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What Is The Best Way, Aside From Pen/Paper, To Capture & Review Your Day-To-Day Notes

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  • What Is The Best Way, Aside From Pen/Paper, To Capture & Review Your Day-To-Day Notes

    Hi everyone,

    Recently i've migrated from an iPad to an iPhone and am completely loving it. I somewhat miss the iPad, but for those of you that have just the iPhone, or all 3 devices (Mac, both iOS devices), I'm sure you can easily observe what i'm about to explain...

    Living in a day-to-day lifestyle where typing on a keyboard has overtaken cursive handwriting and most sheets of paper, I'm heavily wondering and seeking advice as how which is the best and most applicable solution in regard to finding a day-to-day tool that'll allow me to capture notes and review them on a regular basis.

    Back in 2002, I remember carrying a backpack with me everywhere, whipping out my pen and notebook binder to jot down notes. Now, I have an iPhone and feel I can use this device to capture everything. Admittedly, I'm one that considers the pen & paper combo to be the best solution ever, even better than an electronic device, though the iPhone itself sure beats carrying around multiple items/devices.

    To the point, I need to find a solution that will allow me to easily jot down notes; whether long or short and easily be able to review them at my leisure, whether for a quick second or an hour on end.

    Quick, Few Sentences About My Habits: i capture most of my thoughts using OmniFocus, though these are random thoughts that'll have potential meaning.. usually analyzed at the end of my day or work week. Recently, I've found myself having to take notes for a variety of reasons, whether school, finances, health/nutrition/exercise matter or the like.

    I'd really like to find either an app or alternative solution in being able to jot down productive, successful notes that'll allow me to successfully & fully be able to capture my thoughts in regards to the subject at hand and alternatively review them when the time comes...I've tried Pages and though I enjoy it, there is something holding me back from fully delving into this app. Iono, I guess this is where this forum community comes in.



  • #2
    I like email.

    I have created an alias which is called my Collector and fire off emails, snapped pictures, and copy/pasted text, URLs, web page regions etc to myself.

    The iPhone seems to cover those bases that I need pretty well.

    When it comes time to review, whether I'm doing it at the desk with my Macbook or at a coffee shop with my iPhone, the list of notes is always 3G synced.

    The main downer is that your notes are delayed when you dont have an internet connection, such as when abroad for a few days, but I just accept the delay.

    Emails can be saved as drafts, so you can pause and go back.
    On the iPhone, you can write to the Notes app, and then email it later.

    When I'm at a client site, I can stay at the computer they have given me and fire off notes to self from their own system, allowing interchange between the GTD system I have created on site and my own GTD system.

    Importantly, the emails are saved in a standard format, so you can change your computer client if you wish, or change your online supplier if you wish.

    If you have backup on your Mac ( I run Time Machine ), then all notes you write on the road are backed up as soon as they sync, and you can do a text search over all previous notes.

    Also, since email is one of your external inputs, you have a single place to do processing, rather than one for external input and another for notes-to-self.

    I'm planning to learn some AppleScript, so I have a browser bookmark called Collector, a file folder called Collector, and point my scanner at Collector, and all inputs would be auto-moved into an email to self; further streamlining my single point of collection.

    You can then take your pick - take your iPhone or your iPad or anything else you might get in the future.
    Last edited by pxt; 07-10-2011, 03:08 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      BTW, I'd be very interested to hear your views on the iPad as a GTDer.

      My general feeling about it is that its software seems to be in silos.
      So it would hard to create the kind of workflows that a GTDer needs.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
        Quick, Few Sentences About My Habits: i capture most of my thoughts using OmniFocus, though these are random thoughts that'll have potential meaning.. usually analyzed at the end of my day or work week. Recently, I've found myself having to take notes for a variety of reasons, whether school, finances, health/nutrition/exercise matter or the like.
        I think we'll be more likely to effectively help you if you made clear exactly why you don't like Omnifocus for this. that way we can suggest alternatives that fix the problem.

        Tom S.

        Comment


        • #5
          Evernote as inbox

          If it's a potential task I'd always enter into Omnifocus inbox (for later processing)

          I do use Evernote as a capture tool for text notes, voice notes or photographs. My default notebook is @inbox, which allows quick capture and subsequent processing when I get back to my Mac.

