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It’s getting to that point in the year when we are looking toward the new year. I know the question is already on my mind, “What is the best planner for 2024?”
It might come as a shock, but I’ve always been a nerd and a major planner fan. As a kid I would ask for sticky notes and gift cards to Office Max for my birthday and Christmas. I used to buy new planners every year when I was in school, but I always had a hard time making them stick.
Choosing the right planner can be hard. Actually using the planner you choose is an even harder challenge. Just like with apps, there is no planner to rule them all. There are hundreds of different options and there are a lot of good ones. It comes down to choosing which one works best for you and deciding to actually use it.
In this article we are going to tackle the criteria for a good planner. We’re also going to give you some of our favorite planners to recommend and what makes them so great (for both physical and digital planners).
It’s been a few years since we dipped our toes into the calendar category, and there are some notable changes to the landscape. Artificial intelligence has permeated itself into almost every app imaginable. The combination of scheduling and task completion have come together to boost productivity levels. And managing busy schedules has introduced a need for direct calendar invites for any and all of life’s events.
The result is a whole slate of new calendar apps for iPhone to discover and learn. There are a variety of new apps since the last time we tested, and we’re excited to highlight them.
Nevertheless, our calendar criteria hasn’t changed. We wanted to know which apps were the easiest to use for entering new events, viewing your current agenda, and more. Based on several different criteria, Fantastical continues to be the choice for the best calendar app for iPhone.
The new Clear Action Planner just dropped!
This is your place for ideas…
Your place for dreaming big…
Your roadmap for focusing on your goals…
Your tool for showing up every day…
But most of all, a place for connecting the dots of your “vision level” stuff into the daily actions that will help you make it happen.
It’s a digital planner, designed for the iPad or Remarkable tablets, and it’s the perfect combo of analog and digital productivity tools.
You’ll have a single, searchable solution that handles everything you need to be productive and creative.
Apple Notes has seen some of the most development of any built-in Apple app over the last few years — perhaps only Safari and Mail have seen more active development in recent memory. Let’s see how up to speed I am on the newest Notes features over the last five or six years:
- You can instantly create a note from the iPad Lock Screen.
- You can create a Quick Note across iOS, iPadOS and macOS with a gesture or keyboard shortcut.
- You can edit PDFs and fill in fillable PDFs.
- You can use iOS’s amazing OCR capabilities to read your handwriting and text in images.
- You can collaborate on notes with friends and family.
- You can write and draw in a variety of new digital tools with the Apple Pencil.
- You can organize your notes with tags.
- You can link to other notes in Notes (also known as back-linking).
The list of features has really evolved and it has become one of the best note-taking apps available today.
Right alongside the ability to tag your notes in Apple Notes is the ability to create smart folders. Smart folders are tags and folders on steroids — you can build out entirely custom ways to unearth and organize your notes.
Over the past couple of months we have explored how to get the most out of the Apple stock apps. Apple has stepped up their game with the newest iterations of their stock apps (Notes, Calendar, Mail, Reminders…). In this article we are going to focus on the Apple Reminders app (with the updates from iOS 17).
If you would have said, “I only use the Apple stock apps for my tech stack” a few years ago, the nerd-productivity community would have laughed in your face. But in the past few years, Apple has made huge strides in engineering their native apps to do more. It’s no longer far-fetched to see yourself relying more on stock Apple apps.
Now I’ve largely given up on the in-depth PKM workflows for my own usage — I simply can’t find the time in the day to be detailed enough. However, I know Future Josh will want me to have saved at least something from the reading I’m doing today.
So I’ve resorted to saving all my highlights in Apple Notes. These could be highlights from a read-later app like Matter or Readwise Reader. These could be screenshots or highlights from a website. These could be highlights in PDFs.
Everything right now is in Apple Notes, and I suspect it’ll stay that way — at least until I find the time in the day to be more detailed.
Perhaps I’m psycho, but I’ve started up on another educational course to further some particular skills in taxation. Instead of the lacklustre foresight I had last time, I figured I’d put some time and effort into choosing a great research-focused app for keeping track of my notes and learnings. This course is specific to tax research, so apps with a research-focus took the forefront. Which, as we all know well here at The Sweet Setup, put every single PKM app at the top of the list.
The list of PKM (personal knowledge management) apps is growing. It’s growing almost by the week. Original apps like Roam Research, Notion, and Obsidian continue to be popular (especially Obsidian!), while new apps like Tana, Capacities, Logseq, RemNote, and Supernotes have jumped out of the gates. It’s a very exciting time for PKM, though it’s sure to tempt people into jumping ship into the latest app.
Interesting Links From Our Friends and Around the Web »
- (Upgrade) #486: On the Side of Reality
- (MacStories) Using the iPad Pro as a Portable Monitor for My Nintendo Switch with Orion, a Capture Card, and a Battery Pack
- (Mac Power Users) #718: Workflows with Dan Provost
- (Snazzy Labs) The iMac is Dead. Good.
- (Six Colors) I’ll pin my hopes on AI assistants
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