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Last Updated on February 3, 2021

10 Best Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Life Organized

10 Best Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Life 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? We’ve got you covered! For your consideration, here are the 10 best note-taking apps on the market:

1. Evernote

Evernote screenshot

    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 helps to scan documents and 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 app screenshot

      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

      Apple Notes screenshot

        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 device, 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 note-taking app

          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 app screenshot

            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, and the search is also rather powerful, so you get what you’re looking for faster.

            Sadly, the app is unable to host or insert images and 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

            Notion note-taking app

              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 plan 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 screenshot

                 

                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

                Slite app screenshot

                  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

                  Ulysses note-taking app

                    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.

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                    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.

                    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 note-taking app

                      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.

                      15 Best Organization Apps to Boost Your Productivity in 2021 7 Best Goal Tracking Apps to Help You Reach Your Goals 10 Best Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Life Organized 10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020 10 Most Effective Apps to Help You Beat Procrastination

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                      1 9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective 2 How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone 3 How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ 4 How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet) 5 10 Best Methods of Learning Smarter and Faster

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                      Published on April 15, 2021

                      9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

                      9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

                      You have probably heard of the saying, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”

                      That old cliché gets thrown around quite a bit in educational circles, but what really goes into inspiring people to become independent, lifelong learners? Read on to learn more about self-regulated learning and how to make it more effective.

                      Self-Regulated Learning

                      One theory about teaching people how to learn is through self-regulated learning. In the broadest sense, it’s the idea that individuals should set their own learning goals and work independently and with a sense of agency and autonomy to achieve those goals. It’s the opposite of a teacher handing out a worksheet and students completing it just because the teacher told them to.

                      Self-regulated learning is constructive and self-directed.[1] Instead of the worksheet example, self-regulated learning involves the students setting their own learning goals, deciding how to best achieve those goals, and then systematically and strategically working toward them. Teaching strategies like the Workshop Model and Portfolios are more aligned with self-regulated learning than a one-size-fits-all worksheet or lecture.

                      Workshop Model

                      The workshop model consists of three parts. Class begins with a mini-lesson, then students spend time working independently while the teacher circulates conferencing with students. Finally, the class ends with some kind of summary derived from what students learned through their independent work.

                      Heavy hitters in the workshop model are Lucy Calkins and Nancie Atwell.[2][3] Their work has been instrumental in spreading best practices so that teachers know how to create truly student-led learning experiences.[4]

                      Portfolios

                      Another example of an instruction that’s moving toward self-regulated learning is student portfolios. Students set learning goals and periodically reflect on whether or not they’re achieving those goals. They keep all their reflections and student work in folders and have periodic conferences with their teacher on how they’re pressing toward their goals.[5]

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                      The problem though is that the workshop model and portfolios require a different mindset and skillset from teachers. That’s where the theory of self-regulated learning comes in.

                      3 Elements of Self-Regulated Learning

                      One approach to self-regulated learning is to break it down into three components: regulation of processing modes, regulation of the learning process, and regulation of self. Dividing self-regulated learning in this way helps teachers know how to best help students work toward their individual goals, and it also gives us a glimpse into how we all can become more self-regulated learners.

                      1. Regulation of Processing Modes

                      The first step in self-regulated learning is to give learners a choice in how and why they’re learning in the first place.

                      In our worksheet example, students are completing the task because the teacher said so, but when we reset why we’re learning in the first place, we’re starting to create a foundation for self-regulated learning.

                      One educational researcher, Noel Entwistle makes a distinction between three different reasons for learning, and his work makes what we’re all working toward a lot clearer. Students can try to reproduce or memorize information, they can try to get good grades, or they can seek personal understanding or meaning.[6]

                      The goal of self-regulated learning is to encourage students to move away from the first two learning orientations (following orders and trying to get good grades) and move toward the third, learning for some kind of intrinsic gain—learning to learn.

                      2. Regulation of Learning Process

                      The next level of self-regulated learning is when students are in charge of their own learning process. This is also known as metacognition. Studies have shown that when teachers do most of the heavy lifting—deciding what’s working and not working for each student—there’s a reduction in students’ metacognitive skills.[7]

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                      When I was teaching middle and high school, we had a saying that if we left the building at the end of the school day more tired than the students, we hadn’t done our job. What that means is that teachers have to find a way to get students to do the heavy lifting of metacognition—thinking about thinking. And students need to accept the challenge and become curious about what’s working and not working about their individualized and (at least, partially) self-generated learning plans.

