June 11th, 2021

No Maintenance Research System?

In this excellent video Peter Akkies talks about your weekly review templates, but I want to focus on what he says around the 7:00 mark.

He says that if you don't do your weekly review you'll end up with a system you can't trust because you no longer understand what's in it. This is why it often feels good to change task managers, because you toss out all the crap that has accumulated.

The same idea works for your research system. If you're not going to do the work of going through your notes and making them atomic, or spending time connecting them with other ideas, you'll end up falling into Collector's Fallacy.

You'll just have a bunch of random stuff that amounts to nothing.

There is no shortcut to having a good set of notes that means something to you and can help you produce good work. There is no "low maintenance" research system that will miraculously write a book for you, or help you learn something. There are only systems that give you the best opportunity through hard work to get to either of these end games.

The question always is, will you use the system and put in the hard work needed to use it?