In this article, I will be discussing Tana and how I use it on a daily basis.
When I first experienced Tana, I was shocked by its usefulness.
Yes, these guys did an amazing job and continue to do so!
However, despite its many features, I only use it for two simple purposes, not taking advantage of the rest.
Anyway, the main purpose of this article is not to explain these two features but to share with you the approach you should take whenever you encounter a new tool. That’s what truly matters.
So, let’s dive in!
What Is Tana? (for Me)
Tana, for me, is a satellite app in the ICOR® Framework.
If you’re familiar with ICOR®’s terminology, this single statement explains what this app represents in my productivity system.
In a nutshell, satellite apps are easily replaceable and are meant to improve productivity in the INPUT and REFINE stages of ICOR®.
For my specific needs, Tana serves as a valuable tool in refining a crucial process in my work and life: outlining
Feature 1: A Beautiful Outliner
For me, the main feature that sets Tana apart is its gorgeous GUI/UX.
In fact, it was the reason why I switched from being an avid Workflowy user for many years.
Tana’s sleek interface and additional features made it a no-brainer for me.
I’ve always believed that using apps I love seeing and using is key to my productivity. They make things easy, intuitive, and comfortable on a daily basis.
When I’m motivated and energized by an app, it positively boosts my work and life, making me produce at peak performance.
Tana is the perfect example of this.
There’s a significant difference when I compare Tana’s GUI/UX with Workflowy’s. It’s not any specific thing, but rather a combination of subtle details that create the perfect atmosphere for me to say, “I prefer to be here than there.”
But, it wasn’t just the GUI/UX that convinced me to switch my outlining tool. Tana had even more to offer.
Feature 2: Supertags
As a computer science engineer, I was absolutely floored when I saw the supertag implementation that Tana’s crew had designed and developed.
This implementation’s potential is huge, so much so that I can’t even imagine what the future may hold.
But despite all of that potential, I’ve kept things fairly basic in my own app use.
I’ve created a simple implementation to manage my content generation workflow. With just one simple field added to my “post” supertag, I can control my entire content creation funnel with zero friction.
Whenever I have an idea, I quickly jot it down and use the power of outlining to develop the main points, if necessary.
From there, that piece of content easily moves along inside my funnel.
I absolutely love seeing everything organized in the simplest way possible.
For me, simplicity is key. It brings clarity to both my work and my life.
I don’t need anything else.
Tana’s Advantages (for Me)
Moving from Workflowy to Tana has given me several key advantages:
- The GUI/UX of Tana is absolutely beautiful, making the app’s overall experience much more enjoyable.
- Tana comes packed with additional features that I may not necessarily need now but could come in handy in the future (you never know…).
- I love using all my old Workflowy shortcuts to quickly outline anything, not just articles (outlining is how I develop all my ideas).
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to use all the features a tool has to offer. This is the main goal of this article.
In my case, I’m only using about 5% of Tana’s features (sorry, Tana’s crew…), but that’s all I need within my ICOR® Tool Stack.
At the end of the day, software companies work for us to make our work and lives easier, better, and simpler. You don’t work for them. That’s why you pay.
It’s up to you to choose the tools that work best for you (and just you) and use them to maximize your productivity and overall satisfaction.
Tana’s Drawbacks (for Me)
As we get older, we learn to internalize the fact that nothing in life is 100% perfect.
Every decision we make comes with some disadvantages, and my decision to switch to Tana was no exception.
The only drawback for me is that I’m unable to have the text centered on the screen.
As a node on Tana can store anything, and the information can be presented in so many different ways, having the text centered on the screen is simply not possible.
I had a pretty interesting and enriching discussion about this within Tana’s community and concluded, together with Tana’s development team, that it wasn’t something that could be easily implemented (in fact, as I said before, almost impossible…).
So, my solution is not to maximize the Tana window. Instead, I fit the window on my screen until I have the text centered.
It may sound silly, but it works for me.
I suffered a little bit of friction at first, but I’ve come to accept it because the pros of using Tana far outweigh the cons.
And ultimately, that’s the balance you should always strive for.
While Tana may have many other weaknesses, they don’t affect me at all.
Here are a few examples:
- I don’t care if Tana doesn’t have a mobile app since I always use outliners on my desktop.
- I don’t care about how Tana manages information since it’s not my SSOT (Single Source Of Truth) regarding knowledge management.
- I don’t care about how Tana manages tasks or projects since it’s not my go-to project manager or task manager related to ICOR®’s action world.
The fact that I’m only using about 5% of Tana’s features doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
Sure, it’s like using a Ferrari to go out and buy some groceries, so what?
What matters most to me is how Tana allows me to implement a workflow I’ve been polishing for decades with zero friction.
Ultimately, that’s the only goal you should have when deciding whether a tool fits within your ICOR® Tool Stack as you build your own productivity system.
If it works for you, it’s worth it!