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Last Updated on February 3, 2020

10 Best Note Taking Apps to Get Organized

10 Best Note Taking Apps to Get Organized

Note-taking apps have become especially popular because of their ability to make us more efficient. However, like pretty much every other mobile tool we have, there’s a myriad of these apps available now, and you need to make a choice.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! For your consideration, here are the 10 best note-taking apps on the market:

1. Evernote

    Evernote has continued to be the leader as far as note-taking apps are concerned. The cross-platform app makes it easy to take notes and clip articles from the Internet, with a collection of features and add-ons that make the entire noting process as seamless as possible.

    The biggest benefit of Evernote, of course, is the fact that it supports pretty much any file format — PowerPoint, PDF, and many more. What’s more, if you add a Google Docs link, the app even creates a Google Drive file and changes the URL to the Doc’s name.

    You also get a scanner on the app, which serves as a great alternative to photocopying. The app even makes it possible to save web articles stuck behind a paywall for later use.

    However, there are also some cons: Evernote doesn’t provide enough space for organization, and since it doesn’t support Markdown, it could slow your writing down. You could also end up paying a pretty penny to enjoy service to the app.

    Available on iOS | Android

    2. OneNote

      OneNote is a free cross-platform note-taking app from Microsoft, and it is among the forerunners in note-taking apps, giving Evernote some competition.

      OneNote is completely free, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Since it’s capable of all Evernote can do, without the accompanying cost, that’s certainly a big plus. Also, it provides more formatting options and a greater editing spectrum than Evernote.

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      Sadly, the same issues that befall Evernote are present here as well; organization is subpar, and the interface isn’t great. Even with all the premium features it has available, these issues could sour the experience.

      Available on iOS | Android

      Read more about the difference between Evernote and OneNote here: Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

      3. Apple Notes

        If you don’t have a device running on a software designed by Apple Inc., then there’s no need to stick around for this number on the list. If you do use an Apple product, however, you’ll probably be able to attest to the awesome formatting and organization features that this note-taking app provides.

        Apple Notes is entirely free, and it makes it possible to edit cross-platform via a web browser — so, PC users can still take advantage of it. You also get nested lists of hierarchical folders, and accessibility across all your Apple products.

        Sadly, the lack of a hybrid Markdown is a con here — that and the app’s unavailability on other platforms.

        Available on iOS

        4. Bear

          Bear provides an excellent user experience, as well as the required support for Markdown — which, in a sense, puts it up there with our overall best note-taking apps like Evernote and OneNote. The interface is also intuitive, and the organization system makes for a great experience overall.

          Of course, the hybrid Markdown editor has to be perhaps the biggest benefit of this. Bear formats all text as you type, meaning you don’t need to wait to see what your Markdowns will look like after writing. You also get a nifty archive feature here, which takes a note out of organization and search without deleting it.

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          Sadly, not everyone is able to make use of the app yet, as it’s still just available on macOS and iOS operating systems

          Available on iOS

          5. Standard Notes

            Standard Notes is perhaps the most security-focused note-taking app on the market. If security is your main concern, this app might be right for you. Everything you write is encrypted and for your viewing alone. The text editor is simple and plain, so you don’t get anything outlandish. The search is also rather powerful, so you get what you’re looking for faster.

            Sadly, the app is unable to host pictures, and you won’t be able to drag and drop notes between tags and folders, making it one of the more basic options overall.

            Available on iOS | Android

            6. Notion

              The note-taking experience you get on Notion is powerful and technical, unlike what you get anywhere else.

              Notion is great because you get a flexible template engine that provides for easily-duplicated pages. Notes here are also databases, meaning that you get greater updating and editing capabilities. The hierarchical organization is awesome, and you also get a hybrid Markdown editor.

              Sadly, Notion’s issues come with the account structure. You get 1,000 free blocks off the free account, but you’ll use them up quickly. So, if you don’t upgrade, you’re not getting much here.

              Available on iOS | Android

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              7. Google Keep

                Google Keep is a basic, cross-platform note taker that works seamlessly with other tools from the company. It’s free, available on every platform, and people who appreciate simplicity in the note-taking app interface and experience will love it.

                Sadly, hierarchical organization is missing here. You only get one tag level, and for some, this is a bit of a turn off.

                Available on iOS | Android

                8. Slite

                  In terms of Markdown editing, nothing beats Slite. You also get a sleek table of contents view that allows you to easily zoom and jump to a specific heading in the doc. It’s also free for students, with up to 50 shared notes a month and unlimited private pages.

                  However, the hierarchy here is nested, so while you can nest collections infinitely, you can only sort by recency. The app is also slower than a lot of others, and while the editing is great, UI here is terribly sluggish.

                  Available on iOS | Android

                  9. Ulysses

                    For people looking to take notes and write long essays, Ulysses is the top choice. Its organization is one of the best on the market, thanks to its multi-level hierarchical organization. The app is your companion throughout your writing process — from research to content development.

                    However, perhaps the biggest selling point this app has is the ability to publish directly to WordPress. Once you’re done with writing and editing, you can format your document and upload it to WP straight from Ulysses.

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                    Sadly, this note-taking app comes at the steep cost of $5 per month, and, just like Bear, only those with iOS and macOS can make use of it.

                    Available on iOS

                    10. Typora

                      Typora provides a customizable experience, and it works on all major operating systems. The app is free, and it comes with the desired hybrid Markdown editor. You also get Focus Mode, which dims text you’re not working on for better concentration. Typora also provides a lot of themes, as well as the table of contents mode.

                      However, the Typora app doesn’t store notes, and it doesn’t have a mobile app itself, which is a drawback.

                      Available from Typora 

                      The Bottom Line

                      There are countless note-taking apps available to users. The trick is to find the one that’s right for you. This list can help you do just that.

                      Whether you’re looking for the best organization features, the most customizable experiences, or the best bang for your buck, you’ll find a note-taking app that fits your needs. Finding the best note-taking app for you is sure to help you stay organized in your personal or professional life!

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                      Featured photo credit: Adolfo Félix via unsplash.com

                      More by this author

                      Tanvir Zafar

                      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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                      Last Updated on September 30, 2020

                      Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

                      Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

                      When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

                      Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

                      Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

                      Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

                      Effective vs Efficient

                      Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

                      A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

                      Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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                      The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

                      Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

                      When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

                      Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

                      Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

                      The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

                      If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

                      When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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                      • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
                      • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
                      • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

                      Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

                      Efficiency in Success and Productivity

                      Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

                      When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

                      Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

                      The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

                      If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

                      Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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                      The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

                      Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

                      Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

                      If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

                      It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

                      Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

                      Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

                      Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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                      By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

                      It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

                      Bottom Line

                      Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

                      • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
                      • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
                      • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

                      And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

                      More on How to Improve Productivity

                      Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
                      [2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
                      [3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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