Ideas help please!: "my ______ index"

Hey all. Seeking ideas! I’d like to come up with a catchy way to describe your index.

I’ll confess: this is marketing. Long term, I think it’d help me out if there was a definite, distinct thing that this system was known for. One of those things is your index. As you’ll see in the Workshop, I’m going to make it absolutely central to how Lucy lives her life.

(Then, after that, I’m going to go even more extreme on my own life. Watch this space.)

And so that thing needs an internet-searchable name. Think ‘second brain’,[1] but for the Johnny.Decimal system.

Some brief ideas I’ve had No, my ideas were all pretty bad, and they’ll influence what you think of. Instead, I’ll just throw this open for suggestions.

All ideas welcome! Doesn’t matter how absurd/crap/obvious/irrelevant, I’d just appreciate a bunch of words so they can rattle round in my brain for a bit. This isn’t urgent, it’s a long-term thing.

Thanks! Paging @alex and @clappingcactus, our Heads of Naming Things, who might be able to start us off.

  1. Although it seems if you buy a new pencil these days you’ve got yourself a ‘second brain’. ↩︎

1 Like

Wow I’m super honored to get pinged!!

I have a suggestion and based on the logic of that suggestion I have a potential jumping off point for you.

“My storylines index”

For me, I’ve decided that each ID contains a storyline. Some times the storyline is a project, some times it’s a collection of journal articles for a research theme, some times it’s pictures from a holiday.

Because I have decided what the smallest unit of my system contains “each ID contains a storyline”, it’s then natural for me to extend that to a broader “my storylines index”.

So my suggestion may be to perhaps think smaller than bigger? If you have a more formal definition broadly for what people should or could store in a single ID, then perhaps the broader system advertising lingo might write itself?

Now that I’ve been getting into to this, I think of it as a digital card file

Great start! Love it.

I’m going to stay out of this and watch from the sidelines for a while.

More more more please everyone more! :star_struck:

I do like index, it works for me! Could play off that, e.g. Stuff Index, Life Index, Decimal Index, Decidex. Otherwise the idea of a finding directions or a location comes to mind: map, plan, directory, navigation / navigator.

I can’t resist putting on my old make-a-word hat :nerd_face:

Decimall :grimacing:
Decimate :grimacing:

1 Like

Amazing!! And then people using the system can be called Decimates :sweat_smile:

Hm if we’re going by marketing at the level of “second brain” then deci- words are a bit too narrow I think, and words like “map” or “directory” are too generic on their own.

I don’t think “second brain” is actually great marketing. I feel like Tiago’s work leaves so much missing from a definition of what a brain is, that the marketing is catchy but doesn’t match the product/message.

I agree with logic around “mapping” or “locating”.

“Life maps”? “Co-ordinates?” I like this last one because it makes the user a co-ordinator haha. Just still throwing things at the wall. Now I’ll be quiet because I wrote too much text. :sweat_smile:

Edit because it’s just a funny thought crossed my head: Co.ordinates


I usually come in last place on these catchy name and acronym efforts. If I do come up with anything good, it’s well after the name has been decided.

I just got started with the workbook a couple of weeks ago after having a pseudo-J.D. system for a few years, crossed in part with P.A.R.A. It worked, but I needed more organization. I was looking for more information about projects in the forum, and came across a similar set of posts in JD: What is a project?

Fun stuff. I can see the IT influence in many of the suggestions. I’m not in agreement with some things, but whatever floats your boat.

My background is in forestry and environmental studies. Maps are part of my life. I like the idea of “coordinates” (American spelling…roll your own) and also the idea of a geographical/biological focus when naming the structure, or a mix. At least I will use that for my own system. I do think that jumping around between projects and systems, areas, categories, and coordinates is a bit mix and match and could get confusing for some.

I like coordinates!

Hi Johnny and Team,

I think you brought up a great point I was thinking about for quite some time. You said that we can be totally thinking out of the box, right? There is no taboo? And, Johnny, please promise me that you will not ban me from the forum :slight_smile:

So here is my challenge: “What about changing the entire concept name rather than only the ‘index’ name?”. (Please don’t crucifix me!!!)

Again, just being totally transparent - Tiago’s ‘second brain’ concept is easily “corporate compatible” with the naming nomenclature, as David Allen’s GTD as well.

I think having your name in the system naming makes it too personal. If only a handful of your friends would use it, then sure, it’s fine. But if you want to widespread it, then I think we should challenge ourselves to come up with a better name? And to be honest, your name will always be attached to it, as Tiago’s name is attached to Second Brain. For me the current name doesn’s reflect the concept’s power and benefit. If you are being asked: “do you want to learn ‘Getting Things Done” system or "Do you need a “Second Brain” - the answer is sure! But whenever I mentioned the J.D system name, no one seemed to be interested in the concept by hearing the name until I started to explain the logic and the deep connections of being totally organized.

So what I am saying, that I think the word “index” is less confusing or “misty” to me rather than the concept name which could be rephrased.

Again, please don’t beat me up, I love the system, I am using 100% according to the manual and I am a big advocate!

Cheers guys!


I agree with Zsolt.

I think the concept/index name has to do three things, as if it’s a book title.

