5 Apps I've Started Using Recently

I love apps. I love the amount of genius on display from those who built them, I love how learning to use them teaches me things about other apps. It’s all such good fun.

I’m experimenting with the idea of PKM as play right now, so I’m indulging in testing whatever apps might catch my interest. I want to share 5 of them with you today.

At the end, I will talk about how I’ve decided to use built-for-purpose apps rather than trying to squeeze everything into Notion, which is certainly a new direction for me.

Table of Contents

Sofa

Sofa calls itself a downtime organiser, essentially it’s a place for your watchlist and reading list (and many other lists). 4.0 is coming soon, and it looks awesome.

This was the fastest lesson in “use tools built for purpose, not just Notion” that I’ve ever had, and it’s the inspiration for this post.

In a wonderful case of serendipity, I had randomly decided I needed one watchlist and one reading list to capture all the wonder there is in the world that I want to consume.

I thought about where to put that, I decided on Notion, as that’s where I have some things already. I wanted the title, cover image and a description so I could browse my virtual bookshop easily. The webclipper works great for new saves, but I had loads to fill out retrospectively, and this would have all been manual.

Then as I was doing it, Réka text to ask if I’d tried Sofa… well, within the following 5 minutes I downloaded it, added one book (and with it came the title, cover and description), and I was set!

I added my watchlist/reading list items in the evening simply by searching for their titles. Everything else was done for me. It was definitely quicker than manually adding all of the information I wanted, and it was just so fun! 🤩

Things I can watch for my next history project phase

Getting in touch with my childhood self by remembering my icon, Hilary Duff. We share the same birthday 😍 still not over that

I recently started my new full-time job at Capacities (🥳) having just moved into a new house. Both of these things ushered in a new season of life and I wanted to update my systems to reflect the new rhythms of my life. I did a crazy amount of research (on evenings and weekends because it’s fun for me, I was still doing the work I needed during the day 👍️ ) to find what would fit, and I think it’s Motion.

Motion is an AI-powered task and project management tool. It plans your day for you based on the information you feed it. It took me some time to work out how to do that in practice, but I think it’s pretty good now I’ve worked it out.

I’m currently drafting an article that delves into all of this (‘task management when you’re chaotic af’) but in short, I think I like it because AI tells me what I need to think about before deciding what to do next. It’s less about the precise scheduling, but more taking my tasks, projects, deadlines, dependencies all into account as well as my calendar before making the decision of what to focus on next.

This has taken away a lot of the mental load with working out which tasks can be done now and it’s letting me get more done as a result. This is the first time in a while I feel I might be able to holistically tackle task and project management, rather than just feeling like I’m doing a little aspect of it well. It’s a nice feeling!

Will report back at the end of the month in a different post.

Perhaps I shouldn’t include this one given I actually bought this in 2021… but oh well. For the salary I was on at the time, it was incredibly expensive and frankly now, I wonder what I was doing with a recipe manager given I ate pesto pasta on repeat for longer than I’d care to admit.

But now that I’m cooking more, I am back loving Paprika’s in-built recipe browser. With the click of a button you can get a recipe from a website without being attacked by popup videos, ads or giant long intros. I understand creators need to make money for the recipes they’re creating, but the user experience of recipe websites has just tanked over time, so this is much more enjoyable.

Then you can edit your recipes to your heart’s desires (all in markdown too), to really make it your recipe collection. I’m hosting Christmas for the first time this year, and I think this is where I will be planning the menu and shopping list. Exciting!!

The best vanilla cake I have ever tried in all my years of baking.

It could do with a UI update, which is what ultimately made me go back to Notion for recipes a few years ago, but I’ve changed my mind again. I don’t need to worry that I’m slowing Notion down by adding loads of recipes, or that I’m making my search results less useful because there is more content to search through.

This is now my recipe playground and I’m glad I’ve rediscovered it.

If you need to log into different accounts (client, job, personal for example) then you need Wavebox’s cookie containers. I’m blown away by how easy it is to maintain full separation between accounts.

I have PKM Beth, Capacities, and the household google account all just set up. No need to worry about log ins or switching accounts (a side effect of which is being scared I’ve accidentally attached a picture of my dog to a Capacities post). This lets me get through the work day quicker and with more confidence which is fun.

There is also an emerging mindset shift too.

Open Wavebox = get things done.

Open Arc = explore, play, learn.

Both can exist together, and they do, very nicely!

I always say that I want to see how the world intersects with my world, and creating one giant timeline helps me do just that. It’s a lifelong project, a sign of my commitment to understand and engage with my life in its broader context, so I finally committed to purchasing Aeon Timeline to help me visualise this.

You can also add deep links to Capacities pages to the metadata of each entity in Aeon, which will be cool for diving into certain aspects of history later on (if I add all the links in, who knows what I’ll do). Good fun, great app!

So they’re 5 apps I’m enjoying a lot, but before I end this post.. a word on Notion

Moving on from Notion

I don’t think I’ve actually published my thoughts on this outside of my Obsidian vault, but it seems a big update. I don’t really use Notion anymore.

My “homepage” which I loved so much was excellent for my previous season of life, and it just hasn’t found a place in this new one. I also had a scare where Notion said my space was too big to export. Later on, something did export, but I’m not sure if it’s everything yet. My digital life holds traces of who I am, it’s too important to risk not being able to export down the line. If it’s too big now, what will another 2, 3, 5 or 10 years of use do?

So whilst much of what I have shown above can be done in Notion pretty well, as I did for some time, there’s no rule saying things must be done in there. This is something I’ve reminded myself of recently. I just want to use the tools that do things well and don’t need much from me.

If the trade off is “make all this harder but at least you only have to open Notion” vs “just remember a new app name”, then I know where I’d like to be right now.

I’m having real fun with these apps and I want to connect with that sense of play and joy. Why not?!

Have you been loving any new tools recently? I am clearly in the mood to test things so please send recommendations my way!

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