Dave Lovemartin

Taking notes to the next level

Using a digital garden for cultivating wisdom

last tended: 08.09.2022

I love the internet. Each time I unearth a nugget of information, my brain lights up.

I might bookmark the page, or favourite the post. But rarely is my hunger sated. I carry on scrolling looking for the next morsel.

Our brains love creating connections, finding patterns and having those lightbulb moments. I want to harness this super-power and I think I’ve found how.

Taking notes on new observations

When I read something thought provoking or hear something interesting, I now stop and make the most of this observation by taking notes.

By making a conscious decision to act on new information, I prevent myself being sucked into the infinite scroll and turn insight into action.

But why are these notes so useful?

A wiser way of working

Note taking becomes more powerful when we reflect on what we learn.

Information is merely refined data. Knowledge, on the other hand, comes from awareness and understanding based on our own experiences.

By exploring how our observations help us see the world in a different light, notes can be uplifted to a more personal and useful artifact.

Once we aquire knowledge, we can use it to affect future decisions and behaviour.

So, here’s my plan to remember and act on new information.

Create a digital garden

As opposed to a blog, which is typically a reverse-chronological list of published articles, I’ve created this digital garden.

A digital garden is a bunch of interconnected notes and essays.

Each time I find something interesting on the internet, I will plant my notes as seeds in my digital garden.

Now, this can be a one-off action. After all, not all seeds germinate and lie dormant. But I can return to my garden to cultivate, tend to and iterate on the ideas. Notes can be nutured into more rounded reflective essays over time.

Revisiting the material in this way, using spaced repetition, helps us to retain and recall the information.

Returning to tend to the garden

Explaining core ideas and how they relate to each other in plain language so that others can understand them is a great way to make sure that one truly understands a subject.

By regularly returning to edit and iterate notes into useful documents for others, ideas can be strengthened and knowledge re-enforced.

Publishing essays and asking for feedback cross-pollinates ideas. Articles can be revised and refined further overtime. Content becomes evergreen and matures into well-structured thoughts and prose.

Because ideas are reflected and iterated on, information is not only retained but new mental models are created and can be applied to future decisions. This wisdom is the bounty I hope to harvest.

Read more…