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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!

                      More Productivity Tools You’ll Love

                      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 April 6, 2020

                      15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

                      15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

                      Let me guess.

                      You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

                      Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

                      First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

                      Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

                      Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

                      1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

                      Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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                      The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

                      2. Use Red and Blue More Often

                      Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

                      3. Create a Break Agenda

                      List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

                      Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

                      4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

                      Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

                      9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
                      9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
                      10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
                      10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
                      11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

                      Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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                      5. Take It Outside!

                      Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

                      6. Become Productively Lazy

                      Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

                      7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

                      It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

                      8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

                      According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

                      Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

                      9. Prepping the Night

                      Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

                      Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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                      10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

                      Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

                      Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

                      11. Set-up Mini Tasks

                      If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

                      Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

                      12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

                      I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

                      Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

                      13. Redecorate Your Room

                      Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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                      14. Ready Your Nibbles

                      You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

                      Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

                      15. Schedule Your Chores

                      Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

                      For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

                      More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

                      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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