Note-taking apps: find one that works for you

I often find that I need a trusted place to store my notes. I am guessing you do too. Here, I don’t necessarily mean privacy. I mean a place that always works as expected. In this post, I’ve outlined several different options so readers can find note-taking apps that work for them.

Note-taking apps

New note-taking apps are emerging and releasing updates relatively quickly. I’ve tried several of these tools, including Notion, Roam Research, and Obsidian. For me, none of these apps work as a reliable notebook. However, I tend to evaluate apps based on my use case and incorporate them in my workflow if the fit between need and function is clear.

Evernote

I moved away from Evernote because of its fleeting development and stability. It became frustrating to use, even as Evernote made updates. I generally still use Evernote as a folder because I can easily search for documents. However, I do not use Evernote for note-taking or writing, as I can not elevate it to a daily app.

Roam Research

In my view, Roam Research is about collating research, writing and resurfacing notes, and connecting ideas. Obsidian is similar, but not really. There are plug-ins and ways to adapt the app to function similarly to Roam Research.

Although I can use both apps for different things, I don’t believe in bending apps to fit my needs. I become frustrated, making me less likely to use the app altogether. When I need a task manager, I use a task manager. When I need a place to store digital notes, I use an app for that purpose. Yes, I know, moving across too many applications can be cumbersome, but I reach optimum productivity and creativity when I use tools to achieve their intended purpose.

Obsidian

Currently, I use Obsidian to expand my quick capture notes and generate first drafts of written products. It is a great way to see linkages across many different files. I enjoy using the graphs and seeing where different tags across several weeks or months aggregate. The graph view allows me to visualize how my work and ideas are connected. I use several plugins across different vaults to create an ideal workspace. Obsidian dissolves my need to use a new note-taking app because I can easily change the look and feel of the app with themes and CSS. The available plugins fuel my need to try new apps without moving away from my current structure and setup.

Logseq

I am currently testing Logseq as a daily journal. It is a fantastic app for keeping track of my daily activities. I also know that it works well with Obsidian, but I have not yet tested this.

Notion

In my view, Notion is in a class of its own, but I use it to maintain a high-level view of my projects. I open Notion once every few weeks to update my progress on different projects. The adaptable views are a big part of why I use Notion for project management. Notion is an exciting application to watch, and I look forward to seeing their progress. Notion released its API, which allows integration with other apps. I’m looking forward to checking this out.

Final tips for choosing note-taking apps

There is a growing interest in the security and longevity of notes.

It is good to know how companies store and protect your information. It is also important to consider whether you can access those notes should the company go out of business or cease to exist.

You can access Markdown and simple text files from several different applications. However, proprietary note types with unfamiliar extensions may create more trouble down the line.

In addition, other note-taking apps are quickly emerging. Hypernotes, Nota, Mem are among a few in this space. It is crucial that your foundation for note-taking, processing, and writing, be strong to withstand new shiny apps.1

Stay tuned for more posts on note-taking, writing, and general productivity.


1Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is an attraction to new and shiny things, especially trendy ones. SOS may also show up as an attraction to new projects, leading to procrastination–which distracts from current goals.

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