While I’m relatively new to the world of digital productivity, I’ve sunk an inordinate number of hours into curating my personal app stack. The irony of procrastinating by researching and testing apps that are meant to make me more productive isn’t lost on me, but I’ve since accepted the fact that every app will have its drawbacks.
In my last article, I outlined the features I was looking for in my ideal writing and note-taking app — like cloud capabilities and a clean UI — but most of the apps above check all of those boxes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this focus on superficial, technical features was the wrong approach. I had failed to consider elements like my writing and note-taking style, organizational methods, and personal knowledge management (PKM) system — elements I was still in the process of refining.
To that end, I’ve appended a couple more features to my ideal app:
✅ Can be adapted for different note-taking methods (e.g. Zettelkasten)
✅ Can support different organizational frameworks (e.g. PARA)
✅ Can support different organizational tools (e.g. tags, folders, interlinking, etc.)
✅ Offers a healthy balance between customization and convention
When it comes to writing and note-taking apps, my journey has exposed me to several of the big players in the modern note-taking world. Here are my key takeaways.
With its flexible database capabilities and beautiful templates, there’s a reason Notion is one of the most popular apps for project management and note-taking. If you take a look at Pinterest, you’ll see that Notion users are proud to show off their creative dashboards, which track everything from habits to study notes.
Where it falls short
Notion was my entry point into note-taking apps, and it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. However, Notion’s strength in being immensely customizable was the reason I had to move on. I found myself spending hours…