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 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 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 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 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.
@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.
@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.
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 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.
@pgkr @matti I should have prefaced my comments with a note that I'm an edge case most likely... I'm mostly a pen and paper person. I've found my notes to be mostly transactional and "in the moment". No real need for that long tail/note system for me, personally. PKM and second brains and all that don't really work for me. Ive tried a bunch of those apps. Currently I am writing a lot of comedy related things. So a quick thought goes into minimal like most folks use drafts. Then I either write a little on it, or forget it until minimal pops it up for review or deletion. I copy things to iaWriter for expanding ideas.
@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 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.
@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.
@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).
@pgkr Yes, that's a great way to put it. Also, technically they are archived and not really deleted, but it feels like a delete, which I like. It's an interesting app, not for everyone of course. Oh, it does have a lovely writing interface. Closest to typora's wysiwyg editor for an iPad that I have found.
@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