The Wonders of the Apple Pencil

A year ago, I got myself an Apple Pencil and a new iPad for Christmas, because I love myself very much. The idea of the Apple Pencil seemed great. I’d be able to use my iPad as a notebook. Drawing! Notes! What wasn’t to like? Except when I got it and had it all set up, I walked away disappointed. The note taking apps I found left me sadly wanting more, and my iPad started seeing less and less use. Instead, I’d turn to my phone to thumb down some notes. It was far from perfect, but it was convenient, so I made do.

While I was down in San Antonio, I saw my sister using her Apple Pencil all. The. Time. It baffled me, really, because like I said, I hadn’t had much luck with mine. So I had her show me how she uses it. For her, it all came down to one simple app: GoodNotes. It let her make to do lists, organize her thoughts down on virtual paper, and keep track of her life. I was intrigued enough I grabbed my iPad (which I’d brought along to watch movies on the plane) and bought the app right away.

It made an enormous difference in how I use my iPad.

Suddenly, I’m taking it with me everywhere. I’ve always written down To Do lists in a notebook or on tiny scraps of paper. GoodNotes lets me write on my iPad, instead. It lets me import work documents and then take notes on those documents in meetings. And then(!) I don’t need to worry about losing those notes after I take them. No need to hold onto the pieces of paper, because I never had any paper to begin with.

But the biggest sign that this has really impacted my life? I’ve started using GoodNotes instead of Google Sheets or Excel for certain tasks.

I know. Crazy, right? For years, a spreadsheet has been my go-to solution for just about everything. Need to organize Christmas purchases? Spreadsheet. Need to keep track of bits of information. Spreadsheet. Need to work on a budget? Spreadsheet. It’s not like GoodNotes has totally replaced my need/love for Excel, but it’s made it so some things are more convenient in the app than in Excel. Take my Christmas purchasing plans, for example.

Before, I’d keep track of all of it in a spreadsheet. Who’s getting what, how much I spent, what I have left to buy. The biggest problem with this is interacting with the information is a beast. You have to find the cell, click into it, type notes down, then go elsewhere to keep it going. But it was better than a list, because I could spread the information across the page anyway I liked.

Kind of like a piece of paper.

GoodNotes lets me do all of that on a piece of electronic paper. I can add more pages to the note, change the layout, copy and paste information from what spot to another, all using the Apple Pencil. Does it all come down to the app? I don’t know. Maybe I just didn’t catch the right vision when I first used the Pencil, but I’ve caught it now. The less physical paper I can have in my life, the better. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with it and plotting a story . . .

Which is good, because my sister owed me something after that Bodypump debacle. All is forgiven, Susie. 🙂


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