Why I started using Capacities

It solved some key pieces of friction for me.

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I was sold on Capacities within a few hours of properly testing it, because it fixed friction I felt in Logseq.

I want to explain exactly what made me start using Capacities, by showing which areas of friction it fixed.

Logseq is an excellent app which I do still use, but only for literature notes. All my permanent, long term knowledge and curiosity lives in Capacities, for the reasons I outline below.

TL;DR the object-based approach, the created today section on the daily note, the page layouts, and generally the different views make it worth the switch from Logseq for me. I have not regretted this once.

So here’s more detail on the friction I had in Logseq, and how Capacities fixed it.

Friction: remembering to add metadata to every note

Solved with: object-based note-taking approach of Capacities

Object-based note-taking is a key part of what makes Capacities special.

You define what type of information is in the page you’re creating at the exact time you create it. In turn, this assigns the page some properties/metadata.

Are you going to be talking about a person, a place, an event, an idea? Each person, place, event, idea is one object, but they’re part of the person, place, event, idea object type. You can differentiate these types with different properties.

If you like to classify information or notes like this, I think this will really work for you.

Some of my object types

Let me tell you how I organically realised I needed this sort of functionality and how Capacities solves it.

This time last year, I was preparing for my masters that was to begin in Jan 2023. I decided a sensible project was to add metadata to the notes I wanted to reference during the masters (aka most of the 3500+ notes in Logseq at that time).

You can see from this page that this was a lot of work and thinking and I really wanted some repeated structure to my notes, so I remembered to track what I wanted to track. For example, I wanted every person to have a picture, their date of birth, nationality etc.

I didn’t find a good way of doing this, so I spent hours opening each page to add metadata, hoping I’d put the right properties in every one. I honestly thought this was a good idea.

It was not a good idea.

The process took days and I hated it. It was so draining, and given that note-taking is my hobby and I was meant to be excitedly prepping for my masters, that is not the feeling I wanted associated with it.

Why couldn’t I just remember to add the metadata I wanted? Or better yet, why couldn’t I just define the type of information that would be stored within the page when I created the page, and have that define what metadata I needed.

Turns out, that is literally exactly how Capacities works.

You set up your custom objects, define the properties you want, and then any time you create content in Capacities, you have to define what type of object it is. That then pre-loads the metadata to the page that you configured in the settings.

Let me show you how it works in practice through some gifs in my demo space:

Gif 1 shows how you can create content (i made three people called Hans Morgenthau here, all for demo); Gif 2 demonstrates that the properties I have configured for people in this space have been applied without me thinking.

All I had to do was say that the content I was creating called ‘Hans Morgenthau’ has been assigned a type of ‘person’. The properties are there for me to fill in when I want to, I don’t have to do it all at the point I create an object.

This is perfect for how I like to work. I create the content I need in the moment, and then I can choose to fill in the rest of the content whenever I like. I’ll often watch something easy on TV whilst adding in pictures/ nationalities/dates of birth etc. This will help me when queries are released (expect a lot of content about that when they’re out).

Filtering to show any people without images so I can easily add them in!

Friction: seeing what notes I created in a day, reviewing this over time

Solved with: the ‘created today’ section in the daily note

Back in December 2021 I saved this tweet from Vera, who inspired a lot of my system in the early days.

To create it, I’d have needed plug ins and (I think) to remember to put the date I created each note in its metadata section. As mentioned above, I couldn’t remember to add properties, and I was too scared of plug-ins.

Instead, I just tried to get in the habit of creating new pages from the daily note, but that doesn’t work if you’re creating new pages from other ones, which is a very normal part of taking notes in a networked note-taking app, which both Capacities and Logseq are.

Turns out Capacities automatically shows you everything you’ve created in a day through your daily note. You can filter and sort the content there, and choose how you view it. You can go back all the way through your Capacities usage too, which I think is excellent.

Example 1 from the demo gifs above, example 2 from my main space when I was looking at the French people I have notes on, and when I finished reading a book!

Friction: not being able to use the width of the page or use different layouts in Logseq

Solved with: Capacities being a block based editor with different page layouts (part of Believer plan)

Here is a page I made in Logseq when I was in my American President era.

It’s synthesised, referenced information which is good, those note-taking needs are indeed met in Logseq, and met very well.

But there is so much wasted space on the space which is a result of it being an outliner, which works great for my literature notes, but not for these permanent ones. I like to use the whole page of any app I’m in, so this set up really didn’t inspire me.

Conversely, the same page in Capacities just looks better to me because I’m using the whole screen.

Capacities person object (custom) with the encyclopedia page layout.

We see the object approach come back here too in the left side bar, as they’re the object properties I’ve assigned the people object in this space (my main space).

The right hand side is also excellent, giving me an automatic table of contents which also acts as shortcuts to that section, and a list of all the objects I’ve linked to in the page (that are also shortcuts), which are grouped by their object type.

Friction: being uninspired by long lists of content

Solved with: Capacities has lots of different content views

There’s some pictures here to show you some different views in Capacities and where they show up.

The first two pictures are views of my French Presidents collection. The wall/gallery views are visually appealing for obvious reasons, but the table view is also useful for filling in metadata from this “birds-eye-view” approach rather than having to go into each page.

The third picture is my current backlinks to my page on Charles de Gaulle, shown in the Wall view.

Let’s compare how I could view this in Logseq

I don’t believe collections or anything similar exists in Logseq, so I just have a page which I defined as a group in the metadata. I linked to each of the 5th Republic presidents’ pages.

The second picture is my (collapsed) backlinks for Charles de Gaulle in Logseq. This is the only way I can view them, but I could filter them if I wanted to, however I don’t really understand filtering in Logseq so I’ve never given it any extended testing.

My visual note-taking needs are met in Capacities, which I believe is largely because it’s not a block-based outliner, but has a block-based editor… I think!

I hope this has shown how Capacities has solved so many areas of friction for me. This means I just get to do what I love, which is take notes, learn, and think about organising information. That’s why I spend so long in Capacities. It’s my favourite place in my digital system.

None of this means Logseq is bad, it’s a fabulous app and taught me a lot. But on balance, Capacities solved these really key pieces of friction for me, so I decided to stick with it, not even caring that I couldn’t import my other notes in. All those notes remain in Logseq, just one search away.

I hope this inspires you to consider the friction you feel in other apps, and to see if you can meet those needs elsewhere.

It’s a lot of trial and error (or perhaps, trial and learning, as there’s no wrong way to do anything here), but it’s so worth the effort when you find what works for you!

Disclaimer: I work for Capacities so have access to all current features, but I am not being paid to write this post. All opinions are my own and were this positive long before I began working with them!

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