My new note-taking system: Don’t take notes.
It feels like the entire world (or at least my corner of) is consumed by the “how” of note-taking. Tools, workflows, processes, backlinks, and on and on. Obsidian? Roam? Paper? I read it all. It’s fun and interesting and there’s no end of things to distract myself with. A distraction is all it is.
None if it really matters, though, and yet we endlessly split hairs and wring our hands and gaze at our navels over irrelevant minutiae. It’s exhausting. I’m not one of those people who wear “I never change my system” as a badge of honor. I can’t seem to stop. I’m too curious for that. FOMO and all.
As an attempt to extract myself from this loop, I’ve decided to stop taking notes for a while. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing. Writing isn’t note-taking. Nor is journaling. I’ll still do that. That’s what all of this is supposed to be for, isn’t it? But I won’t be jotting down my recent thoughts about minimalism or digital record-keeping or the details of a conversation I had with a colleague or how much I paid for the wrench I just ordered.
No more Roam vs Obsidian vs Tinderbox vs Org mode vs The Archive or what-have-you until I stop obsessing over which is better or more private or more open source or if it uses the right kind of Markdown. No more worrying about whether I’m taking “smart” enough notes or if this one should be “evergreen” or not. How long should a zettel be, anyway?
I’m willing to bet there are lots of smart, productive, happy people around that take very few notes and aren’t missing anything. I would love to be one of those people.