Updated: January 19, 2022
Second update: February 1, 2022
Anyone reading this doesn’t need me to tell them there is a growing plethora of applications that combine note-taking with task and project management. I’ve tried most of these, including:
- Roam Research
And others. One of the applications that I like that doesn’t get a lot of attention is Organizedly, so I want to take a deeper look at that today. (A couple of years ago I did a brief comparison of Amplenote and Organizedly.)
Organizedly is an online application for creating and managing notes and tasks. It currently has no desktop or mobile counterparts, though an iOS app is in the works. The annual subscription is 72 Euros.
Organizedly has adopted the P.A.R.A. organizing method devised by Tiago Forte:
Projects. These are items that are brought together to help achieve a specific goal by a specific date. Notes and tasks can belong to a project. Projects become completed.
Areas (known as Tags in Organizedly). These are notes that have related content. In Organizedly, you use tags to group your notes into areas. In this way, notes can belong to a project and to more than one area.
Resources. (Also called Collections.) Groups of related notes that you want to continue to have access to regardless of project status. Some people call these evergreen notes.
Archive. The place to stow away completed project information on the chance you may want to reference them again in the future, but that are not part of your current work load.
I would add to this list a “D” to stand for Daily Notes. (If we could come up with an “E” we could call it the PARADE method. Maybe there is an Evaluation category.)
Notes in Organizedly are made up of blocks, which are visually separate (they look like blocks – see the screen shot at the top of this article). I think of blocks as mini notes inside a parent note.
I like this approach. It helps to look at my note writing in this granular way. It also facilitates the ability to sync a block in one note with another note. You can also choose to move the block to an existing note, or create a new note with the block as a base. These linking abilities are not as fully realized as in apps like Obsidian and Roam, but they are powerful enough for my needs.
The editor makes good use of markdown for formatting, though it is not a full-fledged markdown editor. There is no typewriter mode and it is easy in a long note to slam up against the bottom edge of the editor window.
As is becoming coming in these kinds of apps, you can add links to other notes, like this:
The Example note didn’t exist, but I created it by typing two open square brackets and the title. Clicking on the page icon beside the link, opens the new note in the side panel, where you can add content. Click on the link itself to switch from the current note to the linked note in the main editor.
The side panel
The right side panel provides access to several views of your information especially relating to the open note. As well as viewing a second note, you can see connections among your notes in the graph. You can open views about your tasks and your schedule.
Unlike many apps, you cannot access the list of content options you can add to a note by pressing a key such as the slash “/”. To me this is the major flaw with the editor. There is often a keyboard shortcut, so this isn’t the worst of problems, but slash-key access to content type is getting to be standard and would help Organizedly.
I’m not sure what application first introduced this feature, probably Roam Research or Obsidian. But it is a very useful idea. Open a new note for each day and use it as a place to record thoughts, events, tasks and as a jumping off spot for linking to related notes where you can expand your thinking on a specific subject. (The opening screen shot is of today’s daily note.)
Organizedly handles daily notes nicely. I create a block for each of my areas of responsibility: personal, work and volunteer. Daily notes are viewable one after the other in chronological order.
Notwithstadning the lack of slash-key access, it is relatively easy to create tasks on the fly within a note. Just click the checkbox icon in the format bar or use the keyboard shortcut (cmd+ctr+. on a Mac).
You have quick access to prioritizing the task, deleting it or hiding from the note using the disclosure arrow on the right. This also gives you access to the Open Details button where you can really pack your task with information.
You have the option to add a lot of meta-data to a task once you’ve created it. Here is an example:
You can see in the screen shot the information you can add to a task. Missing as I write this is a way to make a task recurring, though that feature is in the works. Update: as of Feburary 1, 2022, Organizedly has a recurring tasks feature, though I have not yet tried it.
If you select the Task View from the left sidebar, you can choose to inspect and manage your tasks in three different modes:
The Planner view allows you to schedule the day you want to work on a task. The date you move the task to becomes the new due date. The List view is just what it sounds like. You can sort your tasks by various metrics, including priority, start date, due date and more. And the Kanban has two layers. The top layer is a static overview that breaks out your tasks by Collection (or Area). If you decide to look at your tasks at the Collection level, you can then customize the Kanban boards to organize how best for that Collection.
Additionally, there is a quick task add feature. You can invoke it whatever else you’re doing in Organizedly, and it uses natural language for adding due dates and priorities. Save the task and go right back to what you were working on.
This is the new signature feature of Organizedly. You can drag in task lists and notes or create new notes inside a whiteboard. You can draw lines connecting notes, but you can’t label these connections. Honestly, the Whiteboard feature feels like a work in progress. I anticipate that they’ll be making this view a bit more robust in the future.
The bottom line
I like much of Organizedly. I like the block function in notes. Tasks work well enough to be useful (
though the current lack of recurring tasks is a problem I hope they fix soon as of February 1, 2022, Organizedly has a feature for recurring tasks). It most closely resembles Amplenote in functionality. Amplenote is more mature and feels more solid to me. But I find Amplenote’s interface too cluttered. Organizedly is more inviting. And I think it has greater ambitions. The developer is very responsive. I couldn’t add subtasks to a task as I was putting this article together. I sent a note to the developer and the issue was fixed before I finish writing the article. Something I miss is a way to export a single note or block. I can export my entire database as in HTML or markdown, but not a specific note. Correction: You can export selected notes from the List View.
I like Organizedly enough to begin using it for my own work, with the expectation that the few flaws it has will be fixed and that it will continue to become more powerful.