5 Principles of Digital Productivity That Keep Me Happily App-Agnostic
Why I’ll never make Obsidian’s plugins the lynchpins of my system
Lately I’ve been thinking about my journey with Obsidian, and how it compares with my love for and commitment to a plain text mindset.
Obsidian was such a revelation to me! I’ve used it daily for over a year now. However, as my skill level grows, so does my unease with how far my setup has the potential to stray from the plain text approach that brought me here in the first place.
The Dataview plugin is mind-blowingly powerful. Templater does some crazy-helpful things. Transclusion is a super power. Oh, and three more things I wrote about last year.
The list of amazingness could go on. And on.
Before I get too carried away, this seems like a good time to check in with my guiding principles of digital productivity, a term that I’m using here to mean project and task management plus personal knowledge management (PKM).
Principles (and Pitfalls) of My Digital Productivity System
These are the principles that have guided my evolving productivity system for the past three years or so. They won’t be for everyone, but they do work for me.
Use plain text format (.txt or .md) — This format is universally readable by any computer; past, present, or future. Using plain text essentially future-proofs your work.
Store files locally — It’s the only way to truly be in control of your data.
Stay app-agnostic — Stay independent of proprietary apps. Don’t let any vendor lock your most important work in to their unique file format; even if their product is free.
Regularly check in with the big picture — Focus daily on the leaves while maintaining a clear view of the forest.
Keep the system simple and any decoration minimal — Use a system that reflects the simplicity of paper-based productivity, and make it look nice enough to be pleasant to use without being distracting.
Don’t build a system that won’t work without the fancy-pants feature of a specific app.
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