Unknown Speaker 0:13
Hello, everybody, I, I am Mark, I am an engineer at Android. And in this talk, I will be showcasing my personal journey through personal knowledge management, and how Dendron has helped me set everything up.
Unknown Speaker 0:43
Although I have been taking notes, all my life, the concept of PKM has been something very new to me. And I've been spending a lot of time to pass a good chunk of this year, absorbing a lot of information about PKM. And this is my current state at how I'm implementing things. So I'm definitely not like an expert in this. But I hope this talk can give other people who are just starting out a sense of self efficacy towards building their own personal management, personal knowledge management system.
Unknown Speaker 1:38
Unknown Speaker 1:42
Unknown Speaker 1:48
Let's start with how I found Dendron. I found Dendron. Out of out of random chance, to be honest, I thought I would, it would be a great good idea to learn how to roll out my own static website. So it was a good excuse to learn things like React, Gatsby, stuff like that. And at the end, I did I did kind of revive my personal website that I've been neglecting for almost 10 years. During the process, I learned about MDX. And I was intrigued by how people were just using Markdown to manage their content for for publishing. And this got me kind of exciting because this meant I can I can start writing just simply writing notes, and then can become like blog posts or anything really that kind of that I can publish on my website.
Unknown Speaker 3:07
And then I cut that idea. Then like all personal kind of portfolio websites go, I had to write an about page for me. And I'm not really I really struggle with introducing myself to other people who I am. So I was really struggling How do I how do I write this and like a concise, like, like a cool way. And I found out about the now page and it's basically just the page where you list things that are going on in your life right now. And and I have an app and I have a link. I can link in later but someone started it and has like, has like a compilation of everyone's now page that they submitted. And let me do while while checking out other people's now page. And that's when I discovered the concept of digital gardens. And then a lot of searching later, I found a lot of tools and then yeah, that's how I got to got to Dendron I started using it. I actually felt like it was a project that I want to contribute for the first time in life. And I and I did. And it felt great. And I kind of never looked back. I think that was like seven or eight months ago. Yeah. So that was How I found Dendron. That's when I started actually
Unknown Speaker 5:06
my digital garden.
Unknown Speaker 5:15
Let's, let's go over how my personal garden is set up. So I can't actually see what I'm sharing right now. But it should be sharing just my VS code window. Is that correct? Yes, that's correct. So this is two thirds of my actual screen. So about half, the size of half of this fiasco is Windows on my left. So it's always, mostly all like, all my windows are arranged like this. And my, my VS code is on the second two thirds of my screen, so that my first column is here, which is actually, I'm not showing it but it's in the center of my screen. I'm looking at the first column, and it's in the, in the middle. And here, right now I have I have another note open here. But usually I just put a note graph and a preview. And sometimes I have a terminal here, so that when I want to use it, I can just switch tabs and use the terminal. On the bottom, I have another another editor group, to say, I think that's called other group. I have that set up for any notes that I want to reference. But I don't actually write here, if I want to write, I bring it here. And whenever I'm taking notes, I'm, I'm writing here, and then referencing wherever it is, whatever is here. That's my layout.
