Each year at the end of December, I get to work on my New Year's Resolutions. When I was younger I went for one or two simple goals, like "lose weight" or "read more." But, for the past five years or so, I've taken an increasingly baroque approach to the annual practice of reshaping my life by organizing my existence into several different categories, and writing dozens of objectives I want to fulfill in the new year.
These are often things with obvious benefits — like wanting to drink more water. Just as often, they're things that matter to me but wouldn't be worthwhile to someone else, like watching a list of French New Wave movies. But, the most important thing, regardless of the goal, is that it is concrete. When I hear someone say that they want to "drink more water" or "work out" I get a feeling that the resolution isn't going to last. Not because I don't believe in the person's willpower or work ethic,but because it really helps for goals to be measurable. Otherwise it's easy to tell yourself that you're basically sticking to your plan while getting further and further away from achieving it. If you can measure your work in some objective way, it makes it much easier to tell how well you're doing.
Having dozens of resolutions with a bunch of different numbers to track would be incredibly difficult in a pre-iPhone era. If I had to do all of this in a notebook, I would be much more likely to give up. Being able to save all my goals on one device that I always have with me makes the whole process significantly easier. And, it's for that reason that I've come to believe that the humble Notes app is the most useful app ever made.
This is true for a few reasons. Most importantly, the Notes app is extremely easy to use. While I use Google Docs for writing articles like the one you're reading right now, the Notes app is more immediate. Google Docs needs a second to load up, but the Notes app is stored locally and starts up instantly. I can open it, write something down, and close it in a matter of seconds. That's the reason I use it for my New Year's Resolutions, but also why I use it on a daily basis for my to-do list.
The Notes app is extremely useful if you need to add photos to your writing, too. I have resolutions for the writing I want to do outside of work, and while I can make it into a bulleted list, it's also helpful to be able to see a year-long view broken down by month. So, I wrote that in a notebook, took a picture of it, and inserted it into the note. Now, I can draw on that picture to cross stuff off as I complete it. Notes also has graph functionality, so I could have done this in app, but my method was easier for me, and Notes supports both.
And, of course, the Notes app is useful for a ton of other things. Celebrities use it to craft apologies, shoppers use it to jot down grocery lists, and young poets use it for writing. It's a jack-of-all trades app. For me, at least, it is the most useful app ever made.
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