Introducing ListNote

Tasks and notes belong together.


Tasks and notes belong together.

ListNote is an idea born out of my personal productivity workflow combined with frustration in using other task management products - it's a note-taking tool with a task database.

The key idea here is to combine the power of text with tasks:

  • easily create notes and write in markdown
  • while typing notes, create tasks with a keyboard shortcut - []
  • track those tasks across notes with a central "task list" view
  • create a daily journal note with today's date in one click
  • within the journal note, you can insert all uncompleted tasks to plan your day

The power of this product is to capture tasks with the context around them. For example, here's how I've used it:

  • As I filed my taxes, I made notes on items to follow-up on inside the "2021 Taxes" note. I get reminded about these items and don't forget about them, and can jump back to the notes for the bigger picture
  • When I planned a birthday outing for my wife, I created tasks for things like booking dinner reservations while writing up the itinerary. I can happily report that everything got done and we had a great trip.
  • As I've worked on ListNote, I have a daily log of things I'm working on. Any uncomplete tasks get rolled into the next day, and I don't lose any bugs that I've discovered.


I came up with the idea when I created a ClickUp project for my home projects after hearing how great that product was.

I created a list, and realized that I immediately wanted to break out of the list structure - I wasn't sure what tasks to create, and wanted to write some things down to organize my brain. ClickUp has docs! But it's a separate product that doesn't interact with the Lists product.


That's when I realized that all task managers have the same problem - when presented with a list of tasks, you can only create tasks. And note taking apps, even when they let you create tasks (like Notion) have a different problem - if you're not looking at that particular note, you won't see those tasks either.

That's when I started working on ListNote.

(For background, I spent 2009-2013 working on Astrid, a personal and shared todo list, so I have some familiarity with the productivity space. I felt at the time that it was impossible to build a one-size-fits-all task manager, so I didn't expect to return to the problem, but here we are)

Current Status

Here's an image of a ListNote document with some tasks and notes. At the top are the uncomplete tasks carried over into that day's journal:

  • I've got the backend written in Elixir, including user management, document writing, and task listing.

  • I've got the frontend working in Typescript / Preact using Vite.js for building. Honestly this backend + frontend combo is great, I might write about that more.

  • I've picked out the document editor I'm using, which is Prosemirror. It's working pretty well, though I'm still learning the various quirks working with that platform.

You can try it for yourself at

My main challenge is how to launch this to a wider audience - I'm thinking Product Hunt might be a good place to start and get some feedback, perhaps the Reddit productivity subreddit.

For starters, I think I'm going to explain this product as a "personal project manager" - good enough to collaborate with friends and family, and small work projects, but not really aiming to take on JIRA and ClickUp yet. I think that's an underserved niche, with products like Todoist and Workflowy as other products in that space.

The future

Once ListNote is stable and supports collaboration, I'd like to start getting real people to use it. I think at that point it's good enough to prove its value, even if it's missing all of the features of products like Notion or Asana. My hope is that this product can be simpler / less ambitious and still succeed - rather than build for any kind of parity, I'll try to listen more to what users ask for.

I also plan to clean up the code and open source it, allowing end users to self-host for security or financial reasons.

Task managers have traditionally come and gone, but this is a project that I think has staying power because it pairs tasks, which are transient (when completed, they disappear!) with notes, which are long-term.

I'm as excited about this as anything I'm working on, I hope you'll follow me on this journey and share whatever feedback you have.

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