Unknown Speaker 7:14
Unknown Speaker 7:17
Unknown Speaker 7:22
So on my on my main column, where I actually write, I have usually I have a daily journal that is pinned. And I also have another note called buffer. This is a type of special note that I'm kind of experimenting using. Personally, this is not part of Dendron right now. It is a single notes that that process, I never, I never deleted or move it to other places, it's just there. And I use it kind of like how you would use a scratch note and Dendron it's sort of a similar analogy, except that you would create a lot of scratch notes for for other needs. But for buffering notes, I just have it there pinned. And whenever I think I'm done writing, I just flush it out to an appropriate place. So for instance, if I were to be writing things about are, are human anatomy, stuff like that, I would have that. And I would just copy paste it to a place that I think is suitable. I do this because sometimes even just creating a scratch note is kind of like an overhead. So I just want to start like, late. If I have an idea that I want to copy, or copy paste or type right away, he wants to know to be there already. And I don't want to think about the possible kind of like, like, like title of the notes, or where I want to link the note so I Don't Forget it, forget it, it's there, stuff like that. So I would write here and then find a place that would be suitable. Like something like this and then just go there. And buffer note is still there. I just it's just flushed and ready for for for next use. And I I'm experimenting how well this works and the stuff that might be useful to facilitate this kind of pattern. So that maybe I can do a feature request or implement myself
Unknown Speaker 10:07
a mic question. First, I love the boyfriend note. And I definitely I can totally see this as something that can be part of tension just because it's an even easier way to just jot down your thoughts. Do you ever have like multiple thoughts like built up like right now like you were able to put down some notes and move them right away? But do you ever just let it build up? And what is your process of triage thing that note once you have maybe like a day's worth of notes, or a week's worth of notes, but maybe you never let it get to that point, I'm just curious about the process right now.
Unknown Speaker 10:49
Usually, so this is the part where buffer node kind of loses its its meaning because something like that, if I have a lot of notes to during the day, I that, that the purposes buffer buffer notes can be completely replaced by daily journals right now. So I'll just open a random daily journal, something that's more than that. So I was going to go over the general way of how I take notes on another section, but I'll just go over it right now I have, I usually almost just start with a timestamp. So here would be like, I have a snippet that just paste the time and the date. And then I would have I would have a note that's related to the thought or if I don't, I would just start my notes. And then maybe this goes to blah, blah, blah. And then I create the note, then it goes on. So almost everything I take notes here would end up becoming a node within my serve barium. So I keep it here. I don't think I ever went back and triage that because something like most of the notes that I take here are meta stuff about the the pages I want to to develop. So whatever things that need to be moved. I, I will write it here. But I would also move into the irrelevant notes. And I think a buffer is another higher abstraction over the daily journal because it's, it's it's like something that i i think it's just doesn't fit anywhere. Not in my daily journal, not in my any pre existing journals, I just need a place to to write it. I can flush it to other notes or just deleted it's just but I have I at least I have it that I don't have to think about where do I put it? That's, that's where I started using buffer notes. And yeah, does that answer your question? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 13:39
that makes sense that Do you still, I guess, do you use my friend? Oh, it's like in conjunction with daily journals? Or have you switched mostly to just use buffers in the placement of that?
Unknown Speaker 13:50
No, I still, I still use both. Sometimes I write stuff in the buffering node, and then I just paste it with a timestamp into my daily. Because sometimes the Delta denotes that I have before. It's kind of like a clutter. And I just want to clean space that that I want to work on this particular idea. I say idea, but I just really, it's just simple stuff in my life right now.
Unknown Speaker 14:23
That's where all the best ideas come from. And one more question for note and let you continue the presentation. Can you go more in detail with the illustration that you have especially like the little numbers in the bottom? Right.
Unknown Speaker 14:37
This is a quick scan of my, my my physical journal that I that I keep. It looks like this. I don't know if it's Yeah. So that is for tomorrow, July 31. So I always Write this before the day actually happens. But I was going to talk about how I separate my concerns with other other tools like pen and paper, then German, and whatnot. So this will be part of the talk in a later section.
Unknown Speaker 15:25
Cool. Sounds good. Don't let me hold you up.
