A Review of MyMind

I do not do product reviews on this blog often. The last (and first) time I did it was with YourStack, and while I’ve used a lot of tools since then nothing has particularly caught my interest. But the tides have changed yet again, and it’s time for me to preach to you all the gospel of MyMind.

MyMind (stylized as “mymind”) is a productivity/note-taking/bookmarking tool. I’ve used a lot of these in the past few years — Readwise, Instapaper, etc. etc. — but MyMind provides some interesting additions to the formula. The gimmick behind MyMind is essentially purposeful disorganization: you toss things in there, and worry about them later. This description might sound unappealing, but is actually very powerful in practice.

There are, as of now, three key features of MyMind: Search, Save, and Clear. Ironically, Search — despite being the feature they advertise the most — is the bad one. The only bad one, mind you, but still the bad one. MyMind claims to have a “machine-learning” approach to categorizing all your stuff — you can set up manual tags, sure, but the app will also automatically create tags based off the knowledge it infers about the site/image/notes themselves. The problem is that the search for this info is… not good.

Let me give you an example. Last week, I talked about reading Designing Virtual Worlds. Let’s see if we can search up “Designing Virtual Worlds”, and try and find my bookmark for it in the app.

…Well? Did you find it?

It’s at the bottom left corner if you’re still having trouble. I’d also like to point your direction to the scroll bar on this search. Hell, it’s not even something you have to infer — it’s a plain text note! It just has “Designing Virtual Worlds” written on it, for christssakes! What the hell does a Tim Ferriss book, Azure documentation, an RPG Maker plugin, and Jean-Luc Godard’s 1962 classic Vivre Sa Vie have ANYTHING to do with designing virtual worlds? How did you even get them to show up on the list? I can go as far as putting in the exact, one-to-one URLs and it will still not show up, or worse, pretend it doesn’t exist — forcing me to add it again only to realize that no, it was in there, it just didn’t show up.

Now, that all being said… part of this is a personal problem. I am a data hoarder, and as of writing this I have 8,475 entries in my MyMind pool. I’ve gotten other hints that the app isn’t meant to run with this many entries (such as the fact that it takes a full minute to load the list) so I am willing to give the developers some slack on this. It is also, like I mentioned, the only caveat I have about the app.

Now, let’s get to the fun stuff.

MyMind’s Save feature, by comparison, is a beautifully designed aspect. Not since Instapaper have I seen so many options to save content online — when MyMind saves you can put any trash you want in there, it really means anything. With the app and the extension, you can save websites, highlights (both on PC and mobile), website images, and more. You can also manually add files and notes if you wish. For some reason, some apps really kind of half-ass this. With my Notion clipper, for example, I can only save websites, making it inconvenient if I just see a small clipping within a site that I would like to go back to. This save function allows MyMind to walk the walk when it comes to its claim as storage for anything on your mind. The Save feature also provides a good segue into the third and final major feature: Clear.

This is the big one.

I don’t think I have ever seen a tool that feels so heavily like it was built for me as Clear. It is also so simple, I’m shocked I have not found another app with the same concept.

Here’s the idea around Clear:

  • You know that big, disorganized database of stuff you have lying around? Those 8,000+ bookmarks that probably cause a genuine disruption to the entire infrastructure? Let’s grab 10-15 of those, totally at random.
  • Let’s then let you focus on one item at a time. Say it’s a reading, or a todo, or a video, or whatever else. You get two options: Keep, or Forget. Decided to finally read that article? Press the “forget” button, and it’s gone from memory. Want to save it for another time (again)? Press the “keep” button, and move on.
  • Once you finish with the full 10-15 item batch, you get a break. Once you’re done from your break — however long you want it to be — go right back into it, do another 10-15 item batch, ad infinitum.

There are a lot of things that I never get done, because there are either 1) scattered across many todos, reading lists, etc., or 2) Scary to look at and so I purposely avoid them. If I put everything all in one place, however, I no longer get those excuses. If it comes up in the queue, then well, God himself has deemed this 1/8000th chance and so I might as well do it. I am also very ADD and appreciate a system that gives me drastically different tasks to do one after the other, so that I never get bored.

I know my massive laundry list of items seems like I might push things off, but I’ve must’ve used the clear feature for about 6,000 items now, and god knows how many hours. It is the first productivity tool that feels addictive, it almost gamifies work in a way I haven’t seen since I chugged hours into 100% completing Habitica. Speaking of which, I do not dare find out what happens when you cross this with Habitica. Perhaps it’s time to renew the premium subscription?

But really, despite my poor thoughts on Search, I really do think MyMind has been a game changer for me. My only real concern is how much the company has been focusing on search over clear, but the app is still very much in its early stages and I imagine once blog posts like mine come out they might shift perspective. Or otherwise fix search, in which case I would not wish to be working at another productivity company because MyMind pretty much has the market at that point.

Anyway, go check it out! It is a paid tool but obviously I recommend it for its price. It also has a “demo” like free plan that I think would get you a good idea of whether you’d like to use the app or not. You can find MyMind here.

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