Saturday, 26 June 2010
Apparently, if you ask my friends, I come across as quite well-organized. I don't feel organized! I feel like someone who clings to some semblance of organization by writing everything down and making a lot of lists. But I've always had a problem with loose pieces of paper - often post-it notes - and no sensible filing system. Sticking them into my Filofax, or a small box with no other purpose, seemed for a while to do the trick, but all it actually did was to hide the information. Any time I needed to find something again, I had to search for it.
I've long wished for an electronic solution to the 'notebook' problem - somewhere to store drafts and scribblings until they prove they're worthy of a proper home. But nothing seemed to be working for me, and I just ended up with a proliferation of poorly-structured 'notes' files on my computer, as well as stacks of hand-scribbled notes. Then a friend told me about TiddlyWiki (see http://www.tiddlywiki.com), a single file that acts like a wiki site.
The TiddlyWiki format has a number of advantages that appeal to me. It behaves a bit like a wiki to edit and to read: you can make individual 'Tiddlers' (like an article/page on Wikipedia) and link them together however you choose using user-friendly wiki syntax. This allows me to structure my data in whatever way seems most intuitive, hopefully helping me to find it again. But it's all stored in a single HTML file, making it easy to use (just open the file in any browser, no setup or installation required) and, importantly, very quick and straightforward to back-up (since there's only one file to copy across).
Of course it's not perfect. If I'm out of the house without my laptop, I still have to scribble on post-it notes, or save notes on my phone, or write on the back of my hand. But at least now I have a place to copy all that information to, once I get back to the computer.
How do you keep yourself organised? Do you, like me, find that you have to write things down regularly to stop your head exploding?
I'm in Greenland! I promise to catch up on comments, and come round and visit you all, just as soon as I get home. I'll try to keep in touch via Twitter and my Facebook page.