Screenshot of a list of pages in Notion

Use the right tools

Matt Gemmell writes about the tools to facilitate his writing. These tools have been selected to meet the specific needs for the three phases of his writing process (which loosely match the GDS agile phases of discovery, alpha and beta).

  1. Generation and Capture (Discovery)
  2. Organisation and Development (Alpha)
  3. Refinement and Formalisation (Beta)

Just as Matt has specialist tools for each phase (GoodNotes, MindNode and Ulysses), my own processes and ways of working have led me to specialist tools for regular activities, but all contained within one application – Crucial to me is the avoidance of friction in doing work:

Conversely, friction does matter. Stress does matter. Annoyance while working does matter. Constant papercuts of suboptimality do matter, because they will lengthen every creative session and they’ll deplete the resources you need in order to think well.


I use a database of pages for all my notes. Each note has a minimum of a title, date and some tags. This lets me quickly organise and find notes, by either a filtered table of notes based on their tags, or by a calendar view based on the date the note was created.


I identified a need for recording resources – links to files, website, slack or teams conversations. This is done in a database list where items are tagged and titled to enable me to find them quickly in the future.


Tasks are managed in a Kanban board to keep track of things that need doing. The comments provide and audit trail of activity, and the flexibility of statuses and tags give filtering and focus.

Occasionally I use a timeline to give a visual overview of many tasks so I can roadmap work in a more ordered way.

Something I’m keen to explore in the near future is the use of relationships and rollups to consistently tag content across my notes, resources and tasks.

Inspired by, found thanks to

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