Unknown Speaker 15:29
Okay, so, so buffer notes, basically deferring my decision of the location of the note to a future time so that I can capture the immediacy of my thoughts. And then I we already sorry about this, to assume you is kind of struggling. My tabs? So yeah. Yeah, I guess I already did kind of go over what I was going to talk about for daily journals here, because mine notes are very sparse like this. Because sometimes I just don't work on the daily, I just work on the actual notes. Yeah, this is, that's where I, I thought about buffering notes, by the way. So quickly reiterating timestamp, then whatever idea I have, I just write it down without thinking about the structure of how I want to organize this. I like to write now naturally, just just sequentially until I can sense kind of intuitively sense a structure in it. And before that, I don't really want I don't like, like, like applying a structure in it. So one, this is kind of off topic, but but the firt, like, trying to organize my knowledge. All I did was create notes. And this was when I first started using Dendron. So I was, really this is, this is a silly thing to do. But I would make a bunch of notes, they're all empty. But I would just dump all the dump out what I'm interested in, and I tried to make a rigid structure out of all the things I all the things I know and am interested about. And after like a month, I would have like 200 nodes started with zero. And they're all empty, I do nothing with it, I just keep on making new notes. And then I realize this is not how you do it. I have to start with a seed and an idea that I can take actions so that whatever that goes into my note or whatever note I create, actually means something to me. So if you I hope this show shows. So this is the current state of my node. And there's not a lot because currently, I have like 130 nodes. And I think I deleted more than like, like 60% of my notes because it because they were all empty, and I didn't have a purpose and actually structuring it that way. I think that's a good thing. And this is I think, is a perfect segue to my
Unknown Speaker 19:15
Unknown Speaker 19:17
thing I want to talk about.
Unknown Speaker 19:21
Unknown Speaker 19:25
no, I wanted to talk about something else for us. So let's do that. First one. See, bye for now. Yeah. So Dendron and, like, I mean, Sarah barium that I did I did I use dendrite to build is the source of truth from my notes. But it's not the only tool I use. I do this because I want to separate the Separate what kind of notes I put in sir barium or, or my other tools. For example, most of the notes about the daily minutia they, I don't think it has value to go into serve barium. It's either I do it, and I acknowledge it, that I did it or I didn't do it that day. I just move on, there's no like, I, of course, there's, there's people who track what they do, and use that data to extract insights and do other stuff. But that's, I don't do that. yet. I think, like I don't think I have, I don't think I have an urge to do that. yet. So I don't do that. And mostly these kind of little things that I that I, I mean, like, this is this is the the, this is an example this is a, I just use, this is a pocket sized notebook, again, about the size, a passport, it's actually called a passport notes. And if it's in my pocket, and there's no excuse for me to not have it all the time, even when I probably don't need to, to, to. to have it on me, for example, like going for a run. I do this because these are the things that I want to have access all the time immediately without even like clicking on an app, selecting a node and and trying to figure out what I want to what I want to look at, I just have a spread for every day was the same format that has a task and things I need to take care of. And then set time blocked out. So that I have an idea of how much free time I have today. And it constantly reminds me that I don't really have that much time today. And I have to like I don't I don't have time to slack off. So immediacy is the key for me here. And I tried a lot of ways of doing like to do notes using apps, using other other programs software. But it always the blocker always for me was that I need Internet access, or some kind of thinking. And if I didn't have my phone with, with my with me, I just can't do it. But a simple pen and paper solution was the way I make immediate tasks. And now like, if I don't have this before the day ends, for for, for then for the next day. The next day is kind of a kind of kind of chaos, because I really don't I rely on this so much that I don't know what to do that day.
Unknown Speaker 23:41
Anyway, so a question. So do you make this calendar or this crap every day? Like, do you have one? Or do you use like a template that you use every day?
Unknown Speaker 23:58
I draw this and write this every day. I this is another tangent that I won't actually go into but I used to my handwriting used to be like, really like something that you would the thing you would get came out on a printer. So I was really I'm really Oh, I think I'm still am but I'm really OCD and some at some point in my life. I thought writing perfect, like pixel perfect. words would help me like learn better. But that's not the case. And I don't I'm not going to go into this more. But yeah, I like I like writing with my hand and it makes me slow down and think about stuff that I want to write down. And without these kind of notes. I just can't function as a normal human being so slowing down Down, to write this down, at the end of the day to shut shut down and have kind of like a daily daily closure, so to speak. It's it's meditative. And I just I just like, I've, it's very pleasing to Me to look at this. So I think that it's emotionally a good thing for me. And it also it serves a purpose for me. So I kind of, I kind of do it as kind of a meditation, stuff like that manually every day,
Unknown Speaker 25:35
how to edit, it looks really, it looks like a really nice routine. So curious. And your writing is amazing. Mine is not.
