Micro Monday is a day to find new people to follow. Let’s do another roll call. Last time we did space. Let’s do a topic that shouldn’t be rocket science: note-taking. Reply here and let us know what tool(s) you love.
Micro Monday is a day to find new people to follow. Let’s do another roll call. Last time we did space. Let’s do a topic that shouldn’t be rocket science: note-taking. Reply here and let us know what tool(s) you love.
@jean currently using Craft for most things, but like Obsidian too. Love seeing what creative ideas others come up with when using these apps!
@jean Obsidian gang here. Although, depending on what I'm taking notes on, I might also use Ulysses or Airtable. (And I'll forever be torn between Obsidian and Ulysses…)
And sometimes, I still go analogue and scribble stuff on any sheet of paper or used envelopes.
@jean Obsidian these days. I used org-mode/Emacs on and off for years, and Obsidian is the closest I've come to the experience of "electrified plain text," but with a useful mobile app and the use of Markdown markup, which has claimed my muscle memory.
I still think org-mode is brilliant, but I'm not enough of an elisp expert to re-understand the many geological layers of config files I've accreted over the years when I want to make a tweak, or troubleshoot an errant plugin.
Last great point about Obsidian: Super automatable with Apple's URI schemes. It was trivial to write a Shortcuts workflow to dump my daily meetings into a note each day where I can preview my schedule and jot down some advance notes about the outcomes I want and how I want to show up.
Technologically: Too many great plugins. There's a risk of something being so cool that you invent use cases, instead of letting demand build as an outgrowth of your day-to-day work.
Socially: The community around it has the highest ratio of aspirational users I think I've ever seen. Very elaborate workflows, people very inspired by the Zettelkasten note-taking method it facilitates. So it is often discussed in very "the tool is the thing" terms, vs. how it can enable or empower. Or it is discussed as a thing that will enable or empower the authoring of dozens of books in a single lifetime through the miracle powers of connected note-taking. I unjoined /r/obsidianmd to protect myself. :-)
@jean Very much a hybrid approach here. Things I need to jot down quick or things that don’t necessarily need an app, I use pen and paper.
@jean Craft for documents that are organized already, almost like my personal extranet/wiki. Drafts for short notes, notes that will be either archived there or moved to Craft later on. Also, on Draft is where I type most of my text and then process it to send somewhere.
@jean Also using Obsidian. I’m a long time Zettelkasten™️-adjacent note taker for maybe 15 years. Although are many years of straight up journaling and note taking in public („blogging“) interspersed.
@jean Ulyssess and Drafts for personal stuff and Agenda for work stuff. And of course, lately paper journals and fountain pens.
@uncertainquark Yesterday, I learned that even @cygnoir uses Workflowy. I first learned about it from Cal Newport but I never got into it for some reason.
@jean Truthfully, pen and paper work best for me. I have a legal pad for work I use daily. Left half of the sheet is To Do immediately. Right side are on going issues to resolve. Then, if I have a call that day I used the backside for notes on those.
@jean Recent Obsidian convert, though I still have a bunch of notes in Bear, Evernote, and Apple Notes. I also wish to be a "carries a field notes notebook" person, but I can't seem to make it a habit.
@bjhess I didn't succeed in using a pocket notebook until I got ones with pen loops (or ones that fit in very small covers with pen loops). It turned it that for me, the big barrier was having to look around for a pen. 😏
@jean I use Drafts for daily note taking and journaling. It is incredibly useful. I use Ulysses for polished writing pieces. I use Obsidian for note taking on the heavy reading I do, philosophy, history, political theory, etc.
@jean Bear for quick journaling like a captain’s log. Apple Notes when I want to sketch something with my Apple Pencil. Obsidian to store curated notes when I read nonfiction. I use Drafts as a text editor, usually to post online or to my Bear journal. Index cards and post-its for day-to-day lists. Fountain pen & notebooks for long form journaling. Each tool has its use!
@jean As a long time user of Dynalist I switched to Obsidian when it came out, but still use Dynalist for more dynamic lists. Everything eventually migrates to Obsidian for archiving.
I also use the "Quick Dynalist" Android app for rapid timestamped capture to Dynalist which is great for adding snippets of information before they evaporate from my brain (half life of about two seconds).
@jean I used (and still love) NotePlan for Mac but over the last few months transitioned fully to Obsidian, primarily because I use an Android phone and wanted something cross-platform. My personal use case is more bullet journal than Zettelkasten (though combining elements of both) and Obsidian's flexibility has turned me into a fan.
@jean Began experimenting with Obsidian and Logseq a few months ago and have completely fallen for Logseq.
