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🌲When Themed Logs are More Useful than Daily Notes

I group information by purpose, not chronology. This method allows for more focus, easier retrieval, and less context switching.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

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

12 min read.

I spent a lot of time trying to create a daily notes practice. This was doomed for two reasons:

Habits are Hard

I'm good at establishing routines for other people, especially children. I'm good at structure, especially when it comes to organization. But I genuinely believe that I am worse than most at establishing daily habits.

Even something as simple as brushing my teeth morning and night is less of a thoughtless ritual and more of a thing I have to affirmatively tell myself to do, taking note of the feel of my mouth and reminding myself that I will regret it in the morning if I don't brush. To be honest, if I'm tired or just forget before a movies-in-bed night, I occasionally skip the nightly tooth brushing, even though I know how important it is.

I've tried off and on for years to establish a "mindless exercise habit," a habit of eating a "nice" breakfast, a habit of remembering to take my vitamins, a habit of waking up early, a habit of doing spaced repetition of my notes with Readwise... you name it, I've tried it, and it hasn't really worked out.

I eat nice breakfasts sometimes, of course, but sometimes I slam down a hard-boiled egg and a banana and call it a day. I generally take my vitamins if I see the little container they're in. I mostly exercise, in some form or another, as long as I'm not sick. But it's not consistent.

My attempt at a "daily notes habit" fell afoul of the same personality trait. Plus,

Daily Notes are titled by date

It seems obvious, but this was actually a pretty big problem for me. When I search for things in Obsidian (or outside of it...), the most prominent part of the result is the file name. When I'm browsing through links or folders or tags, I see file names. My graph displays file names. This is why I'm so careful about naming conventions, and as much as I love using headings to delineate between sections of notes, it wasn't enough.

Even with a strong monthly review practice.

Heck, I even learned javascript so I could concatenate my daily notes by section to group all the useful bits together, and I am embarrassed to admit that I so thoroughly believed the hype about daily notes that it took me almost a year to realize that what I should be doing is just...

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