my digital ecosystem
I have a fascination with systems, networks, and automation. I’m a systems nerd perpetually iterating on my personal systems for writing, working, learning, and managing digital data, files, and knowledge.
I also have a passion for everything nature and outdoors. Permaculture, farming, ecosystems, environmentalism—I believe in the connection between humans and the earth, and always find myself thinking about the relationship between entities, wondering about the role each entity might play in connection to a larger system.
Early in 2020 I discovered a community of folks passionate about building their own personal wikis, productivity systems, and digital gardens. Several community members also share a love of permaculture and systems thinking. I was hooked.
After much experimentation and exploration of new practices and tools, I’ve made significant improvements to my learning and knowledge management system. It’s considered a work in progress, however, as it’s always being iterated on and improved as my needs evolve and change.
And once again, as of March 2021, I’m considering how to rework the system based on how my needs have evolved.
While the system is intended to facilitate writing, I’ve come to learn that It’s not a writing system, it’s a thinking system whose byproduct is writing.
If you would like to setup your own digital garden, I wrote a note on how mine is made through my Obsidian Jekyll workflow.
Here’s what I’m working with right now
- Roam as a networked web of thinking.
- Drafts is for immediate note capture and works in progress.
Obsidian is for tending my digital garden.
- Obsidian helps build and improve ideas over time.
- Things is for getting shit done.
- Evernote is for long-term storage.
- Day One is for personal journaling since 2013.
- Craft for writing and collaborative idea building.
- Whimsical is for visual thinking
- Readwise is for serendipity and delight.
- And the nerdy side of me: Alfred is for automation and central control.
- Experimental: Notion as an organized workspace.
Experimental: Obsidian as my main note-taking, writing, thinking environment
Each app serves a discrete and distinguished purpose within my digital ecosystem.
Most of those can be deeplinked to from any other app, so relevant notes and information are almost always a click away if I make sure to include those links.
That said…how amazing would it be to see all the multidirectional links across apps? Evernote could show you all the related journals in Day One, tasks in Things, and research in Roam. Bidirectional links between apps would greatly improve interoperability of concepts and ideas. After all, A knowledge worker’s toolkit needs to be well-rounded.
Some thoughts on the evolution of this ecosystem
Ulysses was for long form and Bear was for notes, but that’s all changing.
Craft seems awesome and might replace both, but it’s too new to me to commit. For now I don’t need to choose because most of my work is done elsewhere at this point: in Roam and Things.
In late 2020, I started experimenting with Roam Research to see how it might fit with my brain. I was stunned.
Immediately I saw the potential of this brilliantly simple-yet-powerful piece of software.
Since then it has increasingly become my go to system for everything related to research, learning, thinking, and managing knowledge. It also holds tasks, ideas, and reading materials, though I do not rely on it like I do Things and Instapaper. I’d like to write more about my experiences with Roam in the future, but for now here’s Why I like Roam over Bear for improving my thinking.
Originally I wrote Bear is for networked thinking. When I started Tinkering with Roam Research I quickly saw how it might actually end up replacing most of the stack above. It’s already taken me away from Bear, which was my favorite app for a long time, followed closely by Ulysses.
I made this site to learn through discourse. Your thoughts here👇 or on Twitter are encouraged!