Claude PKM Personal Knowledge Management

Amusement Park of My Mind

white and yellow roller coaster
Photo by Min An on

I recently wrote (“Astonishment“) about the metaphor of an amusement park for my PKM. This morning I was listening to a podcast on my morning walk in which the host was encouraging us to use AI to help extend our thinking in various ways.

When I got back from my morning walk, I asked Anthropic’s Claude to help me brainstorm some more on this amusement park idea. I really like some of these suggestions – which definitely to extend my thinking about the various nooks and crannies of my PKM system!

  • A funhouse with distorting mirrors that show exaggerated or distorted versions of my ideas and beliefs. Allows me to see things from new angles.
  • A merry-go-round where I can revisit my favorite ideas and insights over and over. A place of comfort and familiarity.
  • A haunted mansion filled with doubts, fears, and limiting beliefs that I need to face and overcome. Facing the ghosts helps me grow.
  • Food stalls and snack bars representing nourishing ideas and mental models. Brain food to feed my thinking.
  • An arcade or midway where I can play games with ideas, combining them in new ways to see what emerges. Allows combinatorial creativity.
  • A lazy river where I can relax and let my mind wander, making new connections. Effortless flow of insights.
  • A hall of mirrors where ideas build on each other, combining and recombining. Represents the compounding nature of knowledge.
  • A carousel with different animals representing different perspectives – a way to look at ideas from different viewpoints. Expanding my frames.
  • A safari ride to discover new lands of knowledge I haven’t explored yet. Pushing beyond my comfort zones.
  • A hedge maze representing the challenge of finding my way through complex ideas and systems. Navigating nuance and ambiguity.
  • A theater showing films of my memories and vivid imaginings. My dreams, fantasies, and reflections come alive.
  • A Ferris wheel giving a bird’s-eye view when I need perspective on things. Rising above for clarity.
  • Bumper cars allowing ideas to collide and bump into each other randomly. Sparking new insights through serendipity.
  • A petting zoo with metaphors and analogies I can interact with. Making the abstract more concrete.
  • A sky tram/gondola lift connecting different domains of knowledge. Seeing interconnectedness.
  • A fun slide for taking quick leaps between ideas. Intuition and rapid insights.
  • A carousel of cognitive biases I need to watch out for. Remaining aware of my blindspots.
  • A picnic area for intellectual nourishment and pausing to reflect. Healthy thinking habits.
  • A mirrored labyrinth of ever-deepening knowledge. Infinite recursion of ideas building on themselves.
Obsidian PKM Personal Knowledge Management

My Current PKM Stack

My PKM Stack as of September 2023

I’m enrolled in cohort 2 of Mike Schmitz’s Obsidian University. Mike is an excellent educator and he’s developed considerable expertise in Obsidian. His first two sessions are deep dives into setting up a personal knowledge management (PKM) system. The first session was about philosophy, the second about specific tools he uses/recommends.

I’ve been using Obsidian pretty heavily since I first started playing with it in May 2022. I’ve got lots of notes collected and have a workflow that’s been working for me in terms of capturing information I want to think about later. Here’s my basic workflow:

  1. I’m doing all of my browsing in Safari on Mac, iPhone or iPad. I have used Instapaper as my read-later service for years and articles I find while browsing that I might want to save I’ll capture in Instapaper. I like Instapaper’s “clean up” approach – taking all of the extra stuff out of web pages and distilling them down to the essence of the text on the page.
  2. A second source of capture is Feedly which I’m using as my RSS reader and in which I also capture articles to Instapaper.
  3. Sometime later I’ll open Instapaper and read through what I’ve captured. If I find an article I want to add to my Obsidian vault, I will email it to Drafts using its recently added mail drop feature. Once it’s in Drafts, I used an action to save the article to my Obsidian Inbox folder which is stored in iCloud.
  4. Later, I’ll open Obsidian and review my Inbox folder and open each item in turn, add metadata properties to the top (using an Obsidian template that I’ve created), and – once I’m finished editing it – I’ll move the note to my Zettlekasten folder in Obsidian which is where I store all of my notes.

That’s it.

I also use Drafts from time to time to just capture text that I either write or dictate – and process that later in the same fashion.

What I’m still trying to figure out how to do better is taking advantage of the notes I’ve captured – revisiting them, summarizing them, using them as the basis for a new note or a blog post, etc. In other words, creating some useful output from all of the input I’ve been adding. This is very much a work in progress!

By the way, sometime that’s important to learn before or while you’re learning Obsidian is the Markdown text format. It’s a simple, easy to learn way to “markup” text and it’s important to become fluent in using it with Obsidian.

Note: in addition to Mike Schmitz’s Obsidian University, I’ve also purchased David Sparks’ Obsidian Field Guide which is also a useful educational resource for learning the ropes of Obsidian.