Your Note-taking App ≠ A Bookmarking App

You need a Resonance Filter

We all know the story, we are in the age of consumption with algorithms that tell us what to be interested in, what to buy and who to be. We know we need to find our way through this, focusing only on the things that matter to us… but how do you actually do that? So today, I present my personal solution: my Resonance Filter.

This filter is a group of apps and integrations that forces me to ask “does this actually resonate with me” before I add something to my note-taking app, Capacities*. “this” being links to things I come across on social media normally, that spark my curiosity in some way. I’m chronically curious, so I save a lot of bookmarks.

But I realised some time ago that there is a distance between what triggers your curiosity, and what ends up resonating with you enough to have a note on it. Is everything I save worth my precious time? Are all curiosities worth exploring? Frankly no, and it’s my Resonance Filter that keeps me in check. It forces me to slow down, and to consume intentionally.

It is a journey from A to B, and you get there through intentional consumption.

So let’s look at this today…

Two things to keep in mind as you read:

  1. My version is not free, I pay for a lot of apps. I’m sure there are free alternatives though.

  2. This is nothing to do with productivity. I live a slow life on purpose. This is about finding what resonates, not reading more in the name of reading more, which is something I used to think was good.

Table of Contents

What does My Resonance filter look like?

My longest route is: Raindrop > Reader > Notion > Capacities 

My shortest is: Raindrop > Capacities

Your filter may not need to have as many steps as mine, that’s for you to test!

A quick overview of each app

App

Use

Price

Raindrop

Bookmark everything I want to save

£0- £28 a year

Reader

Highlight the web, articles, newsletters etc

$9.99/month

Notion

All sorts, but here- importing highlights from Reader

Varies hugely

Capacities

Note-taking app

£0- £8.99/month

There are overlaps in features here in many ways: Notion has a webclipper, Raindrop has highlights. But the point isn’t to have one tool that does it all, in my opinion. 

If I saved everything to one tool, I’d still not know what was worth my time; instead the tool becomes a filter itself.

So you don’t need these tools particularly, you just need something(s) that makes you stop to think “does this resonate, do I want to take notes on everything?”.

Let’s look into my version in more depth.

Raindrop

Raindrop has two key strengths:

  1. Its omnipresence - access on web, phone, desktop and even a Raycast extension. It’s so easy to save things.

  2. The Unsorted Folder - this is the default place bookmarks are saved. I don’t have to think about where to save items which is great.

These attributes make it perfect for the first step in this process: capture any link that resonates to Raindrop’s unsorted folder.

Tweets, home decor, etsy listings, books (and articles beyond this screen).

This folder is going to get bloated, let it. There should be no pressure to look in it either. When you do choose to look in it, there is no inbox 0 standard to maintain. This is about curiosity and resonance, not productivity (for me).

Here’s what reviewing my unsorted folder looks like:

I do talk to myself to be honest, so this is realistic…

What does “work on it now” mean when that inspirational content hits at the right time (which, by the way, is all based on feeling and nothing scientific)…?

Well it slightly differs by type of bookmark. Two of the most popular types are articles and tweets so let’s use these as examples.

👉️ Articles are to be read and highlighted, so they go to Readwise Reader, or they get archived in Raindrop. Yes, I could save articles to Reader instantly and bypass Raindrop, but I want Reader to be curated, not bloated. Raindrop is for the bloat.

👉️ Tweets get copied into Capacities to take notes on and tag, or they get archived in Raindrop. You could send these to Reader too, but most of the tweets I like are short so I don’t gain anything from highlighting.

Once I have saved to Reader or copied into Capacities, the bookmark in Raindrop gets moved to the archive folder regardless. I’ll write more on this towards the end.

Readwise Reader

So articles that resonated when reviewing the Raindrop unsorted folder are then saved to Reader. Opening Reader is therefore a bookshelf you probably want to browse. But you might not want to read everything, so let’s ask ourselves some more questions:

Run with whatever resonates, read it, highlight, add notes, tags…. enjoy it! Then archive it in Reader.

