What if it could be easy? Imagining a frictionless note taking system

Over-thinking is a common human tendency

It’s a common human tendency to make things hard. To overcomplicate matters. To overthink things. To stretch and strain. To tie ourselves in knots. We feel like the simple answer can’t be the right one– there must be more.

In our day to day lives, this tendency can look like:

  • Over-delivering
  • Over-thinking
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Working to the point of diminishing returns

What happens when we over-think in our personal knowledge management systems

And we bring this type of overthinking and overcomplication to our personal knowledge management systems, as well. In our note taking systems, this overoptimization can look like:

What would this look like if it were easy?

I’ve been reading a few different books and articles around the theme of simplicity and ease lately. This particular question has come up in a few different spots— as far as I can tell, it was originally raised as a phrase by Tim Ferris in his Tribe of Mentors book:

❓What would this look like if it were easy?
You can ask that question about nearly anything in life. Work. School. Parenting. Relationships. Fitness. Cooking. And it leads to effective reflection, no matter the arena. This question helps us step away from the hamster wheel of busyness and over-optimization, to get a broader view, and re-examine our foundational beliefs.

Imagining an easy note taking system

In this case, I want you to ask yourself…

  • What could it look like if your note taking system felt easy? Frictionless? Light? Simple?
  • Does your current note taking system simplify your life, or complicate it? Does it make you feel bogged down or buoyed up? Does it feel like a trusted support, or a drain on your resources?
  • What might an easy note taking system look like for you? And what difference would that make in your life?
PS – Want to discover a method to find the friction points in your current system– and design a tailored, easy, effortless note taking system that comfortably fits your life? Calmer Notes: Mindful Personal Knowledge Management for Curious Thinkers may be just what you’ve been searching for.

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