Thoughts about Note taking programs (and a question for advice)

As a brand new user of Logseq I wanted to set out a few thoughts on programs like Logseq, based on my very short experience with Obsidian.

I spent many days (weeks actually) trying to see how these programs work and what they offer. What follows is a rather negative or pessimistic presentation of thoughts which reflects me rather than the programs themselves or other users.

One caveat to what follows. I’ve only tried Obsidian in practice because I’m primarily interested in open-source programs or programs that would store my data locally rather than in the cloud. I know that Obsidian is not open source, but it fits the second condition.

In my view these programs at first may be daunting and complicated for the “common user”. If you are like me you will ask yourself what is the optimal setup for my program? What would need to be tweaked, adjusted or set up to make me productive to my maximum level? Usually there are many options, making it difficult to try them all and decide.

There is also the risk of falling into a “plugins pit” where even more features, facilities and options are being offered. I hope that I’ll avoid this with Logseq.

Another issue that a new user has to cope with is a choice among folders (where applicable), pages and tags. This is a never-ending debate, but it raises my stress level!

What I’ve come to realize is that there is no single tool for every job. That’s a pity because I, as a user, will have to make some compromises in choosing a particular program.

It’s also an issue if one chooses a program that has inadequate technical or user community support. This happened to me recently with a backup program that I was testing. In the end I stopped using it and chose another one that had better support.

However, it’s not all about the programs. the user bears a lot of responsibility too, mainly if there is no clear focus on what the user wants. Usually there is a multitude of objectives, For example my needs are to:

* Organize my thoughts
* Record and research ideas
* Organize my digital documents
* Task management
* Project management
* A system for reminders
* Keep a record of contracts or agreements with suppliers for home maintenance
* Record maintenance and repairs done to my home and car
* Keep a record of movies seen or books read and write some thoughts about them
* Keep a journal of noteworthy or even trivial events happening in my life daily

Would Logseq satisfy all the above wants? Probably not to the same extent. I would be successful if Logseq was at the core of these requirements and provide me with an efficient means to deal with them.

I decided to become a Logseq user because in contrast to Obsidian I find it easier to think in blocks. I believe that I have been doing this for most of my life. When I first read about the outliner nature of Logseq I was skeptical. However, as I read more about it I became interested, then intrigued and then curious to try it. I’ll continue to keep Obsidian up to date in the interim period until I feel comfortable enough to transition to Logseq.

In the spirit of this Section, that is Questions and Help, I would appreciate learning about other Logseq users’ suggestions on how to move from another program to Logseq. I’m not particularly interested in data transfer, as I could start from a new page (no pun intended). What was the major approach that you adopted at first to make using Logseq a success?

Take it for granted that I’ll read all articles and view all YouTube videos about Logseq for beginners. I’ve already done quite a bit of this, but I would appreciate suggestions about particular articles or videos that you found useful at the start of your journey.

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It’s hard to remember at this point in time. I’ve used Logseq for maybe ~half a year or so at this point.
I came at it from Bullet Journaling, which I guess is a completely different approach from the usual PKM angle.
This is also the most friction I experience for my practice. Combining PKM and BuJo.
I’m trying to write a blog series on my approach… But I’m not an experienced writer and for half a year now my approach is so rapidly changing and evolving its discouraging to write about honestly.
But I think that is also the biggest take away for myself. Allowing this natural change to happen.
My starting point has been blog posts by Tiago Forte, especially the P.A.R.A. method and videos by OneStutteringMind (logseq for beginners series among others)
As said I came from BuJo, so the whole PKM stuff was new and daunting (it still is for the most part).
Article that led me to Logseq: How I Use Digital Sidekicks to Aid My Bujojitsu - Bullet Journal
The PARA method: The PARA Method: The Simple System for Organizing Your Digital Life in Seconds
Logseq for beginners: Logseq Intro Course - YouTube


Thank you for the suggested articles/video. I’ll read/watch them. As to your blogging, I would suggest that you do it even if it’s not yet complete in your mind. I’m confident that it would help you as well as others who may be inspired by your progress.

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Thanks :slight_smile:
I need to sit down with my boyfriend to edit the next post :sweat_smile: (he proof reads for me :heart:)
But our schedules are a bit… Messy at the moment.

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Welcome. Actually your thoughts reflect many users and you can find plenty of posts that prove this.

Some advice for any application

Postpone the quest for optimal setup, plugin hunting, and experimentation for maximum-level productivity, until you get familiar with a good part of the application. Bothering with such things earlier is a waste of time, because you will have to bother all over again later. They can all help with or even multiply your productivity in their own way (so you won’t avoid them), but they are not a priority. The priority is the kernel, which is ready out-of-the-box. If you don’t like the basic experience (at least more than the alternatives), most probably no change will fix that. There will certainly be compromises and some of them will be mitigated by the mentioned quest, but they should be on secondary issues.

Some advice for Logseq

Support is not a black-or-white thing. Logseq’s support is neither absent nor phenomenal. The documentation is scarce, the community is new, but the material is abundant and the community is active. Therefore, should expect a mixed experience.

Concerning the stress among pages, tags etc. I have written this post.

As for the multitude of your needs, I would create a different graph for each need. I would start from the need that I understand better, build something that satisfies me (not something complete), then carry the experience to the next need. That experience is more important than the advice of a third person who can only guess your actual needs (I suspect even more important than articles and videos). It will also help you make less generic questions, which may attract more specific answers (even by yourself).

If you have the luxury of starting blank, it would be ideal (Logseq is compatible enough, but not perfect).

Keep your expectations realistic, and may it all connect for you.

Maybe set up a meeting with your boyfriend to compare your agendas and then commit jointly to a date for action to be taken.

I agree with you. This is my weakness and I have to be determined not to fall into the trap of chasing the ideal setup from the very start. Having Obsidian already working in the background will be useful to keep me on track with Logseq.

It’s the same with Obsidian. The users Forum is very helpful, but on Discord it’s a hit or miss.

Thanks, I’ll read it.

This sounds like a good strategy. I’ll see if I can fit it in.

I think all in one itself may be wrong, because the effect of the tool varies from person to person