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PTPL 002: Do Now, Organise Later
Plus tips for building a zero-cost digital garden, and insights from the LYT Conference
This is the second in a series of posts documenting my plain text, paper-less journey, in real-time.
Each post is a 5-minute or less summary of what I’ve read, learned, and implemented since the last episode. Links to earlier episodes are at the end.
In today’s episode I talk about —
Building and hosting a zero-cost digital garden
The need to be able to link all our digital information, no matter its type or location
Why it’s better to work now, organise later
Adding another Obsidian theme to my very short list of favourites
Are free digital gardens worth it?
I’ve started building a no-cost digital garden online, using Markdown files. At first I was giddy with geeky joy! The soil was prepped; all that remained was to plan the harvest and get those seeds in the ground. Then I broke something, and haven’t been able to get it working since, despite following instructions to reset things. Boo hoo!
Not to be defeated, I’m now trialling Markbase, which I heard about from the Obsidian Roundup newsletter via the Obsidian BRAT plugin. Yes, it’s easy, and yes, it works. No, it ain’t polished, but it does the job. Still trying to figure out how to get images to show up.
The Linking Your Thinking (LYT) Conference has some insanely useful gems! Check out the replays here.
Around 25 creators have come together to “advocate ubiquitous support for linking of information resources”. Read it here: Linking Manifesto — Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking.
Apps like Hook are a significant step in this direction, but what’s needed now is for software developers to build this functionality into their products as a matter of course. The aim is to be able to copy a link into a plain text document that can point to or open any other file.
The Barbell Theory of productivity by Oscar Lagrosen states that all you need to manage your life are a calendar, notes app, and task management app. He explains how to use these three tools to get your executive and intuitive minds working in harmony.
The full Zettelkasten method is overkill for most people. A modestly tagged collection of notes about stuff that interests you, written in your own words, is probably enough.
Do now, organise later is a useful concept I picked up from Joseph Chancey. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a rigid structure for your notes before getting to work. “…until you start writing, you really won’t have a firm grasp on what your notes will look like and how they best need to be sorted. Saving the organization until after the work is done allows for a dynamic and more thorough organization process.”
To paraphrase Nicole van der Hoeven: “ I don’t want my notes to be a grand exercise in how to hoard information”. The solution: make something! Share something!
In Nicole’s session of the recent LYT Conference, she encouraged us to reject the reasons our brains invent to not make stuff, and to just get out there and share what we’re excited about. Not an expert? Work not polished? Set it free anyway! That, my friends, is why — and how — I write what I do.
Other things I picked up from Nicole’s presentation:
Direction is more important than destination
Work with the principle of continuous integration: seek feedback, and feed what you’ve learned back into the system. Build -> Plan -> Monitor -> Deploy -> Test -> Build…
Adventures in Obsidian
The Notion-like Tables plugin looks useful. I asked if the developer could support the YYYY-MM-DD date format, and he’s already put it in place!
Changed my hotkeys for navigating forward and back from
Option + Shift + left/right arrowto
Command + Shift + left/right arrow, because I'd forgotten that Option + Shift + arrow keys are used for selecting text, a word at a time.
Command + Entershortcut turns a line of text into a task. Pressing it again toggles the task as complete/incomplete. I knew about the latter, but only found out this week that the same shortcut saves you going back to type - [ ] .
Started using the Sanctum theme after falling in love with the aqua small caps links in Nicole van der Hoeven’s workspace. Sanctum has joined Red Graphite and Subtle Gold in my list of favourite themes.
I will say that some things don’t work as expected in Sanctum. My shortcuts created in the Customizable Page Header and Title Bar plugin are cut off, for some reason. I have to create additional shortcuts just so the ones I want to see, appear.
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