Help finalizing my areas and categories, seeking input and advice

I’ve worked my way carefully through the resources on this forum, the website, and the workbook. I hope by taking the time to fully absorb the advice and information, I will avoid the pitfalls of a hastily created system.

I’ve gone through several iterations of my scope statement and index to play around with different setups. Over this past weekend, I decided to finalize my areas and categories.

About my system

I decided that I actually need 3 separate systems: (1) my main personal system, (2) my collection media files, (3) anything related to music. Separating media from personal documents is common practice here. And music is a big enough area in my life for it to be its own system.

In scope for my main system includes the typical life admin stuff along with personal documents and projects.

Areas and Categories

00-09 System
├── 00 Index
├── 01 Inbox
└── 02 Meta
    └── 02.01 Scope statement
10-19 Dylan
├── 11 ID & Legal
├── 12 Health
├── 13 House
├── 14 Vehicle
└── 15 Travel
20-29 Finance
├── 21 Accounts
├── 22 Bills
├── 23 Expenses
├── 24 Taxes
└── 25 Investing
30-39 Career
├── 31 Resume
├── 32 Freelance Work
├── 33 Professional Work
└── 34 Side Hustles
40-49 Education
├── 41 High School
├── 42 Undergrad
├── 43 Grad School
└── 44 Courses
50-59 UNUSED
60-69 UNUSED
70-79 UNUSED
80-89 UNUSED
90-99 Archive
├── 91 Keepsakes
│   ├── 91.01 Personal keepsakes
│   ├── 91.02 Cards and letters
│   ├── 91.03 Movie tickets
│   └── 91.04 Concert tickets
├── 92 Backups
├── 93 Security
│   ├── 93.01 Keepass XC passwords
│   └── 93.02 Recovery keys
└── 99 Archive
    ├── 99.01 T3i photography
    └── 99.02 T3i videography

10-19 Dylan is my catch-all for my main life areas.
20-29 Finance and 30-39 Career could belong to 10-19, but I feel they’re large enough be their own areas.
40-49 Education is self-explanatory. I may end up archiving this area after some time, but I graduated recently and am still processing items in this area.

90-99 Archive:

  • I’m unsure whether to dedicate an area or a category to my archive. Currently, I have it setup as an area. An alternative is to put 91 Keepsakes under area 10-19 while 92 Backups, 93 Security, and 99 Archive could all go under 00-09.
  • Some people have a dedicated archive category within each area. This didn’t appeal to me for whatever reason.

What I like about this folder structure is that each area and category feels distinct from each other while being broad enough to contain many “things”. It’s obvious to me where a “thing” belongs within this system, and I still have many unused areas and categories for future growth.

Where I need help…

There are a few remaining “things” that don’t have a suitable place within my system, and I’m hoping someone here provide some insight.

  • Obsidian vaults—personal vault (PKM, CRM, Zettlekasten, source notes, periodic notes), work vault, music vault
  • creative writing across several composition notebooks
  • personal “projects”—learning basic programming (JS, CSS, Python for now), graphic design (GIMP, Inkscape), video editing and animation
  • I recently built my own website with Google sites, and I need to store assets, project files, contact forms, etc.

It’s really not too many things here (yet). But now that I’m out of school, I have more time to explore my interests and assign myself projects for fun and personal development. In the near-future, I especially see myself developing my programming and multimedia skills.

I’ve tried dedicating an unused area to “Personal Projects”, but creating usable categories was difficult for me. I’ve also tried a “Hobbies” or “Interests” area, but adapting these also seemed unsatisfactory.

For my Obsidian vaults and creative writing, I considered creating the category 16 Writing, but it didn’t seem to fit among the other categories in that area.

Media System Folder Structure

I thought I’d share the folder structure I plan to use for all my media files to give you an idea of what else I’m organizing. It’s heavily based on this filetree repository.

