Any Noteplan users here? General thoughts on capturing notes/to-dos

I see @bogenschlag has mentioned it before, just taking a look, it looks nice.

I’m back on Bear as my notes app. I’m a heavy Markdown user and I just really like how it handles that. (I’d use Apple’s Notes if it did a better job here — I’m trying to simplify and use the built-in tools where they do the job.)

Oh also I like how Bear’s hashtags allow you to filter your view. So I use a hashtag per project, and when I want to focus my attention my new thing, project 104, I select that and it’s like everything else doesn’t exist. That’s real nice.

I tried Agenda for a while, thinking that I’d like the idea of linking notes to events. I still do like that idea, but the reality never stuck. I still think a category for meetings and notes for each meeting (one note per recurring meeting, with the minutes appended each session) is my preferred mechanism here.

Also when I put a thing in Agenda I tend to forget that it’s there.

For to-dos I’m using a weird paper-based system modelled on the idea of a flight progress strip, an idea I had years ago that I’m playing with. So far I like it, I’ll write about it separately if anyone is interested.

Your Bear was my Ulysses—the one note-taking app I kept returning to for years (mostly in concert with Things). Bear always looked nice, but never clicked for me. Ironically the one thing that always bothered me (most), it’s all too lenient/quirky/opinionated Markdown implementation I’ve now come to accept in NotePlan (which has a—to me—similarly annoying “approach” to Markdown, but whose advantages for me now outweigh the quirks). Also since getting used to automatic backlinks I find wiki link implementations without those kind of moot.

I understand what you are saying about Agenda. I like it a lot. Its looks are in a way quite a bit more polished, a bit closer to “Things territory” than NotePlan. But it may be even more of a niche app. And it’s missing backlinks, too, so far—and linking is, while nice-looking, somewhat more “work”. It’s editors has some quirks, too, eg. mediocre code blocks and not block-quote style. Might become better with the next major release, AFAIK to be expected this year.

As for NotePlan I can maybe add this to what I’ve already written about my usage (which probably is not very typical):

I’ve really come to like the simple one Markdown sheet today pages. I use them a lot in a vaguely Bullet Journal-inspired way and also as a kind of inbox. I do not keep a separate inbox folder or note (as many people seem to do). (But I’m probably not even “inboxing” in a “classical, GTD-y” way at all. It might be more aptly called scrapbooking, I guess. Tasks are usually sorted where they belong directly, but I keep a lot of interesting links, quotes, webcomics etc. there—with no intention of ever processing them to other “places”.)

For me NotePlan serves both as note-taking and task-management app. If found a reason to take eg. my task back to Things or actually start bullet-journaling, I’d probably take my notes somewhere else again, too (not unlikely: back to Ulysses). (The daily notes could be replicated with a simple Logbook » Year » Month » Date-note structure, to be honest.)

PS: I’m a bit unenthusiastic about note-taking apps that also want to sell me their own cloud (when I’m already reasonably happy with the one I have anyway (iCloud)), so the likes of Craft etc. are no option for me.

Well, this looks intriguing: Panda - The brand new editor for Bear | Bear App

Ooooh good spotting, cheers. FWIW I do use Bear with ‘Markdown Compatibility Mode’ turned on.

By the way, please do!

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It’s a kind of OCD, I guess. But I like paragraphs separated by blank lines and and line breaks identified by two spaces at the end of a line (just like Gruber described it originally)—and both Bear and NotePlan discourage the first and, as far as I can tell, simply ignore the latter. But I guess I should move with the times—strict Markdown interpretation is falling out of style. Even in Marked 2 this, AFAIR, is on by default … :see_no_evil::sweat_smile:

I tried Bear’s new Panda editor (very briefly in fairness), and it made me realise that I do not like having the Markdown syntax hidden.

I want my file to look like: this is some *emphasis*. I want to see the # at the start of my headers. The new editor, and many others of the recent trend, seem to hide all of that. I wish they wouldn’t. At least Panda looks like it’ll have an option to show that stuff.

Typora is a nice little standalone Markdown editor. My partner and I are making a thing and we have a shared folder structure with .md files in individual folders. It feels like ‘the old days’ and it’s really nice! I tend to prefer Typora’s ‘source mode’ where it just shows you all of the markdown with minimal formatting.

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just go back to TextEdit…

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Ever tried iA Writer? It’s quite good, too, and even “Gruber-approved” for not hiding the Markdown (and its aesthetics, I guess).

Hmm yeah maybe in the past. I should give it another go, thanks for the reminder.

Hey @johnnydecimal , just wondering if you shared the to-do list system you were working on? I’m always curious to try new to-do methods.

Anxious to hear more about flight progress slips.

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It’s a really simple idea, which now that I think about it is basically a Kanban turned 90°!

The inspiration is the flight progress strips they used before computers. Each flight has a strip: a physical thing. You write the flight number and whatever else on it, and you physically move it around as the flight moves in to range, comes in to the pattern, and so on.

In my world – IT project management – I use strips of paper, each being the thing I need to do. This is short-term stuff rather than longer-term project planning. On my desk I have a piece of coloured A3 paper, and I’ve drawn 3 lines across it.

At the top, furthest away from me, we have ‘in a holding pattern’. Stuff I’m not doing today.

In the middle we have ‘on approach’. Stuff that I’d like to do today but am not doing right this very moment.

And nearest me we have ‘coming in to land’ (yeah I’m an aero-nerd) which is the one or at most two things that I am doing this very moment.

When a thing gets done, I have one of those spikes that you stab your receipts on to. The done-thing gets stabbed on to the spike which is very satisfying.

And that’s it, really. It’s as simple as it sounds and, like I say, I realise that it’s basically a Kanban. Doing/next/future. But it works for me because I find paper and pencil much more immediate, literally more tangible, than computer-based task management systems.

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Thanks for the explanation @johnnydecimal ! It’s a great idea, I might give that a try with my work tasks. I already use a Today/Tomorrow/Next Day system for my digital to do list. Like you though, I find pen and paper to be more actionable. I often don’t refer to the digital lists as often as I should be. That’s why paper always works.

That’s what it is, yeah. Much harder to ignore a piece of paper right under your eye than it is to ignore some task in an app that you didn’t open!