For a long time, I was cursed with something I’ll call the “missing notes syndrome”.
I’d be in a meeting and make notes, or write myself a to-do list. Then almost inevitably, the next time I needed those notes, I’d discover that I was at the wrong computer or that the notes were in a different pad.
I’m also constantly paranoid about losing my notepad or old ones being thrown away by mistake. And if you use machines, what happens if they break, get lost or stolen?
No longer. I’ve stumbled across a note-making system that means that I can create, access and search my notes on any computer or smartphone. It’s not enormously sophisticated or difficult, but if you aren’t already operating such a system, then you might find it very useful.
It also gives me complete peace of mind when it comes to having backups. Without ever having to remember to make a backup.
At the core of the system is Simplenote, a web service that stores notes.
So far, very mundane. I’m not enormously fond of using online applications, though – I don’t even like webmail. But the thing about Simplenote is that there are compatible client applications for almost every operating system out there. And they each synchronise effortlessly with your account when you’re online.
On my Lumia, my preferred note-making and reading app is Metro Note. It’s very much a ‘no-frills’ app, but that’s what you want for notes – a list of your notes, with search, and a viewer/editor screen. With some apps, extra features and functionality just add clutter.
Some people might prefer the Simple Paper app. This displays your notes as tiles, which can be pinned to your homescreen. It comes down to how many notes you have. I think Simple Paper is best if you keep just a few notes – like a to-do list that you continually recycle. Metro Note displays notes in a more compact manner, so it’s better if you have dozens of notes to work through.
On my Macbook, the equivalent is Notational Velocity. It’s probably my favourite productivity application ever. It’s a single window and you both search and create notes using the title bar at the top. Everything you do with it is blazing fast. And of course, it synchronises with Simplenote.
On the PC I have at home, the app of choice is Resoph Notes, which works in exactly the same way and appears to be modelled on Notational Velocity. One extra feature worth noting, though, is that it will also work from a USB stick, so you can carry about your notes and note-taking app to use on other PCs.
When I use a Symbian phone, then there’s SymNote SimpleNote app and the same developer has also made a version of the app for the Nokia N9. Again, the interface for both is clean and functional – just get me into my notes and let me work.
I am sure that there are other systems that do the same job – but what I like about my version is that each of the apps I use is clean, fast and gets the job done.
What’s your solution to note-taking?
image credit: Risager