Skip to content

re: How do you organize your knowledge? VIEW POST


If you're interested in recall techniques, there's a fantastic book called Moonwalking with Einstein that talks about various mnemonic devices, and is really entertaining as well. It's insanely effective.

I offload as much as possible. The human brain is great for processing and decision-making, but terrible for data storage or repetitive tasks. So I aggressively automate what I can.

  • Automation: bash (or pick a language of choice, but the requirement is that you can quickly implement a script to do what you need, so you can automate the task, and get back to what you were doing)
  • To-Do: I like OmniFocus, but YMMV.
  • Random bits of data: I like TextExpander for text values I need to "remember" (ex: I have a snippet for my work phone number, etc.). I also use Alfred for longer bits of boilerplate (since Alfred lets me search & select snippets, it's better for stuff I use rarely), and I've played a little bit with Dash, but tend to go with Alfred because it's what I know.
  • I have a personal wiki where I put bits of helpful troubleshooting information. (Kind of my own personal Stack Overflow-- whenever I see a problem that I have a hazy memory of, chances are the solution is in my wiki.)
  • Reading & Retaining Information: I'm a kinesthetic learner, so taking notes on what I'm reading really helps with later recall. I use my wiki for this as well, creating a "book notes" page for books I want to retain. My notes are either structured in a way that mirrors the book's table of contents, or I add page references so that I can go find more information if I find my notes are insufficient.
  • Temporary Storage for Random Garbage: Meeting notes, debugging notes, etc, go into a paper notebook I carry with me at work. I put the Jira ticket number in the table of contents, and that way I can find anything I need to later. (I keep the Jira notes up to date, but sometimes there's info that's only important in retrospect, and it's nice to be able to find it later.)
  • Brute Force Memorization: There are some things that it's simply better to have in your head. For that, I make flash cards, or I type it repeatedly at random intervals, make up rhymes, or mnemonic devices (see: Moonwalking) etc. Once you have the mnemonics in place and you've solidified the memory, this takes up far less space in your head than you'd think. The trick is finding the right mnemonic, which is really hard for stuff like warehouse receiving processes, etc.
code of conduct - report abuse