How I take notes?29 Aug 2020 #productivity
Some time ago, I commented on a discussion on dev.to titled How do you make notes? Here is my long reply.
Plain text and Markdown
I love plain text. It’s future-proof. You can use any text editor to edit text files. Notepad++, SublimeText, Vim, Visual Studio Code, you name it. I use plain text for almost everything.
I write all my notes using Markdown. It’s formatted plain text that renders to HTML. Markdown is already on README files in GitHub and almost everywhere on the Internet.
I write and organize my notes with Notable. It’s clean and simple.
todo.txt and Zettelkasten
For my task list, I have a todo.txt file. One task per line. Each task has a priority, due date, and optional tags.
For ideas and future tasks, I have a later.txt. Once a task is done, I move it to a done.txt file. I keep it as a brag document.
I have one note per file for every blog post, podcast, video, and book I find interesting. I group these notes using the tag: “til,” short for “Today I learned.” I write the date, source, key points, and my reaction.
I capture ideas and thoughts on my phone. “Always have something to keep notes” suggests the Pragmatic Thinking and Learning book.
Recently I found a note-taking system: Zettelkasten. In short, we write our learning in our own words on a paper or card, put an index number, and connect it to our existing notes. Although there are editors for Zettelkasten, I have my own slip-box and keep my cards with pen and paper.
Update: These days, I’ve been playing with a todo.txt per day and a Bash script to start a new workday by importing the pending tasks from the previous day. Also, in the same spirit of todo.txt, I found calendar.txt, a plain text calendar, and this Bash oneliner to open the calendar.txt file in the current date with Vim.