Have you ever found yourself with more ideas than you can handle? Where do you begin making sense of what needs to be accomplished and finding a starting place? For me, the starting place in in my personal knowledge management.
I’ve been finding myself in this space drifting between the stacks of ideas, the piles of requests, and the entire marketplace of shiny new things. I’ve been intimidated to take on new challenges but finding ways of stepping into these fully. I am searching for the perfect thing for people I have in mind, much like shopping for gifts. Yet when faced with so many possibilities, it can be quite overwhelming.
In my physical space, I have taken the time needed to sort through the clutter. My kids’ home classroom setup is much this way. While they’ve had the freedom to create with minimal boundaries, their works of art leave a trail of debris from the tornado effects of their creativity. Their creations were then overlooked and the space became too disorganized to appreciate.
It sat cold and empty, but remained a mess. On a cold and rainy day with no other plans, we turned on some holiday music, warmed and lit the room, and began the work as a family of putting this space back in order. Since then, it has returned to an inviting and integral part of our daily routine.
In my mental space, things aren’t all that different. I see the many opportunities and connections waiting before me. It all becomes so much at times that I drift along allowing Slack, social media, and emails to sort out my priorities in the moment. This is no way to make progress. I needed to start gathering ideas and organizing them somewhere. I need a personal knowledge management system.
2022 Reading: Personal Knowledge Management
Over the past year, I’ve read and listened to many books about personal knowledge management and productivity. For maximum concentration, I often listen to the audiobook while I read along on my Kindle iOS app and take notes. I started out with “How to Read a Book” to help get my head back into the mode of reading for studying. From there, I branched out to productivity and personal knowledge management. Several of these books were a re-read for me as it had been quite a while and I hadn’t previously taken notes on them.
Downloading My Thoughts
With the knowledge gained from these books, I was read to capture the ideas. While “Getting Things Done” is a method for handling tasks, “How to Take Smart Notes” and “Building a Second Brain” are similar methods for handling all the information that flows by and through us. They are the personal knowledge management methods. Capture, organize, synthesize, and share it for yourself later.
I have started into using Obsidian.md as my notes system, and Things 3 for my tasks. Articles I want to save and annotate go into DevonThink. I have been slowly building up my information system and keep the software tools open while I work. I collect the ideas, use a daily note as my digital bullet journal, and have weekly, monthly, and yearly check-ins with myself. I’ve also applied myself to learning all I can via Curtis McHale’s courses.
I have my invested the time to build out my methods, learned the tools, and tested the systems to meet my workflow needs. I am now primarily working on making this second nature to me. I can set up recurring routines for myself and use my tools to empower that. What I most need though is to always be capturing, prioritizing, and processing. This leads to a more organized top of mind state. I can refer to my tools and systems to recall what I need and help me to schedule times better.
As I shift through careers as a teacher, software release communications, instructional designer, and now as a developer advocate, I see the many ways my own thinking has expanded. No longer do I have sequential tasks. Often, deadlines are mine to create. Organizing others around common goals is key to working in community management. Taking ownership over my own knowledge management is part of career growth. Allowing ideas and initiatives to drift along doesn’t fit with reaching goals in a timely manner. It matters more to me now than ever before to be intentional about how I capture and collect the ideas.
I am moving from feeling there’s a lot of work/ideas/initiaitives all over the place to finding order and organization in accomplishing these things. No longer is it a lot of a lot. Implementing personal knowledge management has become a relief.