January 22, 2022

Notes

I’ve completely rearranged the way I take notes over the last month, using Obsidian as my primary tool for note-taking.

I’m using a kind of modified PARA system (Projects, Areas, Resources, Archives), where the top-level layers of my notes are organized into buckets based on their volatility. So things at the Projects layer change more quickly than the Areas, which change more quickly than Resources, etc. The names are, in my case anyway, just guidelines for how the documents in each section should be used.

I actually have a layer above Projects that is for super-volatile documents. I call it the Inbox, and when I don’t know where to file a thing yet, I just throw it in my Inbox and file it later. Maybe stole that idea from GTD methodology. Maybe my Inbox is piling up with things that I don’t have a place to file. We’ll see. It’s pretty orderly so far.

I’ve created templates for daily notes, and I’m trying really hard to create new notes instead of just putting everything from one day in one really long note. The habit of linking all of the things together, which is where more value from note-taking like this can be found, is not yet ingrained in me. If you were to ask me how for my method to create links that generate useful connections between things, I would have no idea what to tell you. People describing knowlege management systems talk about linking being important all of the time, but they don’t provide guidelines for when to link usefully. Looking at their actual notes, I find their systems both too complete looking (all of the links are already in place, not making it obvious how you would add more) and still don’t show how they arrived at the conclusion to link between the notes as they did. I thus get the impression that how to link is something personal to each note-taker, and guidelines will be very hard to come by.

I am also interested in possibly getting this blog content into Obsidian somehow. Obsidian is a better markdown editor than most I’ve used, particularly when it comes to templates and frontmatter, and even while writing this directly in Working Copy on my iPad, I long for some of the features of Obsidian in my writing. That said, there are two huge problems with using Obsidian for the blog. First, I’d have to sync my entire blog into my prime Obsidian vault to make this useful to me, and that’s thousands of “notes” that are not organized at all. Second, my blog uses git to publish, and I’d have to determine how to sync the Obsidian vault on my devices (like the iPad, where I primarily write blog posts) to somewhere that I can use git with. These two things aren’t insurmountable, but challenging to make into as smooth a workflow as I typically find with Obsidian.

Regardless, I’m liking the process so far. It’s not just the app but the organization of notes within the app, and the thought I’ve put into making it all a smooth experience.