4 min read

Notes from the First Linking Your Thinking Conference

Earlier this year, Nick Milo of Linking Your Thinking put on the first ever Linking Your Thinking Conference. It was a free, week long conference with 15 different sessions all about personal knowledge management. I wasn’t able to watch the conference live, but replays of each session were provided, so I was able to review each session after the fact.

At the time I was posting short, daily notes on my previous website, productivitydudes.com. Several of these daily notes were focused on some of the sessions from the Linking Your Thinking Sonference.

The conference was so successful Nick is putting on another one next month. In preparation for it, I’ve been reviewing my notes, and have been reminded of how great the information was. I felt like sharing these notes with you so you can get a small sample of what to expect during the next conference.


2022-06-03 Fri

I've slowly been watching all the sessions from the recent Linking Your Thinking Conference. The last one I watched was called "Start and End Your Day with a Daily Note". A lot of what was covered were things I'm already doing in my Bullet Journal and as part of my daily note in Obsidian. I ended up taking only one note from the whole hour long session, and it was something the presenter, Leah Ferguson, said when she was answering questions at the end. In reference to notes, she said:

"It's not where you put it but where you want to find it again".

This statement resonated with me because I often find myself worrying about where a particular note fits, and not how I can make it easier to resurface later. This has got me thinking about how I can better resurface my notes when I need them, and I'm going to play around some more with the Dataview plugin, which allows me to aggregate lists of notes based on keywords and meta data. These will provide launching off points for me during my Obsidian working sessions.

2022-06-06 Mon

I watched a session from the Linking Your Thinking Conference about having effective personal meetings with yourself, and it sparked some ideas for a project planning session I've been wanting to do. I created a rough agenda in Obsidian with questions about what work and personal projects I want to focus on right now, what tasks need to be done to complete the projects, and what are the next actions I need to take. I also included setting a deadline for projects as this is something I'm not very good at and my projects tend to drag on forever. I want to get into the habit of actually completing projects in a timely manner. Another thing I included in my agenda was to think about what obstacles might arise that'll prevent me from getting the project done. This will hopefully help me set a more accurate deadline.


I watched another session from the Linking Your Thinking Conference about something called the Idea Compass. It's a simple way of taking ideas and thinking about and expanding upon them. The Idea Compass looks like this:

There are 4 directions you can take your thinking about a given idea:

  1. North
    • Where does the idea come from?
  2. West
    • What ideas are similar?
  3. South
    • Where could this idea lead to?
  4. East
    • What's the opposite of the idea, or what's missing?

I really like this simple framework for thinking about ideas. It provides a clear direction for brainstorming sessions that I'm very excited to try out.

One of the presenters of this session, Vicky Zhao, has a video where she talks about the Idea Compass as well as a couple other ways of taking "Smart Notes".

How To Take Smart Notes(3 methods no one's talking about)

2022-06-15 Wed

  • Atomic Notes
    • Title --> Statement
    • Your idea
    • Tags
    • Source
    • Links to other notes
    • Notes should contain one idea only
  • Zettelkasten Workflow
    • Fleeting Note --> Permanent Note --> Zettelkasten --> Connections --> Outline --> Create
      • Creations can be:
        • Books
        • Articles
        • Videos
        • Comics
        • Rock Operas
        • Knowledge Base
        • etc...

2022-06-17 Fri

  • What do you want your future to look like?
    • Write it down!
  • Don't de-value the things you do well
    • It may be easy to you, but it isn't for everyone
    • Not everyone knows what you know
  • Retrospective
    • Start doing?
    • Stop doing?
    • Keep doing?
    • Reflection Canvas
  • Creating Obsidian Dashboard
  • Personal Retreat Template
  • If there's no output, your PKM information loses its value
    • Gets stale
    • What does the info mean to me?
  • You can live your life by design or default
    • Proactive vs. Reactive
    • Intentionality
    • Change your defaults
  • Don't try to fix everything at once
    • One percent better
  • If you don't like your outputs, change your inputs

2022-06-21 Tue

  • Exercise: Search for instances of "I want", "I need", "I will", "I hope", "I can't" in Obsidian vault
    • I was surprised to find instances of all these in my notes. "I want" had the largest number of instances
    • When going through the exercise I discovered I've written the words "I want" quite a lot throughout my notes. They mostly revolve around things I want to do on my website. They are things I can go through and figure out if I have action items associated with them in my task manager. Then I can work on executing on them so I make progress rather than just having a bunch of dreams that never come to fruition.
  • Compare present self to future self --> "The Gap"
    • See how far you still need to go
  • Compare present self to past self --> "The Gain"
    • See how far you've already come
  • Journaling Questions
    • "Today I do NOT control"
    • "Today I DO control"
    • "What am I looking forward to today?"
    • "What am I dreading today and why?"
  • You change the world by changing yourself, strengthening your relationships, and drawing close to God
    • "God can move mountains, but you better bring your shovel"