I’m often struck by an interesting question or notion in conversation or on a walk. In many cases, I can’t write anything terribly insightful on that topic in that moment: I certainly can’t write a good Evergreen notes. I don’t have anything useful to say about the notion yet—it just seems awfully interesting.
What action should I take now? How can I arrange to develop that inkling over time? I could create a “to-do” or block out time to think about this question, but that’s often not what’s called for. Instead, often what I need is marination: let’s come back in a few days, see what bubbles up.
I can capture the notion in A writing inbox for transient and incomplete notes, but it’ll rapidly become a pile of unwieldy scraps which I’ll come to ignore (Inboxes only work if you trust how they’re drained).
Spaced repetition systems can be used to program attention, so such mechanisms might be helpful here. In such a system, I might:
By taking advantage of the exponential nature of spaced repetition intervals, one could make incremental progress on potentially hundreds of prompts, while considering only a few on any given day.
This would represent a system for incremental thinking.
Rice Issa has published a simple implementation.
Matuschak, A. (2019, December). Taking knowledge work seriously. Presented at the Stripe Convergence, San Francisco.