Note taking and organization tips

Hi all, I have been using Google notes in the past but I would like to learn better ways to organize my notes.

Can you please share you ways and suggestions?

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Notion - as a catch all and then subsequently (daily activity I do) into projects/urgency buckets that appear as tasks on a board.
Definitely a bit of a learning curve to Notion, but have been really enjoying the functionality. The block-based functionality is helpful in organizing various projects, ideas, workflows.
I now have boards across projects, including a personal task list coz you can never have enough lists! :wink:

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+1 for Notion (mainly for database & Gantt chart functionality) + Obsidian.md (For writing notes in markdown & backlinking functionality).

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@Felipe, I use both too. But they don’t talk to each other and I am finding it frustrating to look for things in two places. I have been considering switching to just Notion.

What is your workflow like?

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@RisaButler, I originally started with Notion, but it was too “pretty” for me – I spent too much time making pages and directories look aesthetically pleasing than actually getting value from it. In addition, it’s an online tool, which adds bit more friction when it comes to jotting down notes and so I used it less frequently than I would’ve liked to.

I discovered Obsidian a couple of weeks ago and ended up moving all my Notion notes, OneNote notes, and stick notes into it. The big selling point for was the fact that its built upon your existing file structure and this means that a) its future proof and b) my notes are able to be freely accessed and manipulated using other tools.

I’m still in the process of figuring out my workflow, but right now, I’m using a modified PARA/Johnny Decimal file structure on my desktop that I try to vaguely emulate in Notion. A picture of the top level can be viewed here. The folders with short, lowercase names all store different types of notes, most of which are initially created in and moved out of the “100 Inbox” folder. The names are abbreviated for ease of reference (e.g. [[ppl/John Smith]]):

  • journal - Daily and weekly notes.
  • lit - Literature notes. Notes about content I digest (e.g. lectures, podcasts, videos) get moved here.
  • meet - Meeting notes (e.g. personal/professional meetings,1-on-1s, etc.)
  • ppl - People notes. Each person gets their own note (e.g. John Smith, Jane Doe)
  • ref - Reference notes. Each note in this folder contains information about a source (i.e. one referenced in my other notes). I haven’t used this all that much, but it can be useful if you have multiple notes that draw upon the same source, preventing any duplicate information.
  • zet - Permanent notes/zettelkasten.

Brief summary of the concept behind literature & permanent notes here.

The “200 Projects” folder stores project-related notes and files. The “300 Areas” folder stores notes and files related to “areas of responsibility” and the “400 Resources” folder stores files and other shit I find on the Internet that could be useful.

I use Zotero with Zotero Connector to capture links to websites that people would typically add as bookmarks in addition to PDFs (reports, textbooks, etc). I’ve found its a really amazing tool for collecting, tagging, organizing and searching through bookmarks, despite its primary purpose being a scientific reference manager.

Wallabag is my go-to read-it-later app, but I’ve recently been trying out hypothesis for web annotation on desktop. I’ve also considered moving entirely to raindrop.io, but dislike the idea of siloing my bookmark data into yet another service.

Anyways, back to Obsidian/Notion. I think Notion serves as a great tool for “dashboarding” and creating team wikis without a lot of overhead. Obsidian does support embedding iframes, however, which I’ve been using to display a goal/habit tracking Google Sheet directly within each of my daily notes.

Wow, this is a lot. I’m not sure if this answers your question, but hopefully I’ve provided some interesting food for thought!

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What are you trying to achieve? The app itself is immaterial if you don’t have a system for CORD. (Capture, Organise, Review, Do).

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I use Bear as a brain dump note taking app. All my presentations, meeting notes, thoughts and draft posts are in there. I use Notion as a personal wiki and for things more refined than Bear. And then for organizing business knowledge I use Confluence (my workplace uses this).

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@PriyaVarma, Would you mind sharing how you setup your notion? My workplace uses confluence too and I am more accustomed to Notion and I am trying to find a balance between the two for personal meeting notes, user interviews, etc without duplication or divergence.

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@Christie, I’m still relatively new to Notion so nothing really worth sharing I’m afraid! Just simple formatting and then reorganizing as required.

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@Priya, Incidentally Notion launched their whole product management stack yesterday

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Skills involved in note taking are about recording for memory + Instant organization skills. Some tools will help you with the organization part made easy. Workflowy is the best one I have experienced so far. It has native thing about grouping things, zoom in, zoom out of points.

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I like to use confluence for documentation that is what I would call more Static examples include project plans, pre-background info, and any discovery or technical documentation that will always be relevant. I like to use one out from my personal meeting notes in to do list because it is super easy to organize.

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I’m still using Evernote hahaha. I use it more as a dumping ground for notes in various meetings. I group notes by the type of recurring meeting (1:1s, Functional Updates, etc.) or by Function (Sales, Marketing, Support) if they’re more ad-hoc notes.

I’ve started using Notion to organize my life outside of work and have a far better organizational structure. I’ll probably try and move everything to Notion by this month end!

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Thank you all!

Appreciate all the comments and I will be using Notion for my personal Wiki. I’ve been using for work and it’s definitely the best tool for me.

Thank you once again. :pray: