moving my digital notestuff to Notes

I’ve been using digital notebooks for many, many years. Everything was in Evernote, until it wasn’t. Then I used Noteshelf for the great ink. Then I used OneNote for the organization and even better ink. All along, I’ve kept a series of paper notebooks, which I’ve found myself using more often in the last couple of years1. And, our campus IT had been making somewhat-arbitrary changes to configuration involving OneDrive (and therefore OneNote) that made me uncomfortable continuing to keep The Sum of My Digital Notes™ in one basket that was configured by people with a track record of changing things without consultation2. I’ve moved my OneNote notebooks to my personal account, and am starting fresh in Notes. I’ve been using Notes (mostly on my phone) for trivial notes-in-passing for years, but the app has been improved a lot in the last year or so, with many more improvements about to drop.

I’ve organized my notes into folders and subfolders (using numbers to force sort order in some cases because it uses alpha sort with no manual override). So far, I’ve been able to get it set up the way I think I’ll use it, and have been using it a bunch for health stuff this summer. I’ll know more about how it works in heavy usage when I’m back in the office in a couple of weeks.

The simplicity of Notes was originally something that made me use it for the trivial notes-in-passing stuff (names and numbers to remember, places to try, quick notes to remember during conversations), but I’m finding the lack of overhead is liberating. No Ribbon™ to deal with. No editing modes. Just type (or write).

Yes, Apple could do something stupid, but that hasn’t happened yet, and the iCloud sync feature has been absolutely 100% rock solid, which is more than I can say for any other sync platform I use…

Anyway. It was time to declare bankruptcy on my previous digital notebooks, start fresh, simplify and streamline.

  1. I prefer using paper notebooks during meetings so I don’t have a screen up between myself and whoever I’m working with, and there are no notifications or apps or distractions in a paper notebook []
  2. I’d moved my digital notes into OneDrive to try to be a good steward of my notes – they are FOIP-able in a campus-managed platform, and backed up in a way that campus could access them if needed, but those aren’t worth the risk of losing the notes entirely due to something outside of my control []

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3 Comments

    1. For some things, maybe. For others, it’s more useful to be able to edit and revise than to remember. Best of both worlds. I find the chronological paper notebooks help for remembering the flow, even if topics become jumbled. I flip through the one from Discoverware days occasionally, for inspiration. I think I need to move back to a larger-format notebook – I’ve been using the standard moleskine ones for years, but the larger sketchbook one I used back then was great for laying out ideas rather than just making notes.

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