A bit of reflection on personal information management
It's a bit crazy over here. Finishing work and packing everything at work as our office moves to another building over Christmas... Was going through old paper archives, throwing away lots of paper and thinking about strange ways I do personal information management.
- I'm not tree-friendly at all: I've got lots of printouts. Many of them are from stuff I have digitally as well. Sometimes I find multiple copies of the same document (= I wasn't able to find it and printed again).
- I'm not good at throwing away papers when they feel related to my current work (even old papers) - somehow deciding if I should keep them or not takes too much energy and (as storage is not a big issue) I just keep them till my work switches to something else.
- It's difficult to get rid of papers I have emotional relation (for example, drafts of my PhD proposals 2 years ago). I guess I just keep them till emotional connection fades away :)
- I'm not very good putting papers into folders. If I do, there are some regularities:
- Most of my old folders are project based. Usually I remember papers I used for a project, so I know where to find them.
- Most of my current folders are topic-based. I wonder why.
- I guess many my strategies of working with information could be described as "survival of the fittest" - somehow I hope that important things would come back to me and remind about themselves (and this could explain why I'm so bad answering emails :)
What is really funny is that for a researcher doing work on personal knowledge/information management I'm pretty bad with organising things myself (those who saw my desktop at home know :). Doing research makes me well aware of many things I do in a strange way, but doesn't help much in changing my habits (actually the opposite - often I can come up with "objective" justifications why mess on my desk is so important :)
One more strange observation - just added someone's blog to Bloglines in order to remember to contact the person to arrange for a meeting when I'm in Amsterdam beginning of next year. It's such a simple task (arrange a meeting with person X when you are in place Y around moment Z and have some free time), but somehow I can't find anything better than Bloglines to remind me about it :)))