Busy Student Marc Hoogendorp Uses xTiles for Knowledge Management
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Post-it notes were once Marc Hoogendorp’s constant “companion” — the ever-present ally for note-taking, organizing, and task management.
That was until using post-its became unmanageable.
They began to hold back his productivity. Tasks like transferring notes to a Word document were taking too much time. When he found xTiles, it was like seeing the digital version of post-its except they were more organized and easily retrievable.
He hasn’t looked back since.
“Of all the knowledge management apps I've tried, this is what has worked for me. I’m a visually-oriented person. I want to see information in blocks — like post-it notes. I also want a fast way to retrieve these notes. xTiles meets that demand."
Felt a bit scattered with all his notes in different places.
Used apps that forced him to organize notes in folders which often didn’t give him enough context.
Used many post-it notes which he says are very useful but can be unfriendly to the environment.
More organized notes that were easy to find, review, and connect.
Easily able to see a macro view of the topics he’s working on just by looking at one page.
Happy to do his part for the planet by not using too many post-it notes anymore.
From overwhelmed to a fully-organized student
How do you become efficient at note-taking while also ensuring you can retrieve relevant information as and when you need it.
This was Marc’s struggle as he approached his last year in college. School demands were getting tougher and he had limited time to study.
He needed to get more organized. To take notes quickly. Efficiently summarize books. Link ideas together. And carry out projects without wasting time.
There must be an app for this,” he thought.
"I started with the big names like Notion and Obsidian and a couple more note-taking apps, after that. I later found Heptabase. It’s visually-oriented like xTiles but it’s fully local."
Marc was looking for an app that could display his notes visually and could be used on the go. He also wanted to be able to easilyand quickly make sense of his notes when it was time to study, or do a project.
"I tried mind-mapping. But it's mostly just a subject or a header which doesn't tell me so much about the content within those headers. I wanted something where I could add more details to each heading so that I had context whenever I looked at my notes."
See, Marc didn't just want a digital notebook. He wanted a second brain. A repository of topics he'd learned that he could easily retrieve whenever he needed to.
He wanted an all-in-one place where he could drop multimedia resources for easy access. In this way, he wouldn’t have to alternate between tools when he was studying or doing a project.
This is what xTiles does for Marc. Not only does he use it for note-taking, but he also uses it to organize his notes visually.
For Marc, xTiles was an easy transition as it felt so familiar. The main difference is that organizing notes is now easier than before. It’s also less messy and more sustainable.
“I don't think I’ll ever use another app that has no visual aspect to it. I have to see connections between my notes visually. xTiles does that for me.”
Zooming in to focus and zooming out for context — in a flash
Marc gets a lot of schoolwork that tests his practical skills in safety management — the subject he’s studying.
Every time his professor gives him one of these projects, organization is key. xTiles helps him with this.
He puts everything he needs to know about the project on one page. This makes it easy for him to zoom in to focus on a specific task. And then zoom out when he needs to assess how his project is progressing.
“The hierarchy of pages, blocks, and tiles is really important. I just look at the page and I'm already making connections in my head. The more visual it is for me, the better it works. If I see the connections between all my notes, it helps me get focused right away.”
Having everything he needs for a project on one page means much less cognitive load.
Whenever he sits down to work, he no longer spends a long time searching and making connections in his head. Everything he needs to know is on one page. This means he can give 100% focus to the work at hand instead of doing unnecessary tasks — tasks that don’t add to the quick and efficient completion of any project he’s working on.
What’s more, Marc can regularly add and remove resources to and from each page as his understanding of a topic evolves. All this without making the pages messy.
"What I don’t like about most note-taking tools is that it forces you to organize your notes based on some kind of a hierarchy — like folders for example. But with xTiles, all my notes about one topic are on one page. This makes it very easy for me to see what I'm supposed to do — which helps me finish projects quickly, too.”
Making more space for the finer things in life
Imagine working full-time while also studying for a bachelor's degree. And on top of that, having a young family. That's Marc's everyday reality.
Time, for him, is an extremely valuable commodity. And he has done everything he can to allocate time for each aspect of his life.
"I have about 18 hours a week I can use for school. The better my focus is the more I can do with that allotted time. If I don't have focus, it will take me more time to do the same task."
Using xTiles, Marc can make full use of the time he spends on schoolwork.
All his notes are already organized. So whenever he sits down to study, he’s focused on the task at hand. He doesn’t waste precious time flipping through files and notes or scrolling through dozens of pages of a Word document.
What this boils down to is this:
Because Marc can give 100% focus to school work during his scheduled time, when it’s time to be with his family, he’s with them 100%, too.
"For me, xTiles is the knowledge management app for when you don’t have a lot of time and you need to be focused everytime you sit down to work. There are hundreds of apps that can help me manage my knowledge. But xTiles is the one app that saves me time and gets me focused right away. That, for me, is a game changer."
Constantly switched between two different apps for task management and journaling.
Annoyed that his digital files were all over the place with no clear organization.
Felt a bit scattered using many different tools to manage his daily tasks.
Delighted with his personal task management and journaling template that is customized to fit his needs.
Pleased with how his documents are organized and how quickly he can retrieve any specific file he’s looking for.
Feels focused and organized using only one tool to plan and manage his life.
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