Why I Switched to NotePlan

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NotePlan changed EVERYTHING!

Remember the notebook app that was supposed to organise your life, but instead, it added to the chaos? Maybe you’ve already given up on it, or you are looking for a new solution.

Whatever your situation is, I encourage you to keep reading because in this article I will be discussing my experience of how switching from Apple Notes and following a system has helped me become more productive.

Switching to NotePlan has been an absolute game-changer for my productivity, especially as I found myself overwhelmed with information and no real system to follow for note-taking.

But without any further ado, here’s how switching to NotePlan helped me keep on top of things and become more productive…

Life before NotePlan

Before I started using NotePlan, my go-to notebook app was Apple Notes and I think it’s fair to say that I’m a big fan of the app, especially as it allows me to organise notes into folders.

Apple Notes has a very clean and minimal interface, which makes note-taking enjoyable.

However, when using Apple Notes, I always felt that something was missing and that something was a way to plan my day and make daily notes in a separate section.

My notes also lacked structure, which made staying on top of my notes difficult. I’m not going to deny that this was my fault because it was. I wasn’t following a specific system. I just made folders for each subject I was making notes about and hoped for the best.

NotePlan taught me a whole new way of managing and organising my notes through the use of the PARA method. In all fairness, we can use this method with any app, but I feel that it just makes more sense with NotePlan and that’s something I will cover later in this article.

Introducing NotePlan

NotePlan is an impressive app that combines a calendar, a to-do list and a note-taking app into one. The app is designed for iOS and macOS, which allows you to access it from wherever you are.

The app introduces a whole new way of note-taking, which has helped me structure my notes in a way that helps me keep on top of things and stay organised at the same time.

It does this by automatically following the PARA method out of the box.

PARA Method

PARA stands for Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives, and it’s a system designed by Tiago Forte with the aim of helping efficiently organise digital information and tasks.

NotePlan splits the notes area into these categories by default, and it may not make sense straight away, but trust me it will.

Projects are the short-term things you are working on now. These usually have a specific goal and a defined deadline.

Areas are long-term responsibilities that need to be maintained over time. They don’t have specific deadlines but require ongoing attention. I use this area for career development, health, and finances.

Resources are collections of topics or interests that may be useful in the future. I use resources for book notes, online courses and anything else that I may want to revisit in the future.

The archive is an area for inactive items from the other categories that may be needed in the future. This is an area where I will be putting all the notes I take when testing products, which I may need to come back to when I write a long-term review.

How I manage my life with NotePlan

NotePlan integrates a calendar and a To-Do list system which allows me to plan my week, reflect on my day and make note of any ideas or reflections I may have.

With the help of the calendar, I can go back to the notes I’ve made on a particular day, which I find extremely beneficial, especially from the perspective of a content creator.

For example, I may have a great idea for an article or my website that I want to make note of before I forget. I will make not of it in my daily note before adding it to my idea bank spreadsheet at the end of the day. This works great for projects.

In daily view, I also make notes of a win that I had on that particular day, any points of tension or stress, as well as a point of gratitude or something I feel went well throughout the day. This helps me mentally when reflecting on the things I’ve done on that day.

I like to plan my week in advance and NotePlan allows me to do just that, but unlike my previous system, it’s all kept within one app, which makes things so much easier. That allows me to spend my time on the important things.

I start my week in the 7-day view, which gives me an overview for the next 7 days. I add all the tasks I need to do each day of the week and weekend, and those task notes will appear on my calendar within the app on the day they commence.

Other features

NotePlan allows me to use Markdown when taking notes, which is something that I already use with apps like Ulysses when writing blog posts. I find it to be considerably more convenient when writing, as I don’t have the need to search for formatting options.

Final Thoughts

Based on my experience, I think that NotePlan has seriously helped me become more organised and on top of things.

It has taught me a new system of taking and organising notes which not only works for me incredibly well but was easy to learn.

The app features a great interface that reminds me of a paper-based planner, but a better version.

I honestly have no bad things to say about the app, as it works incredibly well for how I use it. But if I were to pick a few things, I would like to see more templates and the ability to sync tasks with Things 3. It would also be nice to have the application password-protected.

In terms of price, the application isn’t as cheap as you’d like it to be, but is compatible with other apps such as EverNote, with only small differences.

I have access to the app through Setapp, which is like the Netflix app stores for macOS and iOS. I pay $12.49 per month and that provides access to over 200 apps, including NotePlan, Ulysses, Spark and more.

NotePlan or Setapp have not sponsored me to write this article. However, as a paying customer, I am a big fan of Setapp, and I’ve been using it for a while, which is why I am leaving my affiliate link to Setapp. The best part is that they give you the first 7 days free!

Disclaimer: Contains affiliate links.