P.A.R.A. and Zettelkasten Experiment: My Conclusion


At the beginning of my experiment I intended to write regular updates on what I was getting up to, however I haven’t really done that.

If I had been doing that, here are a few things I retrospectively imagine I would have written about:

  • introducing a Task Management element to accompany the P of PARA
  • migrating to Obsidian and introducing Markor and using it’s QuickNote feature
    • (leading on to “My QuickNote Problem” aka my latest manifestation of Collector’s Fallacy)
  • trying out Daily Notes and habit tracking
  • thinking more deliberately about the type of note I’m taking
  • experimenting with how I use tags
  • starting to create MOCs

I have plenty of rambles and reflections on all of these things in my notes but I haven’t quite nailed down the habit of publishing any of it…


RandomNote for Joplin



I made a RandomNote for Joplin button for macOS. You can find the bash, python and AppleScript concoction here.

Apologies to non-macOS Joplin users, I have not made any other verions of this.

But if you like sticking things together, the bash and python elements could be of use to you…

What’s RandomNote?

I discovered the concept of “RandomNote” via Tiago Forte’s PARA series. To describe it at surface level: he created a button that opens a random note from his Evernote notes.

The purpose of such a button is to aid in serendipitous rediscovery of your old notes. That’s not going much deeper, to be honest. To see what inspired me into action I encourage you to read Tiago’s post about it. He has a way with words which I do not.

The rest of this post is an extension of the “API / Automation Friendly” criteria from my OneNote vs Joplin blog post.


OneNote vs Joplin


As explained in my previous blog post, I have started an experiment on my notetaking methods.

Before I had the idea for that experiment I dived into using Microsoft OneNote, because I was so excited to try out P.A.R.A.

I did that because I’ve used OneNote in the past, so it was familiar. But, within a couple of days of falling further down the P.A.R.A. and Zettelkasten rabbit-hole, I changed my mind.

I found Joplin.


P.A.R.A. and Zettelkasten Experiment


Recently I decided to do something about my notes and notetaking methods.

Up until a few weeks ago, my notes were an increasingly unwieldy pile of .txt files. I was using Slack as a blackhole means of getting the odd link from my phone to my laptop.

It wasn’t great. Notes were seldom revisited. The majority of things put into Slack remained there…