@jean I am really into Obsidian, but also am easily distracted and tend to try out all the “new”, “cool” tools in the PKM/TfT space.
@jean I recently discovered a combination of the Johnny Decimal filing system, with BBEdit and Markdown for plain text. Plus TextExpander for grabbing a Title and URL when relevant. Random bits go in my BigListOfNotes.md, otherwise a specific well-named text file in a folder on my hard drive.
@jean I can't seem to quit Emacs/Org-mode. I've tried, but nothing else comes close. I really wanted to like Obsidian, but it just feels off somehow. I found Notion to be slow overkill. Craft is my favorite of the newer tools, but it didn't quite click either. If I switched from Emacs today it would most likely be to Logseq. So many good choices!
@jean I use Drafts for both quick notes, as well as micro posts on my blog. Anything beyond this goes in Ulysses, and of course I also use pen and paper for personal notes if they are fleeting, or don’t need a digital version — say for journaling. There are a handful of things I keep in Apple Notes, but that’s only if I need to share or lock them.
@jean Paper by 53 and Got taken over by We transfer. Day One, iA, Drafts and Ulysses. But I don’t have a flow so end up using them all 🤦🏽♂️
@jean I have a horrible habit of trying to turn note taking into rocket science! At the moment I have thoughts spread across Obsidian, Craft and Apple Notes. But what works best for me is the Field Notes I always have in my pocket and the fancy paper notebook I sit down with every morning.
@jean Fountain pen and notebooks. I have tried apps over the years but I remember more by physically writing and actually find it easier to keep track of paper, long term, than metadata.
@Miraz do you have any articles or videos for learning more or getting started with Johnny decimal system?
For journalling, linked docs, literature notes, draft writing, etc. I use Obsidian. This is my
For short and quick notes I’ve used NVAlt, Simplenote, iA, Byword, etc but now testing nota.md
This is not really for capital-w Writing, but a junk drawer.
@bjhess I bought a couple field notes notebooks and have struggled with sticking with it as well..
@jean Drafts for me mainly, plus Tot for temporary notes. I also use Field Notes and Ugmonk Analog for a more hands-on approach.
@jean My notes are kind of everywhere. 750 Words, Notion, Click Up, random Notepad and Word files, scattered notebooks... but this thread has given me a lot to think about, in terms of consolidating information (and trying out Obsidian).
@dwalbert It’s interesting and exciting how what’s old is new again. Some people always had a foot firmly planted in terra analogue, but I’ve read of so many others who are coming (back) on board.
I love it.
@jean I appreciate the potential of Obsidian, but I’m still learning how it best works for me. Scratch notes live in Bear, and notebooks scattered around home and work.
@jean Evernote and notebooks with Tomoe River paper. Pens are uniball signo dx 0.38 and variety of fountain.
@jean I've definitely dabbled in a bunch of note-taking apps over time (who among us can honestly say they haven't? 😅) but since I found Obsidian I've been pretty much all-in on it. I love its flexibility, its linking between notes, the fact that you can extend it for more features but don't have to, and that it saves notes in plain text (well, Markdown) in the clear, so there's no real vendor lock-in. I put almost everything there now.
@tuckerk I do save them, and I only scan sketches. I process the text notes into whatever app is appropriate. I label each book sequentially and number the pages so I can refer back to them.
@jean Craft app, Nanami and Studio Neat journals, B pencils, Mark One and Mark Two and TWSBI pens.
@wldunbar Do you not find it time consuming/hard to spend time processing the text again as opposed to scan and OCR?
@jean I use Obsidian for organizing and drafting, and paper notebooks for writing it out. Lately I've augmented fast capture with Captio for as little friction as possible when a thought strikes me. I'm still trying to find a system that really works, but I think I've got the whole pipeline laid out. Now it's tweaking the pieces to get something that really works for me.
@tuckerk I don't do a lot of long note taking in my Field Notes. It's mostly short thoughts, to-dos, doodles. Stuff like that. Going back through them is mostly to remind me what I was thinking about to add to notes (or make new ones) on my computer. I don't process them word for word.
@scojjac I generally use Evernote for capture and reference, but paper for thinking and lecture notes. Work writing I do in iA Writer.
@jean I use a combination of Drafts, BBEdit, and Emacs. For writing text, it's hard to beat these. Nearly everything starts in Drafts as I often am working on my iPad or iPhone. When I get to my laptop, I export notes to DEVONThink (and use the "edit in" feature to work in BBEdit). Long texts like journal articles, recommendation letters for students, and the like are edited in Emacs. If it's short, I often open BBEdit and work the texts until I'm happy.
