rosiecam's Comments

What is your Personal Knowledge Management system?

I'm constantly experimenting with it! The downside of it being so flexible is that it can take a while to figure out the best system.

At the moment, everything goes into one database called 'Notes'. I enabled the 'Created at' and 'Edited at' properties. I also have multi-select properties for themes (e.g. rationality, productivity, economics, etc) and for type (e.g. random thought, blog idea, resource, article, tool, etc). I also have a checkbox property called 'processed' - and I filter the view of the table to only see the unticked items. Everything I add is by default 'unprocessed' (i.e. unticked) - this allows me to add stuff from the web (with the web clipper) and quick random thoughts without worrying about immediately sorting them. Every so often, I go through everything that is 'unprocessed' and sort it (add tags, finish reading it, add highlights or more notes, links to other notes, etc) and once I'm done I'll tick the 'processed' box so it's hidden from the default view.

I 'favorite' the notes I use most regularly (e.g. I have one called 'useful info' which has stuff like my health insurance number, wifi passwords, etc). Otherwise, I navigate by searching, or by filtering on certain tags.

I'm planning to gradually build this out into a relational system (e.g. creating a 'project' table and linking the notes to relevant projects, etc). I try to 'organize opportunistically' (as described in Part II C here - retrieved this from my Notes table in Notion!) as I find most of my attempts to impose a top-down structure are not flexible enough.

What is your Personal Knowledge Management system?


  1. Capture everything: Do not assume your brain will remember anything. Write it down ASAP. Use whatever will let you capture it quickest, whether that's pen and paper or a digital solution.
  2. Review and process: Make sure you actually look at the things you wrote down regularly and organize it. If it was an idea you need to act on (e.g. a topic for a blog post, or a reminder to look up a particular concept), add it to your task manager. If it was a thought for reference, add it to your 'second brain'/note-taking/archive system, and add tags so you can find it easily later. Once processed, archive or delete the item from your capture system.
  3. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler": There is a balance to strike between using as few tools as possible, and using many tools that are each specialized to do one thing really well (a tool that tries to do everything tends to do nothing well).
  4. Consider sustainability: In an ideal world, I would only use open-source, non-proprietary tools. But often commercial tools do a better job and/or have a nicer interface. In these cases, ensure that you can export your data at any time in a standard format (e.g. markdown, xml). Also, be prepared to pay a subscription fee - this helps keep the tool going!

What I use:

  • For capture: Google Keep. If it's a task, sometimes I add it straight to my task manager (Asana).
  • Info sources: I use Feedly to subscribe to lots of RSS feeds. When an article comes in that I want to read, I add it to my 'read later' board. I also use the 'Save to Feedly board' Chrome plugin to save any article I find on the web to 'read later'. The goal is to maintain inbox zero in my 'read later' board - I remove an item once it's read, so I know that anything in there is unread/unprocessed. I use Goodreads to manage my books, and Castbox for podcasts. I get free e-books and audiobooks from the library, and I also have an Audible account.
  • For archive, reference, notes, and high-level planning: Notion. I use it as a personal wiki. It is very flexible, easy-to-use, and has relational databases(!!) If the mobile app was faster it would replace Google Keep as a capture method for me. It could also in theory become a task manager (using the database feature) but it currently lacks some key features (like recurring tasks). FYI, you'll likely need to subscribe to the pro version to get enough space. I think it's worth it.
How dangerous is it to ride a bicycle without a helmet?

There seems to be some evidence that a norm of helmet-wearing discourages people from cycling. When people don't wear helmets, they are taking on some personal risk, but by challenging the norm it could mean that more people take up cycling. This is likely to make cycling safer (fewer cars on the roads, drivers are more used to cyclists, safety in numbers at intersections etc), and so the need to wear a helmet is reduced.

I'd prefer to live in a world where more people cycle and helmets aren't (as) needed (like in European cities such as Berlin and Amsterdam), so I tend to feel grateful towards people who don't wear helmets.

The RAIN Framework for Informational Effectiveness

This is great, I can see it being really helpful for me to consciously think about which of these I'm optimizing for (or am willing to sacrifice) when writing. I got confused by the introduction of the term 'density' in the section on trade-offs, as this isn't represented in the RAIN framework. Is density just a sub-consideration of accessibility or are you considering it in its own right?

In favor of tabooing the word “values” and using only “priorities” instead

FWIW, there seems to be a trend in my corner of the AI safety community (CHAI) to move away from the term 'values' and towards the term 'preferences', I think for similar reasons.