Revision and influence on relevance

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By stumbling across old notes, you get a glimpse of what you were occupied with in the past. And that might be different than your current focus, perhaps so different that the note may be discarded. If that note is just a fleeting note, you may not even remember that you had it. Or it may be a note that was part of a pile of notes. Just waiting for you to be addressed or forgotten like deprecated todo’s in a codebase. So it seems that regular revision is the key, but that does not solve managing large volumes of them, that questions why they are created in the first place. Letting tasks linger around creates noise, which is fine as there is space for noise. If the noise is overwhelming, making the important tasks standout more is often the first solution, putting extra exclamation marks around !!THIS IMPORTANT TASK!!. But then there is even a !!!MORE IMPORTANT TASK!!, we know where this ends up.

Then you may think it over, and realize that adding such importance only added chaos, so you might give removing and grouping a try. By which you realize it works, and you overdo grouping to the point it becomes way too rigid and becomes a chore to maintain. Yes, removing and separating adds value to the items, to the point you sense similarity and can search it. And for this sense of similarity you can use categories you are already familiar with, you are hacking your own association skills. Remember that it is just an entry point from which you start reading notes, so making it too specific makes it unused and unusable as there may only be one note adhering to it. Allowing chaos in notes means having room for the notes to belong to, and be discard from without having to restructure or to crawl to many notes to find the right one.

Ow, and there is no need to apply structure to all you have lived with unorganized in the past and worked fine with, that would be redundant work. Often I hear these complaints on sorting email, that the inbox has thousands of items and it is too daunting to go through. So archive it all, so you can still search it like you normally do, and start like how you want with an empty inbox. You will thank yourself later.