Taking Notes for Creative Thinking

Don’t worry about creating the perfect system

“Misdirected optimization is the root of all evil.” Tiago writes.

This is especially true of elaborate systems for tagging, titling, grouping, or cross-referencing notes so that you can retrieve them with total accuracy. Such systems are time-consuming to use, hard to remember, and inevitably flawed. In addition, they actually make it harder for you to spot new connections between notes by locking you into your past thinking.

Tiago Forte on Taking Notes for Creative Thinking via Doug Toft blog

Commonplace notebook

The idea of commonplace notebook, a place where you record important quotes, ideas, books read, plans etc. has caught my attention. This notebook isn’t a journal or a log it’s more of a reference place where you can check things, find inspiration, ponder about life’s purpose and so on. 

A good starting point and introduction to commonplace notebook ideas is blow linked blog post:

The Glass Box And The Commonplace Book

For the moment I haven’t really settled on a specific workflow to capture things into my commonplace notebook. I’m using plain text files to store them at this moment but I’ve read a lot of compelling arguments in favour of paper for this purpose. It definitely looks more appealing.