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There are a series of apps that have been created recently that might prove really helpful for productivity. The ones that are particularly on my radar:

  • Notion
  • Roam
  • Obsidian
  • Craft

They are all web-based apps that also have Mac desktop and iOS versions, and they all work around the same basic premise: pages that are linked together through backlinks. Backlinks are reciprocal links that connect a page back to a page that linked to it. Sorry, that was confusing–I’m probably better off explaining through an example. If I set up a page in Notion that contains a summary of a topic I want to research (say, a description of the Cold War), I can link that page to other pages I’ve created in Notion that relate to that topic (say, my pages on the U.S. and the Soviet Union). That way, as I’m reading my Cold War summary page, I can easily click on the links to the U.S. and Soviet Union pages to remind myself about certain facts about those countries. The magic that occurs in Notion is that my pages on the U.S. and Soviet Union will now contain backlinks that link to my Cold War summary page. Meaning that if I were reviewing my U.S. page for some unrelated project, I would see that it is linked to my Cold War page, and perhaps realize that there are connections between my two projects. Notion, Roam, Obsidian, and Craft all leverage this backlink process. I’m trying out all four right now and I’ll report back on their utility.