Organizational State

23:15 Tue 09 Jan 2007. Updated: 21:41 25 Jan 2007
[, , , , ]

I’m on a heavy organizational kick right now, especially concerning digital information. I’m using lists more, and I’m digging up archived stuff from way back because I want to put it into a rational and unified structure.

As I wrote the other day, I’m really liking TiddlyWiki. It’s rather amazing to me how useful it is, and how much of a kick I get out of using it.

I started out using it primarily for list management. I previously used text files for this, but they don’t have hypertext as a feature, and that’s unbelievably useful. So now I use it for list management and for the storage of notes that I take while doing the things on the lists. This solves the niggling problem I’ve always had about where to put information like that—if I figure out some trick to make something work, I want to record it, but I don’t want to have to invent (or use) some heavyweight directory structure for doing so. At the same time, I don’t want to just jam it into a “miscellaneous” section. Furthermore, it’s nice to have it connected to whatever task I was doing when I ran across it. TiddlyWiki solves all of these problems.

TiddlyWiki is aided immensely by Subversion, which I’m using more and more often. If I didn’t have version control, and easy version control at that, I’d be worried about storing everything in TiddlyWiki, and that worry would slow me down. As it is, Subversion makes me feel fairly secure about experimenting with TiddlyWiki‘s features while not having to worry about data loss. At the same time, TiddlyWiki‘s list management help is making me move stuff into Subversion faster.

I have a set of TiddlyWiki files. The main one contains the lists of what I want to be doing, including some work lists. The major nodes are:

* lists “A” and “B”, which are work and not-work;
* Getting Things Done-inspired lists of things to do in specific contexts “@Home”, “@Errand”, and “@Email”;
* lists of potential and completed tasks;
* steps to get myself to make decisions about something, to create something, and to focus;
* a list of ideas for blog posts;
* a list of links to the other TiddlyWiki files I use;
* and finally, an element which simply has in it a short description of what my current task is. This last is a new development, and seems to be helping a lot in terms of focus.

I also added a calendar plugin, but haven’t used it much yet.

Easy hypertext/information management and easy version control. I recommend them to everyone.

However, being in this organizational frame of mind seems to make me less creatively driven. I haven’t done creative writing since last week (I’m not counting the editing of the novel, just because it’s not quite the kind of creative activity I have in mind). Partly it’s a question of time, in that I’m eagerly spending the time working on organizing stuff instead of writing. I should probably do my best to focus on the writing for the next couple of weeks, though, in order to finish the second draft of the novel.

I need to use the creativity steps I came up with last month to alter this bias—but the problem is that I’m enjoying the organization right now. I need to fight past that to get back to the editing, and working on new stories.

My Current TiddlyWiki Layout

« (previous)

Leave a Reply