The magic of a PKM

The magic moments of using personal knowledge management software like Obsidian.

Let’s face it, part of the attraction to personal knowledge management (PMK) software is indulging in the act of Bikeshedding. While the endless tweaking of settings, templates and plugins seems rewarding at the time, it usually a distraction from the original goal: building a networked system of knowledge.

As an aside, this obsessive tinkering could be good news for the software developers in the longterm. There’s some behavioural insights that come into play here. IKEA Effect explains that we put overwhelmingly more value on products we play some part in making. Lego is a great example of such a product.

I’ll happily admit to a my fair share of yak shaving. Though more recently my thinking has shifted from adaption to action.

The most important thing about taking notes is that you do it. – Nicole van der Hoeven, How to organize your notes in Obsidian // The LATCH method

Over the last week I‘ve reflected on the quantity and quality of my notes, created some structure and rules for note taking, and dedicated time in my day to take notes and process them. This last point – making time to take and process notes – was the hardest but most rewarding. The habitual doing of note taking is where the magic happens and where you eventually see the return of investment of PKMs.

One of my goals for using a PKM is to create content more often. This note started off as a line of text. I’ve created six new related notes in my vault and it’s now a published article on my website. I suppose all that yak shaving paid off.