Project Management in Apple Notes

I have been experimenting with using the built-in Notes app on iOS and macOS lately. I’ve found some unique capabilities that make it a pretty interesting project management app, in particular the ability on macOS to add links to files from the Finder, as well as drag in links to email messages and setup names as mailto hyperlinks.

Many of these links carry their functionality over on the iOS companion app. And of course the notes all sync up on all your devices if you are using iCloud Drive.

I still maintain my master logging system in plain-text files accessed and edited with nvALT and Atom on the Mac, and 1Writer, Shortcuts, and (less and less so these days) Drafts.

That system is for long-term content.

I see Apple Notes more like a scratch pad. Most of these notes either will get deleted, or the info isn’t something I’d be concerned about if I were to lose it. Todo lists, checklists, reference info.

The real power for me in managing projects is the ability I discovered to add hyperlinks to the text, linking not only webpages, but email addresses, Finder file links, and email messages I need to follow up on.

Header with file link

  • The file link/URL was obtained by setting up an Automator Service (Quick Action) using a third-party Automator action I downloaded/installed years ago (with a keyboard shortcut added to it for quicker implementation):
  • once the file link/URL is on your clipboard, just highlight the text you want to use as the link text, and go to Edit > Link… (or use ⌘-K)
  • file links will open the Finder folder enclosing the file, not the file itself
  • some hyperlinks can be added in Notes on iOS using this handy iOS shortcut

Client’s Name, with a link added using the mailto: prefix to their email address to make it clickable to start up a new email to them. Yes, this works on iOS as well (and brings up an in-app compose window). 

I like being able to have a central spot to keep info and access to all aspects of a project. A Reminder list is too constricting; Reminders are literally for Reminders, not todo lists, notes, and other such long-form content associated with complex tasks. 

The real key for me is the ability to drag in email messages and link to Finder files. This way, I can truly have a core repository for all the items associated with a project in one place.

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