My App/Organization/Documentation Try Outs

My App/Organization/Documentation Try Outs

Hi all… I have read most of the posts in the forum and love all the great sharing everyone does here. It’s so informational to hear/read about specific tools and workflows. Esp pros and cons that are specific to that person in light of their lifestyle and who they are. It’s important to get tools that work with your “quirks.” :smiley: I also appreciate your seriousness and attention to detail with the subject. Beats out all the tons of “surface fluff articles” online that are little more than repeats of the most popular programs and lists of well-known tips…

I did download some apps on my new iphone but haven’t got to the ipad yet. I do use IOS and Windows for my electronics. Maybe someday down the road… a Mac - but not now.
Electronic tools in my life: iPhone 8 Plus, iPad (older one), laptop and desktop Windows pc, Fitbit Alta, and an Echo Dot in my bedroom. I do have a Kindle but mainly use my iPad Kindle app and Overdrive to get books from my library.

Things I Am Trying Out:

  • Napkin Notes

  • SimpleNote

  • Airtable

  • Toggl

  • Clockify

  • Ate

  • MeisterTask

  • Todoist

  • iDailyDiary

  • image I found Napkin Notes on the apps marketplace by chance. I have it connected to my main GMail account. It’s very easy to use after - open the app, write your note and hit send. It immediately goes to your email. I have used this multiple times already as I had some ideas I wanted to schedule or take action on later. My gmail is a good place to have those to be able to put on the calendar or other places. Maybe some actionable braindumping.
    So far: :+1:

    image SimpleNotes I think this is going to be a great place to document events at work, especially conversations/phone calls I want to remember that deal with specific coworkers. I think I will use hashtag and their initials to make search easy. I was impressed with how lean and clean the app is. I haven’t used this much since I am currently off work due to a surgery (hence the reason I have been such a lurker here everyday ha). Maybe some braindumping too in this app too.

    image Airtable This enchanted me even though I haven’t used it much…yet. I feel most comfortable with it (and also want to spend time with it too) due to being an Excel user.:heart: I can see some good uses for this. I have made some custom tables and have started a grocery one which I think could be really useful. But I do have a lot more fun with it online versus the phone.

    image Toggl This is an app to time things. I love that you can set up a Siri shortcut to say “Start Toggl” and also ones to continue or stop. I am a new user to Siri, so I am still in the cheap entertainment stage of amazement at such things. This one will have to wait for a try when I go back to work. I was trying to find a timer app due to my boss making suggestions that I time how long it takes me to do things using my Outlook calendar. My tries at that have failed for the biggest part (even though I feel I am an advanced user of Outlook and learning more all the time). Clockify seems like it may be too much for this simple task but I thought I would have it available for a try anyway.

    image Ate Another thing I found when I was on the App store. I thought this might be fun once I go back to work to keep track of how I eat at work. I have been through trying out a bunch of different popular diets and diet techniques in the past 4-5 years. I have decided to stop dieting and to try out consciously choosing foods with nothing off limits. That doesn’t mean eating anything. I will keep in mind that what I am eating is either helping or hurting my overall health. I will also be re-joining the gym (I had a month free trial prior to being off so I know what that will entail). The Airtable app might be a good one to keep track of my gym progress…Other things that helped were intermittent fasting, choosing low calorie foods, and having chosen foods in the house. I have some good thoughts about how my future “stop dieting” diet will go. I think using the Ate app for work food choices may open my eyes and encourage me to eat better at work (if I consistently use - we shall see). Other tools/habits include using a Fitbit, purchasing from the perimeter of the store, and paying attention to my internal dialogue.

    image MeisterTask I have created a few projects. One has to do with the Law of Attraction. I have a project to create a tangible picture of the house I would like to have. I know what it looks like on the outside but I need to do things like finding an app to formalize dimensions, materials, furniture, colors, etc. How’s that for getting specific? Ha. I think this might be a way of relaxing too. Something to play around with when I’m tired of everything else. Another project has to do with online learning… I do need some focus on that - there are sooo many free things out there, it’s hard to know what to start with and where to do it. I could do this in AirTable but MeisterTask is so pretty on the iphone. So another program to play with and compare. I kind of think that these project type apps may be just a way to view or remember things … because I like using the online counterparts a lot more. I do think it is cool that MeisterTask says Hi to me and has a different quote each day on the home screen. But still no reason to have this and Airtable.

    image ToDoist I think the big draw for this app is that it hooks up with Alexa. And that I don’t have a repeating chore list or one that will list mundane things I don’t want to keep. This may or may not be worth having something extra just for this. But I would like to use my Echo Dot more. It’s in my bedroom because I like being able to tell it things instead of getting out of bed (or even rolling over) to write a reminder. Lazy, I know. But isn’t that the fringe benefit of having electronics do things for you?!

