The Water Analogy & Why It Makes More Sense To Me

Hello everyone. Hope you are all good. I thought I’d share my way of thinking of notes and how I make use of it in my vault.


Everyone has ways that they use to make, develop and solidify their notes. This was something that I struggled with when I first started using Obsidian, so I didn’t pay too much mind to it.

After some time it got to a point where I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So like anyone else look for guidance on knowledge management, I went on a search to find a way that would aid me with my predicament - the books, the processes.

Things That Didn’t Work For Me

This is based of my understanding of what these things entailed.

Zettelkasten

A good deal of the knowledge management community live and die by this method. Fleeting, Literature and Permanent Notes. For me and my mind that’s a demarcation that does not gel with me and it opposes how I think and how my mind works.

The second thing that put me off Zettlekasen was the file naming system that I encountered when I was researching it - 20240215 file name here does no sit well with me for naming my files. I have no idea how I would go about resurfacing that file really.

Evergreen Notes

I have seen a lot of people gravitate to this method of creating ‘evergreen notes’. This puts notes in stages: seedling, incubator, sapling, tree etc

To me, this is creating a rigid structure to notes; that this note should be here, but that one should there. This goes against the way my mind works.

Atomic Notes

Every note should be one idea that makes sense on its own. Yeah, that will never happen with my mind.

The Books

I also read some of the books where these methodologies arose from. What I ended up is more overwhelmed with all the information and no closer to finding a way that works for me.

My Notes Are Like Water

I do not see ideas/notes as separate…

Going off how I my mind woks, I don’t see ideas as separate. Rather, they’re all connected somehow and make sense regardless of where you choose to look at them (like water). A drop is part part of water, as is a splash or a wave; and from wherever you decide to look at it, it all just water - ideas that make sense regardless the note I open.

Utilising that, I have this method of working with my notes:

This way actually solidified itself with a quote I came across as I was working on it, the important parts I extracted all still connected to the initial quote in a way that made sense. This is something I would not have happened on if I hadn’t restarted my vault.

I know this sort of seems like the evergreen stuff, but it isn’t.

An Example

There is a quoted by Sadhguru that resonated with me. I took that quote down and tagged it with #note/💧 - a droplet

  • A note titled Thinking - Sadhguru

From that quote I got several ideas/thoughts that became their own files that I tagged with #note/💦 - splashes

Notes named

  • Embrace aliveness in you
  • Distance between yourself and your thoughts

Then from the splashes, come the overall encompassing ideas/thoughts, and that is tagged with #note/🌊 - wave

A note named:

  • Thoughts are just thoughts

These notes are all connected and feed into each other; continuously and from the inside and outside.


With that, I have these simple things that occur naturally with my ideas and notes:

  • Ideas are
    • fluid
    • connected
    • make sense from wherever you look like
  • Ideas are not some rigid thing
  • like water they need flow

A Cool Thing That Happened in Discord

This one time, as I was scrolling through the Obsidian discord, I came across a very interesting picture from user @trinsic. This image drove me to ask further the significance of the folders employed and that lead to a cool discussion.

I was curious as to why the folders where named as; and the answer I got was very interesting as trinsic arrived at a similarish way of looking at notes as I did.

What was compelling was how trinsic and I arrived at a similar place with how we look at notes yet we had never interacted before prior to that.


Thank you

Well, that’s all I had to share. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I wonder about how you all view notes in your vaults.

5 Likes

I like this idea very much and I am trying to implement something similar in my workflow.

- Single atomic idea: #-💧
- An idea or concept that can contain several ideas, concepts, etc.: #-💦
- Source of ideas (podcast, book, video, etc) #-🌊
- Source that needs further investigation: #-🌧️ 
- Same as above, high priority: #-⛈️
- Project on hold: ☔

My only worry is if the emojis are going to be compatible and future-proof.

I had similar difficulties. (Especially with the naming convention. The Zettelkasten method makes sense to me for numbering cards you have to keep in a box. It doesn’t make sense to me for notes that are in a database where you can tag them with multiple things.)

With regard to atomic notes, though, I eventually figured out that none of my notes were that BASIC. It was as if everything I had was at least a “molecular” note, and I’d skipped right over the atoms. Which is totally fine, at least to start with – but was helpful to realize, as it helped me know what the missing piece was if/when I was struggling to link notes together. Sometimes the problem was that the “connection point” didn’t exist as a note in my vault because it was so simple I just take it for granted.

1 Like