A chance encounter with an app changed how I write things down.

Background by Drew Beamer on Unsplash | Photo edit by CodeMacLife

I know I have mentioned this many times before, but I will briefly mention it again (briefly). At the start of 2023, I had a disastrous experience with a popular note-taking app, which meant losing an entire project for work. There was no way of recovering the data, and the app’s customer support had no way of recovering what I had lost either.

All I wanted was something to quickly capture ideas, thoughts, links, and tasks. To be honest, the app in question did not really do this. It just looked pretty. It also functioned like an old, dying elephant.🐘

I set out to find something better. Something that would work across all the different platforms I was using at the time. It had to be quick, enjoyable to use, clutter-free, and have a great community that wanted to help each other learn how to use the app.

I found such an app. It is called Twos!✌️

Imagine an app, a digital bullet journal of sorts, where you can add notes, tasks, events, link between notes, and share your information with others. Well, that is Twos. It is free with purchasable Pro features. However, you can earn in-app coins to purchase these pro features for free. Sign up with this referral link to receive 200 extra coins — https://www.TwosApp.com?code=codemaclife

First steps

I created an account, followed their onboarding instructions, explored the settings and played around with every feature it offered. I was greatly pleased with what I was experiencing. Dare I say, I was getting excitable. That was one year ago on the 16th January. Eight days after the regrettable events that had unfolded in the other app I was using.

I read a bit more about Twos. I wanted to see what people were saying the good, bad, and ugly about using Twos. I couldn’t find anything bad or ugly from the users, which made me sceptical. Furthermore, I was keen to explore to see if their claims of the being great were true or not. There must have been an hour or two dedicated to be reading the Discord channel and other comments across the internet. This was before I had written anything more than a task and one thing(things are each block of information in Twos).

I thought to myself — why don’t I just start using the app and learn the basics while I write things down in Twos?

Similar to bullet journaling, I wanted to start with keeping it simple. I know from working as an educator in England that getting a solid foundation of knowledge is key to building further skills.

I have no idea how long I spent in Twos on the first day, but I remember my phone’s battery went down to a single digit. I’m not one to spend a lot of time on my phone, and I don’t remember the time I have ever let my phone drop before 10%. Twos was mesmerising.

Now

Fast track to 365 days of using Twos. How has it gone?

It doesn’t take me long to figure out if an app will be the right fit for me. I have experienced a lot of them across three and a half decades of using computers. I’m confident to say I can make a verdict on an app within two hours. Many of them have the same features and a slightly different approach to aesthetics.

Twos is the first app in a long time when I haven’t thought about leaving. I expect I will be using Twos in five years time. Seriously, Twos, please don’t go anywhere! 🙏

I genuinely believe my experience of using a bullet journal and love for minimalism has influenced my unwavering admiration for Twos.

I work in a fast-paced environment. You wouldn’t think schools would be chaotic, but they are. I also have many responsibilities outside work, too. Being a father means I have to keep on top of my son’s busy, social schedule. There is a lot to process, mentally and physically. Don’t worry, though. Twos has my back.

The ten-month reset

Around ten months, I backed up my Twos data and deleted it all. I wasn’t planning to leave Twos. In fact, it was me thinking about how I was going to use Twos long-term.

Through trial and error, I tested all the different possible ways to use Twos. I mimicked approaches I had seen through the internet and Twos World (more on that later). There were a handful of systems I had previously used implemented in Twos. To be honest, my things in Twos were starting to look like a mess. I needed a new start.

With a blank slate, I create a list. It was called Twos — Part 2. Lists are like collections in bullet journaling. I sat down and thought about what I wanted my Twos system. In BuJo terms, I rapid-dashed ideas down as things in the list. Nothing more than five minutes and I had the ideal system for Twos.

I now have something that is easy to use, easier to maintain, and the easiest system I could possibly use in Twos.

Two features I use each day

Home

I dismissed the home page for a while. I always had my Twos set up to go to the Today page. However, I thought about the areas I use the most and thought it would be better for me to set them up on the home page and enable Twos to go straight to the home page. The Today link is always available from there anyway.

I have upcoming events, tasks, a gratitude, and affirmations lists I add to each day as well as my week view. Tags, stars and recent are all available from the Home page, too.

The Home page gives me a glance of what I have on.

Double tap entries via Apple Shortcuts

Whether I am reading an article, thinking of an idea or want to record something to expand later in the day, I can double tap the back of my phone to enable the Twos prompt. It allows me to quickly add a thing to my Today list. There is no need to open Twos and add to my Today page, enabling me to get back to what I am doing.

To achieve this, I used Apple Shortcuts to create a shortcut available for Twos. In Settings, I went into accessibility > Touch > Back Tap. You can choose from a list of phone features or one of your Apple Shortcut list.

