Interstitial Journaling: Capturing the Ebb and Flow of Thoughts
Ever caught yourself in the middle of a thought or task, only to be whisked away by another fleeting idea?
Welcome to the human mind—a bustling marketplace of thoughts, where ideas jostle for attention.
How wonderful would it be if we could jot down these transient thoughts, tasks, and journal entries as they come, without worrying about their placement or organization?
Enter interstitial journaling, the brain's best friend.
This handy note-taking technique lets you capture your thoughts as individual items in a list.
It's akin to a thought sieve, separating the wheat from the chaff, allowing you to record what matters without the fuss of where to put it.
A quick scan or a filter generated with code, and your list items are ready for your perusal.
But how did this come to be, you ask? Let's take a brief trip down the annals of note-taking history.
A Brief History of Interstitial Journaling
The term "interstitial" denotes something that exists between two structures or activities.
The concept of interstitial journaling borrows from this idea, advocating for capturing thoughts and tasks between your regular work sessions.
It's a modern take on an age-old practice—writing as a form of mental digestion, where you break down complex ideas into bite-sized nuggets of wisdom.
With the digital boom and the advent of note-taking apps like Obsidian, this technique has found renewed interest, offering users a flexible and efficient means of logging their thoughts and tasks.
The Importance of Interstitial Journaling
Imagine interstitial journaling as your mental Swiss Army Knife—it equips you with a versatile toolkit for thought management. Here's why it's a game-changer:
- Streamlined Thought Process: Interstitial journaling allows you to offload your thoughts onto a digital canvas, freeing your mind to focus on the task at hand.
- Enhanced Productivity: By turning thoughts and tasks into actionable items, it boosts your productivity and enables more effective time management.
- Flexible Retrieval: With a little bit of code, you can sift through your notes, bringing up relevant items when required. This is particularly helpful during reviews or bouts of combinatorial creativity.
It's Not Bullet Journaling
It's time to address the elephant in the room.
You might be thinking, "Wait a minute, isn't interstitial journaling just another fancy name for bullet journaling?" It's a fair question, and while the two techniques share a similar ethos—making sense of the mind's chaos—they approach it in fundamentally different ways.
Bullet journaling, conceptualized by Ryder Carroll, is a method that involves jotting down tasks, events, and notes in a structured format.
It encourages the use of different bullets and signifiers to categorize and prioritize entries.
A key aspect of bullet journaling is the use of collections—essentially thematically grouped entries. It's a powerful and flexible analog method for personal organization and productivity.
On the other hand, interstitial journaling is a digital-first approach.
This technique champions the continuous flow of thoughts and tasks captured as individual list items.
It doesn't strictly compartmentalize entries into structured categories or require a pre-set hierarchy of tasks and notes.
Instead, it emphasizes capturing thoughts in the spaces 'between'—be it between tasks, events, or spurts of creativity.
It's all about embracing the ebb and flow of your mental landscape, allowing thoughts to be logged as and when they occur, irrespective of their nature or significance.
So, while bullet journaling provides a tangible, visual framework to organize your thoughts, interstitial journaling caters to the fluidity and spontaneity of your mind.
One is a garden, meticulously tended and arranged, while the other is a meandering river, following the course of your thought process. Different strokes for different folks!
There's no hard and fast rule to stick to one method.
Depending on your preference, you can toggle between the structure of bullet journaling and the fluidity of interstitial journaling.
The end goal remains the same—achieving a sense of order in the cacophony of thoughts and tasks that daily life throws our way.
How I Use Interstitial Journaling
When I interstitial journal, I have found that Obsidian is the right tool for the job.
I maintain a daily list under my
# logs heading, employing the Dataview plugin to link all individual list items to their relevant notes.
It's like having a personal assistant who knows exactly where I've tucked away that thought about the latest project proposal or that task about renewing the subscription.
An example may look like this for one of my daily notes:
This allows me to fine tune what information I see when I want to do reviews or combinatorial creativity.