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Ask HN: How do you take notes throughout your work day?
65 points by 7237139812 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 86 comments
Recently I've been really curious how engineers take ad-hoc notes throughout their work days.

Personally I've been using Obsdian.md and creating a new file for each day that I work.

Anyone using a specific tool, or maybe even a physical notebook?

Follow up question is whether you ever reference your notes or go back and look through them again.






One single text file per year named journal<year>.md in Markdown edited in an always-open window of a text editor (VSCode) throughout the day. Oldest entry is at the top, newest is at the bottom. To-do items are below the newest entry so that I they are always visible. For me the most convenient thing is that I can use the editor's search feature to find things.

There's no specific format (no tags, for example). There is just a new heading for each work day: "## Sep 13, 2021 Mon". I also don't go crazy with Markdown syntax. I very rarely render the Markdown. It's mostly bullet lists, code blocks and links to other files. My text editor allows me to click the links without rendering Markdown.

The file is located in a directory called work_journal. Content that is linked from journal<year>.md is broken up into directories: diagrams, images, logs, projects.

I do have a few other files that are project or tech-specific: tech_xyz.md, project_xyz.md, but those are edited infrequently and, once created, mostly used for reference. I also have a few temporary files called scratchpad.md and commit.md. Scratchpad is for quick pastes from logs and need to be massaged between systems and commit.md is a running edit of the Git commit message for stuff I'm working on.

The major downside is that the file is really only editable on one PC. I don't trust the enterprise sync solution I have available to me, and I certainly don't want this kind of info in the cloud. Thankfully it is very rare that I have a need to edit the file from another computer.


Thanks for the detailed reply!

I like the idea of a monolithic journal per year. How long have you been at it (if you don't mind me asking)?


One more nuance... I use pen and paper to take meeting notes and then transcribe the salient points into the journal file.

About four years. I'm averaging around 10k lines per year in the journal, but I tend to separate large logs out into a separate file in the logs directory and then link to it from the main file.

I do the exact same thing

Just one big markdown file with a heading for each day

Cool to know other people do the same


I have an org-mode file open in Emacs pretty much all the time that I can write stuff down in. Emacs used to have a reputation for being bloated and resource intensive but it's one of the lightest tools that I use these days and I just have it sat there in the background.

I keep hearing things about emacs org mode that sounds awesome but I am afraid how much of a time-sink it would be to switch from my current process. I currently write all of my notes in markdown and in vim.

agreed! org-mode is seriously the most lightweight tool i use on a daily basis. also the various exporters have helped me out more times than i can count now.

i recently moved over to mediawiki due to work, but it is a behemoth compared to org-mode.


I use a 5 subject notebook and write notes down in that throughout the day, during meetings etc. From that I will usually, once or twice a week, take the things that are important and put them into my Apple Notes (used to use OneNote).

I do this for a few reasons.

1. Taking notes on a computer during meetings is disrespectful IMO. Every time I see people do it, 80% of the time they are checking email, checking a site, looking up stuff instead of paying attention to the speaker or meeting. I get pissed when people spend the meeting looking up alternatives just to challenge the person speaking. It isn't that challenging an idea is bad (it is critical in fact), it is you need to listen to comprehend and not listen to respond.

2. The vast majority of notes are worthless after a few days. They were relevant to complete a task but not noteworthy for my career or to learn something I need to keep forever as a reference.

3. Writing something makes me personally more likely to remember it.

In the 5 subject notebook, I keep the sections as "Meeting Notes", "Active project(s)", "Design", "Personal notes" and the last one is usually open for just misc crap that I don't need to categorize right now. The design part I almost always take pictures of and put in my notes app, but I only take the pic of the final design and the notes on why. Design here is typically software architecture type design, product design, UX etc. It is faster for me to sketch it then to try and put it in an app.

I've done this for my entire career, 20+ years now and just refined over time. I also am a huge fan of note cards during the week while I am working. For example, I'll write my plan down for the day/week/month on a note card and then work through it. The time period is chosen based on what I am working on at the time, and sometimes I have one for a day, one for the week, one for a month etc. Just helps me keep myself organized, and again, writing it forces me to remember better, personally.

As for using it, I have gone back and used stuff in the past year that I wrote down 15 years ago. Typically this is more design concepts or how to solve an interesting problem, or what were issues I ran into using XYZ design or module etc.


