YOUR PKM approach, to reach YOUR goals, in YOUR context :) (i love YOU)

Hello Hello PKM approach questions :slight_smile:

1. What PKM system do YOU use? 
2. For what purpose and in what context?
3. For what reasons did you settle with it?
4. What works well for you? What doesn't?

MEGA BONUS POINT for anything emphasizing or including visuals, hand notes, and multilingual

Thank you, thank you, thank you :slightly_smiling_face:

Note 1 : I’d really like to hear more than “Zettelkasten”, or PARA, Bradley’s PPV, Milo LYT ACCESS or ACE, or Akshay CoreOS & CreatorOS… or just a name mentioned in other posts like STIR, LATCH, TIPS, MATE…
Note 2 : NOT trying to build a new system, just to learn from YOU to pick/mix a good one for me
Note 3 : I’m really interested in what YOU tried, did to make it work for YOU, and what still hurts :slight_smile:

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You mention a lot of approaches, but isn’t the key question what you need it to do? What are the key factors that make any system match your kind of thinking/workflow?


Hello there,

I did my homework :wink:

1. What PKM system do YOU use?

My PKM system is a mixture of evergreen notes and MOC, with some personal elements linked to my dual activity as historian and university professor.

For example, I have specific ontologies (file types):

  • chronologies (lists of atomic notes that are dated events).

  • course scripts" (lists of atomic notes organized with a view to exporting the whole thing into Word to create a usable course flow)*.

  • bibliographic reference notes, each listing an article and/or a book and/or a historical source and all the notes (thanks Dataview!) that refer to it.

*(In France, we’re very attached to the three-part dissertation plan, so it’s a straitjacket that paradoxically helps to organize this type of note-taking).

2. For what purpose and in what context?

This system allows me to :

  • write drafts of the books and articles I produce as a historian.

  • produce my university lectures.

3. For what reasons did you settle with it?

My main motivation for using this type of system (which I had tested in Devonthink before switching to Obsidian) is

  • to allow knowledge to irrigate several knowledge domains at once. I think this is the most classic motivation of us, Obsidian users. The same atomic note can be used for a course script, a scientific article, many other things. It’s incredibly powerful.

  • to remember what I have as “external” knowledge (knowledge that isn’t memorized. Most of it isn’t and is written down somewhere). The first part of my career was a constant struggle not to “forget” knowledge lost in a Word file deep in my hard disk.

  1. What works well for you? What doesn’t?

It works amazingly well.

  • I feel like I have real control over the knowledge I produce, and I don’t forget things that would otherwise be stored linearly in a forgotten file somewhere.

  • I can easily produce from knowledge already stored and available in atomic form.

What doesn’t work so well?

  • atomic form requires real work on contextualizing knowledge to keep it understandable over time. A short note on an event is only comprehensible in the context of its MOC or in a file that lists others with it. As you can see, I haven’t switched to a Zettelkasten stricto sensu because it seems less comprehensible in the long term.

  • I’ve now reached over 10,000 notes and I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by this mass (without this having any real negative consequences for the moment; I write, I do my courses, everything’s fine). I just think that if I were to change systems, the amount of work involved in reorganizing everything would force me to start from scratch.

sorry, it’s long !



Bonjour Benjamin. Merci d’avoir été long. J’avais pris soin de bien choisir les questions. Merci d’y avoir répondues. C’est exactment le genre de réponses que je cherche, et qui va m’aider.

Thank you Benjamin for the time and detail you shared. I hade been careful and intentional about my questions. That’s EXACTLY the type of share I am looking for and will benefit from :slight_smile:

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You are absolutely right. I should know what Ineed it to do or, rather, what I want to be able to do with it, with flow if possible. The reasons why I did put myself, my aspirations and assumptions out of the way for now are two-fold:

  • first, years as a consultant, coach and executive showed me we often assume we know and restrain the problem or the solution/approach far too early. So I thought I would hear people return on experience first.
  • second, I am not looking at this stage for evaluations of what I am trying to do (because I am still open to what is possible), or even how I am trying to do it (because i would either have too much or too little to say). That would equate to performing a function local optimum search. I am looking for the optimum across a family of functions. Hence my questions… I’ll come back with more, for more, soon.

