Ultimate Apple Watch Note Taking Guide | Never Forget Your Brilliant Idea Again 

Enter The Wrist Supercomputer

Brilliant, bumbling, beautiful ideas. The one’s you don’t want to miss.

Hi friends, 

Couple of quick announcements before this week’s edition.

Firstly, a hearty welcome to the 68 new subscribers since last week! I’m really pleased to have you on board this journey. A sincere thank you to each and every one of the new and existing readers. I have been blown away by the kind and generous response my writing has received. Encouraged by this, I have taken things up a notch.

Secondly, this series has a new name - AppleWatchology | The art of turning your Apple Watch into a Wrist Supercomputer. The story behind this name is a one for another time. I aim to make this the very best Apple Watch resource out there.

Here’s what to expect going forward:

  • In-depth editorials, showing you how to turn your Apple Watch into a wrist supercomputer - the methods, apps and habits. Delivered straight to your email inbox every Saturday.

  • Occasional mid-week bonus episodes with guest interviews and other surprises.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s topic. First was sleep; second was to-do lists. Now, come ideas. 

How To Never Forget An Idea Again

“No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas change the world”
- Robin Williams

Stop me if this sounds familiar. 

You are walking down the street, bathed beautifully in serene spring sunshine. Life feels good; you feel calm. Relaxed.

Suddenly, out of the blue, you have a wonderful idea.

A breakthrough. A solution to the problem troubling you for the past week.

You smile. You are relieved. You want to write it all down so you don’t miss a bit of it. But you don’t have a pen. Or paper.

No matter. You tell yourself, this idea is is so brilliant, of course you will remember it. It’s only a mere 10 minutes to home!

You get home. Not only do you forget that bolt of inspiration, you also forget even having it.

Until 3 PM, the next day.

Try as you might, you can’t remember it.

There goes that great idea. Lost amidst the mist of time.

Let us put an end to this. With Apple Watch. 

Seamless note taking

Last week, I talked about the unique advantages of the Apple Watch. In summary - ubiquitous availability, connectivity and reachability. These make it the absolute best tool for quickly capturing your ideas. 

Why I can’t I just use my iPhone?

Speed, simplicity and smoothness. Let’s have a look:

Woah that was fast! How can I do that?

What happened there? 5 seconds; idea captured. Here’s what the normal iPhone-first capture process:

  1. Reach into your pocket

  2. Unlock your phone whilst staring at tempting notifications

  3. Have the discipline to both not read and not get distracted by your notifications

  4. Find the Notes app

  5. Click ‘New Note’

  6. Remember and write that idea.

  7. Since your phone is now with you, resist the temptation to now ‘just’ check your email… then Twitter… then Reddit…

That’s gone. Replaced by a one-click, seamless, agile process to capture and then get one with your life. And get more brilliant ideas.

What app is that?

Drafts. It started off on the iPhone as a simple digital scratchpad. Over time, it has become more complex, and powerful. I’d encourage you to read Tim Nahumck’s work over at MacStories. I can guarantee you have never come across a review as detailed and thorough for an app before. It was all written in this simple yet powerful app .

I still mostly keep it simple. For me, it has one job - it helps me get things out of my head. Here’s how you set it up.

  1. Download Drafts app.

  2. Install it’s ‘complication’ on your Watch Face. 

  3. Start dictating and stop worrying.

One quick thing I’d like to call out.

Drafts has one of the most generous and fair business models I have come across.

It’s free with an optional premium subscription for truly ‘pro’ features. The Watch app isn’t limited for just premium subscribers. I find that recent trend deeply disturbing. The Watch isn’t just for a ‘pros’, it is for everyone.

It is thoughtful, and shows care for the user. I appreciate it. So much so, I signed up for a premium subscription purely to support the developer, and vote with my wallet to encourage such thoughtful business models. 

What if I am this guy? I want MORE!

Don’t be this guy.

Let’s be honest. You’re not going going to write your report, thesis or memoir on your wrist. But all things start somewhere small. As an academic, I have written several paragraphs and outlined plenty reports just using my Apple Watch.

What if I don’t have any internet access?

Good question. Drafts relys upon access to the Siri dictation servers, thus cannot be used offline. You can still scribble, but in these circumstances, I use the built-in Voice Memos app. It also has a Watch Face complication. There is no automatic transcription (yet...), which means you need to listen back to the recording. 

When I first starting using this, I always thought I needed to hold my wrist right up to my face. Turns out you don’t. You can even keep walking at a normal pace, and the the microphone is good enough that you can dictate without you breaking a stride. 

Here’s another thing I’ve found. When you’re just free-form dictating, you don’t have to worry about the ingenious and creative ways Siri will incorrectly transcribe your words.

You don’t have to worry about making mistakes or mentally edit yourself. Just get the idea out here. Making sense of it comes later. 

Freeing yourself from these restrictions makes Voice Memos feel more natural for serendipitous, unformed ideas. The best kind. Even when I have internet connectivity, I prefer using Voice Memos for this reason. It feels like a different mode of thinking.

One more thing - Voice Memos are synced through iCloud with your iPhone, iPad and even Mac. I find most people don’t know this.

If you found this helpful or useful, and want more editorials like this, please subscribe.

Coming Next Week

It’s WWDC! Next Saturday, I will be doing a special WatchOS 7 edition letter, focused on what the next year holds for the Watch. Expect the same care and depth as these deep-dives.

Also, I am thrilled to announce there will be a bonus letter next week. The Apple Watch is a uniquely personal computing device. I have heard from many readers, each sharing their stories.

I am so excited to share that next week, Tim Nahumck, the Draft-meastro-extraordinaire, will share how he uses his Apple Watch.

I have been a fan of Tim’s writing for years. I encourage any of you even vaguely interested in Drafts to read his writing. You’ll come out with a head full of ideas, and full of inspiration. I so excited and thrilled to share his thoughts on the Apple Watch with you.

To get that episode, please subscribe below. I believe the best writing caters directly to its readers. By subscribing, you will be a part of a 175+ strong community. You can ask me your questions directly and influence the upcoming posts. I'd love to have you on board.

If you’re interested in sharing your Apple Watch story, please send me a email or leave a comment down below.

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This is editorial #3 in the Apple Watch -> Wrist Supercomputer series. Previous editions:

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