Notes in Progress Turtle

Notes are the heart and soul of Progress Turtle. The Progress Turtle system relies on two kinds of notes: (1) text-based notes and (2) counting. Both are designed to be abstract and open-ended so you can use the system however you'd like. This article explains the mechanics of Progress Turtle's note-taking systems and offers a few things to consider about keeping notes.

Daily notes

The daily notes screen is where you will spent most of your time in Progress Turtle. Each screen contains a complete listing of a given day's notes. Notes are organized under priorities in the order specified on your account's 'priorities' page.

To create a note, type it in the input field that reads 'Add note...' and hit the '+' button or press enter. The note will appear immediately in the list of notes below. The note field is intentionally short to discourage you from making long notes.

To increase or decrease the count, press the '-' and '+' buttons. Progress Turtle allows positive and negative counting. Creating, editing, and deleting text notes does not result in any change to the count.

Add notes and count

To edit a note, click on the note's text. The note will appear in the input form, where you can edit it. To save the edited note, click the 'save' button or hit enter. To stop editing the note without saving changes, click the 'close' button.

Edit notes and count

To reorder notes, use the up and down arrows to the right of each note.

Order notes

To delete a note, use the red 'x' button to the right of the note.

Delete notes

Daily count

The numbers in the yellow box in the upper right represent a total of the counting you've done for the day in all your priorities. It will also show you the number of consecutive days you've used Progress Turtle - i.e., your 'streak.' To reset or change this count, click the 'reset day' button at the bottom of any day's page.

General priority notes

To keep non-daily persistent notes on any of your priorities, click the title of the priority from either the list of priorities or any daily entry. This will bring you to a form that contains your general notes. Use this form to change a priority's name. General notes are a good place to keep higher level information related to the priority that might you want to reference later.

General notes on priorities

Thoughts from conversations with users

There's no 'correct' way to make notes. In discussing notes with our users, we've learned that methods of keeping notes differ widely depending on who you are and what your priorities are. We want everyone to feel empowered to experiment and do what's right for you. Here are a few general thoughts to consider:

Frequency: Deciding how often to take and look at your notes and counts is a highly personal topic. In discussions with users, we've found that newer users tend to have more success with Progress Turtle if they keep frequent notes to create a habit of thinking about progress in defined priorities. Over time though, healthy use habits involve setting limitations and sticking to them (this is true for computer use, phone use, and pretty much everything else, not just Progress Turtle).

Note Detail: Progress Turtle was designed for short-form notetaking. Effective notes usually consist of a small handful of words and almost never more than a couple sentences. The idea is just to help your brain create shortcuts and develop good habits. If you want to keep longer notes or a full-fleged long form journal, you may want to look for other software for that.

Counting: Progress Turtle's counter does a few things: (1) it helps you distinguish major and minor accomplishments, (2) it helps prevent you from prioritizing busyness over deep progress (i.e., quantity over quality), and (3) it adds an extra dimension to your note taking practice to help you think about your actions. There is no set method for counting progress. Take some time to think about how you account for the things you do. Ask yourself how you can hone your counting into a practice that emphasizes what's really important.

Habit Awareness: As you take notes and count the things you do, be aware of the habits you develop or identify in the process. When you identify a habit, ask yourself whether and how you might change, substitute, or eliminate the habit to make more meaningful progress.

Time Off: Rest and disconnection are important parts of making progress in anything you do. Taking breaks from Progress Turtle and returning to your note taking practice will help you gain perspective, increase your long-term success, and reveal useful modifications to your approach. In discussing this concept with users, we've found that taking a break at least every few weeks promotes steadier progress toward your priorities.

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