✣ Organizing Notes and Ostracizing Noise
Week 6 & 7
Have you ever felt productive but still felt guilty or anxious? See if this is relatable:
You have one major task to do, but you keep picking up and completing other tasks to avoid it. At the end of the week, you are objectively productive. You finished a bunch of priority 1 tasks that eventually need to be taken care of anyway.
However, you were still guilty and anxious because you hadn't made significant progress with the major task, the priority 0. Your brain was confused whether to celebrate the small wins or blame yourself for procrastination.
That's how I felt exactly in the past two weeks, so I had to recap Week 6 and Week 7 in one go.
Whenever I catch myself in this state, I call it “Distracted Productivity.”
I decided to be more forgiving to myself when it happened, as I've been postponing the Meaning Making Machine publication, mostly because I was occupied with two things: refactoring my notes and completing my drawing course assignments.
Simplifying my note-making system
Since a decade ago, I have been taking notes which I stored in various places. I've been hopping from one note-taking tool to another, starting from Evernote to Notion.
Two years ago, I discovered Obsidian and was hooked by the software due to its offline-first approach (i.e., all of your files were stored in your hard drive, not as online database entries in someone else computer). I migrated all of my notes eventually to Obsidian, then started organizing my notes and personal wiki using the modified Zettelkasten method.
The note-taking system kept evolving too. I have shifted from note-taking to note-making with the purpose of internalizing understanding, rather than hoarding notes. Since then, I've also been committed to honing my writing skills, in hope to improve my ability to reason as well.
On week 6, I came across Maggie Appleton's Digital Garden set up in Roam Research, and I have been motivated to simplify my notes folders and give Zettelkasten a second chance. Now I have a more precise workflow to manage personal knowledge and notes.
Still in the spirit of simplification, I gave up trying to combine task management into my note-taking tools and delegated it into a more straightforward to-do list app such as the Reminder app. I will still experimenting with the Task Horizon framework to organize my tasks, though (this is for another topic).
Cruising on information overload
Overwhelming drama and a flood of information have flowed through social media in the past two weeks. It felt like there was a new topic every half a day. I was interested in catching up on some, such as the refreshing read from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on What I Think About LeBron Breaking My NBA Scoring Record (it was so eloquent, I wish I had written some witty lines on it), earthquake in Turkey, or a small asteroid impacting the earth. A lot was happening in the world at a dizzying rate.
On the other hand, a lot of things are actually noises. I think I'm getting older, too, as I feel more joy in missing out. Once, I tweeted that not having an opinion is ok.
People smarter than me seemingly have some principles to help them manage incoming information. They asked questions like:
Is it true?
Is it necessary/helpful/useful?
Is it kind?
It's like picking our battles and reclaiming our rights to be unbothered or not engaging in discourse we don't fully understand. To keep talking about things we like even though it's not mainstream. At the end of the day, I often find myself asking,
Do I want to be shaped by what randomly comes at me, or do I want to shape (my mind) more intentionally by curating what I consume?"
To me and to you
Question to you: What’s your tactics to manage all of these information? When do you say enough is enough?
Question to me: I'm experimenting with a Q&A to gather anonymous/non-anonymous questions. The Q&A might be a basis for the next publication post, so if you have questions about the void, share them with me here https://rep.ly/arieare.