Taxonomy/semantics of "areas" for a personal system

Hello folks, and first of all thank you Johnny for this great system!

I’m trying to implement J.D for my life instead of a corporate context. Been looking at personal use examples here (eg. My evolving J.D structure). I know this is highly subjective, but should J.D areas be literal areas in your life, or do you take liberties with this taxonomy?

For instance, my J.D areas based on actual life areas would look roughly like this:

  • 10-19 Productivity & Self-Improvement
  • 20-29 Health
  • 30-39 Finance
  • 40-49 Work
  • 50-59 Home Environment
  • 60-69 Digital Environment
  • … etc

But personally my Finance and Health data are not that complex to the point they each warrant an area of their own. (In fact, these are probably the only area in my life where i never have any organisational issues because the files are of similar and predictable nature.) I’m tempted to squeeze the first three items into one area called, say, “Personal Life”.

  • ?? 10-19 Personal Life
  • 20-29 Work
  • 30-39 Home Environment
  • 40-49 Digital Environment
  • … etc

My question is: those who use J.D for purely personal context, how do you decide what an area is?


My personal life is a) uncomplicated and b) still fits inside a single area. I described it in this post.

Would love to hear more ideas, as we’re getting more data here I’ll figure out how to build a reference library so this stuff can be pulled in to one place.

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So I take it that an area in J.D does not necessarily reflect/correspond to any specific real-life concept or function, just whatever level of organisational complexity makes the most sense, is that correct?

eg. “Finance” can be an area of its own for people who have complex personal finances (debts, various kinds of assets, taxes, and funds); can be a unique thing for people with more simple personal finance.

Yeah it’s anything, remember the whole “divide your project in to [at most] ten things” thing. Those things can be anything.

An example from work that springs to mind: I put together a process engine for a desktop application upgrade program. The areas there were:

  • Data: the data layer across the whole thing
  • Detect: figure out what all the applications are
  • Decide: figure out what to do with each of them
  • Do: do that thing
  • Deploy: deploy the application once done

I mean obviously the fact that they all start with D is also massively pleasing.

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I originally had Genealogy underneath Hobbies, but I already had a LOT more folders at a lower depth than would fit inside a JD system. So Genealogy was elevated to an Area, and now my 3rd level folders fit right in

50-59 Genealogy

  • 51 Dixon
    • 51.01 Bible Records
    • 51.02 Birth Records
  • 52 Gilmore

etc., etc.

So even though technically it should be under Hobbies, an exception was made, it was ‘promoted’ upward.

Did something similar with web sites, promoted upwards out of the original Writing category.