What apps is in your app stack


I have seen Tiago Forte’s interview with Ali Abdaal- and Francesco D’Alessio’s Second Brain workflow, it was very interesting and insightful. I was baffled over how many different apps they were using.

Anyway, it made me reflect on the apps I depend on and use everyday.

This is my stack

  • Capture: Drafts
  • Note app: Evernote
  • Journal: Day one
  • Project management/teamwork: Notion
  • Todo: Todoist
  • Mail: Outlook
  • Bookmark/read it later: Raindrop.

I’m capturing everything in Draft. Every idea, Todo, text message. It usually starts here and then I process it to the right app.

Evernote is my second brain, I manage my home, children, work, health, tax, etc in here. The search and OCR function is important to me. It works the way my brain works.

Day one is where I keep my journal entries. I send them there via Evernote and IFTTT or via Drafts.

I manage my team tasks, team projects, and team notes in Notion. It’s easy to use and perfect for collaboration.

I have been a todoist user for many many years. I love natural language input, I can create a task, add it to a project and give It a due date without lifting my fingers from the keyboard. So convenient!

IMHO Outlook is the best mail app out there. I let myself handle my emails with speed and I can easily send email to todoist and Evernote from Outlook.

Raindrop has been my bookmark and Read it later app for a year or two. It does capture every link I throw at it. They even have a readwise integration!

What apps are in your app stack?


Interestingly I posted mine on the Craft forum yesterday so I’ll add it here too!

Drafts - I use this for quick capture, dictation and Siri (in car) capture. I have quick actions set up in Drafts to send my drafts to my wife via text, to someone via email, or to add to ToDoIst, Craft (cheers @FlohGro!) or Day One.

Craft - My second brain note-making app, where I store everything in a PARA structure as per Tiago Forte’s “Building a Second Brain”. This is where I constantly review, update, curate, enhance, distill, etc.

Outlook - My email app of choice, as I work across Windows, MacOS and iOS environments, and this works well with all of them. I also use the calendar functionality on Windows for my work calendar when on my Windows laptop.

Fantastical - Calendar management on iOS and MacOS. I love the natural language entry, and it manages to show me my work calendars too.

Day One - I use this for personal journaling. I don’t journal every day - it’s a habit I’d like to build, but I’m not putting pressure on myself to do it every day. I’ve always been a journaller, though, since I was a tiny girl. I’d love to scan in all of my old journals into DayOne to have a complete record of my thoughts and my doings over the years. At the moment, I have entries dating back to 1998 in Day One, many of them imported from LiveJournal and my old scribble.nu journals.

ToDoIst - This is my task management app, which I chose as it works across Windows, MacOS and iOS. I’ve played around with using separate apps for work (Windows) and home/personal/household (Apple devices) but I prefer having it all together as there’s a lot of crossover, e.g. I am Vice Chair of a workplace network which relates to my personal life too… and I also help to run a workplace choir which is part of my personal life, but also part of my work life. I’m still getting to grips with the best way to manage my tasks. I love ToDoIst, so it’s not the app that’s the problem… it’s me. :slightly_smiling_face:

Google One / Google Photos - Despite loving Apple products myself, my wife’s personal laptop is a Windows one, so all of our files, photos, videos, documents, etc. are backed up to Google Drive. We also use Google Photos. It may be that when Apple starts allowing family sharing for photos (which is coming in September with iOS 16) that we switch to Apple Photos, but at the moment Google Photos is working for us.

Hazel - I’m using this for a lot of automation/file-management type tasks, such as renaming all of my iPhone photos to the date and time, and keeping my folders organised.

GoodSync - This keeps my Google Drive synced with my external SSD, as well as backing up the really important stuff regularly to my NAS.

TextExpander - For expanding text, of course! I have lots of lengthy snippets of text that just appear like magic by typing in a few keystrokes. Some of my favourite uses for this are for sending people emails explaining how to do stuff at work.

Shortcuts - Just getting into these. My favourite one at the moment is very simple… I say “Hey Siri text Helen my ETA” when I’m leaving work and it sends my wife a text saying “Driving. My ETA is 4.35pm so it’ll take me about 38 minutes. I love you!”

Streamdeck - Not set it up yet but can’t wait.

I haven’t got it all figured out yet. For now, the ones that are definitely here to stay for the long haul are - I think - Drafts, Craft, Day One, ToDoIst, TextExpander. Hazel and GoodSync. The others may change as I’m not 100% happy with them.