          Comment


          • #6
            Paper for capture

            I'm using Omnifocus, but I find it's better to capture to paper. I have the notetaker wallet, but more often grab a small Moleskine notebook and a G-2 pen. The very smallest Moleskine has all tear-out pages, and is even smaller than the DA notetaker wallet. Also, I sometimes like being able to flip through the pages quickly when several items haven't made it to the inbox yet.

            Processing (which is what I think of in terms of daily review of notes) is best with Omnifocus if I use the desktop app. I'm lucky in that I have very little paper to deal with compared to most people. Stuff goes into Omnifocus, Evernote, or into folders in Dropbox. I can do all this with my iPhone or iPad, but it's not as fast.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pxt View Post
              BTW, I'd be very interested to hear your views on the iPad as a GTDer.

              My general feeling about it is that its software seems to be in silos.
              So it would hard to create the kind of workflows that a GTDer needs.
              Actually, everything works very well if you stick to the kind of software that hovers around the top 50 in the productivity category. Dropbox and Mail helps make everything go smoothly, and many app have enabled the "open in" functionality. It remains to be seen what the impact of Apple's iCloud service will be. People sometimes use "silo" and "walled garden" to describe iOS devices. It's just not true for software, but has some validity for purchased content. But even in that case, you can play music you own without using iTunes.

              The apps I am using now for gtd include Omnifocus, Evernote, Mail, Wunderlist (for lists), iThoughts (for mindmaps), and OmniOutliner (for outlines ). I have a couple of Dropbox-syncing plain-text note apps but I haven't really settled into one. I have desktop equivalents for all of these as well. I have the office software triumvirate available (word processing, spreadsheet and presentations) but I rarely use them accept when traveling or giving a presentation from my iPad. Omnifocus and Evernote can use links between them on OS X and iOS, and some other programs support this as well. I don't use this a lot, but occasionally do. I am very happy with my software environment.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                Actually, everything works very well if you stick to the kind of software that hovers around the top 50 in the productivity category. Dropbox and Mail helps make everything go smoothly, and many app have enabled the "open in" functionality. It remains to be seen what the impact of Apple's iCloud service will be. People sometimes use "silo" and "walled garden" to describe iOS devices. It's just not true for software, but has some validity for purchased content. But even in that case, you can play music you own without using iTunes.

                The apps I am using now for gtd include Omnifocus, Evernote, Mail, Wunderlist (for lists), iThoughts (for mindmaps), and OmniOutliner (for outlines ). I have a couple of Dropbox-syncing plain-text note apps but I haven't really settled into one. I have desktop equivalents for all of these as well. I have the office software triumvirate available (word processing, spreadsheet and presentations) but I rarely use them accept when traveling or giving a presentation from my iPad. Omnifocus and Evernote can use links between them on OS X and iOS, and some other programs support this as well. I don't use this a lot, but occasionally do. I am very happy with my software environment.
                By software in silos I mean that if I had a text note, a spreadsheet, an image and an email, I would not be able to grab these four and group them together into a project support folder unless each and every program used to create/open that type of document interfaced to the same 3rd party folder syncing solution.

                That seems like a barrier to the Organise step in the workflow. I'd have to predict each type of content I intend to use, in some detail including what would be unavailable when offline, before considering a purchase.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pxt View Post
                  By software in silos I mean that if I had a text note, a spreadsheet, an image and an email, I would not be able to grab these four and group them together into a project support folder unless each and every program used to create/open that type of document interfaced to the same 3rd party folder syncing solution.

                  That seems like a barrier to the Organise step in the workflow. I'd have to predict each type of content I intend to use, in some detail including what would be unavailable when offline, before considering a purchase.
                  That's really not a problem. Everything can go to dropbox as is, except for email, which I could turn into a text note. In fact, email generally goes to Omnifocus and/or Evernote, and stays in an archival mail folder too. I could also take everything from your example and combine them in a single document.

                  I am not saying an iPad (or equivalent when there is one) is a desktop/laptop replacement. But I know, because I have done it, that I can travel abroad for two-plus weeks with it (and my iPhone) but no laptop. I have modified a conference presentation with it half an hour before my talk. I have used it in bed for almost two months when I was too ill to sit up and it was my connection to the world (besides my wife, who deserves a medal). 1.5 lbs, 10 hour battery, gigabytes of stuff, and a portable connection to the world. It's magic.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pxt View Post
                    I like email.

                    I have created an alias which is called my Collector and fire off emails, snapped pictures, and copy/pasted text, URLs, web page regions etc to myself.

