Tired of note-taking apps

I’m tired of note-taking apps.

It’s not because of limited choices. But it’s the other way around. There are so many note-taking apps you could try but end up sticking to none. At least, that’s my story. It’s a perfect example of the paradox of choice.

I used to wonder why people keep building so many ‘note-taking’ apps when the market is already crowded with choices. Then I figured a few reasons why.

  • the market size: the global note-taking management software market is estimated to reach $1.35 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 5.32% from 2019 to 2026
  • greater scope for innovation: eg., be it creating a task list, a roadmap, or a design repository, Notion can handle it all
  • lack of satisfaction: it’s noted that people always use a combination of note-taking apps and hardly stick to one for a long time

Despite such heavy competition, apps like Notion, Google Keep, OneNote, Evernote, etc. have managed to earn a place. People use these apps for

  • the ecosystem. eg., Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote
  • the neat user experience., eg. Bear etc.
  • creating a disciplined way of taking notes. eg., Notion, Roam Research

I’ve tried them all. But none of these apps have turned me into a ‘repeat user.’

After battling with so many apps only to feel guilty for not having the discipline to consistently use them, I’ve finally resorted to the most personal and easy alternative ⁠— writing things down.

I’m familiar with writing in a notebook since my childhood. It’s not new to me, and it absolutely doesn’t require any learning curve.

The reasons why I find writing things down useful

  • absolute focus and the ability to think through the points I’m writing
  • gives a chance to remember what I’m writing
  • no way to copy-paste stuff as it is, and that means taking notes in a way I understand
  • easy to switch between formats eg., flowchart, mind map, Venn diagram, etc
  • helps me stay in touch with my handwriting

Of course, everything has its downsides, and writing things down is no exception here.

For example, I will not be able to

  • add screenshots/images, links, etc
  • easily search for content as there’s no ‘search bar’

And maybe there’s more to the list I’m not talking about.

All I can say for sure is, based on my usage behavior, I’m okay missing out on these features. I can always save links to Pocket for future reference, and take pictures of my notes to share with friends.

So if you ask me if I’d try a beautiful, innovate note-taking app that’s much better than the apps I’ve used so far, my answer is, Why not! I’d definitely give it a shot.”

But my greatest worry is if I’d continue using it.

Note: If my opinion on note-taking apps changes over time, I’d be happy to update this post with a “And the hero finally arrived!” heading to talk about the app that helped change my mind. 🤡

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6 Replies to “Tired of note-taking apps“

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