@Dahc I hadn’t heard of Minimal but it sounds intriguing. It’s pretty much the opposite of what I hope to accomplish with note taking, which is saving thoughts for posterity. I’m curious: what kind of things do you write in Minimal?
@jean I also use Drafts a lot but mainly as a gateway to other things (i.e. More for quick capture and temporary storage).
@tuckerk Sure enough. Here's the source: johnnydecimal.com I don't follow it to the letter but the system made sense to me and has transformed my previous mess of folders helpfully named things like Downloads2020 or Important Stuff.
@jean Drafts for notes and work projects. I archive completed text files and projects into nvUltra. I tried to like Obsidian, but it didn't stick for me. I have a subscription for Ulysses, but haven't really used it in a long time.
mostly everything starts in drafts and thence to
1 micro blog
2 wordpress - for the business blog
3 craft - because I like it
4 pages - for the more meaty articles headed out somewhere
5 apple notes - mainly to share with the house
6 obsidian - which points at a few vaults on the drive and I use in fits and starts
7 iawriter - that sometimes gets used against those same files
8 ulysses - which i have an hardly ever use these days
Trying to get drafts to an ‘inbox zero’ style of usage.
not there yet!
A couple of Republic of Readers meetings ago we had a great set of sessions on note taking - what to do AFTER you’ve made a note etc
you are right - a lot of responses!
@jean I use WordPress as a digital garden to save things and take notes at tracydurnell.com/mind-gard... For live events like classes and conferences I use a three color note system in a notebook. I'm intrigued by taking more analog notes but am probably too lazy 😉
@jean I use a pile of txt & md files in folders, Finder for search TextMate to edit. Drafts. Apple notes for work(teacher). TiddlyWiki When I try to be more organised. I don't think of myself as a notes person but this is a great thread & maybe I am!
@jean Having a hard time sticking to one note taking tool. Currently using Zoho Notebook/Obsidian for most of the daily needs and Standard Notes/Cryptee for personal/private stuff.
Have tried and abandoned ColorNote, Google Keep, Notion, Simple Note, Workflowy and few others.
@jean I use Craft, but am also getting back into Drafts. Of course, Day One is used religiously for journalling.
@Dahc Jeez. It sounds interesting but it’s really not something for the long tail of your notes system.
@jean Adding mine: Drafts. Everything starts there. Then Ulysses for stuff that goes into Mb. Apple Notes for the occasional one that needs to be saved longer, or notes with pdfs and stuff. That’s it 🙂
All others have been left behind.
@jean The apps I use most are Tot and Drafts. Tot (used by far the most frequently) for shortform temporary notes/editing. Drafts for longer text that I may want to file away or use elsewhere, either online or in other apps.
@jean I'm using zettlr and tried multiple times to switch to Obsidian but it does not stick. Custom workflow to collect notes via email. Most notest start out as an email sent to myself prefixed with a special keyword in the subject line. With a mail rule which then creates the note for me. I also have two notebooks for the more visual notes an dooles. Notes for work are mostly analog in another notebook.
@jean I feel a bit ashamed in this community to report that I hardly ever take notes, except in the margins of books I'm reading, and that's mostly to help my concentration, not for any archival purpose. I do keep a .txt file open on the laptop, and jot things down over the course of the month for my monthly letter.
@jean My question is if any of you using these ever-changing and elaborate digital note systems experience them helping you remember or are you using them to offload for later? (No snark in that question!🙂) I’ve tried a lot of digital apps/systems and nothing is easier for attaching images to the notes, but paper and pen have been far and away the most engrained in my own memory.
@jean Plenty of analog tools, of course! Digitally, I just finished combining Tot and Drafts into Craft, which is working well so far. All long-form published writing lives in Ulysses.
@jean Quick ideas go in Google Keep. To-dos go in a Moleskine, Bullet Journal style. Longer things that can be sorted up front but don't need to be easily retrievable otherwise go in Google Docs. Reading notes and other things I think will be valuable to people besides me go in the blog. I'm far too tempted to mess around with every new app that comes along.
@jean Obsidian a lot, that's mostly where I take notes. I index Obsidian to DevonThink to help me find my notes when I need them. Also, Drafts for quick notes while out and about, and Apple Notes for about 3 "updated regularly" notes that need to be easily found when I am at home.