    :notebook_with_decorative_cover: I did start a Bujo at work at the beginning of the year and for home a few months ago. I haven’t written in either for a month or so. The work Bujo was going good - I was documenting in it everyday but I realized I was over documenting things that happened and a lot of it was things that were petty office junk things that I wouldn’t want anyone in the office reading.
    :spiral_notepad: I have since (a bit before my surgery) started using the steno pads that are provided at work to mark down work things I do for each day, highlighting any things that I want to stand out. I think this might be a good system - it is easy to keep up and costs me nothing. It is better to kick out the petty stuff - not only for keeping away the stress it causes about someone else reading it but … so what. It should not have a place in my documentation. Time to step it up a level and be more professional in that area (even if others aren’t - focus on me not office politics).
    :blue_book: Another observation on Bujo’s. I want to start my home one up again for a record of my life that I can look back on years from now. But once again, I was putting too much into it. I don’t need to treat it as a “My Diary” to spill out all my thoughts and I definitely do not need to make it a piece of artwork. No more looking up all the Bujo themes for the week/month. It’s ridiculous the way people do that… but then again, if it makes them happy, then I do see a value in it as a creative outlet. Making it pretty wasn’t working for me, rather it was holding me back on using the Bujo as a tool consistently. I do have an index card of my signifiers that are along the lines of Ryder Carroll’s and I think using it as a tool for productivity and documentation rather than a diary is a more suitable use (for me). I don’t know that I want a book of too much inside personal stuff laying around… that is probably better suited to a digital form. Maybe some braindumping here in the Bujo too.

    :framed_picture: I do have Day One downloaded on my iphone - for some time now. I haven’t used it much. I think maybe (as much as I hate to say) Instagram may be a better outlet for that… maybe. For right now, I am not so concerned with photos except for having a place to keep them - iCloud can handle that right now since I don’t take tons of photos.

    image Speaking of diaries… IDailyDiary is an application that I downloaded years ago on this old laptop I am using now (the new laptop went into a blue screen of death a few days after my surgery). I had forgotten about this and I hate it. It is customizable, downloaded to your computer to hold as much as you want and FREE.
    I added several tabs to each page (you can do this in Preferences to your heart’s content)


    My tabs correspond with Inside (personal events) Outside (work events) Dreams (as in sleep) and Vision Board (I am trying to start doing Law of Attraction activities/thinking). The search function works well as far as I have tried it, so I will be using hashtags at the end of entries to help with searching topics. This may go away with use of the Bujo, but I can see it enhancing my offline writings. Maybe my big braindump place?..I think on my computer with an app I can password protect, I can be more open with myself. We will see.

    image Another thing I found from a long time ago is It is an online bookmarking service. Nothing to install / no need to go to the website. All you have to do is put in front of the url but after https://. To create a new folder or to put the link in a folder you have created, put instead. Quick, easy. You do have to sign up at the site. I am playing with it to see about not having ten trillion bookmarks in the bookmark bar. Another try out.

    :blush: I know this is a lot. At least at the moment, I have the time to fool around. But I am on a crusade to figure out a system where I can access all my thoughts and cool things/thoughts of others that I capture going forward. Going back to this old laptop just affirms that I lose too many neat things. Regardless of if I ever use things I save again, I feel that somehow documenting and braindumping will create space in my head… in my life. Time to organize and be less stressed from all those thoughts on the hamster wheel in my head…Space for all of those cool Law of Attraction things to perhaps pop up.

    Alas, Two more (websites)… in light of organization and documentation of movies and books - throwing this in just in case someone might be looking for something for those: I use GoodReads for books (too easy to download books from my local library to the Kindle and Kindle automatically adds to my GoodReads list since I have them connected) and Listal for movies (manually enter) but you do get to create custom lists and tag/star/write reviews. Listal can list other things too like DVDs, games, tv shows, etc. I use the GoodReads app on my Kindle - you can scan hard copy books in. Too bad that Listal doesn’t have an app (that I know of) but you can still use the website by mobile.

    :ear: I’m open for comments/tips for any of these apps. Also the ways you use Siri / Alexa. I hope to weed the apps down a bit (at least cut a few of them out) after I am back to work and have used them. That will be the real test of if they work for me or not. Then, I can just start freeing myself. I do tend towards websites since I am either at my work desk or at my home couch or desk with a computer in easy reach. But I do like this new attempt with mobile apps. I always have my phone with me and I am going to start taking my ipad to work more often. My ipad is usually in bed with me due to reading on the Kindle. I can see using apps for those random thoughts before bed!