If something is in Reader that you no longer want to read, just delete it. In this system, there is no need to archive unread things in Reader, because the unread link is already archived in Raindrop.

In this way, your Raindrop remains the archive of all links, but Reader’s archive is like browsing through an old bookshelf. Pick anything up off that shelf and you will find highlights, notes and traces of your thinking. Don’t let unread links that no longer resonate clog up this wonderful reflective experience. They live in Raindrop!

my current reader homepage

Once you’ve highlighted things in Reader, you can either export highlights manually via the clipboard, or you can have an integration to a note-taking app. I have one set up to Notion. It goes to a database called Library, and I go through it occasionally to “clear it out”.

Notion

The question now shifts from link/article/tweet to specific highlights. What highlights and annotations still resonate now? As you can see from this list, I have a lot to process.

If the highlights no longer resonate, I simply change the status to ‘done’ in Notion. This is me saying I am done with source, and I will no longer see it because of the filters I have. It resonated at one time in Reader, and I can always go back to that. If it resonates again, I can copy it into Capacities manually. But if present Me isn’t interested, that is ok.

But what if it does resonate?

Honestly, often by this point the highlights are already in Capacities. Take a look at April 20th for example. I got so excited reading about how ancient Greeks viewed time that I actually just processed the highlights straight away. So actually for all those entries, I can just change their status to ‘done’ right now.

This is because at any point on this path, you can go straight to your main note-taking app. If something has resonated so much that you want to see it in Capacities (or your equivalent), this system does not hold you back. Go straight there and have fun!

You can just run down this path and ignore the questions. That’s how you know something really resonated! But let’s be honest, not everything should be allowed past each stop, and that is what this filter is for.

But for the older items that I highlighted and simply forgot about, I’ll first read through the highlights again. If something still resonates, I will copy these highlights into a Capacities weblink object!

Capacities

When in Capacities, I can then link highlights to relevant notes, tag them if needed and make them part of my knowledge work.

This is the final result of the filter. I have kept what resonated, and nothing else. It’s taken me a good few steps to get there, but it’s worth it. 

Why?

Last week I saved 36 Bookmarks to Raindrop, 11 things went to Reader, interestingly I highlighted all of those, but then only 2 things got full notes. I got to spend real time on the things that resonated and I had a fabulous Saturday afternoon doing that.

That doesn’t mean everything else wasn’t useful, but the funnel I’m describing here is about the things on a pathway to my note-taking app.

I had some bookmarked shopping links too. They were on a pathway that led to a lower bank balance and some lovely new lamps for my bedside tables.

… but all paths led to the Raindrop archive

Notice how all paths led to the Raindrop archive. That is the best thing about this practice, in my opinion.

If something didn’t resonate enough at the time for you to work on it further, that’s fine. This means your attention is only needed for the things that make it through the filter, which is one way of cutting through digital noise.

But nothing is gone forever. If you one day think “I’m sure I saved that somewhere”- look in Raindrop. It has an excellent search and you will find what you’re looking for. Similarly, if you think “oh I know I highlighted it but I can’t remember where!”. Check Reader, it’ll be there!

Summary

So I accidentally started this system the day I downloaded Raindrop in 2021. Since then, I’ve had many seasons of life when I either had loads of time to myself or when I had none. This system supported me throughout all versions of that. I could leave my Unsorted folder growing and dive just in when I wanted, but I wasn’t diving into overwhelm. I was diving into an already curated selection with clear direction on where things go: raindrop archive, or the best app for them.

This is how I centre curiosity in life whilst also keeping my digital life tidy and calm.

I cannot recommend such practices enough 🙂 

*Disclaimer

I work full time for Capacities. PKM Beth content is not sponsored by Capacities in any way. See my full disclaimer here.

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