Spatial Organization

How to find patterns and insights in your notes

Think about any long-term project you’re working on.

Maybe it’s a book, or maybe it’s a startup idea, or maybe it’s a movie script. You probably spend lots of time thinking about ideas or running into little bits of inspiration. Every time something strikes you as relevant you probably stick it into a page in Roam, or a notebook in Evernote.

After several months of doing this you have a gigantic list of stuff. That’s good in the sense that you have lots of material to work with. But it’s very bad in the sense that none of that material is at all actionable for you — it’s just a long, unordered list.

What you want to do is pull out the hidden connections between the items you’ve collected. You want to find themes, and patterns. You want to coalesce the pieces of inspiration into chapters, or features, or ideas. 

So you need to organize the list! You could try pushing this long list into sub-pages or maybe tag them with themes, but that’s very hard to do. How do you know which tags are the right tags?

It’s easier to talk about if we use an example.

Let’s imagine that we’re starting a restaurant. We’ve been collecting ideas for menu items in Roam, and now we want to build our menu and our restaurant concept based on the dishes we’ve collected. 

The list looks like this:

Learn more

This post is for
paying subscribers

Subscribe →

Or, login.

Read this next:

Superorganizers

The Four Kinds of Side Hustles

The CEO of Kettle and Fire breaks down how he thinks about side business opportunities

Sep 16, 2020 by Justin Mares

Superorganizers

Dopamine Stacking

The hidden wisdom in trying new tools and systems

🔒 Sep 25, 2020 by Dan Shipper

Every smart person you know is reading this newsletter

Get one actionable essay a day on AI, tech, and personal development

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Login