I'm stealing this system! I too have found I tend to remember things better if I write them down, but some things you need electronically in order to be able to easily search. I love the idea of waiting for a while to translate over to your notes app because most notes are ephemeral.

Thank you!


I agree with points 2 and 3, but I think it's easy for people to be attentive and take notes during the meeting, especially if they are part of the discussion. My handwriting is too illegible for me to consider this option. I only resort to handwritten notes on my ipad if there isn't enough space for me to pull out my laptop.

I get it and respect that some people can do it respectfully. I have seen some people do it respectfully and still participate etc, it just sadly isn't the norm. It also can be distracting as you are trying to present and you hear 10 people typing away on their keyboard when you know chances are none of them are taking notes. Again, definitely my own pet peeve but I have heard many others say the same.

I agree, I think most of my meetings there is a designated scribe/chair and they speak out loud when they are documenting the important details. It's kinda useless to have a second to second transcription of the whole meeting.

This is very traditional and I do it too with handwritten notes which I expect to let age then mostly discard before filing only the good references in cabinets.

For the typewritten stuff or things which are good references to begin with, I went digital fairly traditionally as I'll explain.

So far no one has been able to convince me there is anything better than a secretary.

As an executive needs leadership documentation, I think it's best to have a full time operator who puts their focused effort on the notes I need taken, the selection & crafting of those to be destroyed, confidential, released, or published as well as their organization, filing, retrieval and backup.

At the opposite end of the spectrum without any staff you want to minimize or eliminate all of these same efforts without fully compromising the advantage you would have if there was a specialist doing this for you.

Even when I am an executive, during a time when I'm making progress at a scientific bench the only way to get complete documentation is to spend at least half the time sitting down to document where you are, instead of making more progress at the bench.

When that sitting-down pose can not be attained for the duration of a project, that's when somebody has to sit down afterward and that's not always the most useful documentation, and never complete enough.

You can get to the point where the only reason to make notes is if you will certainly go back to look at them, or if they are an essential element of otherwise unobtainable documentation.

This may have some similarities to engineering projects where you are sitting down for both the progress-making & documentation-generating efforts. Either way what you need is someone standing there with a clipboard & audio recorder who will type it up and file & retrieve it for you. You can probably imagine how you would be able to leverage such a conventional system better every year.

Without that you are almost always going to have to settle for less-than-ideal documentation, so truly optimize for this instead. Then take a few years to get better at leveraging what you really have to work with.

Until you get a secretary, at least use your PC text editor & file manager as a substitute for their typewriter & filing cabinet.

These are two of the business machine essentials that IBM wanted all offices to be able to use an early IBM PC for instead, as a high-tech alternative. So they offered printers and hard drives, and you should probably still hang out in your file manager yourself if there's no one else doing it for you.

Make yourself a storage partition on a HDD and create your own folder for each subject manually as needed, giving the subject a short meaningful name like a secretary would do on the tab of a real manila folder. Then take notes right into text editors no differently than DOS, and file them into your desired folders manually. There will be a creation date, modification date & access date associated with the files & folders and the text can be some of the most rapidly searchable.

It's OK to make a folder for a single worthwhile text file, since you will sometimes want to search by folder, other times by filename or contained text. Try to stay organized and don't make too many subject folders though in case you want to be able to search them easily manually sometimes. In real filing cabinets there was usually only one layer of subfolders, which are supposed to be much more familiar today but sometimes I wonder.

With 4 primary partitions addressable by DOS, these were supposed to represent the four drawers of a filing cabinet. A common arrangement would have been one drawer with a main folder for each product, one drawer with a main folder for each customer, one containing each month's invoices, and one with each month's correspondence.

Storage for one's personal notes is not usually a large requirement, and you may not need a database to be helpful.

Comprehensive snapshot/backup can be made by easily copying the entire organized partition contents of small universal text files, uncompressed.

Tagging and word processing can always be done after initial note-taking.

If all the notes even turn out to be worth it.

Make it easy on your secretary.


zoom meetings mean me taking notes in org-mode is quite unobtrusive.

My work has a lot of JIRA tickets moving at various speeds: same day quick fixes, some questions that can be turned around next day, some projects done in a week or two, some taking a month or two.

