, I have relied less on mobile apps and have started to weigh this less in considering apps over the last two or so years. I discontinued several apps where I was paying a premium price for location-based features. However, I understand how central a mobile app is for potential users.

Sunsama takes an interesting approach to pricing

For some users, the $20 (per month, billed monthly tag) is steep. There are currently no discounts for educators or students. For some users, especially those familiar with Sunsama’s pricing manifesto, the price may not matter. Sunsama argues that the product is worth at least $1/workday.

Looking across other calendar/day planner-type apps, few are in direct competition with Sunsama. However, this might change down the line. For now, Sunsama is ahead of its competitors, as it is truly in a league of its own. I do more with less effort while using the app.

If you are not willing to shell out $20 a month for Sunsama, here are some alternatives to check out:

Amazing Marvin

Some cons

There are a few areas Sunsama can further develop. Meeting notes and task notes are important in my workflow. I also frequently need to reference notes from previous meetings across many different projects. Currently, trying to locate previous meeting notes in Sunsama is not practical. I still rely on my notetaking tools for this. It would be great to see Sunsama create one central place for notes.

Another issue I have is that the labels I apply in other apps have to be recreated in Sunsama. While this ensures that I can appropriately track my time and effort for each activity, it is an unnecessary friction point. Unfortunately, I usually have to manually categorize new tasks and events every day. Once I am in Sunsama, I am ready to work and don’t want to spend time reorganizing tasks.

Concluding thoughts

I enjoy Sunsama because I am not replacing any tools that I have become accustomed to using. I still use Todoist and Google Calendar and have no plans to give these up. The issue I’ve faced is that neither Todoist nor Google Calendar, together or separately, allow me to manage my workload across many different teams in a way that helps me to feel accomplished at the end of the day or week. For me, Sunsama excels with this.

However, the app may not be sustainable for me down the line. I use it now because I am pulled across different projects, but this may not be the case next year.

I am a Sunsama ambassador and this post is based solely on my experience with the app. With my ambassador link, you can get started with a 30-day trial. This is twice as long as the default 14-day trial. No credit card or payment information is needed at sign-up.

You may be interested in these posts…

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Growth and fixed mindsets and working toward long-term goals

Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that if you have to work hard at something, then success in that activity is not meant to be. The problem with the fixed mindset is that it is limiting. Is it true that if you are not already an expert in your field, you’ll never have some level of expertise? Achieving this takes an incredible amount of grit and commitment to focusing on the process and not the outcome, topics I’ve written about in other posts.

Why completing a PhD program is more about grit than anything else

A couple of years ago, I was asked to do a literature review on grit. I was to examine grit in relation to doctoral students’ persistence through challenging academic environments.

At the time, I was not familiar with Angela Duckworth’s research or the notion that something more than talent/innate ability or IQ could predict achievement.

What is grit?

Duckworth defines grit as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. That is, goals where the rewards are not immediate. Working toward an advanced degree, like the PhD, is an example of a goal where those who successfully attain the degree might have had to rely on grit.

While resilience may play a role in this trait, grit is about having passion and stamina to persist toward a very long-term goal, despite obstacles and the absence of immediate rewards.


Focus on the Process not the Outcome

I recently spoke with some students about living fully during what I now call “the process.”

While not a new concept or idea, I define the process as the period between when you start actively working on a long-term goal and the moment you attain the envisioned outcome.

If you aim to pursue graduate studies, the process will begin when you start working on this goal. A series of things have to happen to get you from point A to point B.

You’ll need letters of recommendation, transcripts, writing samples, statements of purpose, etc. The list goes on. Even when you submit your applications, you’ll have to wait. When the acceptance letters roll in, you’ll still have to wait for school to start. If you are not lucky to get in the first time around, you’ll have to wait again for another application cycle. How are you choosing to live during these waiting periods?

When I stopped thinking, I’ll be happy once I reach my goal. I realized that I could still fully engage with life while striving to achieve my long-term goals. I realized I had to continue being my best self during these waiting periods.

  • Yes, off course, if you want to save for graduate school applications, you might consider reducing the number of Uber rides you take.
  • Yes, sure, if you need to take the GRE and you know you need to purchase test-prep materials, you should consider cutting down on weekend brunches. But our lives do not have to be put on hold until we achieve a goal. I’ll ask differently, how are you choosing to engage in the process? Are you just letting time pass by?

Short definitions for popular epidemiologic study designs

Epidemiologic study designs allow researchers to investigate the cause of an outcome (disease, illness, or death), as well as exposures and risk factors that lead to the outcome.

Epidemiologic studies, when done efficaciously allow us to estimate the risk or odds of getting a particular disease, given a set of exposures or risk factors. This knowledge allows researchers to apply their finding to the group under study or to a larger population.

I recently enrolled in an epidemiology course to sharpen my understanding about various population-level study designs and I am starting to think more broadly about causal inference and similar topics. This post focuses on the study designs that have been discussed so far.

I have also posted about each separately to attempt to distill the details about each one.


What’s the difference between case-control studies and cohort studies ?

I have written previously about case-control and cohort studies. This post compares them to each other.

There are some important similarities and differences, which will be useful to discuss.

Case-Control Studies

In case-control studies, you start with people who already have the disease or a particular condition (these are your cases). You add these people to a group and then you create a similar group. These would be people who do not have the condition of interest but are in every other way, similar to our cases (these are our controls).

With both groups we look back (retrospectively) at different exposures that could have caused the outcome or diease/illness of interest. We then compare these two groups and try to determine if there are any differences in the presence or magnitude of the exposure.

This is the reverse of a cohort study in that in this approach we are starting with people who already have the disease (our cases )and people who do not have the disease (our controles) and looking back in time at their exposures to determine what exposure(s) where different in both groups.

Cohort Studies

In cohort studies, you start with a rare exposure of interest. The cohort can consist of disease free individuals who you follow over time to determine the risk of a specific outcome or disease occurring. Then you find a second group of people (controls) who are in every way similar to the first group except in the exposure of interest. You have to make sure that they are the same because the goal is to compare these two groups. You follow these groups over time and you examine what outcomes emerge.

Cohort studies can either be prospective (starting before the outcome) or retrospective (starting after the exposure is known but the outcome is still not known).


What is an experimental study?

An experimental study, sometimes called an intervention study, is a non-observational study where the investigator assigns the exposure (new drug, diet, programs, or intervention) to a group and follows the group over time to determine the relationship between the exposure and the outcome.

In experimental studies, if the exposure assignment is done randomly, this is a randomized control trial (the gold standard of study designs).

In this case, participants have an equal chance of being assigned to the experimental group or the control group.

To conduct experimental studies, you must have clinical equipoise. That is, there must be uncertainty about the exposure or treatment. Also, based on the Declaration of Helsinki, all study participants, including the controls, must have the best available treatment.


What is a case-control study?

A case-control study is an observational study where the outcome (disease/illness) is measured before the exposure is observed. In other words, we know what the outcome is, but we do not know what caused it (the exposure).

Unlike cohort studies which are suitable for studying rare exposures, case-control studies are useful for studying rare outcomes. In fact, the hardest part of a case-control study is ensuring that those in your control group (your controls) are similar in every aspect to your cases except on the outcome.