Use and rely are probably different beasts and again it depends on the platform, what I use daily on iOS is often completely different from Mac. (NetNewsWire, Tweetbot, Slack for example I never use on Mac but daily on iOS).

Drafts for quick capture (iPad iPhone, I rarely use it on the Mac)

Omnifocus for task management, I played with Things 3 for a few months and keep thinking about giving it another go as OF4 Beta I am still not totally convinced about.

Devonthink where I store stuff I really need to keep, I am not a digital hoarder and from what I see here really have very little in terms of notes, manly used for receipts, invoices, contracts, manuals etc.

Mailmate for mail on the Mac, it’s just the best by far, on iOS I use the stock mail app as it does the job well enough.

Nova or VSCode for coding coupled with Codekit.

Pixelmator Pro for the image editing I need to do for clients, its fast and powerful enough for my needs.

An honourable mention to Dropbox which chugs away in the background never bothering me and just doing its job, unlike iCloud.

Those are really the apps I rely on most days, yes have plenty of others automation etc but as I work remotely and for myself directly with clients I hardly need a calendar app or any collaborative tools.

  • Capture: Drafts. That said, after all these years I still don’t get it. It seems like it adds an extra step to everything instead of making things easier. I know where text is going 100% of the time. There is never a scenario where I absolutely have to write something down, but I have no idea why. If it’s an email to my manager, I write it in Outlook. If it’s a grocery list, I use Reminders. If it’s a blog post, Ulysses. This workflow where you put everything in Drafts first is not at all in alignment with how I work. I use it because you can dictate into the Apple Watch. My thought is, someday if I witness a hit and run I can quickly dictate the license plate into Drafts. Even watch dictation – I have it set as a complication and I NEVER use it.

  • Note app: Evernote for storage, and I’m actually back to Obsidian for thoughts and book notes, something I said I don’t do in other threads, but I read a book lately that fits the Obsidian flow nicely.

  • Journal: Day one

  • Project management/teamwork: Teams (Work), OneNote

  • Todo: Todoist

  • Mail: Outlook (work), Spark (personal).

  • Bookmark/read it later: Instapaper

  • Calendar: iCloud/Fantastical

  • Password: 1Password

  • Book/Movie Tracker: Notion. I found a really cool Notion template where you just type in the movie name, hit “;” and then it returns a page with all the information from IMDB. I had a similar solution setup in Obsidian but it was way too clunky so Notion gets the task here.

  • Meditation: Headspace

Capture: Drafts
Note app: DEVONThink
Journal: Day one
Project management/teamwork: Obsidian
Todo: Amazing Marvin
Mail: MailMate/Spark
Bookmark/read it later: Pinboard
Calendar: BusyCal


Capture: Notes for small notes, Zettlr for longer notes
Archive: DEVONThink
Calendar: Fantastical
Mail: Mail.app for personal, Outlook for work
Password: 1Password
Project Management: MS Project
Task Management: Omnifocus
Photo Editing: Photoshop+Lightroom or PhotoLab
Writing: MS Office, LaTeX, any text editor (99% either Sublime Text or Atom)
Journal: Paper (like…real paper).
Snippets: TextExpander and SnippetsLab
Automation: Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, BetterTouchTool
File Sync: Synology Drive
Citations: Zotero
Statistics: R/RStudio
Python IDE: PyCharm
Scanning: Silverfast
CAD: Fusion 360 (and Cura for 3D printing)
Video Editing: Premiere or Final Cut
Route planning: QuoVadis X
Track training: rubiTrack
HAM log: RumlogNG

…and more. :smiley:

  • Capture: Supernotes
  • Note app: Craft
  • Journal: Paper

I’m a stationery hoarder. I use multi-color pens, stickers, and masking tapes in my paper journals.

  • Project management/teamwork: Notion, Teams, Slack

I use Notion databases to track work items, but I don’t use it to collaborate with others. The team communication tools in the company are Teams and Slack. Recently more and more people are adopting Confluence. If it fits my needs, I might not have to use Notion anymore.

  • Todo: Notion

I add all todos in a database. For recurring tasks, I just keep resetting the reminders.

  • Mail: Gmail for personal, Outlook for work
  • Bookmark/read it later: Pocket
  • IDE: VS Code