Enter's Relationship with Apple Notes

June 11, 2021

iOS Dev

During my efforts in reaching out to promote Enter, I was asked a very important question by Youtube's Tom Solid @ Tom Solid's Paperless Movement. His channel is your one-stop shop for insights on how to set up your very own highly efficient productivity system. I was so excited to answer the question that I thought I would share this article with any others who had the same question.


How should Enter replace Apple Notes for initial note-taking?


The answer to this question depends on the why, what, and how you take notes. But it really comes down to two factors: the shape and organization of your notes, and the actual writing experience. Here I will explain the shape of your notes.


If you are familiar with popular note-taking methods such as the commonplace book, or the Zettelkasten/slip-box methods, then you understand why it’s important to gather bite-sized notes for any of your creative endeavors. If not, there is a great book, How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens, that explains it best. But for now, I will explain with an example. While this is a very specific example, I’d like to ask you to imagine how this same situation could arise in all the various aspects of each unique person's life. The key reason, or why, about taking Smart Notes, is that with any creative work we do, we never want to start with a daunting blank page. If we record notable thoughts and ideas as we go throughout life, and organize them in a smart way, then we should never be starting with nothing to go off of.


Let’s go with a basic example:
You are an online content creator, and every week you release a newsletter to your subscribers. Somewhere in your newsletter, you like to put relevant ideas/quotes that you come across that you think your audience will enjoy. This is what we do.


Now imagine you’re out and about, on a walk listening to your favorite podcast, and you hear a very relevant idea/quote that you’d like to record for later. You aren’t exactly sure if it will be relevant to this week's newsletter, or even one 3 months from now, so you’d like to keep it somewhere you can find it whenever. How will you do it?


Well, how would this play out in Apple Notes? First off, you open the app, and immediately you must decide which of your many folders it fits best in. You may have a folder to capture your podcast notes, or a folder to capture your noteworthy ideas and quotes, or a folder to capture things that are immediately relevant to your newsletter.


I call this decision moment a “barrier to entry” because it is a moment of friction in your workflow. And not only does it introduce friction as you are entering the note, but also when you are searching for the note later when you are not exactly sure where you stored it.


This is the main problem I have with folders: you can only easily put a file in one of them. But what if a file belongs to multiple folders?


That’s where Enter comes in with Tags and the Tag Network. With Enter, you would create a tag for these 3 important entities of your creative process: ‘Quotes’, ‘Podcast Notes’ and ‘Newsletter Content’. Let’s say that the quote is relevant to consumer technology, so I also create a ‘Consumer Tech’ tag. Now I would attach these four tags to that one note, and others like it. Then when I’m in my notes later, I use a Tag Filter to find the note I’m looking for. I could filter for either of the tags on their own, or I can combine any combination of the four tags into the filter to go directly to the type of note I know I’m looking for.


Fast forward to when I finally sit down and write my newsletter for the week. This is where Apple Notes is actually really good, as I would have a clearly designated folder for my Newsletter Articles.


But remember, we don’t want to be starting with nothing every time we go to write a newsletter, so now is the time to look for all the relevant notes I’ve recorded. First I could do a broad filter, and just look up the ‘Newsletter Content’ tag. But if I’m looking for something more specific, I could then for example add my ‘Consumer Tech’ tag to the filter and now be searching for notes that contain both tags. If I’m looking for something even more specific, like the perfect one-line quote to end off my article, I would just add the ‘Quote’ tag to the filter. In that press of a button I’m looking at my personally created library of quotes that are relevant to my newsletter, and more specifically the ones about consumer tech. Powerful! But only as powerful as you create it to be.


Again, while this example is very specific, I’d like you to imagine this same scenario across the various types of creative endeavors there are. Whether you are a stand-up comedian, novelist, social media creator, or journalist, you will benefit from taking smart notes, and I’m very excited to see how Enter can help you in doing so.


Thanks for reading!
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