How does my Digital Workspace work?
Let’s start with the foundation.
Basically, there are 2 points on the vector that is the flow of my ideas.
- Where I create the ideas —- Where I release them ~~
The Alpha and the Omega ~
Creating my ideas should be as smooth as possible. Fleeting Ideas can evaporate with any moment, so I need a space to hold this energy well.
Organizing it should be seamless while initially creating the idea, so I can easily work with it later.
The story goes a bit like CODE.
What does this process look like?
So, PARA is a good start, but I found it to get too chaotic when applied with folder hierarchies. The search for “order” left me scattered and confused in practice.
Spending additional time looking for a note I’d like to see is added friction to the creative process.
With rigid organization systems, it doesn’t work fluidly like my brain does.
- This is with creating ideas and holding them.
Releasing Ideas involves a different process than creating them.
What does it mean to release ideas?
If, creating an idea is like creating a seed, then releasing an idea is like planting a seed.
The inside of a fruit is much different than the soil of the ground. It takes time for a seed to form before it is ready to endure the environment.
As nature holds separate spaces for these processes, I do as well.
Obsidian has the durability to endure whatever I want to run it through. Every Vault in Obsidian has a local, unique configuration to it, because every vault is different. Just as with the “outside world”, our wardrobes should be durable enough to handle the variations of our environments. “Someone might need an umbrella if it rains a lot.”
For instance, this Digital Garden is written and posted with Obsidian by using a static site generator to render markdown files. It’s as simple as writing in Obsidian and pushing the changes on GitHub, after it has been set up.
I have seen countless ways to apply Obsidian so far and it’s still in Beta! Knowing this app isn’t even fully released yet while proving to be so powerful has me feeling very excited about the present and future of PKM.
How do I, Timoy process my ideas?
Day-to-day information processing is done with Amplenote. Everything I would ever need with this process can be done through this app, for now. (I am hoping to eventually evolve this process in with Anytype.)
I haven’t “made” folders for my information in Amplenote like I have when I started using Obsidian or Joplin.
When I laid out a rigid framework like this, I found myself flipping through folders searching maniacally for what I’m working with.
“Is this a Resource or does it go under Areas or should I keep it in Projects?”
Trying to set up a notes app before ever using a note-taking system is risky as assuming to know the way it will work in the end.
The problem with setting up a rigid system initially is that the workflow may be compromised to fit in with that developed system.
So, creating a system around the workflow to enhance it instead is critical for keeping true to one’s work.
Where does it start?
How can I know what kind of workflow is suitable if I haven’t started working yet?
If you’re capable of reading this, you’ve had to have done some kind of work to develop your understanding. Everyone has a workflow. Staying open to learning new things is the best way to know the truth, our inner truth.
So, after being forced into strictly using a tagging system with Amplenote, I realized that they designed the app to reduce as much friction as possible. I realized that nested tags work just like folders, except that I don’t have to actually place files in the folders (I type the name of where it goes and it lives there) and the same files can be in multiple “folders” at the same time.
At first, I completely dismissed Amplenote as an option entirely because it didn’t support folder hierarchies. If I was stubborn and resisted change, I would have never realized the way I really work, remaining desensitized to my own truth.
Using a Digital Workspace is, on the surface, a very logical process. Data is computed and information is developed. As a human being, its healthy to remain mindful of the other aspects to life, including emotional responses toward environments.
My Digital Workspace feels really good to me. It might feel horrible for you. - Stay open to learning new things and listen to your body! Use what feels good and avoid what doesn’t.
My casual thoughts are processed with Amplenote. I don’t feel like I need to add my expiring tasks lists to my body of work, so I like to keep these spaces noticeably separate.
The home should feel different than the office.
Fleeting thoughts, memos, daily journals, and odd stuff I should remember is kept with Amplenote. Friends can share notes with me and we can develop ideas together! Stuff like recipes, project plans, or research topics are great to make with others.
When I create a new note in Amplenote, I focus on the body first. Getting the idea out is most important. Then, after I feel like I’ve expressed the idea sufficiently, I’ll name and tag it. Tags are kept as simple, yet specific as possible. If I’m working on 2 different projects, I’m careful not to mix them up; but if the same note can apply to both, I can always tag them as so!
I have tags for:
- Ideas I’d like to develop further
- Topics to grow in my Digital Garden with Obsidian
- Projects I’m working on
- Information I’d like to be immediately accessible to me
- Quotes and Mantras that shape my world
- Exercises, Routines, and Recipes
- Research Topics (usually fits in one of the first 3 categories)
The process of expressing my thoughts out in writing and then organizing it in ways that make sense to me directly helps me Define Perspective. What used to feel like “hot air” in my head now feels like it gets refined into solid bricks that I can build with.
I’d like to think, with making notes, I’m actively practicing my thinking abilities and can then apply these skills anywhere they prove relevant.
Even if I don’t have to refer to a note again, the process of writing things down helps me remember it. It’s nice to know that all of these notes are collected in a digital space, so I can always remember what I’m thinking about.
My daily life involves a decent amount of regular data processing. Using a Digital Workspace gives me the clarity I need to evolve.
Even just 50 years ago, people haven’t nearly had to handle this amount of information. Our limited brains can only evolve so much before we need to leverage technology in our favor. - With the innovation of transportation, we’re able to travel exceeding farther and farther. Thankfully, now we can adopt the innovations of thinking in to our routines, so we can grow smarter and smarter.
I’ve actually avoided using a digital notebook since they started to exist with first, OneNote and then Evernote, because I was concerned about my privacy. I would never want an unintended party reading my inner thoughts, so I’ve opted for written notebooks (and even tried this off-the-grid digital notebook).
We’re finally in a pivotal point with technology when privacy and security are taken more seriously and developers are creating “de-siloed” applications. These markdown files that I’m writing with Obsidian are as secure as the device I’m writing them on is. Now, obviously, this can hold its concerns, as nothing is as secure as “a conversation in a faraday cage”, but obstinance is a ticket to devolution. A compromise must be met somewhere along the way.
I would never recommend using an insecure application for private thoughts.
This reddit post addresses a privacy concern with using Notion and similar apps.
… any app or tool that doesn’t offer full end-to-end encryption does pose a theoretical privacy risk. Because of that, I don’t recommend storing any potentially sensitive data in Notion, or any other not-fully-encrypted SaaS.
Obsidian is ahead of the game with their e2e encryption in Sync, but still your data is unencrypted on your disk, leaving a possible entry-point for an attack. So, for sensitive data, like a private journal, health records etc. I’d recommend using something like Standard Notes, 1Password or Bitwarden.
… protecting your data is important and you yourself are fully responsible for doing so. So - no worries about storing your task list in Notion, but think twice before starting a private journal there.
Now, I use Amplenote because of its apparent security-first model, but is not entirely end-to-end encrypted. They do offer “vault notes” which are fully encrypted. Joplin also features an end-to-end encrypted sync that applies across all notes. Standard Notes is a fantastic option, if Backlinking is not required in your workflow. I would use Standard Notes for my private journal and finances (they offer spreadsheets!).
My Digital Workspace is brand new and constantly evolving.
This is simply what I know after first getting in to it. I’ve been immersed with technology my whole life, so I am very familiar with how digital environments make me feel.
Take my opinions with a grain of salt and go design your own!
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