Whats "outside" of the system?

I came across JD while I was looking for a better way to organise my files and with that I mean all my files on my computer which are spread over the regular OSX filesystem and DevonThink. I am a self employed programmer, so I have customers with multiple projects + I have some side hustles.

I think I got the overall concept of JD but have a hard time to identify the areas. Simple example:
I have a private bank account, one for my company and another one is a joint account with my girlfriend for paying rent, home maintenance, etc.

I could use the areas 10-19 Personal and 20-29 Work and have a 10 Finances / 20 Finances folder inside OR I extract that Finance folder to area level but then I would mix invoices from my company with my private ones.

So this made me wonder if I want to use the system “too broad” and areas should be “within” a folder called “personal” which is outside of the system?

I hope this makes sense.

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Have a look at this post. I have a similar life and use 10-19 Personal and 30-39 Work with basically the same categories within each area.

Works great as it’s always very clear to me what’s personal and what’s work.


Hi and thanks for your response. I already read this post you referring to. To be honest I read nearly every post of the forum.

And after doing this I have some more thoughts I like to share and looking for some insights.

Without the multiple projects structure, you have three levels of depth in the system:

10-19 Personal
  10 Health
     10.1 Exercises
     10.2 X-Rays
20-29 Work
   20 Clients
     20.1 Client A
     20.2 Client A

On which level does the projects is inserted? For my understanding its on the 3rd level inside 20.1 Clients A` but thats forbidden. Say we break the rule here. Would you then repeat the outside structure inside every project?

20-29 Work
   20 Clients
     20.1 Client A
       F01 Project Foo
         10-19 Finances
         20-29 Schedules
         30-39 Documentation

Some of your examples showing a category which got retired and is now empty or maybe something else. One of the idea of the system is to have a fixed ID of a thing to use it in mail subjects and alike. But this link breaks when you retire a category. Now the [10.1] in a mail from three years ago suddenly points to nowhere or a new thing. And retire or move a category is not something that rarely happens but is built-in the system as it is restricted to 10 categories.

How do you handle this?

This post has prompted me to start what I’ve been meaning to start for so long, which is an expanded page on the multiple projects concept.

I have started it. I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I haven’t finished it. But I will, this week, and I’ll post it here when done.

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My partner is now reviewing the first version of this page. It’s coming!

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Glad to hear and looking forward to it.

Still coming, sorry! Preview version here, this will disappear at some point so future visitors will find the page I’m referring to on the main site here when it’s published.

It’s not finished but should be useful enough, feedback welcome. This is a big topic that I want to get right so it’s taking a bit of thinking. The next pages will document the various patterns so they should also be really helpful.

I try really hard not to change or delete things for all the reasons you outlined. If I do it it’s usually really early in the JD system’s life when I know it hasn’t already been used in, say, an email.

If I know something has been used like that I almost certainly would never change it.