The Rise and Return of Outliner Applications
Dynalist, Workflowy, Bear will all make a rise to fame this year
The focus in the last few years has mainly been on the world of to-do list applications, note-taking tools, and calendar applications, but one resource that has been left out of the many big parties has been outliners.
What’s an Outliner?
Outliners are straightforward tools that allow you to organize your thoughts, tasks, and projects. They’ve typically been reserved for those who don’t get on well with project-focused task management tools and the feature-rich note-takers, that like a balance between the two of these productivity resources.
In the last six months, with the success of Notion, many people have been turning back to this essential wiki/doc style tool as an escape from the traditional handles of productivity management online.
What have people been using?
Folks have been flocking to Roam mainly.
Roam Research is a new outliner tool for managing ideas and planning lightweight personal projects, but with a twist. Roam allows users to connect and network notes together, a little like how the human brain works.
While Roam isn’t the only tool on the block, it’s among the top tools to go to right now, for those individuals who can’t grasp the workspace natures of Notion but want a simple management tool to get work done and ideas flowing.
What will this space hold?
The prediction here is that many people will shift towards Notion as their centerpiece of productivity, their hub, ditching tools like to-do list apps, note-takers, and maybe, but maybe not, calendar tools.
Those who don’t see Notion as their base will head to outliners.
What outliners are out right now?
There are so many more solo tools, but these are my favorite all-rounders.
- Dynalist — add tasks, notes, dates, and outline away!
- Bear Notes — designed more towards writers, but works well outlining.
- Roam Research — networked thought makes this one special!
- Workflowy — a long time hero for outliner professionals
- OmniOutliner — a brother to OmniFocus and a pop tool for Apple users
Zapier has a fantastic selection of over 20 means that I’d recommend looking at:
Make a Plan: How to Outline Your Ideas with 20 Outliner Tools
It doesn’t matter how many ideas you have if you can’t connect them. To turn those scattered concepts into a finished…
Not for everyone
Note, these outliners aren’t for everyone. Still, I do see a significant trend towards this as we move into a wiki-based life management system that will change the way productivity tools are positioned.
Outliners are Notion’s toughest competition right now. Let’s see how this goes.
Thank you for taking a peek at my predictions for the next year.