22.00.0023: Johnny.Decimal'ing Johnny.Decimal

It’s 2024 and I am declaring ‘organisational bankruptcy’. I’m going to ‘hard reset’ my entire digital life.

Here’s the plan.

This has been a Johnny.Decimal blog post notification; see 21.05 Communications plan║J•D.

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Yes! I find this very interesting. One question:
I can imagine you and Lucy have a lot of digital stuff together, why do this proces separately?

The stuff that we have together is mostly projects like Johnny.Decimal, which are probably the most organised and require the least work. And I manage those, not Lucy. Because until now she really hasn’t been a heavy JD user.

But mostly because we have this method of teaching where we put her in the shoes of the viewer. We did this with our Excel course, Learn with Lucy. I’m an expert at Excel, and she knew absolutely nothing.

So I taught her, but we were really careful to do it all on camera: we never spoke about it off-camera. So everything she learned, she learned in the course.

I’d like the Johnny.Decimal Workshop to be like that. And if we roll in all of my stuff as well then a) it won’t be, and b) it’ll take much longer.

Looking forward to watching you crawl out of bankruptcy @johnnydecimal :slight_smile: !
I might do just the same, now that I’ve made the plunge and bought The workbook.
I read it cover to back last night, it felt like I’ve just found the missing piece (the index !) to my own way of doing things. I was so excited about it that I wrote my first medium post about it :joy:.

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Ha, this sounds like fun! Will you let us track along in pieces, or do we wait until the entire project is complete?

It’ll happen live! The next instalment is already up.

Perhaps I’ll keep this as a megathread and post each update here vs. in its own new post. Certainly less work for me that way. :upside_down_face:

Link please! Sharing is caring. :heart_hands:

To clarify, you’re getting my efforts ‘live’ and in the open. We’ll spend time making Lucy’s a much neater package, as we’ll be selling it for :money_mouth_face:

So, ‘both’.

I just needed to share my aha moment with the world, so don’t expect anything deep, but here goes :grinning: :

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Love it. Keep writing!

Next post in the series is up.

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Oddly enough, I did something similar. Told my wife a couple of days ago that I’m declaring bankruptcy on my task list. I have spent a lot of time staring at it trying to decide which task to do next. So mainly I just removed tasks that I didn’t think I was going to do any time soon. The logic is that anything really important will stay in my brain and resurface at some point. I may have kept too many tasks, we’ll see. I did keep everything in the genealogy category, as that is just one never-ending project I’ll work on until I’m gone.

I also filed a backlog of papers, with 80% just going to trash. Next step is to …

Oh crap. I just decided to reorganize my paper files in a JD system. Not sure that will work since my only file system is one accordion container with pre-printed dividers, but … I do already have the digital versions of similar papers in a JD system, so …

dammit, It’s all your fault Johnny!!! angry old man shaking fist at sky

Oh well, I was going to digitize as much of the paperwork as possible any way. Will be interesting to see how many paper records are truly necessary outside of legal things needed for living in a foreign country.

Hi Johnny,

Ironically, I’m doing the same.

I spent 2023 very deeply thinking about decimaling. Now in 2024, I’m building what I came up with. I have a few thoughts to share based on what you’ve written so far.

All files of a particular type go together. E.g. to-dos, music, journal … etc. This unlocks a few unique benefits for me (I don’t dare say for everyone). I can get into it if necessary, but this isn’t the point of my reply here.

Can I recommend: One giant list of all projects with tasks underneath as bullet points. I never have to open any other folder, app or file to remember something I have “to do”.

Anything that’s not bullet-pointed is a project, and the line starts with its own JD id in your projects system. Anything that is bullet-pointed gets cut-pasted into my daily journal as tasks for that day or returned back to the big list if I didn’t get around to it.

This allows me to have 1 text file for all future plans, 1 text file per day’s work, 1 text file per project (to mention when each step of a project was done to be able to go back to that day’s work and see exactly what was done).

