20200604_1345 - I don't care about note taking apps. I care about managing my thoughts
* Note created: [time=Thursday, 04 June 2020 13:45:11 +0700]
* ###### tags `sTREaming`
> geeking out over note taking is an easy way to feel productive. busywork
the past couple of weeks, that thought would randomly sneaks up on me and calls out "_boo_"
I must have caught this meme somewhere from the hivebrain. most probably originating here: [“Better note-taking” misses the point; what matters is “better thinking”](https://notes.andymatuschak.org/z7kEFe6NfUSgtaDuUjST1oczKKzQQeQWk4Dbc)
am I guilty of that? did I get into note-taking because it's fashionable?
let's do a bit of unpacking
### me and my notes
I only started doing "serious" note taking in 2016 or sth? yep, based on my Evernote history the first note I created was in May 2013 but it's only from Feb 2016 that I started filing up the notes consistently.
I think the momentum started when I decided I need to be an adult and take inventory of my finances. did that on a google spreadsheet on Aug 2016.
that's also around the time I started doing stream of consciousness journaling in 750words.com ? ah apparently it came later. I signed up in March 2012 but I started writing religiously there from Dec 2016.
keeping that journal then triggers many bits of self awareness that I then logged onto the same spreadsheet. started self inventorising, collecting things like my observed skills, vices, tendencies. running the mind in debug mode.
I also started doing "transition docs" for work where I offload everything I think and am working on to a text file. insanely helpful in context switching. I was killing it. `// inspired by a podcast episode with Steven Kottler, about "editing out the transition", reducing the friction to getting started on a task`
one thing I realised since I started journaling equipped with this newfound self awareness is that ==I need to write to think== I need to trap my thoughts in words.
### me and my data
I've always kept a journal on and off in local text files since I can remember (*and in physical notebooks before I got a proper PC in 2000. quite entertaining to find pages of the patchy journals I wrote back in 5th grade...*).
I remember telling myself that I wanted to do this experiment and "train my memory". so I would fire off Ultraedit everyday and try and recount details from that day as much as possible, in chronological order
then (I think) there are some gap periods around 2007 - 2016 where I am really all out focused on work. and in hindsight I was very mentally constipated and practically stopped having insights. just going on autopilot in life
I reckon it's also relevant to mention that I'm a chronic resource hoarder. better store it locally, lest the link dies and I will never be able to find or access it again. yknow, =="just in case"== I need these resources.
from the era of saving mhtml on Internet Explorer in 2000, keeping tab of endless bookmarks and reference links, downloading tutorials, installers, articles, books. stacking up folder after folder, organised categorically and chronologically with made up versioning mechanism. strategising how to keep them safe within the restriction of hard drive and CD-Rs capacity.
I don't even fully transition into streaming music till late 2017. this woman loves her local mp3s and flacs.
and anyone who has had any digital conversation with me would know one super power of mine is to have a URL I can point to for almost everything.
### insight firehose
then around 2017 I started curating my feed on Twitter. I joined Twitter in 2007 but never started tweeting consistently till 2012 ish. and then I gotten very into it mid 2017, sucked into the vortex of these platitude and intellect Twitter accounts with their bits of wisdom, cleverly worded insights, and aphorisms.
I also started listening to podcasts and begun getting ideas (adopting memes and letting them mate). needed to manage the rush of insights, to capture the _valuable thoughts_ (perhaps it's more accurate to label them "chatters")
just intellectual porn. learning porn. productivity porn.
I am a voracious reader (`// got my sex ed at 6 reading my parent's kid edu book`) I genuinely enjoy reading, a lot
and I'd say I absorb and retain the things I read just fine -- enough to conjure the lessons when I need them. I never really "read actively" and never felt the need to implement any special note taking strategy during college either
twitter made me question that. ==are you sure you've been reading _the right way_?==
I've also never been remotely deprived of stuff I'd like to read later but Twitter took it to another level
but now I feel guilty if I started sharing about how to write. benefit of journaling, to be one of the productivity self help gurus. haha
### note taking is taking off
reflecting my workflow and note taking the past 3 years it does feel like a lot of it is mind dumping, rewriting, and moving things from one tool to another
or as Andy describes it, [I take transient notes](https://notes.andymatuschak.org/z2ZAGQBHuJ2u9WrtAQHAEHcCZTtqpsGkAsrD1)
but I think the value of note taking is in writing it down in the first place. aka thinking. `// just like problem solving: most of it is stating the problem correctly, which often happens by the time you're trying to describe it to someone`
and everytime I change the workflow, touch the notes, the thoughts also evolved.
so there is no bad note taking. all note taking is valuable.
everything I know and skills I have now are not acquired through "proper" note taking techniques or sophisticated apps. they are weaved and practiced along with time. and I think I'm doing just fine.
I think a growing reason I feel compelled to take notes now is to be able to *share* about what I am consuming. "write about what you read". collaborate! monetise! brand! sell your sawdust!
to add to that, the growing reason I feel compelled to find out better ways to read/write/take notes is
what you're doing is not
hustle culture has tainted the reading experience for me
I need to get back to reading purely for the sake of it.
bitten by the hustle bug.
I am not against sharing about what I'm reading, but the motivation should be to have conversations about it and internalise the learning deeper / faster, **not** to virtue signal or even to perform.