Unknown Speaker 25:50
Yeah, so. So with this kind of pocket notebook, like you, like this is a very, like, I've, like I've been doing this for at least like three years on on the same type of notes for about three years. And when I first started, I was even more imperative. What I tell myself to do for, for example, my to do app would be like, wake up, take your, take your trash bag, and pile up all at your door, do the dishes, and then take it out stuff like that, like a very, very, like imperative kind of style of, of scheduling your day. But yeah, my point is that it tends to be in on like, a very imperative, like you have like, procedures of what you need to do that day, on this note. And for all the notes that I take in, sir barium using Dendron. It's more declarative, I have more abstract ideas about what I want to do. And then the notes I take usually aren't tasks. It's ideas, and then whatever comes out of that could be tax tasks. But I usually try to write notes in Dendron. In a way that you're having a conversation, almost like I'm, like, externalizing, my, my, my, my thinking, to like, like another person almost. And I'm talking to dungeon, as if I'm talking to a friend about a topic. And I think that helps me think about the ideas that I always had, but couldn't organize in my head, it's, I think it's a good way to pull it out. Okay, so that is, I think, pretty much it about separation of concerns that I want to talk about. So the next section is, what kind of content that comes in to my notes, what stays and what I what I expect to make out of that. So all external information that I get from books, articles, General videos, or just just word of mouth, they all go in to a hierarchy called e x t. And I have some rules here about how I want to organize this. This is all public, by the way, if you go to serve breatharian dot garden is all published. So I'm not going to go into the the rules that I put for myself, but I have all for example. I've read this book called Deep work. I have my reading notes here. I have another book that I'm reading right now, but I don't have notes here. There's probably something about lowering your blood pressure. Any information that I don't put input myself, it comes to this hierarchy. So that whenever I want to reference it in other places,
Unknown Speaker 30:22
I have a place that I know where it is. And I've seen people just have a big hierarchy that has all their notes, their reading notes, they're what they call fleeting notes into zettelkasten. They're permanent notes that have their own ideas all mixed up. But I thought it would be nice to have some kind of separation, I haven't really seen a very compelling reason that you should do it like this. But this is something I'm experimenting right now. That having one hierarchy and, and a pretty flat one that just goes right into the source, and then my notes. And then these are used to write my journals. If I if I go to backlinks, yeah, there are some things that I link here. I did some research about dash with, which is how you should eat, if you have hypertension, stuff like that. So usually I I have a, taken some information, lets it, process it in my own ways, and then make notes. And then I take that and put my own thoughts, probably first and my daily journal. And then if I think it's worth putting it into my other permanent notes, I move it there. And then, like I mentioned before, I would sometimes have notes that are empty, it's because I thought I would be working on those notes. But I didn't. And I forgot about it.
Unknown Speaker 32:41
It's not much overhead to have it there all the time. Keeping it empty, but I always make it a case to go and delete it. And what I what I normally do is I use Dendron. And in my notes, and I just keep on going this doing this until I find an empty note. But this note is not actually empty because it has other children. So go on, keep doing that until I find a random note that's empty. And then I decide do I want to work on it today? If not, I'm going to delete it. So that's how I tend to kind of prove my, my my digital garden. Hey, Mark, and
Unknown Speaker 33:41
just a question on my site. This is great. I'm just curious, I noticed that. So right now, I guess for people who aren't using dungeon dungeon has an option to automatically take your frontmatter and put it as the h1 title and the preview. And so I've noticed this, you've been going through some of your notes, some of your notes, you've been relying on the frontmatter tighter title, but some of them you've been putting an h1 title, like the current one. So like you see our chart twice. Is there do you have like a preference or like a way that you like, decide to put an h1 title in a note versus just using the title field? Or just you know, what is your favorite layout for that?
