About a few weeks ago I got into RMIT University for their Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing. While I am super excited to get back to learning what I love, a lot have things have changed. I left formal education at the end of 2014.
Since then, while a lot of classes have gone online due to the pandemic, I have also changed. By that I mean the way I take notes and keep track of stuff in both my academic and personal life.
Back in 2014 – I had kept everything in Evernote. At the time that was the big name in the notetaking world and I think I had started to dabble in Todoist. Earlier this year I finally quit Evernote because the way I take notes has gone from a hierarchical sense to being a network sense.
This time, I have figured out a three-pronged app setup is the best for me. Though I know that I like a pretty setup, I have fallen for thinking I am doing stuff when really I am just faffing around – this is the main reason why Notion is not in my list.
I know that Notion works for a lot of people, which is fantastic. However, when I went on the Notion bandwagon – there were still some things that it couldn’t do well. They have upgraded and updated since then, but I am hesitant to go back to only using one app for everything. This is mainly due to a few reasons:
- I spent more time trying to make things pretty rather then do work or track it
- Loading can be a pain the in the butt if you have big databases
- Privacy has become a major issue for me
- I am more a librarian/gardner archetype rather than an architect one
- I am primarily a writer, so that is what I want to spend most of my time doing
Also a final note, the Readwise plugin works differently with different applications – for me, having things already presorted with the tags I gave it in the Readwise app is a huge timesaver. The apps I use will each have a fundamental thing that it takes care of, they are tasks, calendar, and notes.
THE APPS FOR UNI
I was about to post this the other day when I had written up that I was sticking with Todoist, then I received an email. It explained that Todoist would no longer be working with Google Assistant from January 31 because Google was sun-setting the technology.
Well, that changes things. Though I do not use it a lot, having it there is very useful when my brain reminds me of something when I am in bed reading or about to fall asleep. Sure, I could use a Google Note as a substitute, but that is just more work.
I went with ClickUp. I had previously tried it ages ago, and it didn’t work; however, I think this was because I had an overcomplicated system. Now, with what I have set up, I can do everything in ClickUp and bonus is I can do it on the free plan.
I was worried I was going to not have enough spaces (on the free plan you get 5). Think of spaces like the areas in your life, I had set some up with general life stuff and separate my university stuff. From moving I merged a few ‘projects’ in Todoist and made them lists in the spaces. For sub-sections in my life (e.g.; health and medical) all those lists are in a folder that is titled after the section in my life. Whether it is a list on its own or part of a folder, it is all stored in its relevant space. I went from 11 separate projects in Todoist, down to three spaces. They are Personal (containing anything related to me), ADPWE (the acronyms for my course and so anything uni related) and Content (this is where I have seprate folders for both of my newsletters, then also have lists for my blog and medium writing as well as my creative practice).
I do have more lists, 27 of them. However, some lists are for specific people, some are a general catch all and there are a few that are just a collection. What I mean by that is when I change the status on list 1 to published (for an article) it will automatically move to a list that just has all my published works. I have it for both newsletters as I want seprate counts. I am unsure whether I want one for my blog. The final category of lists are those like my Creative Practice. This one is just a reminder of what I need to do on which days to do with my content that I am putting out. I go to the specific list to see what exactly I should work on.
It also replicated a lot of what I keep in ClickUp in Google Calendar, on a much simpler scale. While in Todoist I will keep track of what subject we cover that week for lecturers. In google I will have links to the locations that they are. Also, because I keep track of any appointments, events, finances and newsletters that I post – it is easier to see what I have on what days.
A note on the syncing
I know I could sync ClickUp and Google Calendar together. I have tried that and personally do not like how it looks. So separated they will stay Plus, to me they cover both a task and an event, because yes the lecture is on but I also have to attend and take notes.
This is my biggest change and my most thought about application within my system.
What I mean by that is for a short time I considered going back to Notion. However, a few reasons made me decide to stay where I am.
Primarily it is because I have all my own Zettelkasten notes in Logseq already. If I split it over two platforms, then I lose that connectivity between my notes. Although, I cannot use databases like in Notion; however, I can have added property elements that allow me to have information in a table through a query, if I want it too. I have set the main pages up which will log every lecture or tutorial it is.
As I discovered this week, instead of moving to Notion, what I really needed was to change up my journal template. Along with my creative life, I need to incorporate my uni life. Tracking appointments, meetings and anything else that is related to my life is also what I want to do. I took inspiration again from Cara Antonaccio with how she set up her research process with Logseq. I am not sure at present whether processes would help me. This is why I have just put them in my template for now, but that could change.