How I'm organizing my plain text notes (and what do Lego bricks have to do with it)
Bruno Rigolino on
I don’t organize all my plain text notes.
I’ve tried methods to keep everything meticulously indexed and categorized. But I realized that my plain text notes are like Lego bricks.
I’ve been playing with Lego bricks since I was four. Whenever I tried to categorize and store my Lego bricks by colors or sizes (or any other top-down approach), I couldn't sustain the system for long. It was boring to do it when I was playing or got new bricks.
It doesn't mean my Lego bricks were a total mess.
I had a natural way to sort them. Here is how I’m applying my Lego organization approach to my plain text notes:
#1 All pieces in one box
That's the most important rule. When I was a kid, discover that I left one piece in another box at home while creating a Lego model at my grandparents’ house used to be very frustrating.
That's why all my notes are in one iCloud Drive folder. I can search and add new notes from any device.
#2 Frequently used bricks stay on top
You discover a natural way to organize bricks when you play with them. If you don’t use your
bricks notes, you won’t find a natural way to organize.
I have pinned sub folders and files, and I also add a
0- at the beginning of the file name of notes I frequently use so they stay on top when I order from A-Z. Another trick I like is using macOS Smart Folders, searching for keywords or dates, to have note groups without duplicating files.
#3 Searching is part of the fun
One of my best memories of playing with Lego is searching the bricks. There’s a creative aspect of thinking about a specific piece and stumbling in a different one that I didn’t remember but would fit even better.
Searching my notes is a way to have new ideas.
Curating information has at least two main actions: selecting things and creating bridges among them. A little mess helps me make unexpected connections. For example, when I want to recover something from my notes, I use the search bar, but I need to read some of them because I didn’t organize every single one.
That’s probably less efficient than a Notion database, but here I’m not focusing on productivity; I'm focusing on creating, learning, and getting inspiration from my notes.