Last time we discussed the relevance of focus to business success, and a time-based reminders app which adds to that discipline. As I thought about how to follow up from Due App, I looked again to my first smartphone homescreen to consider what other tools held similar influence over my workflow.
Today I will talk about PlainText, a Dropbox* based note-taking app I've had on my homescreen for nearly two years. By having an app back up to a solid cloud-based service like Dropbox, one can focus on taking and accessing notes securely. The .txt files are accessible from nearly every document editing program, so editing from your desktop becomes incredibly convenient. As with all important data, backing up notes you have created is always a good idea.
Amongst the many note taking apps in the AppStore, PlainText rests confidently at the minimalist end of the spectrum. Black text on a white background is the chief signpost delineating one folder or file from another. The title at the top indicates what folder or file you're viewing. From each page you have 4 options: Settings, Search, Add folder, or Add a new file. That's it. Tapping a folder title gives you the options of Rename, Sync all, and Sync this folder. When the title of a file is tapped, a drop-down menu gives you options to Print, Email, Rename, Show word count, or Sync. A more straightforward and fool-proof note taking app would be difficult to imagine.
If you are already an iOS user, you will be familiar with the native Notes app and may wonder why a change to another service would make sense. I find that a major feature of PlainText is the ability to create subfolders. For me separating "Work" from "Personal" and other subcategories makes my large pile of random notes much easier to sift through and sort logically. By opening the Dropbox folder on my desktop I can also rename or move folders and files easily for further sorting. It is this sorting functionality, along with an always-on backup system that makes me trust the app to keep the thoughts I'm recording in it.
PlainText is a free download for iOS from the AppStore but does have ads which can be removed for $1.99. A free download is hard to pass up, and once you take PlainText for a spin you may come to find that the trust you can place in it will free you up to write away and have your notes organized and accessible like never before.
*Dropbox is a fantastic cloud storage solution that I can't recommend highly enough. It creates a "magic" folder on your computer or smartphone that shares any file inserted automatically to the cloud. Its sharing capabilities are endless and thus it is great for teams or organizations that need a secure place to share files.