@gregmoore @jean I use Obsidian mostly to remember the future! I'm a project manager and it's been so helpful to be able to create notes for future events which I link to that day's Daily Note in Obsidian. I can jot down all the stuff I know now which will be relevant on that day, as well as continuing to update it until we actually get there. Of course, I also update the note while the event is occurring and then refer to it later as needed. Been using this system for more than a year and it's been a game-changer, even though I was already quite an organized person when I started down this track.
@agilelisa That sounds like a good use for it. Similar to how my work adds everything into our team’s JIRA.
@jean I repeatedly try/fail to live up to org-mode’s high standards 😀, otherwise making more use of Drafts, Bear (it formats so cute), and paper/notebooks. Paper: inspired by my dad who wrote in a paper diary until his last few days, in a Copperplate hand—still stylish at 96.
@jean I’m also one of the note takers. Digitally I use a combination of Drafts, Notes, Obsidian and Tot; and on paper I use Field Notes, DotPads for short term stuff and Travelers Notebook for more permanent “commonplace notebook”-style stuff.
@jean I bounce from thing to thing but truly one of my favorite things in the world is a simple pencil'ed to-do list in a nice-enough notebook when a project reaches a certain level of complexity. Love pencils. Love literally crossing things off. Ahh.
@Dahc deleting notes sounds interesting. I was thinking about adding some sort of garbage collection to my system. But not based on the last edit. I was more thinking of the age and the note having no references to other notes.
@Dahc Ah, so minimal reminds you to do something with notes that are about to be deleted. Now it makes sense. It’s kind of like an inbox that enforces Inbox Zero to keep you honest.
@gregmoore Right -- I do personally make a distinction between note-making to reinforce my memory / learning (handwritten notes); stuff I'm saving to maybe read or use later (digital); notes that are specific to my writing process (a combination of handwritten or digital depending on where it is in the stream); and notes that serve as reference material that I don't want to have to actively remember, but want to be able to access (digital or handwritten, depending on their uses).
@agilelisa OMG I love, love, love Obsidian for that. It was so hard to find something that I was able to use to create notes for specific dates in the future. You'd think it would be common, but I had a hard time finding that particular combo.
@jean I do most of my drafts in IAWriter, moving from there to MB, WordPress, Obsidian (for database more than writing) or, occasionally, second thoughts and the trash. Recently began playing with Agenda, which I think I going to be ideal for notes tied to appointments and such.
@annahavron Notes are such personal and context sensitive things. It’s neat when something in the ecosystem emerges as between to many people. (Like Field Notes and Drafts.)
@KimberlyHirsh Obidian seems like an app that you know if you need it or not. It's far too complex for me to make it useful.
@gregmoore Right? My use case doesn't demand that level of complexity. Hence Google Keep/Docs.
@jean so much love for Drafts for quick/scratch notes. I really need to check that out. Thanks everyone for the recommendations!
@jean Paper and pen first. Hobonichi A6 planner is my brain. I keep 3x5 notecards at my desk for quick notes. Fountain pen. Then I use Ulysses for longform writing and Simplenote for basic notes. OneNote for collecting digital odds and ends.
@jean I was a traditional pen-and-paper person until I recently got an iPad and Apple Pencil. I love taking notes in GoodNotes; plenty of cool templates out there, and lots of great features. also its search on hand-written notes is really effective! If I need to type notes out I'll usually use Notion
@KevinEagan Although many of us never stopped using pen and paper, I still feel like there’s a renaissance happening and I love it. What’s old is not only new again, but in many cases, better.
What made you go with Simplenote over say the stock Notes, Drafts, etc.?
@pimoore I used to use Notational Velocity/NValt and Simplenote syncs up with their folder system so I never switched to anything newer. I use Ulysses more and more now.
@KevinEagan Ah yes, forgot about NValt sync. Ulysses really is a gem of a program, well worth the subscription cost.
@jean Out of embarrassment, I neglected to mention that I have been a long-time user of Evernote. It has become less and less useful over the years, but I have 15 years of notes stored in it that I don't know what to do with. 😫
@cygnoir No reason to be embarrassed for the long use of a tool that works (or worked) for you.
@jean Workflowy! Apple notes for temp items. And a big physical notebook on desk for scratchpad, brainstorm, doodling during meetings, and taking notes for a DND session
@Mtt oh, wow... too many. Main qualification for me is that it be fountain pen friendly. For soft-cover pocket notebooks, right now I'm working my way through a Lochby one and an Italian brand someone gave me last Christmas. I'm also liking a Story Supply one. In my purse, I have a hard cover one that I love -- can't find them any more, but thankfully I bought several. Made in India, I believe, with numbered pages, an elastic pen loop on the back, an elastic band around it, and two ribbons inside. Beautifully made, I love it, and I hope I can find some more.
