#371 - AIM Immediate Followup

3 minute read

Motto: Cause Nothing Ever Stays "Good Enough"

I left the last post off saying I'd write more about Notion. This is going to be that + me revisiting notetaking platform anxieties, which I've written about a few times before. I'm writing here because it helps me think.

Notion is a new-ish entrant into the market of notetaking software - but it's more than that. Notion is a notetaking app, with task-management-like capabilities, project-management-like capabilities, and it looks beautiful while it does it.

Notion feels like what would happen if someone sat down and made a wishlist for everything a piece of software would have to do in order to manage anything, then they systematically worked their way down the list building something that checks all the boxes. 

Features in an anything management app:

  1. Support for text, images, links, and other types of content
  2. Support for to-do checkboxes
  3. Ability to organize notes and tasks and reference materials in any way you choose
  4. Ability to run a search against those things
  5. Databases allowing notes to be grouped together with a common structure
  6. Ability to view a database of notes by due date, priority, assignee, tag, or however else you feel
  7. Ability to view database as a table, list, kanban board, or in a calendar 
  8. Collaborative workspaces, with permissions controls
  9. Ability to share pages publicly
  10. Ability to link to pages, or even individual pieces of a page
  11. Ability to do anything without taking your hands off the keyboard
  12. Ability to make things look pretty, without having to do a lot of work to do so
Yeah, Notion does all that.

When deciding things, it's very important to understand ultimate needs & use cases. This falls somewhere between the Concept/Initiation and Definition/Planning phases of Project Management. My primary concern right now is to have:

  1. A place to quickly capture thoughts, tasks, or other things I want to process later
  2. A means of notifying me or reminding me about something I need to remember utilizing (at least) time-based reminders
  3. A place to collaborate with my wife
  4. A place to store organized thoughts
Notion is all of those things... except it's not quite quick enough to use as my primary capture mechanism. Also it doesn't play well with Google Calendar. You could get around this by literally utilizing Notion for everything, including events (there's no reason you couldn't have a Calendar database & view it as such, and constantly having it open to more quickly capture thoughts and tasks... but it's not quite there yet. They are adding new features and upgrading it at a very impressive pace, though. If you don't believe me, check out their "What's New" page and scroll down to see how many features have been added recently.

Now before I go...

I'm going to take a paragraph here to write about how much I like the app "Pocket". I'm not affiliated with them (or any app, for that matter), but they deserve kudos for developing THE killer app when it comes to bookmarking something to be read later. Unlike other webclippers you may know (Evernote, Google Keep, Notion, etc) the Pocket web clipper grabs the entire content (test & images) of whatever page you clip, minus ads, and syncs them to be read offline on any of your devices. It allows you to tag, highlight, and make comments on articles within the app. It supports dark mode if you don't want to burn out your retinas.  Moreover (and more impressively), it has a "read this to me" feature, which turns any written article (such as the one you're reading right now) into an audiobook-like experience. I've started listening to articles I've clipped during my commute. You can queue up a bunch of articles, just like a podcast player. Also just like a podcast player, you can set the speed at which the synthesized voice will read to you. It's really really cool and worth knowing about... and that's all in the free version. See the Top 5 for a bit more.

Top 5: Perfect Killer Apps for Which I Cannot Fathom Improvements
5. Apple's Clock App - most clock apps are perfect. This one is on that list. It does the things you'd expect. 
4. Google Photos - done. Nailed it.
3. Pocket Casts - my Podcast app of choice. Functionally perfect
2. LastPass - I've committed. It's fantastic.
1. Pocket - see paragraph above.

"Is that an Apple Watch? AARON DO YOU HAVE AN APPLE PHONE?"
- Leigh -