Update on The Structure of My PKM

This is a follow-up on a previous blog post. Thank you Shirley for the nudge 🙂

I haven’t finished my migration into a unified system. I’m continuing to make gradual progress, and in this blog post I will share some of my reflections through this process.

I’ve updated my 2021 Projects note to have some additional headers:

  • Completed. I list my completed projects right up top so I’m reminded of how much I’ve accomplished so far this year.
  • Completed, To Be Reviewed. This is a holding ground for projects I’ve completed but haven’t yet reviewed. I typically move projects here throughout the week and then review them during my weekly review.
  • In Progress. These are the projects requiring my most immediate periods of focus.
  • Slow Burn. These are the projects I slowly chip away at over time.
  • On Hold. These are projects that I’ve temporarily de-prioritized.
  • Future. These are projects I may want to tackle in the future.
  • Dropped. These are projects that I’ve permanently de-prioritized.

My 2021 Projects note is typically pinned (ie. always visible) in Obsidian as I use this to navigate my notes on a daily basis.

Previously I listed some benefits I foresaw from moving away from a traditional PARA structure:

  • I will have a single system to navigate my notes. I’m still working towards this, and parts of my PARA folder system are still in place. There are still a few places where I’m struggling to move away from PARA folders. For example, my daily notes and notes for my regular reviews I’ve been keeping out of my thought bank so that I can more easily omit them from my graph view.
  • Notes can now live in multiple places. I’ve been finding this useful for when my notes are relevant to multiple simultaneous projects and/or multiple notes. An example of this is when I have notes that I re-use for book clubs, blog posts, and my newsletter.
  • Historical integrity can be maintained. This has been true so far as I have yet to edit a project note after the project has been completed.
  • Unexpected connections between projects may be discovered. Admittedly, I haven’t been aware of this happening. This may be related to something I will briefly touch on at the end of this post.

I also listed some concerns I had about this approach:

  • Loss of constraints may decrease intentionality and focus. I have experienced this when I created a new note and then didn’t associate it with the relevant project(s). I am trying to be more cognizant of this, though, and this is part of the reason I’ve started pinning my 2021 Projects note—to ensure it’s always at the forefront of my mind.
  • Things may get messy. I have yet to be concerned by this. I almost never look for files through the file explorer—I usually navigate using either links from other notes, or via a search function. My thought bank currently holds ~2000 files totalling ~70 MB. This isn’t enough to exceed my storage limits or cause indexing/software to be slow. So yes, things may be messy, but the mess so far is of little consequence.

There is one last thing I wanted to mention. I’ll mention it briefly here and then elaborate on it more next week.

When I signed up for Building A Second Brain and Linking Your Thinking, I expected that I would be spending a lot more time in my notes. I suspect the lack of insights and slowness in changing the structure of my PKM is related to this. And I think the reason I’m not spending more time in my notes ultimately comes down to this one factor: Fun.

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