Most notes go in the ticket, but for file management and private notes I create a folder on the desktop with the ticket title. Notes go in "notebook.txt", and usually consists of organizing my thoughts on how to attack the problem, maybe some draft editing of comments I want to post on JIRA, maybe a SQL query, the raw data of any big, important result I find. (e.g. "You can see here this data could not proceed further because X was invalid.")

Most sql queries end up in queries.sql or something in the same folder, along with screenshots when troubleshooting, datasets, etc. If the number of interior folders starts getting disorganized / out of hand / long-running, usually I'll start creating daily folders inside the main folder (e.g. Desktop/prevent-salem-witch-trial-mode/2021-09-13_prevent_moldy_bread )

Rarely do I need to refer back to it, but about once a year when I have a long-running problem that gets passed off to someone else, I'll organize notebook.txt for them, write down a summary of my thoughts, and send a zip file of the folder to them with my summary and recommendations on how to proceed.

After my desktop fills up a bit I'll move them to archive them to an archive folder e.g. Archive/2021/prevent-salem-witch-trial-mode

Nice in that I generally only need just the few places where my data is going to be, and grepWin lets me search for keywords anywhere in the folder.


I keep two types of notes. As a first approximation, think "blog" (daily, write-only) and "wiki" (topic-oriented, updated).

The "blog" notes are one page per task, linearly organized. It could be a Jira issue, or something that needs to be done but is not in Jira. The note contains anything relevant to the task: the specification, what I found, what I plan to try, what I did. After the task is completed, I leave the page and usually don't edit it again. If later there is a problem or someone asks something related to the task, I will look it up.

The "wiki" notes are hierarchically organized, and contain e.g. company processes, contact list within the company, individual projects, frequently used software or frameworks. The notes are my extended memory, I refactor them as needed. The idea is that I need some information repeatedly but in long intervals, and it is more convenient to quickly find it in my notes than try to remember, try to find, or ask people.

Technically, I use either OneNote or CherryTree, depending on what the company allows.

I mostly use paper to sketch database relational diagrams. If my task requires me to write a join across several tables, I will design it on paper, write the code, then throw the paper away.


I cannot recommend https://obsidian.md highly enough.

- Vim-like bindings that don't suck

- Growing and fantastic set of community plugins, including a presently-in-alpha plugin offering Jupyter support (!)

- Markdown-based wiki-type thing, with mobile, sync, and publish support

- Wide range of pleasing themes

- Development is active and is proceeding relatively swiftly; there are new versions available quite often (it's self-updating)

- Electron UI, which I know raises some eyebrows, but in my experience it's comparable to e.g. VSCode in zippiness (so: not terrible, good enough)

Disclosure: I'm working on obsidian plugins, and I paid for a commercial license, but I'm not in any other way associated with the project, i.e. I don't see myself as plugging myself here.

While not FOSS, it's an impressive indie project that I'm enamored with.


Same. Been using Obsidian for a year now and it's been great so far. I use obsidian-git plugin to backup my notes to a private git repository and for syncing notes.

Obsidian's community plugins are awesome!


For technical things where I'm a newbie, I'm trying to learn-in-public [1]. I write a TIL usually at the end of the day, it typically goes quickly.

In those cases where the matter is private (maybe 1/4 of all), I attempt to document it in company's knowledge base or at least share it in the company chat.

All other things go to my personal Obsidian.

[1] https://marcel.is/tils/


+1 on Obsidian I quite like the categorization on your site. Do you have a background in tech or are you coming from a different industry?

Love Obsidian as well, for about 1y now. I have a tech background, but typescript and aws serverless were new to me, so I decided to learn-in-public. Regarding categorization (and design), I was inspired by Julia's web: https://jvns.ca/

My first manager at my first job, many years ago, gave me the very useful advice to "write down any task you spend more than fifteen minutes on". It doesn't have to be long, just enough to trigger your memory, or capture the relevant details.

This has consistently been incredibly useful; for my own recall, for quarterly and annual performance review time (easy to scan through and capture my "significant accomplishments") as well as every. single. time. a colleague asks "do you remember X years ago when we ...?"

I tend to break it down by month, with a bullet-point list of tasks. I've migrated from plain text files, to a wiki, to I don't remember what tool my employer at the time provided, to currently OneNote, with a Notebook for "work-tracking" and a page per month. I don't love OneNote, but it is automatically backed up in our corporate environment.

I like the idea of switching to VSCode, as I do most of my work in that, but need to figure out the best way to back it up.


