Simple Research Journal

1 minute read

Writing down insights and conclusions from things I read is my way of processing them more deeply. In the past I have been struggling with just how and where to write them down so I can later refer back to them quickly and easily.

I have tried categorizing thoughts and putting them into separate files depending on the category, and having a single big file of things. The first failed because of the effort it takes to categorize and potentially start a new category file and the second approach meant a super large file that was hard to parse quickly.

I think really what I was looking for is just a simple journaling system in which it takes virtually no effort to write a thought down. In the spirit of keeping things simple, I added a single alias to my .bashrc ā€“ namely ā€œjā€ that will simply open a file in a dropbox-synced folder named after the current date:

alias j="vim $HOME/Dropbox/journal/$(date +%F)-entry.txt"

This means all thoughts of a single day naturally end up in a single file which makes sense since they are usually related anyways.

So far I really like the simplicity of this approach since I can access those text files on all my machines easily if I want to refer back to anything I wrote down. Additionally, I can simply run grep on all files in the folder to search for keywords. I also really like that each file is not that huge and that I can skim a file quickly.

How do you organize your thoughts and by what means can refer back to them?