My journey with Johnny.Decimal - Feed-back a newly convert

I will make several posts to share my steps, my views, my system and my feed-back.

Why moving from PARA to J.D ?
I discovered PARA last year in a video tutorial together with J.D and was appealed by the split Project / Areas of responsability / Ressources /Archives. J.D which I did not investigate enough was just a numbering system, so I concluded (yes I am guilty for being lazy and it costed me 1 year of pain…).
In very short, when adding a file, you scan from Project to Archive until you find a best place based on criteria given by Tiago Forte.

These 4 categories well suited my mental organization so I had thought :cry:. So I deployed this organization both on my work PC and my home PC.
After a short time using this system on home PC, I realized that opening Project or Area folders is a pain so I moved the sub folders to the top. I created empty folder 10 and 20 to have separators between categories.
Then I add a Customization folder for my applications in order to ease the my backups.

Second issues, I transferred the initial “mess” prior to PARA into 4 smaller “messes” in each category. Then I tried to improve this with better organization but a new issue soon appeared: a project involving Python programming would require Python ressources (tutorials, examples, references whatever necessary materials) and a look to old programs in Archives. So I had to navigate through the whole 4 branches.

In conclusion my “mess” was cleaner than before but less efficient for me ! I needed a more horizontal folder structure for my files.

Then I investigated deeper J.D, bought the book to get thorough explanations and prepared the switch to J.D system.

In next post, I will cover the deployment of my J.D system on work PC.

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I moved to J.D for my work files this week.

I translated and summarized the back bone as follows :

00-09 Système
	01 Customization
		this holds my HTML shortcut board to many web applications at work, password manager, Office365 toolbars and setup, and other configuration files for application.
	02 Templates
		PowerPoint, generic planning backbone, synthesis dashboard for a project, test notes
	03 Inbox
		Stuff needing later reading and/or later sorting
10-19 My current project
	I will work approx 2 years on it. Then it will move to 70, without changing the structure so J.D 3-folder-structure will not be met but it is ok for me. Only a copy of company centralized data are there. Why not an archive here ? Because these archive would weigh ~ 70% of all my data and I cannot do backups on such bulky data.

20-29 My department
	20 Archives
		My 2 previous departments (different jobs). I followed the excellent advice from Johnny: why moving to a special Archive place ? This way I do not need to recreate a structure as in PARA model. It already exists and I will be familiar with it, I know straight away where the stuff is.
	21  Paperwork
		Including health insurance and billing.
	22 Annual review with my boss
		There is no ID there, since I had a folder per year.
	23 Business trips
	24 Company procedures
		Daily procedures that I need to follow.
	25 Trainings
		My trainings, my trainees, training material for myself or my trainees.

30-39 Company other than my department
	31 Organization
	32 My site
		How to access for visitors, lab capabilities, etc.
	33 Other sites
		Lab capabilities
	34 Company procedures
		Other than my department procedures

40-49 IT stuff
	41 Standard applications
		Office365, Windows, etc.
	42 Company PLM
		Info, tips
	43 My daily applications
	44 Code stuff
		Code tutorials, reference manuals, etc.
	45 My scripts
		I code a bit with Python script to process test data
50-59 Métier (know-how)
	51 my tools
		Excel processing tools
	52 Generic method for work
		Notes, courses on efficiency at work, problem solving, etc. There is J.D book there :-)
	53 Engineering
		Mainly Finite Elements courses or other mechanical engineering materials
	54 Company test methods
	55 Simulations
		Guidelines, correlation, codes, method developed internally
	56 Automotive regulations

60-69 Personnal
	Almost empty. Given the size, it should be one or 2 IDs but they would be nested in an AC totally irrelevant for me.

70-79 Backups / Archives
	70 Former projects
	71 Snapshots of some of my OneDrive data
		Why making backups on cloud synchronized data ? Because I sometimes mess up files writing stupid things in them and saving to discover days, weeks, months after my mistakes. Content is areas from 0 to 5.

There will be links which are not implemented yet.

One thought on AC.ID system and geometry.

J.D is two-dimensional as I see it in a geometrical world: AC.ID → A would be X and C would be Y. So you have a stack of layers defined by AC supporting clusters of atomic data which are ID.


When 2 topics are somewhat related, you no longer have to jump to A then C then the ID, you can “enter” by another AC.ID linked to you destination in your index.
This eases the decision between putting a given ID in one category or another since both are linked.

Then there is 2 (or more) entry points to access to topics closely related which should increase my productivity. I quite often mix similar topics or locations for stuff (both on my PC or in my flat) so this gives me gives more chances to quickly find them.

If you note system supports links (as hypertext) then it is even faster. OneNote does support this.

Cool diagram! Yeah I find cross-linking documents helpful, I generally do it at the top of my note.

Here’s a simple example from Bear.

Although this is one note linking to an adjacent note in the same AC … still, you get the idea.