I currently write all of my notes in markdown in vim (that's where I do most my work as well). I backup my notes using syncthing but I think any generic file sync would work fine (dropbox, google drive, etc.)

I also try to do document most tasks I work on. I need to because my memory is poor and I would not have much to say in my daily standups.


Vim with potwiki, dumb simple, super fast to call up, always in context of the code editing, etc. Take notes at the top, then easily add them to their own files. Git-commit once in a while.

https://github.com/vim-scripts/potwiki.vim


Pen and paper.

At the end of the week I review the notes and if it's important enough I rewrite the notes on a personal wiki.

For notes I have a(n) (paper) agenda with on the left the week overview and on the right notes. Best agenda ever. https://www.bol.com/nl/nl/p/castelli-agenda-h83-2020-2021-18.... All remaining notes I write on empty A4 paper.


log.txt

I KISS with just a text file. I've tried other methods but only this one stuck. I like Sublime and VS Code b/c hyperlinks can be command+clicked to open. They've also never lost a single character of information, which I cannot say for any other editor, even vim.

Here's how it's formatted:

#TODOS:

one line per item

try to keep this small

once they're done, move to end of file (cut line, cmd+down, paste)

#STICKY:

short reference, stuff you would normally put in a sticky note on your monitor. keep this very small.

#LOG:

09-13

Reverse order log

Think "captain's log" from star trek"

What's a TODO vs a LOG varies.

If a topic gets large enough, it gets put in its own txt file, like interview questions or collected notes for a single project.

[So here is where you would add stuff]

09-12

This would yesterday's notes.

09-09 Some days only deserve one line

09-08 and that's totally fine

[and here would be all your notes. This can be thousands of lines]

#BACKLOG:

Intentionally put this down here, if you run out of TODOs, then come down here

#DONE:

Tasks are moved down here once they're done. In case they need to be pulled back or at performance evaluation to remember what you've done!


I do most of work in Emacs and use various notes files which I edit in org-mode. For example I have general 'personal.org' and 'research.org'. Then, on projects I work on I usually have misc .org files under 'doc/' directory. Such as, 'ideas.org', 'todo.org', etc. They are easy to edit in emacs with formatting and collapsing levels, and yet are readable with 'less' or could be even edited with 'vi' if I ssh somewhere.

Joplin works well for me, I started using it as an Evernote replacement half a year ago. It's open source, has markdown, syntax highlighting for many languages, comes with a mobile and desktop app and syncs via various services, e.g. Dropbox.

+1 for Joplin, I use it for logging my work day. I dump the information in JIRA task I work on and have highlights and other related notes in Joplin, although I wish Joplin has a native support for calendar (similar to https://zim-wiki.org).

+1 for Joplin - works much faster vs Evernote, and also got awesome plugins (including backlinks like obsidian)

+1

Mind you that the notebooks seem to be actually "categories".

One notebook can be dragged into another to create trees.


Ah, haven't even tried that one yet, that's helpful to know!

I use a command line app called nb to manage my markdown files and a single markdown file per week, named after the first day of the week. For instance, this week's is called "Weekly Summary - 2021-09-13".

The format is an H2 for every day, named after the day's date, followed by an outline that covers what I worked on, including details that stood out, links to tickets and slack discussions, etc.

If I ever need to embellish upon a point, I add an H3 as the subheader and write up whatever needs embellishment. Same goes for useful queries I might want to reference later and other daily scratches. This makes for a useful [TOC] for apps that support it (I'm using typora)

In slack we have a room we post low-detail lists of what we worked on for the day. I generally just copy and paste my daily outline to it. It's TMI for the team, but the ease of doing so ensures I post consistently, and since a lot of my work tends to affect a lot of the team, I think those concerned tend to appreciate the extra detail.

Also, like @OnACoffeeBreak, I use a full sized notebook and a fancy pen to help keep me focused during meetings or when I need to sketch out an idea.


Most 'thinking' notes are append only, and I need to use my hand for this. I can't type in the scattered way thoughts come. I used to use paper for these, then about a year ago I got a Remarkable 2 which I use exclusively. I almost never read more than a few pages back though.

Still haven't really settled on anything for more permanent notes, on a subject or something. Everything is frustrating in some sort of way. I'm liking the idea of privately hosting mediawiki. Mediawiki has extensions for music scores (using lilypond) which is quite important to me.

