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Working with Johnny Decimal

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🔢 How I use a Johnny Decimal inspired System for fast access

Ever struggle to find that one crucial document in your note-taking system?

I did too—until I discovered the Johnny Decimal system for organizing information by numbers, not names.

Here’s how it supports my workflow:

In my PARA folder structure —Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives—
each project or area gets a unique number.

This simple change means I no longer waste time remembering folder names.

An example: I’m currently in an awesome course about The 5 Lightbulbs Marketing with AI. My project folder is named: 145 5LBs and AI course.

This label is consistent across my
Obsidian note-taking system and ReMarkable
(and potentially further sources like G-Drive, eMail, etc.).

This system helps every time I need to:
→ Move files around
→ Search for the folder
→ Cross-reference notes (Obsidian) and live session scribbles (Remarkable)

Just enter 145 and auto-completion or search preview does the rest.
Simple, right?

Do you use a similar approach? How do you organize your digital notes?

P.S. My numbering deviates from the original Johnny Decimal approach.
But I got the inspiration to think about a numbering scheme from it.

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Content preparation

Since early stage of working with my Note Taking system I’m using a numbering system that is inspired by the Johnny Decimal system to organize information.

I can find things faster when I need to look for a number instead remembering a folder name. So in my PARA folder structure, where I organise information by actionability and distinguish between Projects, Areas, Resources and Archives I use a numbering system. Each project or area gets a number.

And with that number I can reference the project or area across different systems. Let’s look at an example:

At the moment I’m in an awesome course about The 5 Lightbulbs Marketing combined with AI and:

  • I take notes in my Obsidian Note Taking system
  • I capture insights during the live session on my ReMarkable

To easily find information my project folder is named 139a05 5LBs and AI course. And it is named like this in Obsidian and Remarkable.

This helps every time I want to:

  • move files around
  • I’m working on a note and want to re-read my scribbles from live sessions

Such a numbering system is especially helpful when you system grows over time and you work with many areas and projects.

Do you use a similar approach? What is your experience with it?

Posted on LINKEDIN on 2024-06-12_Wed


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