Over the years I've searched for, tried, stopped using, used again, reconsidered, stopped using, considered some more on note-taking/recording/filing systems.

Generally I've opted for computer-based systems but have also tried paper-based methods.

The list is probably not complete, and in no particular order:

  • Treepad
  • Zim
  • GTD
  • Bullet Journalling
  • CherryTree
  • DIY Planner
  • Written to do lists
  • Online to do lists
  • Spreadsheets with to do lists
  • Pocket notebooks - cheap ones from the supermarket that only collect info, not retain it.
  • Larger notebooks such as Moleskine and Field Notes
  • Plain text computer files
  • My brain (limited, poor recall ability, prone to failure)

I would class Treepad, Zim and Cherrytree together in the same forest; to do lists and bullet journals in the same paddock; notebooks (including DIY Planner) as the medium rather than the method; and my brain as the fallback for all of the others.

I like the idea of the simplicity of paper-based systems, but the falldown for me is that I don't want to carry it around. I like the idea of computer-based programs, but that means having the application available on all machines, and/or internet access.

I've also pondered the idea of a wiki - some computer-based system that allows for thoughts/plans/facts to be stored and retrieved. I've resurrected some of these thoughts recently and had another look at personal wikis. A couple of the standout ones were:

The primary advantage of TiddlyWiki is that it is all contained in a single html file that renders on any web browser. The file contains the html, javascript, CSS (styles) and user-created data such that it becomes a one-piece repository for whatever you want to store. DokuWiki looks more like a traditional/standard wiki with pages and links. It also either needs to be installed on a website or by using a cutdown runtime server executable that can be separately downloaded.

I'm in the process of setting up my TiddlyWiki. It resides in Dropbox so is accessible from any computer I regularly use. So far all seems fine.

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