Personal productivity gardening

Did you know you’re a gardener?

It’s true. You are.

Contrary to the popularity of this metaphor around particular personal knowledge management apps, it has a much broader application.

If you have an sort of productivity system, whether that’s a task manager, note system, or otherwise, you are a gardener, just not of plants, but ideas.

Systems, like gardens, require cultivation.

It’s your job as the gardener to develop ideas into concepts and concepts into actions, and identify/remove what’s not necessary.

Systems, like gardens, require maintenance in multiple ways.

  • Planting: In a garden you plant seeds; in a system, you capture ideas, facts, and actions.
  • Tending: A garden must be watered, pruned, and weeded; a system must develop ideas, ensure accuracy, and remove unneeded or irrelevant bits.
  • Harvesting: Gardens produce fruit; systems produce results.

Systems, like gardens, are not set-it-and-forget-it ecosystems. Generally speaking, what effort you put into maintain a system is what you’ll get out of the system.

Maintenance is the major reason to keep a system simple, too. If you’re an experienced gardener, you’re more likely to have a bigger garden with harder-to-tend plants because you can handle it. You’ve counted the cost of investment and know it’s something you can manage.

The same is true with a system — if you’re inexperienced or you don’t have the time/personality to manage lots of tiny details, building a complex system may be too costly for you.

So what’s your garden like? How are you tending it? Do you need to scale it back? Or make it bigger?

Whatever you’re tending to, I hope you enjoy the process.


[Process] 66: When Has Your System Settled? - Justin gets called out in a YouTube comment, which raises a question: when has your system settled enough to feel comfortable with it? Also, Justin shares some thoughts on how productivity is actually just one skillset to benefit the world.

[YouTube] RemNote: A First Look - Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS) are often requested features on next-generation note-taking tools like Obsidian and Roam Research. RemNote is a contender which actually has an SRS system built-in. In this video we take a first look at what RemNote has to offer.


Cortex 105: Atomic Notes - Key Takeaway: CGP Grey offers a very nice, abstract description of the components of a Zettelkasten. It’s yet another resource you can use to learn more about building a Zettelkasten for yourself.

That’s all for this week!

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