📚Recognise what kind of note you’re making and deal with it accordingly

Title: Managing the sluff
Author: Inger Mewburn - The Thesis Whisperer

The key to keeping your notes in order is to think about what kind of note you’re taking and then have a system for keeping it where you can find it.


My notes

The Thesis Whisperer doesn’t worry about quick notes that capture ‘frozen thoughts’. The act of writing those notes is sufficient for her. (It isn’t for me!). Notes on literature go straight into her paper.

I think that the general principle of identifying what the purpose of your note is and filing it accordingly is valid. Though I would be concerned about being able to find my notes that were hidden in documents.

I’ve kept an eye on all the different kinds of notes I’ve been making over the last few weeks and I think I can sort them into four kinds of note.  Perennial notes, project notes ‘frozen thoughts’ and tasks.

Perennial notes are notes that I want to be able to look back on later.  These are mostly notes from my reading and thinking – they get transferred into this section of my website and/or in my personal digital garden.

Project notes are notes that I’m keeping relating to different projects like renovating the house, knitting a cardigan or buying Christmas presents.  These are usually a mixture of thoughts, tasks, bookmarks and other information and they get kept in Dynalist with one folder per project.

‘Frozen thoughts’ are whatever might occur to me during the day – usually when I’m working on something else.  To avoid getting sidetracked they get added to my ‘inbox’ folder in my to-do list app (To Do) and then get sorted into one of the other places later if they seem worth keeping.

Finally, tasks include any commitments I’ve made, chores that need doing or anything else I want to do that doesn’t really belong anywhere else.  These go straight into my inbox as I think of them and get added to my task list later if they still seem worthwhile.


The Thesis Whisperer. ‘Managing the Sluff’, 30 June 2015. https://thesiswhisperer.com/2015/07/01/managing-the-sluff/

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