                    The iPhone seems to cover those bases that I need pretty well.

                    When it comes time to review, whether I'm doing it at the desk with my Macbook or at a coffee shop with my iPhone, the list of notes is always 3G synced.

                    The main downer is that your notes are delayed when you dont have an internet connection, such as when abroad for a few days, but I just accept the delay.

                    Emails can be saved as drafts, so you can pause and go back.
                    On the iPhone, you can write to the Notes app, and then email it later.

                    When I'm at a client site, I can stay at the computer they have given me and fire off notes to self from their own system, allowing interchange between the GTD system I have created on site and my own GTD system.

                    Importantly, the emails are saved in a standard format, so you can change your computer client if you wish, or change your online supplier if you wish.

                    If you have backup on your Mac ( I run Time Machine ), then all notes you write on the road are backed up as soon as they sync, and you can do a text search over all previous notes.

                    Also, since email is one of your external inputs, you have a single place to do processing, rather than one for external input and another for notes-to-self.

                    I'm planning to learn some AppleScript, so I have a browser bookmark called Collector, a file folder called Collector, and point my scanner at Collector, and all inputs would be auto-moved into an email to self; further streamlining my single point of collection.

                    You can then take your pick - take your iPhone or your iPad or anything else you might get in the future.
                    I like email as well. Email, my calendar and OmniFocus are the things I regularly check. All 3 in the morning and Email & OmniFocus at the end of the day; whilst throughout the day only OmniFocus tackling off Next Actions.

                    Considering I want an iPhone solution, rather than pen/paper..I'm leaning towards either using email, or the voice recording feature in OmniFocus. Typing away long notes on a small phone is cumbersome which was the initial reason for creating this thread.


                    Originally posted by pxt View Post
                    BTW, I'd be very interested to hear your views on the iPad as a GTDer.

                    My general feeling about it is that its software seems to be in silos.
                    So it would hard to create the kind of workflows that a GTDer needs.
                    I sold my iPad about a week ago in lieu for the iPhone. I'm going to university this fall and the iPad is a great/superb entertainment device but just isn't there yet when it comes to productivity. The OmniFocus app i indeed great and can easily replace my MacBook version, though for my day-to-days coming at University this fall, I'll be needing a laptop more than a tablet device. I sold my iPad knowing that one day it will indeed come extremely close to replacing my laptop, but thats still a few years away. Most likely when I graduate in 2 years. That's just my situation. In my situation, it's a 3rd device and i'm not living on my own where I can just leave an iPad in the living room for my leisure, an iPhone in my pocket and my MacBook on my nonexistent desk.


                    Originally posted by Tom Shannon View Post
                    I think we'll be more likely to effectively help you if you made clear exactly why you don't like Omnifocus for this. that way we can suggest alternatives that fix the problem.

                    Tom S.

                    Well, I'm asking specifically when it comes down to taking notes and typing away. OmniFocus is perfect for capturing items that come my way that'll have potential meaning. If i'm at home, then either OmniFocus on my Mac or iPhone will be taken out and i'll type the information at hand.

                    However, I'm wondering more about actual note typing. In other words, throughout my day i'll be presented with opportunities in jotting down long notes; whether in the field (usually needing to type a page or two worth of notes) or after a long day at work and before driving home i'll sit down in my car and type away a page of notes on my phone. I like to get things out of my head as soon as possible when they're most fresh; something I believe this forum of all forums can appreciate.

                    I use OmniFocus everyday. iPhone version for capturing and tackling next actions and OmniFocus for my Mac for weekly reviews and organization; though I've done long intensive WR's in the iPhone version. Cumbersome in my opinion, though necessary when away from my Mac for a week or two.

                    I'm not wanting to carry pen/paper anymore considering the iPhone can do everything else for me on a daily basis. But when it comes to taking notes, I don't feel OmniFocus can do this for me. Afterall, it's meant to capture, not to write long essays in. This is why I'm now beginning to see the appeal of emailing myself notes to later organize into my Mac..


                    Originally posted by steveinbristol View Post
                    If it's a potential task I'd always enter into Omnifocus inbox (for later processing)

                    I do use Evernote as a capture tool for text notes, voice notes or photographs. My default notebook is @inbox, which allows quick capture and subsequent processing when I get back to my Mac.
                    EverNote seems like an option that if I figure out how to use, It'll definitely be my top choice. The only time i've used EverNote were during the days I had an iPod Touch, and the EverNote app needs an internet connection for it to work. Therefore, I feel I should give this app a chance again. Indeed, I will.