The only 'unknown' remaining is an easy way of creating editable diagrams/drawings on the computer. Either they're hand-drawn on the remarkable, where they're hard to change; or they're drawn on a computer, which is painful. I wish I could create a 'symlink' from a page on the remarkable to an image.


I've written few years ago text based application created in AngularJS to keep all my notes. It was inspired by builtin MacOS app. I'm trying to keep all my notes there. Before I've had this app, I've used topic based files with extension NOTES like javascript.NOTES etc. The application is running on my shared hosting, the code is Open Source but yesterday I wanted to add new feature (global full text search) and I have a problem to run the application locally, a lot of things has changed since it was created. I've spent few hours updating all dependencies including WebPack. After done it doesn't work 100% correctly. I also have on my TODO list to create mobile version, so I can read and take notes while on my phone.

The code is on GitHub: https://github.com/jcubic/notes

The app is simple on left there are notes, in the middle there is simple text and on the right are navigation into sections, that are created using special markers. This type of makers I always use in source code and text files as separators.


Org mode in emacs.

I will write markdown files in the repo for a project with some big picture things.

For learning stuff will do a test.c/cc/py/go/sh/Java file in ~

I use paper for very formless thought about more complex stuff that I am wrestling with.

With org mode I keep maintaining the file (lot of stuff is todos). The markdown files keep getting edited and linked to during the life of the project. Paper notebooks I have about five from 25 years of work and stack them in a drawer or so on. When I want to reminisce about some old cool thing I will leaf thru them, impressed at my cleverness and naïveté.

Before I got into org mode i would use Mac yellow stickies app, and delete when they went out of scope.


Notepad++ - generic note for everything, it can keep the contents through restart without saving

Google Keep - on mobile, used features like checkbox, voice recording, take photo

Evernote - archival for searching in the future, content like snippets and tips


I'm a product manager not an engineer...but i manage digital products, so i hope that is close enough.

I use text files employing simple markdown within them. I use one text file per project/product...however i'm thinking of going back to a single monolithic text file regardless of project/product...since it might make grokking things a little easier (good ol' CTRL F is fine)...also, sometimes some efforts span more than a single product...so i get slightly paralyzed trying to think if this effort belongs in text file for product A or B, etc. So a single file would resolve that. In any case, the text file approach makes selection of tools much easier (and with lots more choice). For work/dayjob, i use NotePad++ (99.9% of my jobs simply issue me a Windows machine with no choice in the matter), and for personal matters, since i use linux, i use Geany for working with the text files (though have been playing with Kate/KWrite). Over the last 6 months, i moved away from dropbox to NextCloud to synch all the text files. Here again, by using simple text files, i have flexibility for the authoring tools as well as synching tools. As far as referencing/looking back at my notes, yes i do and quite often (hence why i think going back to a single big text file might ease my searching a tad). Also, i have very slightly started to take work notes on paper when in person - a little for diplomacy but also because when i go back to my machine to type them into my text files, i find that it helps with recall/memorization.


I use Obsidian to take the notes then go through them just before leaving work and make them into something more useful if it is needed and add them to my web of knowledge inside obsidian.

Obsidian seems to be quite a prevalent solution for personal knowledge base building. (Personally I don't really make use of the 'web of knowledge' feature - it takes some time to do it well for me). How long would you say it takes you to make them into something more useful on average?

It takes on average 10-20 minutes. Sometimes maybe say 10-15 % of the times I continue working on a note at home and those times the note turns into more of a wiki page because it is something that I deem worthy of more research and so on.

At work, One Note by week-day eg. W107 Mon (since I started). It's nice between One Note and Teams can globally search terms to fix an error that other people have fixed already.

Personally working on it... so many options (I prefer making my own) just talking about approaches to data store.

I've already made an encrypted at rest url-based web notepad and also a cross-platform app (desktop/mobile) with the API hosted by a local RPi.

I'm in the process of making a Chrome extension one just because I'm always in Chrome.


I currently use markdown and vim to document work and my thoughts. For general todos, I have one big file that has each day as a new header. Kinda like this:

  ## 2021-09-17
  - personal
    - [ ] walk dog
  - work
    - [ ] catch up on email

  ## 2021-09-16
  - personal
    - [x] meal planning
  - work
    - [x] fix bug
     - [x] recreate locally
     - [x] write tests
     - [x] submit PR


For big tasks that take a ton of time, I typically create a file dedicated to that to just work through my thoughts around the task. I would link the file in my daily todo file so it's easy for me to find if needed in the future.

