Resurfacing information

There are a number of things that I’ll want to resurface. For example, the other day I ran into something about “four categories of decisions.” This isn’t something I necessarily want to study in depth, and I don’t feel the need to memorize it necessarily, but I’d like to be able to make a short note and resurface it occasionally as I think “future me” might find it helpful.

I feel like creating a note in something like Obsidian to get it into my system is a good first step, but how do I resurface these things (and ONLY these things that I want to resurface)?

Is a spaced repetition app the way to fly for something like this? Just add anything I want to the stack of “cards,” and let the app handle it?


Start by using Apple Notes. You don’t have a steep learning curve and time investment, and you can tell after a while (a month? six weeks?) if this is something you will find maintainable and helpful.

I would suggest thinking of 3 to 7 broad categories and create folders for them.

I would create an Index note and pin it; you can link the titles of notes in your Index.

Read about and use links in/between Apple Notes.


That’s a good way to store them - what about automatically popping them up in the future?

I have a list of articles to reread that are linked to a repeating task, currently every four months.

I also try to build that kind of information into something I am sure to encounter again if still relevant, that I don’t have to track as an extra step. E.g., I might send the decision types article to fellow board members to let the insight return to me through their thinking. Or I might add a decision type column to a spreadsheet, knowing it’ll be filled out later and looked up again if needed.

I’ve built a review system into Obsidian. Basically, any note can have a review date, and then it’ll show up on that date and thereafter for review. I can also search/filter for that date field as necessary.

However — and this is a big however — I generally only use that for projects a la Getting Things Done, and even then, I often find I’m overwhelmed by how much I have to review. So much so that I don’t keep a good review practice.

Ultimately I think that’s a deeper, unrelated issue (related to how much I commit to and how much I actually have space for), but it is something to watch for if you’re going to expand the scope of what is “reviewable.”

Tags and links. Oh, and smart folders.

Rather than randomly displaying a note devoid of context, create a living, evolving context by linking, using tags, etc.

I don’t expect you to adopt Apple Notes for your prmanent repository (though you could), but using Notes as a test bed to find out if this is worth doing in terms of your time, interest and use cases, and if it is, what feature set you want/need.

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I do this in Obsidian using the open random note from search command of the Smart Random Note plug-in. This is one ofmy few uses of tags. I tag all the things I want to resurface that way #thoughts. Do a search first then click on the command.

Or, If you want a random note across the entire vault use the built in plug-in random note

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DEVONthink has a system of reminders: any item can have a date to be brought forward on a variety of schedules (either once in an hour/day/week/fortnight, or every hour/day/week/month/year.)

You can attach a variety of actions to the reminder, including displaying an alert or notification, opening the item, sending a mail or running an AppleScript, and so on.

It would be fairly easy to set up a review system using this, though it’s probably quite an expensive solution if you don’t already have DEVONthink…


I use Craft for all my notes for work plus as a method of interstitial journaling every day (including weekends).

Its very easy to just do an @ and put in the day or date when I want to be reminded of a note or a task with some reference. So every day when I open the daily note, it not only already has things to be done I’ve scheduled for that date but also a list of references to that date - each one I can look at and decide if I really want to tackle or be reminded of that day.

On most busy days, I just edit the date to a future that will hopefully be a little less cloudy.

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