                    Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                    I'm using Omnifocus, but I find it's better to capture to paper. I have the notetaker wallet, but more often grab a small Moleskine notebook and a G-2 pen. The very smallest Moleskine has all tear-out pages, and is even smaller than the DA notetaker wallet. Also, I sometimes like being able to flip through the pages quickly when several items haven't made it to the inbox yet.

                    Processing (which is what I think of in terms of daily review of notes) is best with Omnifocus if I use the desktop app. I'm lucky in that I have very little paper to deal with compared to most people. Stuff goes into Omnifocus, Evernote, or into folders in Dropbox. I can do all this with my iPhone or iPad, but it's not as fast.
                    I've had (still do actually) Moleskines but never really got around to using them. Guess they just didn't do it for me, though I do find them to be beautiful. I, like you, using OF and DropBox, which is leading me towards trying out EverNote and understand it all wouldn't be as fast, though considering ALL of my notes and once-existent papers are in an electronic format, I'd be willing to give up some of the speed in exchange to have it on my iPhone and Mac devices.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Evernote hasn't needed an Internet connection for a while; you can choose which notebooks to fully sync too. Go for it.

                      If you want to type and can afford it, get an ultralight laptop. I am thinking about a MacBook Air once the new models are out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've been using Quickoffice, which has mini Excel and Word, which I love, but transferring to my laptop is a bit cumbersome, and emailing the files seems to be the easiest way.
                        I just had a quick look at Pages, it looks nice and mentions you can connect using a wirless keyboard - have you tried this? Where would you buy them?

                        I find that any long notes its just faster to write on paper and put in my inbox and type up later, you can get a sore hand if you try to write a lot on the iPhone. However I have found swapping hands does help with this problem, although it takes a bit of practice to do it with your non-preferred hand.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm needing to corral myself too. I've enjoyed this discussion. I've got all three devices with OF.

                          I'm trying to cut down on my inboxes and through the course of this thread it made me realize that while I often use the voice record on the iphone (when driving) I almost as often forget to check it regularly. (Just the act of doing the recording usually solidifies what I'm trying to remember...but not always.) But I checked and the voice record feature does have an email option so I'm going to start emailing those to myself when I take them. Thanks.

                          Same with photos. I tend to use the camera on the iphone a lot and then have to go through THAT 'inbox' too. Again, easy enough to email to myself when I take a 'capture' type pic. Thanks again.

                          I don't find myself taking copious notes on the iphone, but I do use the notes app. I've got some other apps, but for my purposes the notes app is fine.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Question regarding Wunderlist vs Omnifocus

                            Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                            Actually, everything works very well if you stick to the kind of software that hovers around the top 50 in the productivity category. Dropbox and Mail helps make everything go smoothly, and many app have enabled the "open in" functionality. It remains to be seen what the impact of Apple's iCloud service will be. People sometimes use "silo" and "walled garden" to describe iOS devices. It's just not true for software, but has some validity for purchased content. But even in that case, you can play music you own without using iTunes.

                            The apps I am using now for gtd include Omnifocus, Evernote, Mail, Wunderlist (for lists), iThoughts (for mindmaps), and OmniOutliner (for outlines ). I have a couple of Dropbox-syncing plain-text note apps but I haven't really settled into one. I have desktop equivalents for all of these as well. I have the office software triumvirate available (word processing, spreadsheet and presentations) but I rarely use them accept when traveling or giving a presentation from my iPad. Omnifocus and Evernote can use links between them on OS X and iOS, and some other programs support this as well. I don't use this a lot, but occasionally do. I am very happy with my software environment.
                            How are you using Omnifocus and Wunderlist (for lists) differently?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm back to paper for several reasons. First, in our office we get a lot of paper attached to things that come in the courier (routing slips) and I throw those in a tray, pull them out for various notes. I feel virtuous. Second, my wife gave me some really nice fountain pens as gifts and I enjoy writing with them (kinesthetic pleasure.) Third, I found it WAY too easy to load up my Task list in outlook and overwhelmed myself. On paper, writing a task list, you really can see immediately if it's getting out of control.

                              I collect to paper or in my car to an Olympus voice recorder. I use Dragon Dictate to transcribe it.

                              Jim
                              jmsmall

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