Notes

Digital notes are a hard thing to pin down.

There are so many different apps to choose from: Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep, Apple notes, SimpleNote, text files in dropbox or google drive, a desktop wiki, an online wiki, and many more if you just do a search in your favorite app store.

I’ve used many different ways to take notes: Zim Wiki synced with dropbox, RedNoteBook hosted on my desktop machine, Evernote, SimpleNote, OneNote, and now Keep from Google. Evernote was the one I stuck with because it JustWorked(TM) and synced between my phone, tablet, desktop, and laptop with ease. I did not have to think about if what I wrote was going to be on my other machines and if it was going to be in a format that I could use.

I was introduced to OneNote at work and didn’t really use it much until I needed some way to make the notes I was taking in meetings and in training to be searchable, readable, and shareable. All of that it is, and it works really well with the Microsoft suite of apps for business. I also tried it awhile ago and it did not work the way I expected, so I gave up rather quickly and turned back to Evernote.

Some background: I’ve used Evernote for some 6 years or so and had a lot of notes in it. I changed up the way I did things and had reorganized several times and was using (overusing) tags. I’d tried GTD in it and a modified bullet journal and was unhappy with both of those, so I cleaned out a lot of those tags and notebooks and kept it simple, stupid. Which meant I had something like 6 notebooks and several hundred tags. With some tag consolidation and some reorganization, I got things under control and I had a really good system, but it could be better.

What caused me to take the jump from Evernote to OneNote to Keep was the pricing on Evernote. They changed the way they did pricing and took away the unlimited versions of their software, so you could only have 2 versions. I have too many devices for that. Also, OneNote removed their app from the Android store for chromebooks, so that was pretty much the final straw for me and corporate note-taking systems.

So, enter Keep. It’s super simple, but it’s working for me. I use it in conjunction with my offline bullet journal, so I can have reminders on specific notes.

Now I’m sure you could do GTD with Keep. I prefer to do that with my bullet journal. It just works better for me. I’m not huge into GTD but I love the bullet journal method of keeping track of things.

Right now I’m using it to house my uke tabs as well as some other interesting bits and bobs. I’m keeping my writing stuff in “Write”, a desktop app for Linux and Windows (but not mobile, so it doesn’t work for a full notes experience). The separation seems to be working so far but I might try to consolidate into one app in the future. Unfortunately, that can get very unwieldy very quickly; it did in Evernote and OneNote.

I like the way I have things set up. Works for me. What works for you?