Even with the web at your fingertips, it takes time to research and combine information in a way that makes sense to you or that is relevant in your current context.
I’ve learned that the ability to quickly retrieve summarized and contextualized information, is a large part of what people mean by “having experience”. For most of us flawed humans, that’s impossible without keeping notes.
I started building my own personal knowledge base about 5 years ago. What started out as some loose notes, has now amounted to over 1500 notes on all sort of topics. Given its size and how it’s a crucial part of my personal and professional life, I sometimes refer to this as my digital brain. Without it, I’d definitely feel somewhat lost.
Maybe some day I’ll be able to consume its information through a direct-brain interface 🙃
Most notes fall under one of the following categories:
I do not store general administrative paperwork (e.g. invoices, paper records, etc) in my digital brain, as I only need to reference that seldomly and adding them would only clutter things. I have a separate paperless workflow for that.
I do still use physical paper scratchpad to jot down notes, mostly during meetings or for daily to-do lists. However, those don’t live longer than 48 hours, usually much shorter. If important enough, I’ll take time to transcribe things into my note-taking app.
I organize my notes hierarchically by topic, with the top-level folders being Personal, KB (Knowledge Base) and Work. Organizing things is forever a work-in-progress.
I had tried many different note-taking apps (incl. Evernote, OneNote, Quiver, Bear, StandardNotes, BoostNote and more), when I discovered Notion about 18 months ago.
For me, it’s been one of those tools that I love so much that I actively promote it to my colleagues and friends.
Here are some of the reasons I like Notion: