Choosing a Notes app

This year (2019) was supposed to be a year of action. I wanted to do things. Not that I was not doing things before but this year just happens to be one of those years when things could make or break. And to make myself more productive, I took the whole thing head-on. I had to write more. From writing proposals, to writing papers, to simply keeping track of my own weekly to-dos, this year I decided to use all the things I could to become more of a writing creature. Given the magnitude of the task, the right tool was required. No more Google Keep and OneNote. Evernote lost my trust after all the security breaches (the most recent one in June 2019) and their odd updates since last year. So here are the apps/tools I used and an evaluation of the things after almost 7 months of 2019:

NOTION

I started using Notion last year when I saw their gorgeous website. While I started to work/note/do everything in the Notion app, I realised that it was too much of a hassle. I mean, I am sure Notion works like a charm for some people and I understand why: it is customizable, it includes Kanban, Calendar, Notes and literally every thing you might want to extract out of it. And that – I found – was also the problem. The truth is, when I am writing, I just want to write. And this led me to two different apps…

STANDARD NOTES

I love Standard Notes. I love the fact that they are pro-privacy and that if you are not a “PRO” user, you do not get a lesser app. You – in fact – receive an app which is just as secure and simple to use. I have – however – upgraded my app to an Extended User account but that is because I find the app’s convenience and malleability not a distraction. On the contrary, this app is one of the best and most secure apps I have ever used.

WRITEMONKEY

Writemonkey is Standard Notes’ more quirky cousin. Writemonkey is the app I use when I just have to write. The app has additions like “sound effects” and has many many good extensions. And I find the full screen effect calming almost. This app lets you set Pomodoro timing slots. I could go on. Basically, if Standard Notes is the app I use to make everything searchable and to file my notes for a seminar, Writemonkey is the notes app I use for writing a piece of fiction.

… and the one I have found myself using a lot surprisingly,

NOTEPAD

There is nothing more simple than writing your ToDo list in a .txt file on your desktop and updating it every day or week. The idea came from an academic saying on a blog I follow that he simply uses a Word doc. to list his goals and track his writing/research. Since then, I thought, why not make it simpler? If there is one Notes app that has helped me get organized this year, this would be this one. Just the simplicity of it is amazing.

What I am up to in 2019

This site started out as a weird experiment of a late night gone strange early February. Turns out not a lot has changed over the last year at all. There are, for instance, just as many books I want to read as I did last year. There are also as many people I have met, become friends with and lost in 2019. This year, I am telling myself, will be different.

I am still on the Open Source craze, though. Recent changes?

  • I switched from EndNote to Zotero. There are quite a few things one encounters when a thesis is written. There is the usual “what do I write it on” question; I did a cop-out on this one because I have Word from the university. The reference manager is another such issue. I have access to EndNote from the university but I have moved to Zotero since then. In order to make a mind-map for the thesis I used WiseMapping.
  • I gave up Evernote and then from Laverna, I went straight to Standard Notes. I have honestly not looked back after Standard Notes because it is probably the best thing I have ever used for notes. Since I have become a nutcase for privacy settings, Standard Notes has become an indispensable tool for my online life. I am not an “Extended” Member but I am not very far from becoming one.

In other news, there is some research topics that I have recently gone into; Latour, for instance. Hence, this page will probably be used in the near future for three things

  1. Podcast diary/recommendations: Being a rich consumer of podcasts of every sort (I subscribe to 80 right now), I guess this one is not such a surprise.
  2. Research diary: I find it useful to write things out for my own sake. So, since I am reading some things, it makes sense to make a record of it … a field notes diary, as it were.
  3. Bookshelf: I have always wanted to a bookshelf section here. So starting this month, I hope to start.

Other things I would recommend:

Libby: Your library probably has a Libby service. Use it.