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.
The result of many conversations within this community led me to make note how I want somewhere to be My Workspace™.
A knowledge worker’s toolkit needs to be well-rounded, so 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.
As of January 2022, I’ve committed myself to three main tools: Things, Craft, and Obsidian.
While this ecosystem 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.
Here’s what I’m working with right now
Craft is my workspace for (mostly) private, messy, diverse types of work
- Interstitial journaling
- Collecting materials from around the internet
- Organizing and structuring information and knowledge
- Sharing parts of my process in a casual way
- Obsidian is for building my body of work and tending my digital garden to refine ideas over time
- Drafts is for immediate note capture
- Things is for getting shit done
- Evernote is for long-term storage
- Whimsical is for visual thinking
- Day One is for personal journaling since 2013
- Readwise is for resurfacing once-valued knowledge and wisdom
- The nerdy side of me: Alfred is for automation and central control
- Experimental: Roam is for collecting the internet
ObsidianCraft as my main note-taking, writing, and thinking environment
- Here’s a running list of my most utilitarian apps
Each app serves a discrete and distinguished purpose within my digital ecosystem. (👇🏻 visual needs updating as of April 29, 2021 since Roam and Notion are gone)
Most of these apps can be deeplinked to one another 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.
It’s been a long evolution of the ecosystem, and hopefully I’m at a comfortable place where I can focus more on the work than on the system.
If you would like to setup your own digital garden, I wrote a note on how mine is made through my Obsidian Jekyll workflow.
🚧 ⚠️ Rough Terrain Ahead ⚠️ 🚧
🛑 What’s this? ✍️ This whole note is a work in progress, but the below part is really rough. So why’s it here? Share ideas before they’re ready.
On Saturday, August 14, 2021 I’m thinking about how Craft—which I’ve immersed myself in for months now—might not be the right tool as my daily driver
It’s a little bit too…sleek.
The plain text of Obsidian is becoming a compelling argument for spending more time in here. It’s not as distracting as all Craft’s capabilities like formatting and organization. While those sound minor, there’s near-endless beauty in the simplicity of Obsidian’s text editor and the power of its back-end system.
Perhaps I can break it this way:
- Ideas emerge while writing in Obsidian
- Work gets done within Craft
Those are two different types of work which lead to two different outcomes. Progression of ideas against progression of projects.
A knowledge worker’s toolkit needs to be well-rounded, so I’m OK with it for the time being.
The joy of only having to deal with text and nothing more means I can focus 100% on the documentation of my thoughts, without regard for organization
Here’s what kickstarted the above thought exploration:
- Draft is for capturing fleeting thoughts, ideas, and notes
- Craft is for collecting materials from around the internet, organizing and structuring information and knowledge, and sharing parts of the process in a casual way
- Obsidian is for building ideas over time and taking daily notes