Unknown Speaker 34:31
I started out just using h1 titles. That's why some of the notes I have do have h1 titles, some don't. It's just that I had it like that. But at some point, I got into a habit of just using the the front metal type matter title. So I guess I don't really have preference but right now I'm just any new node that I have. May I use the frontmatter? title? So this is a pretty old note. You can see it's made last year and never touched again after February.
Unknown Speaker 35:14
Got it. And I guess this is just like as a plug for people that are not aware, because it's really hard to discover. We have a doctor command if you're in this situation to change our h1 title. So if all notes to the frontmatter title instead.
Unknown Speaker 35:30
Yes, that is true. And I need to do that. I guess I'm still undecided. That's why I'm not I'm running. I'm not running that command. So yeah, we'll see. We'll see.
Unknown Speaker 35:50
I don't mean to date into that. But please continue.
Unknown Speaker 35:54
Sorry, I haven't been looking at the the chat at all. Sorry about that.
Unknown Speaker 36:01
Um, yeah, there hasn't been. It's been a side conversation. So we're okay. I'll let you know if there's any questions. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 36:09
that'd be great. So let's say, yeah. So that's how I prune my notes. What was I going to talk about again, so what's my end game with these. So I had a really, I have, I still have a really bad problem of having very big, big ideas, and never executing. I have a lot of hobbies, a lot, a lot of interest. And I looked into a lot of information, I never make use of that information. And I never do anything about it. So that was the thing I wanted to fix this year. And with perfect timing, I found out about digital guarding it was something that could help me do that. So I made it a point that all the notes at the end makes me do something. And then when you when I do that, I have a place to record what I did. And it's kind of like the positive feedback loop of keep on doing stuff. As I see my digital garden grow as my knowledge base grow, and just pushed me to not being lazy. Just keep on doing finding things that you thought about, but never did. So my point here is that all notes I want at the end, if it's not something that I want to reference later, kind of like this cheat sheet. It's just something that can output an actionable next step. That is what I aim to make my notes do for me. Does that mean that that was a lot of words? But yeah.
Unknown Speaker 38:24
Yeah, you want to make sure that the notes that you have to know Yeah, sitting down that they're actionable?
Unknown Speaker 38:28
Yeah. Yeah. So I don't I that's why I kind of didn't want to just make a to do kind of a to do list and just have inboxes. I do have an inbox but like, just inboxes. And then files that I want it that I just just file in random information that I found that never looked into. So that's kind of like my explicit goal. Explicit kind of goal I set for myself for using dunja and building up my digital garden. Yeah. That's what goes in what stays what comes out of cerebral area. And another thing I wanted to talk about this, there are a lot of popular PKM methods out there. And all of them are great. The people who started that idea, they're all like, like, it's brilliant. All of them are brilliant. That's why a lot of people use it. And I've that's why I've been drawn into everything, like each and every method that I tried, but they all kind of failed. Like, well, I guess I failed on I failed to embrace Every one of them. And I thought about this a lot. And it was just that, like, nobody thinks the same. These are messages that are made a tailored for whoever created that. And there might be people that think similar to them and close to them. But at the end of the day, everyone thinks differently, and all the pipelines are different for people. So what I started doing is a look at all the failed attempts of employing these methods and just taking out the good stuff. For example, para, I thought it would work really well, because it was something simple. But I didn't want to organize every aspect of my life. And in my note in Dendron, at least, and the separation of projects, areas, wasn't resources. And then archives areas part kind of felt a bit forced to me it was it just kind of look very tightly coupled with projects and resources. So I didn't really want to follow that to the tee. But I decided that the spirit of para, of having these kind of different level of abstractions of different areas of your real life was meaningful. So I took that, and I hope that it shows in, in my digital garden, when you take time and take a look into it. Settle caston if I were a researcher or was still in academia, I think I would have gone full setup, Gaston because I think it's a really good way to organize information that you absorb, and then output something of your own writing. Really great. And you can see in my x t hierarchy, that I pretty much follow what the central casting method suggests us to do with all all your reading notes. I don't really take fleeting notes separately, I just I just punch it all up into reading notes. And then an important thing that I have to mention is that writing is not my end goal. Right? Writing is just a side effect of what I really want to do, which is push my actions out of out of my head. And actually make me do that and then record that along the way. So writing is a side effect of all that. So follow settle cast and what it suggests to a tee because then I would be focusing on something that I'm not
