I Keep all notes in a single folder because it makes it easier for me to keep my note-taking practice. This combined with the fact that I use Writing as a medium for making sense means that I have knowledge notes, references, cookbooks, gibberish, journaling everything at the same place.
This can reduce the quality of my Notes as a lifelong thinking partner. To solve this, I use note “types” to separate different kinds of writing, and filter based on need. Every note is defaulted to a
draft on creation.
draft notes are my “inbox”. By the time I’m done writing, it’s obvious whether it’s a journal, gibberish, note, or reference, and I update the type.
Types I use:
draft: rough ideas and quick capturing. The default type when creating a new text file. Update once the note is taking form. Draft notes are my “inbox”.
journal: putting thoughts down to process them. Their purpose is to declutter my head, express an emotion, or just write unintelligible texts.
note: linked and adequately expressed note. Since notes should be continuously refined,
notedoesn’t mean that a text is “complete”, but just means “not horrible” or “presentable”.
Over time I added new types:
- implementation/troubleshooting steps I followed to achieve something (usually software engineering related)
- notes from some content I consumed, e.g. a podcast, a book.
- tags help me differentiate between the two: Tags can be used as implicit folders in knowledge notes
- #TODO: reference type is too muddy. Using it for “cookbooks”, “webclips”, “notes for things I read”, “things to look refer to for ideas” is just too noisy. But adding more types will make this thing horrible to work with. See below.
implicit: empty notes to be filled later - Backlinks can create implicit nodes in networked notes.
structure-note: bringing various notes together: Outline notes are useful for telling a story, e.g. tying together the various ideas of a book. I don’t use these a lot. 1
Structure or just friction?
I am on the fence about having so many types since I might end up with Problems of hierarchical taxonomies, like decision fatigue and fuzzy boundaries. I usually Try-things-out-and-improve-iteratively-as-needed.
Related: Andy Matuschak’s Taxonomy of notes
2023-08-11: On second thought, it’s unclear to me why this requires to be a separate type. Structure notes should be defined from their “outliney” nature, not from a note type. On the other hand, having a type makes it easier to filter for these. ↩
Links to this note
Using folders and subfolders or any kind of note-taking interface that promotes hierarchical structure will face the Problems of hierarchical taxonomies. In the end, you end up with a system...
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