Apple Notes and Reminders as alternative for Todoist and Evernote
I decided to replace my trusty Todoist and my beloved Evernote with Apple Notes and Apple Reminders. I was pleased to see how well these two applications actually fitted my needs.
I have to admit that I am addicted fiddling with the latest Apps. I do not care if the run in my browser on my desktop or on my phone. I also admit that I spent way to much money in the App Store just trying out new Apps. Heck I am writing this article on Writer Pro which I am using now for the first time.
I love supporting people who have the guts to go out there and make something beautiful and I think they should be rewarded for it.
So far I had a very powerful setup managing my notes and my tasks. For task management I like something simple and I hate if I have too many options to fiddle with. I am still a huge fan of Teuxdeux which is an amazing task manager. Later I moved to Cheddar and then switched to Todoist. Yes I tried Clear, Gneo, Wunderlist or any other App you might come up with.
For me Todoist remains unbeaten. It is a very potent app and it can do pretty much anything you expect from a modern task manager.
Managing my notes is something completely different. I love writing in Markdown. I started of with iA Writer, switched to Ulysses III and then gave Evernote another try, which unfortunately does not support Markdown.
iA Writer is still my favorite tool if it comes to writing longer texts. Ulysses III is probably the best Markdown editor for Mac but it is missing a good mobile version.
Evernote is a brilliant piece of software and once you know what you are doing, it might be the goto place to save all your notes and ideas.
Is there a perfect solution for all your needs?
Short answer: «No!»
Long answer: I think you really have to try different things and see what fits your workflow best. Last month I decided to start an experiment. Apple is a great company and they actually put a lot of thinking into their apps. So what if I stop using two my precious tools and completely switch to Apple Reminders and Apple Notes.
I thought the whole experiment will end up in a disaster but I was positively surprised. Reminders and Notes have one huge advantage to any other App there is. They are both part of OS X and iOS and therefore you will have possibilities which other applications can't offer you.
So am I happy switching from Todoist and Evernote to the native Apple pendants?
Keeping things in sync
I was very impressed how well the syncing of reminders and notes works. There is no need to have the App open and whatever I add or change it magically replicates immediately on my phone, my tablet, my desktop and to the web interface. It happened a couple of times that I shut down my work computer before Todoist was done syncing my last tasks. In general I am very pleased with the overall experience.
Creating a new reminder can be done very quickly. Using different lists for my tasks keeps them organized. A big minus is setting a reminder time. Apple does not support natural time and date input and it takes a couple of taps until you have the correct alert set for your reminder.
But you do have the big advantages that Siri can take care of all those steps which makes it amazingly fast to create new tasks with reminders. I really appreciate just holding down the home button and ask Siri to remind me next Wednesday at 11:30 to call my insurance company.
I love minimal interfaces and I do not need a lot of options for creating Notes. Apple Notes are working very efficiently but do have a lot of features missing. Worst of all is the styling on the iOS Apps. I don't ask for a lot but some bullet points and having the option for bold or italic text would be nice.
What baffles me is, that I can add those stylings on OS X and display them on my iOS device but that it does not work the other way around.
Once you get used to work with Apple Notes it is actually a very fast and easy tool. Nowhere near Evernote but sufficient enough to cover my needs.
Keeping me up to date
Besides using Siri for Notes and Reminders I love how I am kept up to date. Reminders pop op on my iPhone and my Mac the same time. Without unlocking my phone I can delay an alert that just popped up and all upcoming todos are shown in the message center. I even have the option to tag them as done without opening the app.
Leaving Todoist and Evernote behind was a drastic change in my workflow. I was not expecting that Apple Reminders and Apple Notes could handle everything I need to do. The two applications are far from perfect and only offer a limited set of features. But being a part of the iCloud ecosystem makes them very powerful and I will keep using them.
I have no idea if they would work as well for you, but why not give them a try and let me know how it went? I would be happy to hear about your experience.