                      Boosting metacognition might include learning about how the brain works, what metacognition is all about, and all the different learning styles. Becoming curious about your individual strengths and learning preferences is crucial in beefing up your metacognitive skills.

                      3. Regulation of Self

                      Finally, there’s goal setting. If students are going to become truly self-regulated learners, they have to start setting their own goals and then reflecting on their progress toward those goals.

                      How to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

                      Now that you’ve learned the important elements of self-regulated learning, here are 9 ways you can make it more effective for you.

                      1. Change Your Mindset About Learning

                      The first way to become a self-regulated learner is to change your mindset about why you’re learning in the first place. Instead of doing your schoolwork because the teacher says so or because you want the highest GPA, try to move toward learning to satisfy your curiosity. Learn because you want to learn.

                      Sometimes, this will be easy, like when you’re learning something on your own that you’ve self-selected. Other times, it’s tougher, like when you have a teacher-selected assignment due.

                      Before mindlessly completing your assignment, try to find “your in.” Find what’s fascinating about the topic and cling to that as you complete it. Sure, you need to complete it to graduate, but by finding the morsel that’s interesting to you, you’ll be able to start experiencing a more self-regulated kind of learning.

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                      2. Explore Different Learning Styles

                      There are lots of different ways to learn: auditory, visual, spatial, and kinesthetic. Learn what all those styles mean and which ones feel especially effective for you.

                      3. Learn How Learning Works

                      Another great way to become a more self-regulated learner is to learn how learning works. Read up on cognitive science and psychology to figure out how we form memories, how we retain information, and how our emotions affect our learning. You have to understand the tools you’ve been given before you can wield those tools most optimally.

                      4. Get Introspective

                      Now it’s time to get introspective. Do a learning inventory and reflect on when you’ve been most and least successful in your learning.

                      What’s your best subject? Why? When did you lose interest in a subject? Why? Ask yourself tough questions about how you learn, so you can move forward more strategically.

                      5. Find Someone to Tell You Like It Is

                      It’s also helpful to find someone who can be honest about your learning strengths and weaknesses. Find someone you trust who will be honest about your learning progress. If you lack self-awareness about your learning style and abilities, it’s difficult to be a self-regulated learner, so work with someone else to start becoming more self-aware.

                      6. Set Some SMART Goals

                      Now it’s time to set some learning goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. They’re a great way to become a self-regulated learner.[8]

                      Instead of just saying, “I want to get better at Spanish,” you might set a SMART goal by saying “I want to memorize 100 new Spanish vocabulary words by next week.” Next week, you can test yourself and measure whether or not you’ve achieved your goal.

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                      It’s difficult to see how we’re progressing and learning when our goal is vague. Setting SMART goals gives you a clear barometer for your learning.

                      7. Reflect on Your Progress

                      Goals don’t mean much unless you measure your progress every now and then. Take time to determine whether or not you’ve achieved your SMART learning goals and why or why not you did. Self-reflection is a great way to boost self-awareness, which is a great way to become a self-regulated learner.

                      8. Find Your Accountability Buddies

                      Armed with your goals and deadlines, it’s time to find some trustworthy people to help keep you accountable. Now, your learning progress is your responsibility when you’re a self-regulated learner, but it doesn’t hurt to have some friends who know what your goals are. You can turn to this trustworthy group to discuss your learning progress and keep you motivated.

                      9. Say It Loud and Proud

                      There’s a phenomenon where we’re more likely to attain our goals when we’ve made them public.[9] Announcing our goals helps hold our feet to the fire. So, figure out a way to make your learning goals known. This might mean telling your accountability buddies, your teacher, or maybe even a social media group.

                      Just know that you’re more likely to succeed when you’re not the only one who knows what your goals are.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Self-regulated learning is learning for learning’s sake. So, change your entire attitude about why you’re learning in the first place. Choose what you want to know more about or start with what interests you most when assigned a topic or project.

                      Then, set SMART goals and periodically reflect on your progress. Self-awareness is a skill that can be practiced and improved. Make learning your job and your responsibility, and you’ll be well on your way toward becoming a self-regulated learner.

                      You’ll never need to blame your learning struggles on someone or something else. Instead, you’ll have the self-awareness and abilities to be able to take your learning into your own hands and find a way forward no matter your current situation and limitations.

                      Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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