@annahavron I've been using Field Notes, but after a while in a back pocket they start to break down for me. Would love something about that size (or ever so slightly smaller) that's built better. Pen loop would be a plus. So far, I haven't found anything that checks off everything. I am thinking about giving the mini version of this a try though.
@jean Drafts for jotting down quick things. OmniOutliner if I need more formal notes other people might look at.
@jean For small or individual items start in Drafts app. With many items collected or starting from a larger series of thoughts, compile them into new entry on the scene: Bike app (outliner with exceptional navigation and search).
@jean On paper my notes are in Field Notes, I always have on me and a spare tucked into my backpak. On device everything starts in drafts. I recently started using workspaces to maintain my notes separating them for personal, family, work, volunteer, etc. Sharing or collaborating usually ends up in Apple Notes.
@jean In. Bullet Journal for the daily capture. ANTINET (Scott Scheper) with 4x6 notecards for my thinking note box. 3x5 cards/notebox for my 43 folders tasks and general family information.
@jean I have tried quite a few note taking apps. Mostly settled on Apple notes, Obsidian, GoodNotes for all handwritten notes & meeting notes. And OneNote for work related items where I have to share with my team.
@jean apple notes seems to be the way, when using an Apple Pencil. I used to love Paper by 53 and now owned by We Transfer. Only prob is, they are not updating it much.
@jean I’m still using bear.app as my second brain with IA Writer for my longer writing when I want to focus.
I tried Obsidian and it was just too much “stuff”. I get why it appeals to people who think a certain organised way. I do not think that way 😂
@jean I use Drafts for processing and DevonThink Pro for longterm storage. My go-to for jotting down things quickly is Tot. I have a bunch of notes in Obsidian, too, but so far it isn’t sticking for me.
@jean as an analog lover I still need digital notes. Ulysses is mostly for writing, so Drafts takes the note-taking title. 📓
For handwriting, I use a Plotter Narrow journal for quick capture, tasks, planning, and brainstorms. 🖋️
@jean The tools I love for notes are notebooks and fountain pens (sometimes a gel pen). I journal every day with these tools, and have for 30 years (?). I use a Field Notes for tasks and transitory notes. On the electronic side, I use Apple Notes for some storage and shared notes. In the past I’ve used Bear, Evernote, OneNote, but Apple Notes is plenty now.
@Pilchuck When you talk about journaling every day with fountain pens, could I ask what kind of paper you're using? I love my fountain pens (especially my brass Kaweco!) but I struggle to find paper that will take them well.
@hollie I have used a variety of notebooks, but it is certainly important to have a fountain pen friendly one. The most accessible and least expensive is Leuchtturm 1917. Another reliable brand is Midori. Those two can be found on Amazon or local stores.
Even better is any notebook that uses Tomoe River paper (there are several makers). Sources of the latter include Nanamipaper.com, galenleather.com, jetpens.com or musubi.bi
@Pilchuck Well heck see I haven't had the best luck with Leuchtturms, maybe my ink is too...inky - lol, but seriously I use Carbon Black a lot which is VERY pigmented. Also I love how this thread gives me an excuse for another JetPens order....
@Medievalist See, this is why I ask questions! I find out about sites like this. Thank you! :)
@hollie have you ever tried Rhodia notebooks? They take any ink and the paper is sooo smooth. Another favourite is midori MD notebooks, not as smooth as Rhodia though.
@hollie ps leuchtturms are no favourite of mine. Paper is too thin and it’s too toothy for my favourite pens
@jean I’ve read through most of the threads and miss my favourite app: Joplin. I use that exclusively for my writing. For notes/lists I share with my husband, I use Google keep
@sylvia I haven't! It's funny, I've been hearing about Rhodia notebooks for ages and yet when I'm in stationary/art/paper store I consistently forget to look for them. I need to make a note! :)
@jean I've tried so many things! Today, I jot things down in Tot (Free on Mac, $20 on iOS; fantastic). But I've recently tried Obsidian again, and it's improved beyond recognition; now my backbone. Lots of wikis on Github too. Plain text/Markdown FTW!
@jean mainly plain txt files for me. It's the most reliable, flexible, and long-lasting option available. Plain txt also fits my requirement for being non-commercial and low-tech.
@jean Like many, I've bounced around a lot and landed on Obsidian because it's just plain-text Markdown with some chrome on top, which is effectively future-proof. Works for notes, blog posts, newsletters, lots more. Terrible iOS apps, though, so text starts in Drafts there. Text that needs to get shared, or anything that isn't text at all, goes in Apple Notes.