Two steps and I have my thing in Twos!

I feel my back tap method is a reason why I use Twos so much. It is quick, convenient and allows me to continue with what I am doing. There are distractions from Twos or any other app, just a simple prompt saying ‘What do you want to remember?’

Twos World

If you have no idea what Twos World is, here is my explanation and why I love accessing it each day.

Twos gets its name from the ability to record, privately or publicly. There are two options. As default, your tasks, events, links, photos, notes are private. Only you can see them. However, the second option opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Twos World is where you can access, like and comment on the things and lists of others. It is a haven of knowledge, learning, quotes, and personal experiences. It is a positive social media-like experience. No negative vibes here. We are a community of individuals who want the best for each other.

A particular favourite of mine is book reviews/notes. I like how I can read the notes from a reader’s post. The summary, quotes, messages, and reflections make Twos the perfect book club. I have been inspired to buy the books myself. At the same time, I have seen the content and chosen not to pursue a purchase. My time and attention is valuable, meaning I can spend my efforts on a book I will take value from. Thank you, Twos community!

Sharing on Twos is like having your blog. To prove a point, this post is available on Twos to read. There’s no option to have a custom domain, but it is a great start to sharing your content online. Did I mention this is all free? No added subscriptions here!

Twos have come a long way

The Twos app I used one year ago is noticeably different to the Twos app I use now. A lot more useful features have been added to make Twos the perfect companion to use every day. Look at the Twos Roadmap to see what has been added and what is coming to the app.

Toggle headings have to be my favourite feature of all. I don’t necessarily want information in a new list, but I would like to be able to hide the content when I am viewing it on the Today page. By introducing the toggle feature, I was able to focus on the content that needed my attention without being hidden with an array of other information.

Talking about focus. Did you know Twos has a focus feature? It requires a bit of further polish, but it is great for those who want to time their activities. I like the Pomodoro technique because I struggle to focus for 25 minutes, or I spend too long on an activity.

To be honest, I could write a blog or two about the features of Twos. I have two already:

I created a list of the features from the roadmap I would like to see come out — here.

Features I would like to see come to Twos

Some features are not on the list above. I believe these would make great additions to Twos. I hope they would help others.

Twos Extension

Twos has an extension to quickly clip an article or website. I find it useful when I want to quickly capture the website without opening up Twos. Unfortunately, the extension is missing from Apple Safari for Mac. This is my primary browser. I would like to see the extension come out for Safari via the Apple Mac Store.

Capturing an article using Twos extension.

Another thing missing, and I believe, an option underneath the extension to add a comment about the bookmarked link. There have been times when I have bookmarked a link and then wondered why I had. I have no idea in what context I saved it. Twos is a tool for remembering, after all. I would expect the captured website to save as a toggled header, with comments about the website to be indented below. Having comments to with the content you save is useful for the future self.

Offline for desktop and web app

There are times when I purposely go offline to keep focus. Other times, I simply don’t have access to the internet. Twos works amazingly offline on the phone and tablet apps. However, I am yet to experience all of my content offline on the desktop.

I believe Twos needs a PWA experience with full access to your data when offline. I know how useful it was when I used Amplenote for six months. The desktop apps for Twos can be hit-and-miss. I can gain access to some lists and the Today page. Other lists hand with a message saying it is trying to receive the data.

I try to avoid using my phone, so the desktop is where I mostly use Twos. Safari is my main browser and Arc is my backup browser. If a PWA could be available for both, that would be great news.

2FA

I would like to see 2FA come to Twos. As I enter more information into the app, I would like to know I have an extra layer of protection for my data. I trust Twos with my information. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad actors out on the internet who would like to gain access to user’s content. It also doesn’t look good for a company when their customer’s data is breached.

Backlinks

Already on the roadmap, backlinks is another feature I want to see. Linking words with two lists is a great way to link thoughts. Even better would be the ability to see how the lists are connected, with a toggle to see in what context the two lists are connected.

Finally — tiles on the Home page

I have three linear lists on my Home page — gratitude, affirmations, and quotes. It would be great to see them tiled next to each other like they can in the Craft Docs app. It would save me having to scroll down to access the lists out of view. I’m not sure how that would look on the mobile screen. Maybe three smaller squares? In addition, it would have the option to hide the preview of the list’s content. The minimal look would be aesthetically pleasing.

A mockup of tiles on Two’s Home page

Thank you, Twos✌️

I feel so lucky to have found Twos when I needed it. I can’t thank Parker, Joe, and others who worked on Twos, especially Nino’s design and feature ideas.

If you are interested in Twos, use my referral link to sign up — https://www.TwosApp.com?code=codemaclife

As always, thank you for reading my post.

Mark @ CodeMacLife

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