On Keeping Plain Text Simple

by: Scott Nesbitt | 04 February 2020

What drew me to plain text was simplicity. At its core, plain text is just that. Simple.

It’s far too easy to make plain text more complex than it needs to be. It’s tempting to follow the urge to try to find the ultimate tool or tool chain or workflow, to search for the ultimate app, to seek out the ultimate system form using plain text. Yes, I’m speaking from experience: I’ve been guilty of doing all of that that myself in the past.

Plain text should boil what you need to do down to its essentials. To successfully and efficiently use plain text in your working and personal life, you probably only need one or two tools, a few templates, and a set of files. And, of course, a way to easily manage those files.

To embrace the simplicity of plain text, you need to find what works for you, Don’t indulge in tool fetishism or too-tightly embracing your inner geek or endlessly searching for the one system to rule them all. The perfect tool or system or app doesn’t exist. Find something you’re comfortable with, something that you enjoy using. It might not be perfect, but if that tool or system or app does the job then it’s a good fit.

For many of us, keeping plain text simple can mean increased productivity. It can mean less friction. It can mean improved focus. And aren’t those many of the reasons why embraced plain text in the first place?