Minimalism and simplicity are at the foundation of my life goals; therefore, I am always attracted to tools or processes that can help me stick to these 2 important tenets. At its core the idea of simplicity requires daily discipline and focus on many of the basics of life: healthy food, ample sleep, stringent exercise, meaningful meditation, and continual learning. Of all these basics, I’ve spent more time recently working on the development of a simple system that makes it easier for me to stay focused on continual learning.
Every person no matter their age should find ways to continually learn and advance in knowledge. Continual learning can be both exciting and humbling at the same time, and a disciplined approach to the idea can result in tremendous insight into what is most meaningful in life.
One simple discipline that helps me to stay motivated and continually learning is that of “note taking”. I often tell others that if I don’t write it down I won’t remember it, and this approach has resulted in volumes of both hand-written and electronic notes over the years. When listening to public speaking, participating in a meeting, watching a video, reading an article, or consuming a good book, I’ve discovered that my retention of important content is much stronger when taking notes.
My methods vary based on the situation, but I typically find myself using one of these three tools:
- pen and paper
Each tool obviously varies in its features and ability to capture and retain my thoughts, but the one tool that has caught my attention the most recently is Simplenote. Here are a few of the features this very simple application delivers that are intriguing to me:
- Instant synchronization of documents across devices. Most apps do this but Simplenote through its simple text based system does it lightning fast. Since notes are not bloated with images and formatting, I can always count on fast backup and synchronization across devices.
Plain text. It does seem odd that with the availability of powerful word processing solutions that I would gravitate towards a plain text editor. My primary reason for doing so is the portability of plain text to any application, WordPress in particular. I don’t have to worry about unusual differences in formatting of text that creates unnecessary rework of documents.
Built in preview of notes written using Markdown. In combination with plain text the simple Markdown formatting language gives me just what I need to build formatting into a text document that will be published to a blog and viewed through a web browser.
Easy sharing and collaboration on the web. Most collaborative tools that make use of the cloud are pretty good at this feature, but Simplenote does an amazing job of using simple tags for sharing with another Simplenote user. In addition, the “publish” feature gives the user a quick way to publish to the web for all the world to see.
Clean distraction-free interface. The minimalistic interface makes writing text documents a breeze with its lack of “bloated” features along with the ability to write in full screen “distraction free” mode.
In a world of complex software applications, Simplenote is a breath of fresh air. With its primary purpose being to manage simple plain text notes, it has found a place in my toolbox for being one of the most effective cloud based writing tools I have found.
I encourage you to give Simplenote a try today at www.simplenote.com. It will only take you a few minutes to master the application, and you may find that it transforms your processes for note taking and writing.
We’d like to hear what you think of this article so please message us however you like with your feedback. Check back to this channel regularly for continued relevant information for increasing value and productivity.