Mostly vscode. 1 folder per ticket (epic/issue/task), multiple files per folder. Folders can be nested if needed. Files: markdown for notes, Todo+[1] for todos, plantuml for diagrams, etc I also use pen and paper for scribbling.

[1]: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=fabiospa...


learn in public. i write messages into our corporate chat system all the time, explaining what i discover & find & encounter.

"Backups are for wimps. Real men upload their data to an FTP site and have everyone else mirror it." has stuck with me for a long time. Linus Torvalds. open source is a philosophy, a religion, and one i wish to practice.


OneNote. Since 2006. The sections and subsections may vary, but each note is purpose driven and dated. Each meeting gets an entry and Outlook has a good feature where I can "create notes" which will let me mark who was present with their contact info for easy reference.

Typically, the notes these days are hand written. If I want, I can use OCR to convert hand written notes to tired text, but search finds my hand written entries so I don't bother.

Notes are generally bulleted lists. I go back later and make TODO items from them. I can also clean them up and send meeting notes out to the group.

I like OneNote because I can embed images, screen clips, use hand written notes, access them anywhere, link to files (directly or embedded) and organize how I like. I don't like the newer "non desktop" versions of OneNote so I use the old 2016 desktop version.


Text file + Forward (forwardapp.co) - bought the source for an app called Jot before it shut down and brought it back online as Forward. Totally biased and I love it, all credit to the original author Dan Hopwood.

Forward sends me an email tomorrow, next week, with all of the notes I tag for that day. Takes it off my mind until I need to think about it.


I have one file called Worknotes.txt been using that for last 10yrs. All my notes are there inbetween I tried keeping separate notes for separate projects but it's hard to remember in folder and where. So got back to one file itself. It's easy for searching back. I keep date format consistent so it's easy.

Top of the file has all zoom/ mobile numbers of people i need to contact during emergency or support in production.

EoD marked by 20-30 hyphens next line start with date.

I wish i had learnt mark down 10yrs back. Thinking again what's the point. This serves the purpose.


I just make one LibreOffice document for every work day. I've tried several other things and keep coming back to this. I usually print off my logsheet at the end of every day and keep them in a binder. I pretend like I'm writing a book about my time at the company, one day at a time :)

I like how it is so easy to copy and paste images. Also, I like how What You See Is What You Get with such a simple approach.

I also use odtgrep to search through my old daily logs: https://gist.github.com/gwpl/4bc476457156f88cdf64121cbe57fad...


org-mode.

with org-crypt for the private stuff.

i mix my todos with my notes.

though I don't mostly find taking notes that useful at work. if something is involved enough, i'll update our wiki, or right a tutorial. most of my real note-taking is in my code itself. much of the other stuff has a trail of communications that can be searched.


"right a tutorial" sigh. how did i miss that.

I have tried many many tools over the years. Each time limitations, platform support or proprietary data formats frustrated me. In recent years I started to experiment just using Markdown files, but then cross references and having to organise document and folder structure ahead of time proved to be yet another failing.

Started to look at a few modern takes on the problem including Roam Research. A few months ago I found https://logseq.com/ Still in beta but progressing quickly. So far I think I have finally found my happy place.


Amplenote Combines a todo, note taking system and calendar in one. What I like about it is that I use a timeblocking system for time management. So being able to write notes, create tasks inside those notes and then schedule those tasks or at least have them available to me when I reviewing my day is really invaluable at least to me.

I keep notion digital garden for each mini project i undertake, and also a general "dump all stuff here" workbook there.

Pen + paper, and sometimes Omni Outliner.

I'm a fan of Omni over plain text tools like Obsidian because it makes the sub-nesting and drag and drop hierarchy very pleasant (almost Roam-like) but is also a fast native Mac app.


After a long trial and error phase in the nineties I found outliners to be the best of all tools for this purpose. I successfully worked with Netmanage Ecco for about ten years and then wrote my own tool which also runs on Linux and features cross-links and other useful functions missing in Ecco. I even write specifications and do requirements management and status accounting with this tool.

