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🌲 Pretty vs. Practical: Shortcuts for Finding the Middle Ground

Aligning with our preferred designs is critical for functioning, but it's okay to take shortcuts when customizing.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

I teach (& research) about historical civilizations, then write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history... which involves a fair amount of notetaking ;)

8 min read.

If pressed, I would offer the following bits of advice when deciding building a personal system — for basically anything, but especially knowledge management.

  • start out by doing something close to what you're already used to, because it's hard to learn a new tool and new "content" at the same time.
  • keep abreast of as many people's methods for solving problems similar to those that you face as you can handle without getting overwhelmed.
  • keep an eye out for pain points in your own process and try to cultivate an awareness of what systems work well for you and which ones don't, and try to figure out why.
  • when your life changes, try to adapt using the system that feels most natural to you first, and periodically try out things that seem to work for other people. Don't force it, but be open to discovery. More importantly, be open to personalizing based on your unique situation.

That said, I've noticed there seem to be two extremes in the notetaking and knowledge management worlds.

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