When Ideas Strike, Use YANA

We all gravitate toward some organizational system, ranging from planners and Google Calendar to color-coded folders and bullet journals. These systems, however, all have one thing in common: they are designed for organized people. They are great for those who are able to compartmentalize their ideas before entering tasks into their chosen system. However, these systems do not cater to the mind without a sense of organization itself.

This summer, while scrolling on Facebook, I came across an article written by one of my fellow computer science peers, Nicholas Chen. He spent the summer developing YANA, short for Yet Another Notetaking App. The app is designed to address a problem that traditional note-taking systems fail to alleviate. 

Image Credit: Medium

Nick shares his inspiration behind YANA.

“It looks to me like organizational apps are being built for organized people. The problem isn’t that they’re not powerful — they are! But that power is locked behind a labyrinth of folders and menus, and only organized people are good with those, and what’s the point of an organizational app if it can’t help unorganized people?” I instantly resonated with the same pain Nicholas describes above. His system is designed to allow thoughts to flow freely; you just write them down in the order they come to mind. Only once you have everything written down do you proceed to categorizing each thought. 

Out of all the note-taking applications that exist, YANA is now my go-to system. Similar to Nicholas, my mind does not care if I am in the middle of a school assignment or responding to an email; it may very well decide to start thinking about which groceries I need or my next great business idea. Although YANA may be Yet Another Notetaking App, it differentiates itself in an invaluable way. By allowing a stream of consciousness approach, no ideas are left undocumented.

“YANA tries to let you capture your thoughts like an unorganized person shoves things into their desk. Just write your thoughts down. Don’t worry about putting your political thoughts all on one note, or in one folder. You can stick your side project ideas with your shopping list with your political theories with your personal reflections. The philosophy is, write now, organize later.” Nicholas created a solution that traditional products failed to solve. His ability to pinpoint a problem with the products which exist today, develop a solution, and implement it from start to finish is something we can all learn from. Next time something is not working for you, see it as an opportunity to innovate. You never know how many people may be in need of your solution.