But, because it’s only fair, I am happy to share what I have in mind at this point:

  • I am absolutely passionate about systemic, organization, collective, and individual change, transformation, performance. innovation, etc.
  • I learn all the time, and have been compiling, in different formats and places a mass of knowledge on th topic.
  • I did work at writing 4 books which have good parts but did not convince me as a whole.
  • I aim to create a setup, and habits (at the same time, on the personal side) that help me produce and publish what I think, expose it, engage in dialogues and work around this body of knowledge, sources, contacts, practices and experiences.
  • I also struggled with depression, ADHD and some degree of Asperger and mostly won on all fronts, and am looking for ways to support my being much more than a brain on a stick now…a full, self-regulated, organized, journaling, integrated, sporthy, whole-hearted, active and lively father, husband, friend, boss and peer.

There. :wink:

With that, if you want to share your purpose, system, experience, I would genuinely be delighted to learn more about you, what you do and how, and what you think about what works and doesn’t. :slight_smile: Thank you :pray:

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@BGT, did you ever listen to Bianca Pereira’s presentation at LYTCon ?

I found the metaphor she uses really empowering, and have been practicing it for a few days with much more flow and comfort.

Would love your feedback :slight_smile:

No. I will.

Tanks for the link!


Hello FDSC

1. What PKM system do YOU use?

I don’t use a specific PKM.

Requirements and preferences change with time therefore my system as well. No big breaks but “seamless” changes. That’s the theory. In practice it is always more or less messy, but that’s fine for me.

The real challenge in my non-system system is to keep control. Therefore I have some more or (mostly) less clear rules for my orientation.

For example, maybe the most important guideline, I have two kind of files: “Content-Files” and “Management-Files”. In theory no mix! In practice, the exception proves the rule.

Another guideline is the idea of an “autonomous” (NOT atomic) file. A file should contain within itself all infos about itself, which are necessary to manage the file, no matter how I manage my system, today this way, tomorrow maybe upside down :wink: Today with Obsidian, tomorrow who knows?

The basic tool I use are “file-stamps” in the file name. Basically these “file-stamps” have the same function as folders.

There are different categories of stamps.

  • Function Stamps for files with a specific meaning for the management of my system, e.g. “°bundle” ( basically MOCs) or “°list” (just lists for this and that) …
  • Content Stamps for files with a specific content , e. g. “°book”, “°glossary”, …
  • Topic Stamps like “°obs” (Obsidian), “°lnx” (Linux) …
  • …

For the fine-tuning I use nested-tags.

2. For what purpose and in what context?

I want a specific information, I want it quick, I want it now. Therefore I navigate with the “file switcher” to get direct or at least as near as possible to my target.

If I look for a book about GIT, the query “git °book” will do the job.

If I have some trouble with my Linux System, the query “setup °lnx °bundle” shows me the file where all files for this topic are listed. Same e. g. for Obsidian “setup °obs °bundle”.

Has the forEach-loop a return value? “forEach °js” will (mostly) not answer my question but the link inside will do it.

Most stuff I deal with has a (let’s say) “intrinsic” structure. If you are familiar with it, the orientation is not really hard.

3. For what reasons did you settle with it?

  • see #2

4. What works well for you? What doesn’t?

I started with the file-stamps maybe two years ago. Ten at most - I said. Today I have around 80 and it works better than I ever had hoped.

The fine-tuning with nested-tags is … To be honest, it doesn’t work as I wish. I have to find a better way and I think it will be just tags, no nesting.

I am a little scared of “just” tags because mostly it ends in in a heap of tag-garbage. As I said, if I look for something, I don’t want to be inspired, I just want an answer.

A summary in one two sentences: I want a system which is as simple as possible because of all the future changes, where from I don’t have any idea, except that they will come. On the other hand it has to work the way I need it today - and tomorrow.

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Thank you @Amolip . It opened topics I had not considered. Useful.