Making more sense

The PKM-course that I’m participating in at the moment really got me to think about the way I make sense of the things I read and listen to. This was also one of my purposes for participating, so I’m glad that the plan is working 😉

In my previous post I wrote about improving my sense making habits by restructuring Evernote and redefining my workflow for blog ideas. This still works great, though in the meantime I added something very relevant to this.

If I find a valuable article, I save it to Evernote and read it there. I do this because in Evernote I can immediately highlight the parts of the text that are most important to me and I create a small ‘summary’ at the top of the article. This is what I was already doing for a few months now.

Insights note in EvernoteWhat I added since last week, is that if I find something really insightful in an article, I put this (preferably) in my own words in another Evernote note, called ‘Important insights’. Of course, I also copy the link to the note with the full article and paste it above the insight, together with the author’s name and the date of the article. At this moment I think that maybe I should also add the date of my own insight, because I could also have insights about articles, books or podcasts that are a few years old.

I don’t know yet exactly what the long term solution will look like for collecting these insights. Maybe with one note per month, or one note per insight? Probably the first option, because I like it to read them in one flow, so they start to make more sense. Though by collecting them individually, I can add tags to each insight which might also be very useful. And I can always copy them later into one note or merge them, or maybe even let IFTTT do the work 😉

Other ideas are welcome of course! Where do you keep your insights? Do you collect them together or separately (where, how?)

A final thought about this for this moment: Yes, of course it takes more time to write the insights, but I think that these written insights are the best reflection of my own knowledge at that point in time. It’s not the summary of the article. The summary are the author’s insights. These are mine and if I don’t ‘grab’ these, they will soon become ‘obvious’ thoughts for me, and disappear into my ‘background thinking’. And that has already happend too many times before.



  1. Hi Mascha,

    Simple and effective! I like saving links in Diigo for sharing. I just re-activated an IFTTT recipe to save articles to Evernote whenever I add a bookmark to Diigo (although I suspect it’s saving the link rather than the full article, so there will be an opportunity for me to refine my workflow). I like the idea of having one insight note per article and then being able to link or combine specific notes/insights. Your articles on sense-making have come at the perfect time for me because I am in the middle of making improvements to my PKM routines right now.

    Thank you

    • Mascha

      Hi Michelle,
      I think PKM routines will always be ‘under construction’ especially now that all these new tools and social channels keep coming up.
      I like your idea about linking Diigo to Evernote via IFTTT. Although it only catches the url and not the entire article, it does create a note as a reminder in my Evernote Inbox notebook. Later, when I’m processing my Inbox, I can click the link and use Evernote’s Webclipper or Evernote Clearly to catch and read the article. Then I just delete the ‘reminder note’.

  2. Hi Mascha,

    I’ve just been trying out workflow using Evernote and had come to same conclusion about the drawback of relying on IFTTT receipt to create a new note every time I add hyperlink to Diigo – it only captures the URL. I think your process order is better not – clip to Evernote then when I read decide if I want to bookmark to Diigo for possible public sharing.

    Figuring out an efficient way to capture good resources for both private use and public use is a little tricky. Perhaps I could set up an IFTTT recipe to add a bookmark to Diigo when I clip to Evernote, but there are things I clip to Evernote I won’t want to add to Diigo e.g. Cooking recipes.

    As Harold Jarche would say – perpetual beta!

    • Mascha

      Hi Michelle,
      Actually it’s also nice to share cooking recipes via Diigo 😉
      But I see what you mean that not every article saved to Evernote should be shared via Diigo. I wouldn’t try it that way around. I think there’s probably a good automated solution to this by using Alfred or Keyboard Maestro, but actually I don’t think that that will be necessary. And probably even the IFTTT recipe that automatically saves from Diigo to Evernote is also unnecessary. Because it is a very ‘conscious’ process. If I decide to share the link via Diigo, I don’t think I would forget to save it to Evernote, especially because “Save to Evernote” will probably be my first thought…
      And if I read the article later in Evernote and didn’t share it via Diigo yet, I can still decide to share it via Diigo by following the link to the original article on the web and press the Diigo extension button in my toolbar.
      Another thing I could do is create a filter in Evernote that searches all articles that I saved today. I can plan an action at the end of my day to look through that list and decide if I want to share any of them to Diigo, or Flipboard, or any other platform.

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