Stopping to think

I have 16 minutes left in my lunch break and don’t have time to write this in a way that makes sense. But I want to put this here to remind myself to try to tie together:

  1. What Mike Hall wrote in Because You Can about the tendency to shave off keystrokes and end up over-automating something, when sometimes it’s better to preserve enough friction in your process to give you a chance to slow down and think. I used to actually enter things directly into all my topic journals and individual log files in one Markdown folder. Even when all I had at the moment was a phone! I still have all those files, one each for found music, books to read, movies to see, and dozens of other areas. But then I adopted the Daily Notes idea. Drafts was extremely good and fast at capturing ideas, quotes, links, and any kind of text-based ephemera into one note per day. And now I have 3,958 draft blobs in the Drafts inbox and the individual text files are neglected and poorer for it.
  2. What Dave Gauer wrote in Making sense of it all: wrap-ups about doing weekly and/or monthly retrospectives on your daily notes, journals, obsessive logs, whatever. I feel like tedious, manually-created wrap-ups are the secret decoder key to making notes and logs into something valuable. Whether I’ve relied on Roam, TiddlyWiki, Obsidian, Logseq, or org-mode to tie everything together”, it’s still the same thing: hoping technology will make sense of everything without me having to do any work.
  3. Looking back at this list of questions to ask yourself in a yearly review, and finding the text file where I answered most of those questions at the end of 2017. In there were tons of events I’d forgotten about and advice I gave to my future self, also forgotten. But the 2017 text file was all manually created — certainly copied and pasted from other sources, but not auto-generated in a dynamic list from tags sprinkled across Daily Notes. And because the minutiae was sifted out and the best parts rose to the top, it’s one of the most important records I have.

June 30, 2023