for my work I'm trying to take notes electronically, to easiser sort, search, find and cross-refrence them.
Emacs org-mode for that purpose.
My problem: I'm struggling to find a systematic and universal approach for organizing those notes. In general, my software allows to create a hierarchical tree structures with nodes and sub-nodes, which at the same time can be tasks.
Are there instructions, how to build a structure for storing and cross-linking such notes in a concise way?
EDIT: to make my question more clear:
I do not search for a(nother) specific software that helps me organizing my stuff - I am happy with
Emacs org-mode (I'm still learning how to use it, but it is already very powerful and useful for me).
I'm searching for instructions,
- how to take electronic notes of meetings, phone calls, ideas in a structured way
- and cross-link them together
- or mark them with a well-defined set of tags
- to be able to find the right thing later at the right time
- with the least possible number of duplicate information
Emacs org-mode lets me mix everything - notes, tasks, project structure, diary, time tracking, calendar information - which is on the one hand extremely powerful, but on the other hand can get quite disturbing, if there is no clear and well-defined system how to make use of it...
For example: I can organize information in a hierarchical "tree" structure like:
- sub-project 1.1
- task 1.1.1
- task 1.1.2
- sub project 1.2 - meeting notes ....
- sub project 2.1 ...
I could do this chronologically, which makes some sense as it helps seeing what happened step by step later when reviewing a project.
Then if e. g. in a meeting concerning sub-project 1.1 there was a question about budget I had to get answered from Person A, I'd note in the minutes of that meeting:
TODO Phone Person A: budget for project?
If I now do that task later (after the meeting) and add the answer/result together with this TODO (= within the meeting notes), I'm breaking my chronological structure.
To keep the chronological structure, I would have to create the task "Phone Person A:..." on the same level as the meeting notes and somehow link it to the meeting, so that if I or somebody else later reads the meeting notes, he can see that one result of the meeting was to ask Person A for the budget and where to find the answer.
Maybe it is now easier to understand what I mean by "cross-linking".
A similar question is how to set up a well-defined set of tags to be able to sort/filter notes and tasks later from different perspectives.
For example: in my work tasks are linked to different products that I'm taking care of and mostly are linked to different industries and specific applications. So it seems to be a good idea to create tags for products, industries and applications..
EDIT - concerning points mentioned in the answer(s)
- Separating note-taking from organizing the stuff sound like a good idea. I agree that note taking on paper might be the best choice for creativity, but in my daily work I see that it is very difficult to process my hand-written notes and transfer the important points into my electronic tasks list and information system.
However, if I take notes electronically directly, it is much easier to transfer them and have them usable in my "system" - especially if it is for long meetings with a lot of content.
You're right, I mostly do not like to use
Emacsfor this purpose, but in such a situation I'm using Mindmaps (with
Freeplane) where I can easier create nodes and move and regroup them (even if the Outliner
Emacs org-modelets me create a quite similar structure) and then later copy them to my org-mode files.