Audio
├── Audiobooks
├── Music
├── Podcasts
├── Recordings
├── Soundfx
└── Soundtracks
Books & Papers
├── Academic Articles
├── News Articles
├── Movie Scripts
├── E-books
├── Manuals
└── Recipes
Games
Images
├── Artwork
├── Memes
├── Screenshots
│   ├── Discord
│   ├── iMessage
│   ├── Instagram
│   ├── Reddit
│   ├── Twitter
│   └── YouTube
└── Wallpapers
Photos
├── Family
├── Friends
├── Other
└── Personal
Software
├── Applications
├── Firmware
├── Scripts
├── Source
├── Systems
└── Typefaces
Video
├── Movies
├── Series
├── Short Films
└── Web

I don’t plan to use AC.ID numbers for media.

I haven’t finalized my music system (spanning performance, production, and pedagogy), but suffice it to say, it’s beyond the scope of this post. I might make a post about that another time.

This looks good. My first instinct … and I’m still 50/50 … is that some of your areas/catgories are a little narrow? But you’ve noted this yourself. Like, 31 Resume, that’s a big category for one document?

But then if you’ve just graduated you’re going to have a bunch of stuff in there over time so maybe that’s okay. And you’ve got 4 unused categories there so I’m okay with this. You’ve obviously thought about it so don’t take this as me saying it’s ‘wrong’. :slight_smile:

It feels good. Feels organised.

You do need somewhere for these – are they part of career? side hustles? – but my advice as someone who’s done this a lot is to start with each of them as an ID somewhere, and expand as required.

Because inevitably, some of them won’t go anywhere. Spend minimal effort on them from an organisational perspective until you’re sure that they’re a real thing in your life.

I note you don’t have a technology anywhere? Feels like you need one where this and the stuff we just noted can go.

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Yeah I think you’re right.

On second thought, Career is more a category than an area. And 25 Investing can get consolidated under 21 Accounts.

I considered if Finance could fit within a single category, but I still think that’s its own area.

When I read how you fit nearly your entire personal life into a single area 10-19 personal, it really shifted my perspective on organization—I’ve been overcomplicating things for too long :sweat_smile:

Yep, I think this is the missing piece for me. The only other thing was to find a spot for my writing, which I think I did.

All together, here’s what I got:

00-09 System
├── 00 Index
├── 01 Inbox
└── 02 Meta
    └── 02.01 Scope statement
10-19 Dylan
├── 11 ID & Legal
├── 12 Health
├── 13 House
├── 14 Vehicle
├── 15 Travel
├── 16 Career
│   └── 16.01 Resume
└── 17 Writing
    └── 17.01 Obsidian vaults
20-29 Finance
├── 21 Accounts
├── 22 Bills
├── 23 Expenses
└── 24 Taxes
30-39 Technology
├── 31 Digital Media
├── 32 Programming
└── 33 Website
40-49 Education
├── 41 High School
├── 42 Undergrad
├── 43 Grad School
└── 44 Courses
50-59 UNUSED
60-69 UNUSED
70-79 UNUSED
80-89 UNUSED
90-99 Archive
├── 91 Keepsakes
│   ├── 91.01 Personal keepsakes
│   ├── 91.02 Cards and letters
│   ├── 91.03 Movie tickets
│   └── 91.04 Concert tickets
├── 92 Backups
├── 93 Security
│   ├── 93.01 Keepass XC passwords
│   └── 93.02 Recovery keys
└── 99 Archive
    ├── 99.01 T3i photography
    └── 99.02 T3i videography

Everything has a place now, and it feels great—thank you @johnnydecimal!

Just to round this thread out, here’s a screenshot of my folder structure:

I adjusted some of the numbers to “make more sense” in my mind.

That is nice. You could sell that.

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Ha! If I could I would :sweat_smile:

But you totally should :wink:

Seriously though, if someone else finds this thread useful, I’d be proud. I really took my time to do it right! (for whatever that’s worth)

I do think spending the time to work it out for yourself is what’s most valuable about “getting organized”.

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May I use this quote as a testimonial? It’s a beauty and captures the intent of the workshop perfectly.

With or without a name/link? And no stress if not, of course.

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@johnnydecimal Yes of course! I’d be honored.

I’ll send you a message now.