A new system using Notability

A new system using Notability

(Avrum Nadigel) #1

Hi - recently joined The Guild, but have been lurking for some time.

I’ve developed a system using some of the unique features of Notability. The system combines journaling with gentle project/task management, culminating in a daily, weekly, monthly and annual narrative. The entire system is designed to answer the question: “What did I do five months ago… 4 days ago… 6 years ago?” And provide an answer that is based on facts while appealing to one’s sense of nostalgia.

Quick Start

The system consists of one long running Notability note of everything that is on your mind… tasks, projects, worries, doodles, mindmaps, waiting for’s… even screen capture/graps. You simply keep adding to the page as you would a personal journal (see the attached screen capture of an actual page from my system).

At the end of the day:
Flag all pages with outstanding tasks (green highlights).

At the end of the week:
Create a summary entry of the highs/lows & nodal events of your week

At the end of the month:
Create a summary of highs/lows & nodal events of your month

At the end of the year:
Read monthly summaries to get a complete picture of how your year went. Craft a narrative describing the past year, and use that information to plot how you would like to manage the upcoming year.

I have been using this workflow for appx two years, and with it, managed my private therapy practice, writing/speaking gigs and learning how to urban sketch. I’m also a husband and father to three little boys. Official bio: https://morethanlove.ca/about/

I believe the system can be refined, enhanced, etc. If anyone is willing to try the system, I would greatly appreciate any feedback or creative enhancements that you can offer.


(Wilson Ng) #2

I’ve been pondering about this myself.

My Day One journal was meant for private thoughts. but I guess I could it for something like this?

I’m half-heartedly tinkering with the Agenda app and wondering if I could do the same workflow you have in Notability. With a date-oriented approach to note taking, I’m curious to see if this could be applied to Agenda. Sigh, another “to do” task to enter into my task manager app.

Thanks for the kick in the tush to revisit this.

(Avrum Nadigel) #3

@wilsonng - i’ve read your posts on this forum, and enjoy your thinking and tinkering. Would welcome an opportunity to hear your thoughts on this approach - here or via Skype. Let me know.

(Wilson Ng) #4

Thanks and thank you for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hearing some of your ideas and workflows. My thoughts have been tucked away in a digital vacuum. I thought I’d try to slowly open it up and see if I can get other viewpoints that would not have occurred to me.

Sometimes thoughts come and go. So I capture them. In my free time, I’ll explore new ideas and see what pops up and maybe possibly adapt to me.

I’ve put this post in my task manager inbox and processing it to the proper project/list to work on.

It looks similar to what the Agenda app is attempting to do. But I’m currently using pen and paper and sometimes OmniOutliner for this type of workflow. As always, still experimenting and playing. Enjoy your experiments!

(Ted) #5

Is this a page a day? A note a day? It’s a lot like what I was doing on paper before and I think it could work really well for me, I’ve been doing something similar in GoodNotes, and using text symbols instead of colors, it the highlights make a lot of sense.

(Avrum Nadigel) #6

The Agenda app looks lovely, but it doesn’t utilize the Apple Pencil, with is a deal breaker for me.

The iPad/Apple Pencil (almost) closes the gap between the ongoing debate between analog and digital workflow solutions.

(Avrum Nadigel) #7

Hi Ted.

Each daily entry is as long as it needs to be… sometimes one page, other times 3 1/2 pages.

The highlights are wonderful because:

a. They really standout
b. One touch with the eraser tool and the highlight is gone. Plus, the action/to-do remains within the narrative of my day.

Months (even years) later, I can read about my day, and get a general sense of where/what I was doing. With a to-do list i.e. Omnifocus, Things, The Hit List, etc, crossed out to-dos did not provide me with a meaningful sense of where/what my life was about at a certain time.

(Martina Henke) #8

I am very interested in your system, as I love using Notability! I was a little unclear, though. Do you create one note per day? It sounds like you just have one long running note, which would make it hard to find things, I think. Just wanting to get a bit more clarity about the actual structure of things; do you have separate notes for each daily log and each weekly and monthly review? Thanks for sharing!

(Avrum Nadigel) #9

Do you create one note per day?

No. It’s one note per week (see attached photo)

It sounds like you just have one long running note, which would make it hard to find things, I think.

At first, yes. Here’s what I’ve done to reduce that problem:

  1. Use green/yellow/red highlights to indicate “what to do” about an entry
  2. Flag pages that have outstanding green highlights (at the end of the week, flagged pages with actionable items still untouched, get transferred to a master task list). I haven’t discussed the “master task” list, but can do so if you’re curious.
  3. Create a weekly narrative based on the things I’ve done, need to do, etc about the major projects and/or areas of my life.

do you have separate notes for each daily log and each weekly and monthly review? Thanks for sharing!

Weekly and Monthly reviews are brief, and kept in their own note (see photo).

Martina - if you’re willing to try this system, I’d be happy to check-in daily, and:

  1. Answer any of your questions
  2. Discuss any of your enhancements and suggestions to improve this system.

Let me know!