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Re: Dealing with growing backlog (was: next-error for agenda searches)

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: Dealing with growing backlog (was: next-error for agenda searches)
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2021 22:51:03 +1100
User-agent: mu4e 1.7.5; emacs 28.0.90

Ihor Radchenko <yantar92@gmail.com> writes:

> Samuel Wales <samologist@gmail.com> writes:
>> one issue with this great thing called capture is that there is
>> nothing quite so convenient that does the exact opposite.
>> [you can regularly purge, if your life/forest is simple enough or you
>> have the physical ability to do things.  but you can't just
>> org-doneify-lower-value-stuff-i-captured-when-wasn't-sure-of-their-value-at-the-time
>> without adding energy, concentration, time, etc.]
> If I understand you correctly you are talking about ever-growing someday
> list.
> My latest solution to this problem (which I am quite happy with) is the
> following:
> 1. Every day/week I go through recently added someday staff and look if
>    it still looks useful.  For ideas, I just check if they still make
>    sense and for links, I open each link and skim through the abstract
>    and sometimes link text in more details.
>    When I first did the above, I was surprised that 50-80% of captured
>    staff is just gone because it is not as interesting as it looked
>    initially.
> 2. The ideas/links I mark for some day in future are scheduled using
>    org-learn. They will appear again in my agenda a few days later and I
>    can re-assess them. If still looks interesting, but someday not now -
>    reschedule using org-learn utilising spaced repetition. Otherwise -
>    archive.
>    With the above approach, I only see "not sure" ideas
>    days->weeks->years later. Only several times a year. More useful
>    ideas remind about themselves more frequently and I often end up
>    actually using them.
>    Credit of this idea:
> https://www.getdnote.com/blog/how-i-built-personal-knowledge-base-for-myself/
> The total time needed to do the described is surprisingly small,
> especially with the ability to do bulk agenda operations to postpone all
> the maybe staff when you have no time/energy/mental power.

I use a very similar technique. Provided you do this type of
'house keeping" on a regular basis, it doesn't take long and the quality
of material in your knowledge base increases.

I've also learnt to be quite ruthless in making decisions about what to
archive and what to simply delete. This is possibly the hardest
behaviour to learn. In a digital age, it is way too easy to keep
everything. However, this has a hidden cost - the quality of material
degrades and results from searching etc become less productive because
there is too much 'noise' in your data. Data, like many other things,
degrades over time. It is important to learn how to recognise when
things have passed their 'use by date' and just get rid of them.

I'm often stunned by people who boast about the fact they still have all
their emails boing back to 1990 and are somewhat proud about having an
email archive with over 50Gb of messages. Reality is, the vast majority
of those email messages will never be read again and are of little or no
actual value.

Knowing when to just delete old data is almost as important as gathering
it, but a much harder skill to master.

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