Most people use notes as a bucket for storage or scratch thoughts

People don’t want to forget an idea or a conversation or a task or quote from a book, so they write it down in Evernote or something. What’s the purpose? Probably: “To make sure I don’t forget." Maybe: “Just writing it down helps me remember.”

In this conception, notes are a way to Close open loops, not to accumulate insight. The “real” work happens outside the notes; the notes are just a reference system which stores information which might help, or a write-once pile of “messy” thoughts (Khoe).

These are not Evergreen notes. Most “storage-oriented” notes will never be useful again (Most people take only transient notes). More importantly, this framing misses that it’s possible for note-writing to be the “real” work (Evergreen note-writing as fundamental unit of knowledge work).


Khoe, M.-L. (2016, December 21). Messy thought, neat thought. Retrieved September 17, 2019, from Khan Academy Early Product Development website: