22.00.00050: Granularity of IDs

While I was away last week, Lucy recorded herself creating her index. (We’re still recording that section of the workshop.)

One of the items she added was a doctor’s referral letter. My natural instinct would have been to create a very granular ID, something like:

12.20 Referral for scan for achy knee problem [1]

…or maybe broaden it to the subject rather than the specific action:

12.20 Achy knee problem

This is just how I’ve always done it. But Lucy did this instead:

12.20 Doctors and tests

That’s much less granular than I would have done, and I really like it.

Because I don’t need a super-specific ID for that scan. In the grand scheme of my life, does every little thing that I do need its own ID? No. I’d be drowning in them.

Lucy’s answer fits better with an idea that we came up with while recording the workshop: IDs are like the manila folders that we show on the home page. When you sit down to do ‘some work’, imagine yourself opening that folder. Ideally, everything you need is in it, and not much more.

And imagine that they cost about a dollar. So you wouldn’t create them willy-nilly, but nor should creating one be something you consider toodeeply.

Put the date in the scan’s filename

The crucial extra step here, which Lucy did, is to name the scan so that it includes the date at the front:

2024-05-19 Referral for achy knee scan.pdf [2]

This way, folder 12.20 can contain an almost limitless amount of this sort of information without ever feeling cluttered.

If I’m lucky, this one folder will serve me for the rest of my life.

Officially endorsed

I really like this approach. I’ll be doing it myself when I rebuild my own systems.

  1. Where category 12 Health. ↩︎

  2. I shouldn’t have to tell you by now that yyyy-mm-dd is the only way you should ever write a date. Should I? ↩︎


Great post, this has been something I’ve been really trying to work through! Valuable stuff

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I have exactly this issue. Previously I would have put each “complaint” into an ID. Maybe that’s overkill. I’m getting older as well, so complaints will increase and I might run out of numbers! :sweat_smile:

Today’s post is a follow-up.

This is the way I mostly do it, really works. Nice to see you will be using this also.

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Yup, this is the way I settled on as well.

I then have folders based on mental projects (maintaining my health over time, something that requires coordination in multiple physical spaces like the gym or the doctor’s), or based on physical projects (maintaining a physical space or presence or object over time, something that requires multiple mental projects coming together like entertainment setups). This means I can either drill down into “project” mode or “space” mode depending on which needs updating or changing at that time. The files contained in the folder are files required for maintenance of a particular state. E.g. in my health folder I have my last 2 blood work results. In my living room folder I have manuals for the ikea furniture I have so I know how to disassemble them if necessary.

Files get deleted at will if I suspect I won’t need to reference them again (specifically if they are superceded, or the event has no bearing on future actions).