JD, projects, notes confusion

Greetings all- first post here. I have been contemplating switching to JD for a few months, have the workbook, and I am trying to design my personal system. I use the Bear app with the PARA system for note-taking, which I find somewhat insufficient as it only gives you the four top level folders, then everything else just goes to alpha by topic. Notes and files are fundamentally different and similar at once, which creates some confusion in the context of a structured system outside the app.

As I think in terms of JD it seems I want to, have an area for projects along with areas for various aspects of my life, plus the equivalent of resources which could be called knowledge perhaps. I have a few decades worth of accumulated files that are just things that interest me, not things that exist for any practical reason. And those are separate from projects (goals with steps, a desired outcome, and often a deadline). But an interest could become a project, and a project could be completed (or abandoned) and become an interest. I can’t seem to get away from the notion that an active project should have a prominent position in the structure, but I realize that it could simply be an ID under any A/C. Anyone else have this dilemma, and if so how do you reconcile it? Do you manage projects through a separate app (Things, notes app, etc.) or just incorporate them into JD as an ID?

Then once you have the JD structure set up, what do you do with the notes app- a parallel JD structure (doesn’t feel right), move notes to JD and try to quit saving stuff elsewhere, or just continue with topic based tags and sort things out periodically?

The notes apps make it difficult by storing files not in a conventional folder, so it’s a process to move things between an app and JD folders. What app on Mac is good for creating markdown files and storing wherever you want rather than its own hidden folder?

Here is my working draft on the structure. Perhaps hobbies is too narrow, and I don’t know where to put travel-events-entertainment, so maybe all that becomes one area with those categories? My life isn’t complex these days.

Knowledge- does it even belong in a JD system? I think it does, because it’s stuff I collected and it has to live somewhere… like my mini library. It’s different in that it doesn’t represent things I participated in- it’s like my aunt (a hoarder) who did something similar, except her kids had to haul truckloads of her stuff away every year or two. Or John Nash’s garage :laughing:

  • 00 Index
  • 10-19 Projects
  • 20-29 People & Relationships
  • 30-39 Health & Fitness
  • 40-49 Home & Stuff
  • 50-59 Finances
  • 60-69 Hobbies
  • 70-79 Knowledge

Edit to show possible structure.

Even if you do manage them in their own app, which I think is common, they still need an ID in your index. Remember, a JD ID can represent almost anything: a file(s), email(s), something physical, a list, or a project of some sort. So some of these items will be in your file system, some exist in real life, and some you manage in Things or whatever.

So in this case I might have a Bear note that doesn’t have much/any detail, but it is the master record for the ID. Let’s say the project is 16.32 Get a new passport. I’d have a Bear note ‘reserving’ that ID with no other details, and then maybe a whole bunch of tasks in Things. I’d use the Bear note to point myself towards Things, so I don’t go to Bear and wonder where all that stuff went.

Remember, in this case there’s no ‘folder’ for those Things tasks. You don’t need a folder for anything. Bear is your index. It manages its own database. Things similarly has its own index. Unless there are files, you have no need for a folder.

This is the crucial mental shift. People think that their file system folders are somehow this master record of their JD systems. They are not!

On your structure, some of those areas are a bit broad for my liking, but it depends how much you see going in there. I tend to think most people can fit health, home, and finances in to a category, for example.

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Remember, in this case there’s no ‘folder’ for those Things tasks. You don’t need a folder for anything. Bear is your index. It manages its own database. Things similarly has its own index. Unless there are files, you have no need for a folder

I was struggling with this until the “standard zeros” PDF in the workshop. It’s much easier to manage the system from just one application as well

Good morning, John you were correct about not needing so many Areas. I made them Categories under one Area called Personal. That simplifies things a lot. I now have Projects; Personal; People & Relationships; Knowledge & Resources.

Now I’m wondering how to organize Knowledge & Resources. This effectively functions as my personal library of stuff collected over the years. I’m thinking of two ways this might be done. I have about 100 folders under Documents, and organized by alpha. I could either just assign JD numbers ordered as they are, understanding that any new stuff will get a higher number and not fall within the alpha arrangement. A fundamental problem is, there are many more folders than I have Categories under the knowledge Area, so I’d have to make it a Category and then I’d be limited to 100 Items total (unless I extend to 3 decimal places).

Or, I could set it up like Dewey Decimal and have 10 defined Categories under which everything will fit based on DDS definition. It wouldn’t need to be highly specific down to the item. I imagine 10 item numbers (topics) under each Category would be enough but there’s plenty more available. The more I think about it the better this sounds.

What do you all think about DDS within JDS for knowledge and resources? If you see problems, what are they and what alternatives would you suggest?

Thank you!

@robertandrews over on Discord suggested this podcast episode which I just finished listening to. It’s excellent; recommended.

At the end the guest, Chris Aldrich, was discussing the idea of re-using ideas from the past. Of not re-inventing the wheel. And so I think using an existing structure, Dewey, that has had decades of thinking already put in to it, is certainly something to consider in this context.

Thanks, can you post a link to the podcast, or name and episode, please? I’m not on the discord.

I have 10 Categories under my Area, and Dewey happens to be based on 10 divisions for everything. I think there’s synergy.

Ah sorry I should have thought to post the link.