Here is the link: https://github.com/rochus-keller/CrossLine/


This might be crazy but I rarely ever take notes... I try and remember stuff. But my train of thought is usually in my position at jobs someone is requesting something from me.. I come from the operations side of things and slowly did more dev work. People hate me sometimes but I am firm believer in no ticket no work. Put in a ticket if we do not have tracking system first thing to do. They can update the ticket all the want. But if you ask me something in passing I may do it or may not. But if i get a ticket it will get done. Works well no idea if it good idea though.

> no ticket no work

I immediately thought of Jack Nicholson jeering, “no tickey, no laundry!”


I usually don’t take notes. When I do need to take notes, I create a .md file in VSCode and store it in a Notes folder.

I’m also currently giving FSNotes a try and I actually like it, it might become my go to notes app.


For about five weeks I’ve been trying a (slightly) modified version of this system: https://christine.website/blog/gtd-on-paper-2021-06-13

No system is perfect but I currently feel that it works better than what I had before. (A jumble of text files scattered across loads of different folders, which was much harder to work with.)


Tab in Notion, setup for entire month - every thing I need to do goes in as new entry in one big to-do list. No point in separating it per days, as things will not be done today, but in whatever order.

I'm talking here about things I need to do - tickets will still be written with full specs, PRs will still be opened, things will still get asked, but at least I have an index of all of those things I need to do.


Physical paper, mostly. I have an 8.5x11 pad that's more of a scratch pad/in progress thoughts/doodles/etc--I almost never look back at these "notes".

System designs or notes I want to refer back to go into an actual notebook. Ideas that get fleshed out from the scratch pad land here, as well as meeting minutes and weekly todo items.


OneNote. Yep I go back for important information.

For my personal development work, I use a privately hosted wiki. For my workplace work, I use notepad.

OneNote.

One section for each year, one page for each week.

Copy unfinished todos from the last week at the being of every new week.


OneNote is pretty awesome. I don't know why these Google lovers can work without it.

I switched jobs to Google shop. Google keep is straight trash compared to one note. There is reason Microsoft makes bank of office. Outlook, word, one note and the best excel are miles better than anything else for basic use. Yes I use vim alot.. but still office is pretty great.

org-mode with org-roam, generally capturing to an Inbox file for things I’d like to capture, with more detailed filing later. Use org capture templates to grab notes and todos for whatever project I’m working on. Org agenda for deadlines and scheduled tasks

Evernote and remarkable 2. Evernote captures raw data very well, let's me format and search, and let's me copy and paste from the rest of the computer.

Remarkable replaces paper, which is what I used when writing to think. It does a great job.


vim ~/diary/2021-09 next month : vim ~/diary/2021-10 dunno why its in months. years ago I noticed a colleague doing this, thought it was a good idea and pretty much copied him. (he used emacs though ;) )

Freeplane https://www.freeplane.org/

At first glance it's ugly as hell but after a while you will realize it's perfect


I use Bear. It is straightforward Markdown with nested tagging via hashtags (just put #tag or #one/two in the note), and syncs across my Apple devices.

Apple notes or a notes.txt which later gets added to Apple notes.

I use Zim Desktop Wiki.

Workflowy desktop app. If you haven't tried an outliner before, you should. It's as distinct a document type as text, spreadsheet, or imagefile.

I've started using this... its not bad. I just need to improve my habits around it.

I wish I could TAG things in it to give me a quick way to group things...


The notes app in my Mac. Notes are quick and dirty - they'll end up in Jira / Confluence / Email / Trello..

Depends on the situation. I use a mix of sticky notes and a notebook. If I am in a meeting then I just open notepad++.

I use the arc notebook system. Hands down the best notebook I have come across in 20 years.

I agree w others that notebook for in person is best due to norms.

I use Todoist for everything. I like the txt mentioned here but proper apps like todoist will remind and ping on various things as they come up or remind me which I find insanely helpful.

Siri (ugh pixel was so much better w calendar sync etc until it just died one day and I gave up on the Android vision) to help w on the go reminders and stuff I don’t want to forget.


i have 2 notes: 1 digital 1 physical

digital notes: keeping track of what's happening that might be important. meeting notes, reminders, etc

physical notes: what i'm learning about. trying this new zettelkasten notetaking system


Roam research, infinite scrollable timeline with tags and date breakdown

Google notes and the trusty speech-to-text function! Done in seconds.

Xournal++ with an active stylus

obsidian md



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