How do you organize what you know so that you can use it for inspiration later?
Here’s what I have:
Capture and sharing:
- Words, sketches, brainstorms – paper and pen
- Mindmap on my iPod Touch and laptop
- Quick tips through microblogging and bookmarks
- Longer thoughts in my blog and on wikis
- Generally useful information – slides, presentations
- Book notes – scanned pages, text files; this needs to be integrated into my system and set up for regular review
- One big text file organized with outlines and keywords for life, and another big text file for work
- Indexes in my notebooks
- Randomness, similarity, and on-this-day in my blog
- Outlines and keywords
Index cards are useful for brainstorming too (especially for life planning or when I’m sketching a big talk that doesn’t have an obvious structure), but I don’t use them for long-term storage yet. My blog includes first drafts as well as more polished posts. I need a place to braindump. =) If you want less volume and more thought, just check out the highlights.
I love the idea of a morgue file. I’d love to eventually build myself a good random-access information management system. I currently stuff most things into my blog, and am slowly figuring out how to organize things more. I used to use howm, which was pretty cool too (if very geeky). I may go back to building a personal wiki. W- uses Tiddlywiki. =) Digital works well for me because I like being able to access things from anywhere. I don’t interact with enough paper to have a full-blown paper system, and would rather go digital instead of printing things out to integrate them with a paper system.
I love mapping things out. Mapping helps me navigate, see gaps, and plan. It’s also a good way to make it easier for other people to discover interesting things.
Next steps for me:
- Digitize paper
- Build indices
- Build online and offline naming conventions for linking
- Flesh out map
- Learn more
More to come as I figure out and improve my system. =)
Thanks to Eric Blue for the inspiration!