what I need in a digital workspace
I need a space where I can:
- Capture and recall what’s valuable (ideas, links, etc)
- Think, process, and progress ideas
- Manage work, projects, and life operations
Another way of defining this is in three areas:
- Life Ops
- Work Ops
- Creative Output
The perfect tool isn’t out there for me despite having spent significant time refining my digital ecosystem, so I’m settling on a few key tools with distinct purposes:
- Effectively manage the macro perspective of my life and projects to ensure priorities, responsibilities, and deadlines are met
- Consistently produce creative output through a messy-yet-organized working environment and creative process
I’ve identified the key needs for what I want in a digital workspace
I want to immediately see Today’s Priority and Tasks, This Week’s Priority and Upcoming Tasks, and anything else to keep me on track.
I want peripheral cues of my digital work to help spark creativity and problem solving, such as artifacts hanging around that trigger my thoughts: sticky notes, scribbled ideas, marked-up books, and all the goodness that a typical analog workspace has.
I need to be able to seamlessly send and recall clippings from anything I read: highlights from articles and books, worthwhile tweets, words on the internet I want to capture and queue for review.
In short, I want to know where to go to find the information I need when I needed it.
A place to store my research as I discover and learn new things.
A place to put all my thoughts, ideas, wisdom, knowledge, practices, resources, notes, conversations, projects, and more.
A place that lets me discover connections between ideas.
A place that helps me generate novel ideas.
A place that holds all of the digital notes I take:
- Work notes
- Life notes
- Fleeting notes
- Research findings
- Project documents
- Daily notes / Interstitial Journal
- Clarity of use
- Speed of interaction
- Extensibility and customization
- Flexible organization and structure
- Connectivity of notes and words
- Seamless mobile experience
Personal productivity needs
I want somewhere to be My Workspace™, and I want that somewhere to have what I consider critical capabilities:
- Bidirectional links
- Fast search
- Fast sync
- Seamless mobile experience
- Private, Secure, Offline
- Daily Notes
- Unlinked references
- Hotkey custom bindings
- Easy export
- Easy “processing notes” workflow
- Easy selection and rearrangement of blocks
- Collaborative features: comments, easy sharing, multiplayer
To meet the needs above I rely on my digital ecosystem, with most of my work being handled by a few specialized tools:
- Drafts is for immediate note capture
- Obsidian is for building my body of work and tending this digital garden
- Notion is my workspace
- Things is for getting shit done
It’s been a fascinating evolution of the ecosystem and I’ve learned so much about new tools, including how Tools for managing information overload and improving how we think are on the rise.
I do believe A knowledge worker’s toolkit needs to be well-rounded, but tools can also be distracting so it’s a fine line to tow. Hopefully I can settle in to my new system and really build a body of work.
It’s taken a while to get here so I made some notes on the evolution of the ecosystem.