Note Taking Rabbit Holes

Today was a quiet day. A day filled with meetings, and a day spent excavating a rather deep rabbit hole with warning signs posted all around it. What’s in the depths of the rabbit hole? Notion, Evernote, and Onenote.

I’ve been using a paper bullet journal for the last several years. Every so often I become tempted by various online note-taking applications, and every time – after a few days tinkering – I return to the paper journal.

I think perhaps the reason I go back to paper is because while notes stored on the computer are endlessly searchable, they’re subject to the formatting and structural constraints imposed by whichever app you might use.

It frustrates me that each app is good at one thing, and terrible at everything else. Notion is wonderful at organising tables. Evernote is wonderful at capturing webpages. Microsoft ToDo is wonderful at organising tasks. Let’s ignore that Notion slows dramatically, the more you put in it, or that Evernote has a ridiculous licensing model, or that ToDo is terrible at managing “things you have done”. OneNote is perhaps remarkable in that it’s pretty terrible at absolutely everything.

Don’t even get me started about “lock in”. Nothing is compatible with anything else – perhaps purposely so – meaning any attempt to shift platforms is going to be unneccesarily complicated.


I haven’t got chip on my shoulder about any of this, honest. Maybe I need to step away from the computer for a while. Maybe a month or so. Or a year.

2 replies on “Note Taking Rabbit Holes”

You probably don’t need to step away. You are very good about what works for you–just stick with it. Write notes longhand, in ink. Pay cash for books. Find an activity that you enjoy, that is otherwise completely out of step with your modern life. Spend time outdoors. Do all the things that make you, authentic, untraceable, and unique.


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