My dad told me always to keep a pen handy because you’ll never know when you need it. Like most fatherly advice, this is right on the money. Dad probably thought it would come in handy when you need to fill out forms, coupons, or raffle tickets. It’s also great advice for when you need to remember phone numbers (like the delivery number for your favorite Thai place) or to get eggs on your way home. When I was younger, I always had a pen in my pocket. All the bags I use had a pen (or a sharpie) and some post it notes. Yes, even my traveling bags and luggage had writing implements stashed in their pockets. Of course, that has changed now because I have a smartphone.
Smartphones make taking down notes easier and more convenient. Ideas come to us at very random times: while standing in line at a supermarket checkout counter, during heavy traffic, at a weekend game, relaxing at home while you have your feet up, or (annoyingly) at 3 am when you can’t sleep (this is a universal truth). It’s during these times when you get ideas for the next product pitch, a new character for your book, or your to-do list for tomorrow’s workday.
More than anything, it’s ideas that buzz around our head that pop up at random times. When you work in the creative industry or service industry, ideas and reminders are gold. The key is to be able to capture these ideas the moment you get them. And what’s better is to be able to work on these ideas or reminders from anywhere at any time. The ability to quickly take an idea and turn it into action is what separates superstars from the rest.
Because of this need, we are always looking for tools that help us get things out of our head and into paper… or in our case nowadays, digital documents. We would want these digital documents to be as readily accessible as possible – and we would also want them to be editable because you want to be able to fine tune them or build on the existing content. We have come far from the traditional pen and paper route. Smartphones and tablets have changed the note taking game and has made everything better and more convenient.
There are a myriad of note taking apps that we can choose from depending on our note taking style. Some are minimalist, while some have advanced organizing and cataloging capabilities that will put the Dewey decimal system to shame (ok, I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea).
Here are four that are worth the try:
Evernote is a classic and has been one of the oldest note-taking apps around. Its staying power is attributed to the fact that it has evolved to accommodate user needs based on functional experience and it has very powerful capabilities. It also helps that it is free and available on almost all devices. This app is enjoying the top slot on the note taking app list and practically anyone who has needed a note taking app has come across Evernote.
Extra: Evernote has the ability to clip web pages and images, lets you search for text within images, and can be used as a collaboration tool with other users.
OneNote is for all the Microsoft loyalists who use the MS Office Suite on a regular basis. It integrates well with Microsoft products like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. It has a free form pen and powerful organizing capabilities. It can also be used as a collaboration tool and is compatible with almost all devices.
Extra: you can take a picture of a slideshow or whiteboard presentation, crop it and record audio. Which is why it is widely used in the education sector by students and teachers alike.
Of course, iOS would have a counterpart app for everything available on other devices. Apple’s Note is streamlined and uncomplicated but still has powerful capabilities like being able to organize into notebooks or categories or search within your notes using hashtags through the convenient search field.
Extra: It can also be used as a collaboration tool with other Note users.
Google Keep goes the visual route and is great for people who want to organize their thoughts into colorful cards. The fact that it looks like post-it notes immediately associates it with important reminders that we set for ourselves. It’s also a pretty straightforward app that lets you take notes, capture images, create checklists. All the changes you make on the app immediately syncs up across all platforms – so the latest version is always available whether you use it on your phone or the web. You can tag your notes based on location or time – great for errands or meetings.
Extra: It has a voice memo feature – so you can record yourself reminders. Fun if you do it in an accent or in your manager’s voice.
Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. Remember to stay humble and hustle hard!
Written by Jaie O.- The Help