  1. Get someone to take it off the shelf.
  2. Summarize the concept’s goals into a two-word or three-word meaning that’s easily transmissible.
  3. Be unique enough to stand out as a new identity that’s marketable.

Then there’s multiple sub-systems that arise from there. The system for developing one’s own hierarchy and therefore index (a bottom up problem). The system for managing an individual index among perhaps more than one in someone’s life (a top down problem) (a concept I disagree with, but seems to resonate with many). The systems that each then piggy-back on the index (I imagine a future where I can say to all of these new AI devices, “Hey, you have permission to read Area 86, please answer the following question:”). If we begin to give too many names to too many individual parts that comprise the whole then the core methodology/philosophy gets fractured too much between too many people.

I suspect the way of talking about the index, if shared by everyone who uses the system, is a cool way to unify it all and give the system identity moving forward.

On that level “coordinates index” (while befitting to someone who uses the system as a second nature) is a terrible name (for broad appeal and identity). It wouldn’t even be immediately obvious that someone is talking about a filing or organization system if a person is hearing about it for the first time. I think the words we’d all collectively be looking for are at some intersection of library arts (index, chapter etc.), IT terminology (directory), and I’m particularly partial to Johnny’s current system of describing bookshelves on the home page. Perhaps a riff on “Memory Palace” could work here.

Crazy idea for the day: On my run yesterday I thought of a weirdly radical marketing idea: to just minimize the system name to the decimal point itself. i.e. If I like co.ordinates then wherever I publish my index (github for example), I use that name. If Lucy likes then she uses that. This would allow the “core” system for developing individual systems to be johnny.decimal with each person making their own riff based on its logic. The kind of curiosity from where and how people format their system names would act as slow-burning marketing for JD, while maintaining the core beauty and ideal of it: the suggestion of an address.

1 Like

I love all this, I’m still just watching … deliberately not getting involved.

Thank you @OrganizedForever for that left-field comment! Certainly interesting.

Keep going! This is a long-term thing, not something I need to change tomorrow.

Funny you mention it!

Before I even have a go, I’ve got to say that I love this.

Ooooooh. Also very good.

1 Like

The index is at the heart of the system - and something I struggled with even seeing the need for without learning the system. I’ve done a 180 on that notion and have a solid name I use, however it’s not the catchy-marketing name so it’s not what you are looking for. The name that’s stuck with me came from the eureka moment of “getting” the J.D system — a ‘card catalog’. That’s what actually elevated the importance of the index.

For me, the whole library analogy is reinforced with that name and calling the individual entries “call cards”. Perhaps its due to growing up without any sort of computer system and the years spent in libraries throughout my life, but that’s the name that brought home the power of the index and the system to me. The love and appreciation I have for libraries and this reinforcing notion may have even been what really sold me on J.D as a viable system that I could really see the power in and want to commit to longterm.

“Johnny.Decimal” is catchy marketing enough for me. But I’m no marketer so ….


I agree that Johnny.Decimal is catchy and distinct enough for marketing purposes. I also agree that the library analogy is worth exploring further. After all, the Dewey Decimal system seems to be the JD namesake and both systems serve the similar purpose of organizing information and helping you find things.

1 Like

I like Index; it does what it says on the tin.
Or even, The Index.

Some non-index thoughts…

Johnny Decimal…
Corralling the chaos of your digital life
Calming the chaos of your digital life
Organising your chaotic digital life
Charming your chaotic digital life

(You could remove the word digital)

Johnny Decimal - the Chaos Whisperer.
Johnny Decimal - ten times more effective than your current system.

1 Like

A few random word suggestions, some times they work better with “my” before them or “index” after them;

Meta Decimal
Reference Decimal
Universal Decimal
Decimalism (my favourite)
Radical Librarianism
One Hundred Libraries
Concept Addresses

Thanks for all the ideas. Keep ‘em coming, we’re not finished here. :grin:

@OrganizedForever’s idea of renaming the entire system away from Johnny.Decimal certainly gave us thought. Of course my initial reaction was ‘no way!’, but then I let myself think on it. Lucy and I had a chat on our morning walk and we both came round to the idea.

But after much more thought, I have decided not to do this. Sorry Zsolt but this means you’re banned from the forum. :wink: Haha. No, I love you.

I understand the rationale. But it’s not like the other PKM systems have names that immediately tell you what they are. PARA means nothing. Zettelkasten?! What’s that, my blood pressure medication? Getting Things Done was a work of marketing genius that’s unlikely to be matched in modern times but now everyone just calls it GTD and that means nothing either.

And original-namer-of-Johnny.Decimal (so, he’s biased) @alex pointed out that the name has character. It’s not just some boring PKM name that tells you what the thing is. And on today’s internet that’s a feature, not a bug. Why not be interesting and, well, daft? People will figure it out.

That plus the decade-plus of history and memory makes the name as it is too hard to give up.

So, we really did think about it. Thanks again for the suggestion. But Johnny.Decimal is here to stay.

Back to the original question, we’re still so busy finishing the workshop that we haven’t given this any more thought. So, please, keep throwing things out there. Nothing is too crazy in this thread, it’s all food for thought.

I love this place. Thank you all. :heart_eyes:

1 Like