Inspired by Jeff Huang (1) and Marc Andreessen (2).

The current JD system as described by you breaks things down by project or functional theme. I think this relies on memory too much. And also necessitates a very well tended index. For me, If it’s a video I’ve made, it will be in my videos folder. It cannot be anywhere else. The videos folder is organized by year I started a collection and I don’t plan to live more than 100 years, so it fits within AC.ID.

44.08 (videos made in 2008). The specific video then gets an ID if I write about it in my notes system … [4408a] Brother Eating Birthday Cake … (this is an actual example). The files are all wed to immutable properties (the type of file … and the date of its creation).

I can then have that [4408a] note linked to in a note I have about my brother, or broadly about my family, or about my history with chocolate cakes (a long history I assure you…).

This also means that files from different projects can co-exist within one system but as long as their ID is tracked in different note files, they don’t create unnecessary noise for one another.

May I recommend a Psyche guide (3) on this topic that was helpful when I wanted a formal definition for myself for this step.

Indeed! This was one of my main discoveries, too, as to how to divide my files. I chose to divide my files (broadly) as files created by me and files created by someone else.

This split is useful, and if you read into the notes of anyone who has looked at this problem sufficiently deeply, you’ll see they all come to the same conclusion. Famously, David Allen (4) and Niklas Luhmann (5) have developed systems of information separated from their reference files. Separation of the item and what you do or have done to get to the item is necessary. This frees the data to be used in multiple areas of knowledge, or the knowledge to inform multiple bits of data.

The trick here is to create a system such that a bit of knowledge can inform about itself, too. Knowledge itself is a type of data. For this, I have reserved 10-19 in my system. Knowledge that I have created or synthesized. And here again, I’ve divided it by file type. Text, excel sheets, drawings, musical runs and bits, furniture care documentation, recipes … etc. Each of these get a JD ID themselves.

  1. My productivity app is a never-ending .txt file
  2. Pmarchive · Pmarca Guide to Personal Productivity
  3. How to nurture a personal library | Psyche Guides
  4. gettingthingsdone.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Filing.pdf
  5. From Fleeting Notes to Project Notes – Concepts of "How to Take Smart Notes" by Sönke Ahrens • Zettelkasten Method

P.S. Sorry for the weird formatting of the links, the forum software wouldn’t let me link to more than 2 simultaneously.

Any insight tends to be helpful so if you can, please share. You never know where someone else’s ah-ha moment will come from.

I’ll certainly consider that, and check out those links. Radical simplification is definitely what I’m going for. Unsurprisingly I also have a few thoughts that I want to test out.

Will read! Thanks.

I guess because it’s your first post, it’s doing anti-spam protection. I cleaned them up.

Thanks very much for the thoughtful post. :pray:

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Thank you for sharing, I am excited to see the process and outcome of the work that you are doing.

I started using Johnny.Decimal for work last October and it almost immediately felt like a super power. Suddenly my files and email (pretty much my whole life as a manager) were not only easily findable, but I no longer agonized over getting myself to inbox 0 because pretty much everything had a home. I started JD’ing every working hour via my calendar and using that for personal metrics and it helped me get a better view of the time sucks in my week.

My core set of tools is Obsidian, Omnifocus, and Gmail. JD has felt almost effortless in Obsidian. Gmail required a bit more work, but has proven to be the most interaction I have with JD on a daily basis. I am still unresolved on how to/if I want to integrate Omnifocus. It feels like my task system might have enough sharp edges that the effort to make it conform to the system might not be worth it.

I am a huge fan of this system, thank you for sharing it!

Amazing! Thanks for sharing. :blush:

Let us know if you do decide to go in with OmniFocus, ‘task’ management is something I’ll be looking at with Lucy early this year as part of recording the Johnny.Decimal Workshop.

I put task in ‘scare quotes’ because I think a lot of what we really call ‘tasks’ or ‘to-dos’ aren’t actually to-dos. They’re things we kinda want to remember to do one day maybe.