What did you learn last week that you can’t remember? What do you struggle to find that you need from your office piles? Which notebook has the copy of the paper you wrote last year that you saved? These are daily questions that come up that almost all of us struggle with every day. But there is a solution- GORPS.

The ways of thinking about your nuggets has evolved over the past year with such concepts as a digital vault, a digital garden, and PARA Tiago Forte’s building a second Brain concept. I think I prefer thinking of my ideas as seeds for the future so I will be using the garden metaphor.

  1. A software application to store your information nuggets (your Vault or digital gardener your second brain.)
    Much as most of us grew up saving and storing paper in filing cabinets and folders, it isn’t the most effective to do it any more. Storing information into a computer application will provide the ability to easily find what you have saved rather than going thru notebooks or filing cabinet folders, although I still have plenty of each.
    The primary benefits of using a computer application is that you store information or ideas easily from many sources. My primary sources are from kindle books, internet articles, and newsletters from others. Many people also collect handwritten notes and podcast notes. We will discuss the processes for each of these and the tools later in this thread of articles.
  2. A way to organize the nuggets so you can find them when you need them (Organization.)
    Organization is important for your personal knowledge system. You have to be able to find what you saved, what you need to do, and the ideas you have saved in your digital garden. So my organization acronym is AGPTGA for areas, goals, projects, tasks, Garden of Ideas, and archive. Sorry, it doesn’t just roll off the tongue like Tiago’s PARA.
  3. A way to find the specific nuggets you want (Search and Retrieve.)
    The only way to find an idea that you have placed in your digital system is through the search and retrieve. Each of the base storage applications we will discuss does this in a different way.
  4. A way to get your stuff done (Productivity.)
    A part of our personal knowledge system that is crucial is the ability to see and review your goals, projects and tasks each day so you can focus on what needs to be done. The seminal book on this portion of PKM was written by David Allen in 2001 called Getting Things Done.
    There is a great deal of discussion about whether or not this should be done in the same computer application that you store your ideas in or should you use multiple applications. Multiple applications makes my life more difficult so my preference is to use only one application. But, you can easily argue that it is just as easy to use an application that is specifically designed for goals, projects, and task management rather than trying to fit everything into one.

    The second layer of effort you need to make habitual is to do frequent reviews so the big items you want to accomplish are not forgotten. Review enthusiasts do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reviews. I think the minimum reviews you need to do are daily and weekly and then you can add the others as you find them beneficial.
  5. A way to share your perceptions (Share.)
    One of my main reasons for saving ideas is so that I can find new connections and write my perspective for others to read. I can easily do research and save it for new purchases and share stuff I have gathered with others who are looking for that kind of information.
    Some of my long term objectives are to do more freelance writing, proofreading , and editing while continuing my blog essays and newsletter.

    If you don’t want to write and share in that just having the information you gleaned from the torrent is useful if one of your friends asks for information on a topic. You may have it at your fingertips.

    Another popular use case is for graduate students involved in research. It gives you one organized place to have all you have read and the citations to each for your thesis or papers.

I would be interested in knowing what other uses you are putting your personal knowledge system together for. Contact me on my website theholeu.com.