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If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of note-taking apps available to you and are struggling to make a choice, you’re not alone.
The solution lies in beginning your search with a checklist of the must-haves and nice-to-haves that you’re looking for. It’s what I did after my favorite note-taking app Letterspace slid into oblivion and I wanted a new one to replace it.
Checklist - Questions
Now let’s see what exactly should go on such a checklist by asking the right questions.
1. How Does Your Brain Work?
Brain - World - Map - Objects - Ways
Does your brain see the world as a colorful map of objects interlinked in unusual ways? Or does it slice and dice everything into neat little categories? Perhaps it likes to line up information in serial, logical order.
Now try comparing that to the way note-taking apps handle information. Does your brain work like the mind-mapping app Mindmeister? Does it take a top-down approach to ideas like Gingko? Instead, it might prefer a linear arrangement of ideas like Simplenote does or a Post-it-style one à la Google Keep.
Idea - App - Format - Brain - Gathers
The idea here is to get an app that replicates the format in which your brain gathers ideas and information.
For me, apps like Mindmeister, Gingko, and Google Keep were out. I prefer the conventional step-by-step style of note-taking. That put Simplenote, Writer, Litewrite, Evernote, and OneNote at the top of my list of choices.
Mac - List - Ulysses - Agenda - Bear
Since I was on a Mac, my list also included Ulysses, Agenda, Bear, Apple Notes, and nvALt.
2. Which Elements Do You Absolutely Need?
Apps - Variety - Elements - Notes - Ease
Most modern note-taking apps come with a variety of elements for categorizing and finding your notes with ease.
You’ll see some combination of tags, labels, color codes, tables, checklists, and emoticons. Which of these do you consider indispensable? It’s time to add them to your checklist.
Color - Codes - Labels
I didn’t care for color codes, labels, and so on, but I did...
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