“If you care about your thoughts, keep them.”

I got a lot of inspiration from this brief article by Derek Sivers on the benefits of a daily diary and topic journals.

I’m already a fan of regular (if not daily) journaling. I’ve been logging stuff into Day One for years. And something I began doing at the beginning of this year is to keep a daily “highlight” journal along with my daily habit tracking.

Over the past couple years I have been continually interested in improving my note taking and learning skills (especially as related to books), maturing my system for idea capture, and just trying to get better at doing more writing.

But the “Thoughts On” journal that Derek wrote about in his article was a new idea to me. It’s so simple and it makes so much sense.

Derek writes:

> For each subject that you might have ongoing thoughts about, start a separate “Thoughts On” journal. Whenever you have some thoughts on this subject, open up that file, write today’s date, then start writing.

Since reading Derek’s article last month I’ve already spent some time setting up my own “Thoughts On” inside of a new group in Ulysses. My topics so far include 8-Week Work Cycles, Finances, Delegation, and Leadership.

There are two awesome things about using Ulysses for these “Thoughts On” groups. For one, you can easily set up a specific group to place your own ideas, notes, and thoughts into.

Secondly, if you’re using Ulysses to store book notes, quotes, and other tidbits of information, then you can also create a Smart Filter that will aggregate any and all of those notes you have which are tagged with a keyword and/or which contain other words.


For more reading on this, see also André Chaperon’s weekend article on his knowledge processing system for creators.

There is a ton of nerdiness in André’s article, and I love it. One big takeaway for me was this piece of advice:

> Don’t make the decision of what app to use when the moment arrises. Decided on the app now, and position it on your first screen where your thumb can click it easily.

I currently use Bear for all my quick-capturing of ideas right in the moment. And then I will move those ideas into Ulysses.

“If you care about your thoughts, keep them.”