PKM in the Wild #4

Interconnected systems are the way

Hi everyone,

hope you had a nice two weeks!


I’ve been super quiet recently which means I have lots of half finished content where I’m missing something.

To that end, I only published 3 things: why I started using Capacities, and how I read fiction as a note-taking nerd. This then inspired me to round up all the different types of reading I do in My Reading Routines as a PKM fan. They are all Medium links, but you can view my recent content on my website for free too.

I talked about how Capacities was an instant fit for me because it very tangibly fixed some issues I’d been having in Logseq, and that making the switch to a new tool when you can see what needs they’d fit is most likely worth it.

Then I finally finished the draft of how I read fiction and how that acts as an entry point for my knowledge work, which built on what I wrote about in my first newsletter. I feel the process works with the best of Notion and the best of Capacities, and then Hookmark combines the two. Delicious!

I want to publish a youtube video by the next newsletter though, fancy having a say in which one? ↓

Which Youtube video should I publish next ?

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Content I’ve been enjoying

The best content I read in the last two weeks was John’s article about Building Your Connected Knowledge System with Setapp, Capacities, and Hookmark (non-paywalled link). 

John makes a lot of great points, but my favourite is that, having a connected central knowledge base in Capacities, enhanced by Hookmark’s ability to connect lots of periphery apps can give you really powerful workflows, allowing you to quickly and easily retrieve contextualised information when you need it.

I’m still working on my version of John’s incredible graphic, as I need to work out how PKM Beth work fits into my PKM play from which the PKM Beth brand emerged, but John’s article has given me a lot of food for thought, and some motivation to get thinking about this puzzle again…

I’m torn on if I want my note-taking app at the centre, or if I want to follow Julian Lehr's (whose article still lives in my head rent free) suggestion of having the calendar app at the centre. Regardless though, everything needs to be connected, and it’s apps like Hookmark or no-code tools like Zapier which can help me get there.

This feeling makes me reflect on the various tools I use. I imagine some people would find it hypocritical that I want an interconnected system but use so many apps. I don’t see this being an issue though, as the vast majority of the apps I use, especially those that I use daily, are increasingly integrated with others. I’m very happy to let specific apps do the work they’re best at, and let their APIs do the work of connecting. This just seems like the natural extension to me for realising that networked note-taking is the way. Things don’t occur in isolation, information shouldn’t be siloed, everything could and in many ways should be able to come together, and an interconnected system is the way to that.

PKM Puzzle

I’m not going to share a PKM puzzle today. There are sooo many things I have simmering in the back of my mind that I just can’t make sense in words yet (or at least words that are even 2% comprehensible to readers!).

I will share what I do in these situations though in case it’s of any encouragement.

Essentially, I just work with existing workflows but I pretend to be a detective and my task is to ask myself loads of really annoying and personal questions until I work out precisely what friction I feel in existing workflows and why.

What exactly is making me not want to do the work? Sometimes it’s personal (e.g. fear, insecurity, imposter syndrome), sometimes it’s to do with the system (e.g trying to make the app fit the workflow because it’s pretty, rather than the workflow choosing the app).

I work these things out by writing my thoughts down. I write and write and write until I find logic flaws, and then I get stuck and walk away from the problem for a bit. And then I open up the drafts I have and edit them until I think I’ve phrased something better, and I repeat this for weeks or even months until I feel that eureka moment. Writing is transformative regardless of whether or not you publish it. It’s the best habit I have.

You could start writing in daily notes, in a giant txt file on your laptop, on paper, anywhere. I tend to use my medium drafts because I tend to publish what I’ve learned after, and as someone who’s been publishing to others for a while now, I think there is something to be said for trying to explain something to others. A lot of the time, I think things make sense to me, but when I then try to explain to others, I realise it never made sense at all!

It’s a process, but it’s rewarding. When you make some progress in your thinking or workflows, whether that’s at home, at work or with your adjacent hobbies, it feels great.

System example

My Notion Inventory!

I wrote about this more in depth in this post, but the TL;DR is

I have one database called Inventory related to one database called Rooms. The database lists things in my house with their value for insurance purposes, and the rooms are pages with their own properties such as paint colour, dimensions, and then of course all the furniture I find in there, which is given to me through the relation with the inventory.

Recently it’s had more attention though, as I’m using it to plan our house move. If everything works out, we’ll be going from a 1 bed flat to a 3 story, 4 bed house and the scale of this is quite overwhelming. So I’m planning to help ground myself.

Instead of running in circles working out what could go where, I simply added the new house rooms to the Rooms database, and added a new relation to the inventory. I could “physically” move furniture around without any real brain power which is useful.

And I’ve been able to put some house inspo to actionable use too, by using properties in the Room database to put useful links in such as the flooring I want in the mini kitchen update we’ll do! The longer term, dreamy inspiration is in Capacities.

Nothing fancy, but super useful for my current flat and the new house. Fingers crossed the purchase is successful!

That’s all from me today. Let me know if you have any questions or. any requests for what you’d specifically like to see!

Thank you for reading :)


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