Unknown Speaker 43:36
aiming to focus. So so I just adopt parts of what it suggests, like like reading notes, taking notes, processing the information in your own head and writing with your own words, stuff like that. Yeah. Bullet general light light guy introduced with my pen and paper stuff for my dailies. It's good for immediate stuff that are very procedural imperative, but I couldn't just like the, the there is a physical kind of like wall you hit. If you try to organize your knowledge in an analog analog method, LDS is what I'm what I'm feeling. It just gets too unwieldy because, like, you know, like, at least you need some not not a tiny notebook like this. You at least like need need, like a letter size notebook or something like that. And then you need multiple of them. And, you know, yeah, the physical limitation wasn't something that I want wanted to Take, go through. Yeah. So, but writing with my hand was something that I really liked. And then it was immediate, I didn't need my phone or my computer. So what I did is I made my a, I gave myself a place that I can write down things that I care about tomorrow, and not be too precious about. So that's, that's a, that's the way I, I adopted bullet journals. What's another one? There's a lot of things that I read, and then kind of just, like, took the spirit of it and then tried to come up with my own kind of pipeline and into, into what would make sense to me, essentially. But like I said earlier, most of the time, I don't try to make structure before I can see a pattern intuitively. So it's an ongoing process of checking out new stuff. trying it out failing, and then just taking the spirit and trying to make it come naturally to me. Okay, I think that's pretty much all all methods that I can think about that I kind of took parts to, to come to this point right now.
Unknown Speaker 46:49
Yeah, and I think for people who might not be as familiar with different notetaking techniques, we'll be sure to also all the terms that Mark mentioned, like para and central casting and seeding notes. And we'll have a glass screen that comes out, can we also publish your talk?
Unknown Speaker 47:10
As there would be PK involved, that goes into the details of how and what they suggest you do with your knowledge?
Unknown Speaker 47:21
Yeah, thanks for the reminder. So yeah, dungeon has, we have published a reference guide for what all the different PKM techniques do and some ways of implementing them? So I guess one more thing to add. I know we talked about it, but I don't think we're the listener. So the people tuning in might know is for your digital garden. Why did you decide to name it Sarah premium and the story behind me.
Unknown Speaker 47:59
It's I, I have, I have a tendency to name things. And it's, it's part of my grandiose, kind of, like, like, like staying inside my head, like brewing of big ideas. So I started using it. And then this is the like, it's very funny, because at the time, I started getting into, like, learning about digital gardens, I was actually getting into gardening. I mean, like, like, like growing plants. So I wanted something with a planned theme. Because, you know, like, I want to buy a domain, dot domain, Garden, dot, dot, dot garden domain. You know, so I needed I needed a name, I needed a logo, and it has to be plant kind of stuff. So that I can have an excuse to buy a dog garden domain. And I thought about it, and something about my knowledge, my brain. cerebral stuff like that. Then Kate garden. You have tyrians. So it's just, it's just, it's just a combination of the two tours, hirable? terrarium and stuff like that. Yeah. And then I may go on this present. This one. Does it get bigger? I don't think so. But this is so it's like a terrarium. It's open on the bottom and has all the brainy kind of detail but it's a plant. So yeah, I wanted to do that. When I first started building it apart. So that's how I that's how I got the name.
Unknown Speaker 50:05
It's awesome. And I love the logo that you have. And I might call upon you to do future adventure that science so that that'd be great. Yeah. Well, at this point, I think we have a little over so I'm going to stop the recording. But thank you very much mark for the talk. And I think we all have a lot to take away from this.