It’s been a while since I’ve posted a yawn-inducing productivity post. Here goes…
I’ve been using Jeff Huang’s “one file to rule them all” method for a little over a month now. For me, it works great, and I’ll be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. To be fair, this wasn’t a big change. For years, I’ve kept a @general-notes.md file at work where I put all my raw notes. To follow Jeff’s advice, I only had to make two changes: one habit, one formatting.
The new habit comes at the end of each day when I create a shell for the next day. I enter any meetings I have and fill in the non-meeting time with work tasks that need to be done. I might enter some notes in at this point, but this is really so I have a place to capture my notes from that day.
For formatting, I use Markdown. This was what I used in my original notes file, but now, I have headings for each day, and sub-headings for each time block. This works really well with the outline in VS Code, I can quickly go to a date and see a succinct view of what I did on that day.
There are a couple differences between Jeff’s system and mine. For one, he schedules everything in his calendar. For the time being, I’ve stopped blocking off time on my calendar to do work–I only use it for meetings. That might change in the future if I find that my days are getting shredded with half-hour meetings (again). He keeps his to-do items in his calendar as well, whereas, I’m still using tasks in Outlook.
While there is some overhead in duplicating calendar entries in my notes file, it is a good opportunity to get ready for the next day. Plus, it only takes about five minutes. The end result is a much better organized file that is still simple, searchable, cross-platform, and (mostly) future proof.