I wanted to love Noteplan

I just ran a trial in Noteplan which i really liked the concept of, and instead of doing my usual feet first all in approach i read the blog, watched some videos. Here after less than a week are my superficial thoughts.

As a note taker it’s really good, markdown renders as you type its themeable and the daily notes concept appealed and was something I could see myself adopting.

It integrates with Calendar apps (as do many programs ) and it can also show reminders, so far so good.

Now to what Noteplan says are not second class citizens, tasks. Now i can see that in relation to projects, its flexible just use a single project note or a folder with backlinked notes all integrated with tasks, a great idea and one with the limited run i gave it appeared to work well. Now for the downside…

I have a lot of repeating single action tasks for clients, issue domain renewal, issue hosting invoice, send catch up letter etc. I also have a similar situation with admin tasks, run server review, process bank statements etc. Noteplan is
not so good here.

Repeating tasks have to be set for a period (the restriction of using a daily note system) ie repeat monthly for 6 months or annually for 7 years. No option I could find to repeat indefinitely. Also the options daily weekly monthly quarterly annually are restrictive.

So i am left with using a plugin and basically writing Taskpaper syntax “repeat (2w)” however plugins have to be triggered manually on the page where the task lives. Noteplan does not have a way to automate this, and thats a pain and prone to error

Yes i could move all repeating tasks to reminders but with 70+ clients this is very quickly going to get messy and probably negates at least 50% of the reason for using Noteplan in the first place.

I wanted to love Noteplan but while tasks may not be second class citizens repeating tasks certainly felt like they were.

So am I missing something and doing Noteplan an injustice?

I have to agree. Repeating tasks has always been a shortcoming, as can be seen on their subreddit.

The distinction between notes and daily notes is a little weird too. I don’t recall exactly what it was, as I haven’t used it in a while (since about a month after my one-year subscription).

I think the way that the app/developer wants most people to work in NotePlan is a “daily notes first” approach. You live & breathe in the daily notes, and then offload things to regular notes as necessary.

If you are primarily a knowledge worker, or your own boss, by which I mean you are researching and looking stuff up on a regular basis, need to make mental notes of thoughts you are having throughout your day, or you are the one who sets up everything you are doing in a day, etc… I think this approach works well for that workflow.

However if you’re more of a helper worker (what I’m dubbing it for now as I can’t think of anything better), meaning you receive your tasks from other people. You get tasks from emails sent to you, or meetings you have, or you have a list of regularly recurring things you have to check-in on for others, etc… I think this approach feels lacking. It can quickly get into the weeds as you’ve noticed. You have to constantly peruse back through old daily notes to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything, or use plugins to close many gaps in things like repeating tasks, or reviewing all open tasks.

I do like NotePlan, I continue to try to use it regularly, but I often find it’s just more fiddly than I’d like. :confused:

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That’s the way I use it, living primarily in my Daily Note, but then again,I am the boss. By which I actually mean that I’m retired! Maybe only retirees love NotePlan? :slightly_smiling_face:

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This is probably a dumb question, but it’s not rhetorical: what’s the (practical) difference between “repeat monthly indefinitely” and “repeat monthly for 100 years”?

It’s more, repeat daily, monthly, yearly, pick one.

In NotePlan, the problem is that the app actually creates every recurrence when you setup the initial repeating task. All other task managers generally only have a single task that repeats only when you have checked off the initial task.

So if you setup a yearly recurring task in NotePlan and set it to repeat for 100 years, it would create 100 daily notes/occurrences of that task. Just makes it convoluted and a pain to deal with.

The solution is to use Apple Reminders for those tasks, but then you have things in two systems, but Apple Reminders is a much more robust repeating task system.

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As a task manager, I don’t see NotePlan competing with the likes of OmniFocus, Things, or ToDoist, for example.

NotePlan integrates with Apple Calendars and Apple Reminders, provides a way for keeping a checklist, and some fairly elementary ways to review and move items on that checklist. If your needs are more complex than that, I think you probably need a dedicated task manager app.

I keep my tasks in a NotePlan checklist at the top of my Daily Note and put my events and appointments in an Apple Calendar via the user interface that NotePlan provides. But I use the Due app, which handles repeating events well, on my iPhone for notification when I’m supposed to be doing something. I don’t use Apple Reminders at all.

@JohnAtl, I tried Noteplan initially based on your suggestion, and this was where it broke down for me.

I made a customer document, “XYZ Company”. And in that document, I made a task called “do annual website audit”. And I set it to repeat every year on July 1st.

I got to the first July 1st, so far, so good. But once I completed that task, it just vanished. No recurrence.

I officially filed a bug, and got:

Currently, repeat doesn’t work from non-calendar notes. Unfortunately, the user interface is a bit confusing on this and should be grayed out. But we left it like this because there were plans to make it work in a different way (through a repeat link). Though it wasn’t very heavily requested so far. So to repeat a task, you need to go to the daily notes and repeat it from there. Try it for a few days or weeks first to see if this is what you are looking for. You can delete repeats later on by deleting the first occurrence (which has a @repeat tag) and NotePlan will then ask you if you want to delete all repeats.

That, and the “repeat” issue below, was what killed Noteplan for me. If I wanted to schedule a task for July 1st repeating indefinitely, I had to actually find the daily note for 7/1 and add the task there. It would let me create it incorrectly in the non-daily note - it just wouldn’t work.

This. Which is useful if you’re going out into the future, but if you say “show me the upcoming tasks with #importantforwork”, you’ll see:

  • Submit tax filings (4/1/2023)
  • Submit tax filings (4/1/2024)
  • Submit tax filings (4/1/2025)
  • Submit tax filings (4/1/2026)
  • Submit tax filings (4/1/2027)
  • Submit tax filings (4/1/2028)

all the way out to 4/1/2122 if you told it “yearly for 100 years”. Which isn’t great if you’re trying to see what you have to do, because the list looks positively overwhelming once you accumulate a few hundred repeating tasks spaced for “99 repeats”.

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I am persevering, the repeating task plugin actually works on page notes as well as daily notes and actually only creates the next instance. As I mentioned before it needs to be triggered manually via “/rpt” a pain some ways but it does make you think if it actually needs repeating.

Going to get all my tasks and client stuff into Noteplan over the next couple of days and see how it holds up over a 2-3 weeks. It has the potential to suit my way of working… maybe.

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OK that lasted less time than I planned.

Yes I could fix most of Noteplans shortcomings, repeating tasks, use plugin, folder sorting, instigate a numbering schema etc etc. However I very quickly realised that while I could work around these “issues” why the hell was I bothering other than to prove a point while enjoying the challenge?

Another friction point was no way to get items in via Mailmate (Things, Omnifocus, DevoThink) have integrations built in to Mailmate. Honestly there were quite a few small but niggling issues, which as I said could be worked round but for $100 a year +, no.

A shame, I am now looking for a way to integrate project notes into my workflow, one I can actually stick with. Meanwhile Things3 still seems to be the best task manager for my needs.

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I made a custom .mmbundle to do this over a year ago, but it was really fiddly (as it used the URL scheme). Also I just don’t like how tasks are not self-contained in NotePlan. Meaning, I can’t have a task + sub-items (a URL and some notes) that stay with the task when moved around, or archived, etc… unless it’s all on the same task’s primary line item.

I currently use Things 3 + Notion to manage tasks, projects, and project notes. But this is more because I like other aspects of Notion. I think if I were just trying to tie projects and notes together I’d use Craft, or Bear.

Ultimately you came to the same conclusion I did. You can indeed “fix” the issues, but it’s fiddly and takes a lot of time for a pricey app. :blush:

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