    If you happened to hang in there with me this far
    :arrow_right: Sorry for the length… I hope to get feedback or to have at least provided some info for others. TIA


    Wow… that’s a lot of experiments to handle. I’m guessing it’s slow season for you (or summer vacation) and you have the time to try out all of these experiments?

    I can see you using Todoist for your personal tasks and MeisterTask for teamwork. I’m not familiar enough with Todoist. Couldn’t you also use Todoist for team collaboration as well? But Mindmeister’s UI does look like something I could use. I like the Kanban metaphor. I’ll have to look at this further.

    But I’m guessing you’re still trying to choose between AirTable, Todoist, and MeisterTask?

    I’m a big fan of Day One and have the subscription.

    Have you figured out if you’re choosing Napkin Note or SImleNotes yet? I thought AirTable could be rigged up to do a notebook for you?

    Good luck on your experiments. Looking forward to hearing an update from you in the future!


    Yes, fortunately I do have the time right now to play around and try out things. I probably have at least a couple more weeks off pending recovery. I live alone and do not need to use outside apps to communicate with coworkers (they aren’t the most digitally forward people anyways).

    WORK :hospital: : HOME :house:

    :hospital: :house:      Airtable vs MeisterTask: Airtable is winning. I love the customization of columns/data type and of course, an Excel-like environment. Creating new things on my phone is as easy as on the computer I have found.
    :hospital: :house:      Napkin Notes I am liking this - it’s so quick to send an email and quick to show up in the inbox. I have it going to Gmail. But the novelty is sure to wear off… :frowning: soon.
    :hospital: :house:      SimpleNote I think this is going to be a lifesaver for me in remembering conversations and dates at work. But I do wonder once I start using it more if I won’t want to keep lots more here. It really is a nice app. Even so, I can see it being perfect for my “old person” memory and work notes. And #write tags for quick notes for novel ideas :slight_smile: as I like to write stories in my spare time.
    :x:            Toggl & Clockify are gone. No need to have extra apps when I can ask Siri to start the stopwatch already included on the iphone.
    :x:             Ate will get a try out when I go back. I can see getting over using it but think it will be good to be able to scroll through lunch choices for a bit. So a future no.
    :x:             Todoist I am going to x this one too and use the tasks lists included in Alexa and I figured out how to send reminders to myself via Siri text to phone (easier than typing and stays somewhere I will continually see until deleted - no extra app). Things I would put on a to do list wouldn’t need to be saved and I like being able to be in bed and use my Echo Dot.

    And the offline/non-digital part…I really just like to write with a pen. :pen:
    :hospital:             Steno "Bujo" for work. This was working great in the month I used it prior to my time off and I really like this. I could see just keeping them by date or doing a review and condense/throw out in December each year.
    :house:              Dot Grid Bujos for home are nice lay-flat dot grid books. I have one that travels from bedroom to living room and one by my desktop computer. I’ve now stopped trying to structure/make pretty or compare mine to others on the first one and just do it in a minimalist way like the true Bullet Journal method. It is more concerned with personal things to me and creative projects.The computer one has saved me multiple times already by documenting certain things I have downloaded, changed or done on my computer. I started this at the beginning of the year and wondered afterward why it never occurred to me before.

    So after playing around (having fun) with the downloaded apps, the big winners are:
                    AirTable | SimpleNote | Paper Bujos (can’t always do digital)
    and using talky smart devices:
                    Echo Dot | Siri
    along with things already built in my phone that need no downloads/setup.

    Keeping it simple with the 2 apps until the routine gets established for my “productivity ecosystem.” Most important is for my OCD documentation urges being satisfied and ultimately quick/easy retrieval of information has to work.

    1 Like

    You do have a lot going on here! Glad to see you’re narrowing it down though.

    Have you considered something like Evernote or DEVONthink for this? You could even snap pics of your notebooks for archival and be able to search via OCR.

    1 Like

    Thank you so much for the suggestions. Yes, I did consider both of those. I’m sure that’s why I ended up with so much to begin with - I had looked all over the forum and was checking out the things everyone was using or had tried out.
    I was an Evernote user way back when and gave it up due to it just seemed to be a big mess all the time. It does too much I guess. DEVONthink is out of my price range but looks great. I don’t want to sink money into something I may easily decide doesn’t work the way I want it to in a few months.
    I’m really impressed with SimpleNotes so far especially for saving quotes on the fly when watching tv/videos or something I see on the internet. Even if I only used it for that, it would be such a blessing because I love quotes (always quote post-its all over). Cleaning up a lot in my digital world here lately!

    1 Like