Recommend me an macOS app for my work information management

I’m looking for app recommendations for my day-to-day job as a software engineering manager.

My current workflow looks like this:

I use Outlinely as my note app for everything. The keyboard-centric outlining just clicks and feels nice.

I have a “What is going on” outline that is structured in 3 parts:

  • “My focus” - just to have something at the top to remind me what I actually want to do

  • Projects - each ‘thing’ I am working on has an entry here. Inside each project bulletpoint I have a chronological log of what happened. In outlinely I can do CMD+T to just insert the current date

  • Log - this is just a chronological timestamped log for myself to see what happened on each day and what I worked on

Basically my work lives in this outline file. When projects are done I delete them, and recently started moving old log items out of the main document into an archive because it got a little slow.

I create other outline documents for other things like meetings or structuring some thoughts but the problem is that I just don’t check those and forget it’s content (lol). So having everything in one things just fit better.

Outlinely is fantastic with keyboard shortcuts. CMD+L allows me to jump to keypoints in this doc, CMD+SHIFT+O gives me a quick open to jump to other documents. CMD+T inserts the current date and so on. Kinda IDE-like, like SublimeText.

Now why a new app? Well Outlinely is not being updated and the dev is MIA. I am also not sure if there is something better for this kind of style of work. And yeah, me having everything in the same outline is probably not the main usecase for this.

I tried Agenda and use Things as my actual todolist, not just log of data. Also not a fan of web-based solutions like workflowy.

So is there the perfect app for me? Something that I can use to to gather information on projects and topics, and make sure I don’t miss anything? :slight_smile:

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have you looked at omni outliner?


I have, but Outlinely feels much more productive IMO. It’s also much more keyboard centric

Thing is, I don’t even know if I need an outliner app for this. It’s just what I happened to get stuck with :see_no_evil:

Perhaps Taskpaper? It can be used for note taking as well as logging.


How about Roam / Obsidian?
It’s not meant for project notes originally but I found that it can be helpful to link out topics.
In another unconventional use, before moving to Obsidian, I relied on Mindnode as an Outliner / Mind Map for the type of notes you’re taking and it was quite a nice experience.


Ah, Outlinely. The best abandon ware app out there. I loved it, but had some data loss problems so never used it. I really think it could’ve beat Roam/Obsidian to the punch had the developer not vanished!

I’ll second what @MarcMagn1 said. Obsidian is what Outlinely could’ve been, for me. It doesn’t have outliner document structures but can get you 90% of the way there, with lots of other affordances to boot.


Tried Things’ checklists? I just discovered them thanks to another forum user


I’m a project manager. I think you should look at Curio (very visual and has everything you need, but may be overkill) and Notion (online only but with some great PM features).


He actually released a Big Sur fix update just a few days ago. But besides that, no contact or responses :frowning:


Obsidian looks really nice! It’s a shame it’s electron based. I might be a bit picky here, but I’m not a big fan of web apps and much prefer something native.

I also used MindNode before actually! :slight_smile:

What is your current workflow in obsidian like?

I didn’t think of trying taskpaper for this kind of work but it’s a good idea. I’ll give it a try, thank you!

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Obsidian (Electron) uses web technology but is not a “web app”. There’s a difference between technology and platform.

The data are all local on your machine. The developers have made it clear that’s always going to be the design philosophy:

I wouldn’t dismiss a solution because it’s “Electron”.


What is your current workflow in obsidian like?

Still figuring it out to be frank. It’s meant to be used for Zettelkasten which is more about personal knowledge management / literature notes but the community around that type of apps has been growing the use-cases to many things from journaling, CRM, internal knowledge bases… you name it.
Since I use it mostly for work notes, I am using a mix of daily notes in which I collate meeting notes, and then I create dedicated pages for key people, products, projects, acronyms, processes, customers, etc…
That way I can quickly see the relationships between these and see the history around a topic.
I am fairly certain that the same could be achieve in more traditional note taking apps with tags but I am still exploring… I’d be interested to find out how other people are using that kind of tools for a more “operational” type of note-taking as opposed to the “theoretical” approach of the Zettelkasten.


@MarcMagn1 Just a quick correction: Obsidian’s not purpose-built for ZK! In fact, I think a lot of ZK advocates would argue that there’s missing features for ZK support.

I use Obsidian “operationally,” too, as you describe. I keep notes on every project I’m working on and area of responsibility I have, including the list of actions I have to take. I’ll also write up and link to and from other relevant thinking and resources. If anything is relevant but not a Markdown file, I link out to it in DEVONthink.

For example, if I’m working on a presentation, I might have a presentation project note, a list of actions to take for that presentation, and a link to the presentation file(s) themselves all in that note. I might also link to other bits of info relevant to the presentation that I’ve written up over time.

@fairlydoughnut I would check out the Obsidian knowledge management forum category if you want to see many other examples of how people approach the app.


There is always the “friendly and easy to use” Emacs org mode.. It will definitely provide everything you need and more, with only a cliff like learning curve - but you don’t have to do everything at once. But, the system is definitely and IDE for outlining.

I am only using a fraction of its power as an outliner. But, the files are just text, so they are not locked into one program. I find many of the Emacs keyboard shortcuts hard to remember or type but, the Spacemacs version uses Vim keyboard bindings, which make it easier.

I have no idea how this works with the new M1.


Emacs seems to work fine (installed via arch -x86_64 brew install emacs. Org was included.)

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