From Note To Personal Archive Entry (My Process)

An updated personal archive process workflow you can do with or without any fancy apps. 

There are 3 “frequent” steps, followed by 2 “interval” steps:

  1. Receive (go get inspired by literally anything) 
  2. Reflect (notice your emotions, how your feeling, or how you’re thinking/behaving in response)
  3. Record (make a note with the input received and the reflected response)
  4. Review (look at all of your notes from the past interval, see what’s still of interest) start with one, turn it into an entry)
  5. Batch (turn a note of interest into a complete thought and post it to your archive!)

In practice – here’s how I actually do it:

  1. Receive: Everything in my life is fair game. Reading and formal listening sure, but conversations, song lyrics, tv shows, etc. 
  2. Reflect: If it gives me pause, makes me excited, or I just don’t want to forget it – I want to notice it. It only works if you’re present.
  3. Record: I use my phone (iPhone) with the default notes app, linked to a Gmail account. My only goal here is to make this easily accessible with minimal friction to say A. what the inspiration was, and B. how it made me feel, what emotion it triggered, or what thought/behavior it triggered. 
  4. Review: Once a week I open a Google Doc on my computer, then open my notes app on my phone, and see what still grabs my attention that I’d like to think about for a minute more. 
  5. Batch: Turn the note into a complete thought. For me that means “anything that wouldn’t be rambling if I said it out loud.” I copy the entry to my website and publish.*

One “live” example – look at: “Sly Stone And Saving Humanity

  1. Receive: I read Sly’s memoir – I love this guy. The book’s been amazing and I have underlines, highlights, and notes for days.  
  2. Reflect: Probably part influenced by the work we’re doing on Breaking News (on YouTube), I’m extra sensitive to anything that bridges extremes lately. What Sly did with musical styles, genders, races – it really caught me. 
  3. Record: I made a specific note about this quote. 
  4. Review: I “star” entry-worthy ideas in my notes (using ***, which helps because I make a lot of notes). The stars help with the skimming/review process. This quote just stood out more than any of the others in how concise and clear it was – perfect for an entry. 
  5. Batch: To complete the thought I started with my reflection of the polarized world we live in, I then used the quote as an example of what poles he was able to connect, and I closed by pitching a personal solution I have experience with (start a band!).  I added some nuance about how this is a metaphor, and an incredible concert moment referenced in the book for additional color. 

Questions. Somebody has questions on this. What else do you want to know?

*ok, there’s more to the batch process than not rambling, but that’s an upcoming post.

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