The Simple Trick That Made Whatsapp My #1 Productivity App

Jun 04, 2021
 Image created by the author — original image from pexels


I was sharing hot wings and discussing life’s big mysteries with a friend when she said something weird.

“Oo great point, give me a second. I’m going to send myself a message about that.”

I gave her an awkward smile because I thought the heat from the buffalo sauce had gone to her head.

Yet she taught me a simple trick that has turned Whatsapp into my favorite note-taking app. I gave up on the dedicated apps a long time ago as they always felt clunky. I never managed to keep a system for more than a few weeks at a time.

If you have the same problem, why not try transforming the way you use Whatsapp?


It’s simple to set up and takes under a minute. All you need is a friend who won’t consider you weird for removing them from a group.

  • Go to Whatsapp and click “New Group”.
  • Pick the friend you chose and press “Next”.
  • Name the group whatever you like, I called mine “Ideas” then press “Create”.
How to create your group — screenshots by the author
  • From inside the group, click on the group name and scroll down to click on your friend’s name.
  • Choose “Remove from group”.
  • Now you have a group all for yourself!
Remove your friend and send yourself messages! — screenshots by the author

This group can be your new hub for your notes to yourself and only you can see what you put there.


Why it’s so great


Max Phillips gave a great explanation in Debugger of why the iPhone Notes app is so great. Yet it doesn’t work for everyone and a large portion of the world can’t afford an Apple device.

If you’re one of over 2 billion people active Whatsapp users, you won’t need to worry about downloading another app or buying the latest phone. It doesn’t matter if you switch between different phone OSs either as you’ll always be able to access your Whatsapp history.


You can upload voice notes, images, documents, or whatever else takes your fancy to Whatsapp easily. It’s designed to allow you to share things quickly with other people but this makes it great for sending different media to yourself too.

Whatsapp Web means you can use your dedicated group to send yourself something between your devices in a painless way.

Messaging features

Here’s where Whatsapp shines vs actual note-taking apps. The features designed for a great experience chatting to a friend work for organizing your messages to yourself.

  • Quoting messages: If you want to continue a thought from a few days prior, you just need to swipe right on it. Now when you come back to it, you can click on the quoted message to see where it began.
  • Starred messages: You can star messages that you know you will refer back to in the future and don’t have to worry about scrolling through miles of text.
  • Search: Whatsapp’s search functionality is powerful and you can quickly find something from months ago even if you forgot to star.
  • Forward: I personally use my personal group to draft messages I want to send to someone else but don’t want to accidentally press send. You can forward the message when it’s done and don’t need to mess about with copying and pasting.

Whatsapp is for you

You can create a conversation with yourself on Facebook Messenger and Slack but it’s not the same.

On these channels, many people can reach me to who I wouldn’t want to give my phone number. Whatsapp is where I talk to the people I want to talk to. It has a comforting sense that comes from a decade of use and having conversations with loved ones.

I don’t have the same dread of opening the app as I do of other apps where people can contact me. Even better, you can pop your phone in airplane mode if you want to talk to yourself and not be disturbed.


It only takes a minute to get set up so there’s no harm in trying it out and seeing if it works for you.

Maybe this will be the solution you’ve been waiting for and didn’t know it.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.