Chronological Order

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The Cards in the Dock are keep in chronological order.

The "Chronological Order" defined here is the most natural and comfortable way to keep index cards. All we do is just write and stack index cards along time of emergence. The stacking method makes PoIC completely different from ordinary card-based system. To maximize creativity, do not organize index cards until time will come. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Definition of "chronological order"

The definition of "chronological order" or "chronology" in PoIC is "along history in mind". This is not equal to absolute, public, or historical "chronological order" or "chronology". Everyone has every own time axis. Write and stack all index cards according to own chronology, that is, when things emerge in mind.

This kind of "chronological order" can be found everywhere, in fact. See Yahoo! News. News items are sorted by the time they are posted. As a result, new discoveries always come on top, even if the topic is about an event which happened in Egypt 3,000 years ago.

Write when it emerge. Stack as we write. What we see in dock is our "stream of thought".

What I do in PoIC is just follow own mind. For example, I write diary before go to bed. First I think about tonight's event first because it just emerged in my mind. Next, I remind about news this morning. So, I write diary about tonight first, and next about this morning, on individual index cards. Just write as it emerge, and no need to reverse the order (Fig. in right). Then I stack them as I write in "chronological order". In front edge of the dock, the diary about this morning (R1 in figure) comes even though the time of true occurrence is former than the event tonight (R2 in figure). Notice the difference in result if we adopt "absolute chronological order" (bottom in figure).

In a dock, I see my "stream of thought". Huge advantage of piece-by-piece index cards is that I can sort along "absolute chronological order" every time I need. Soon, I see such chance seldom comes. As one can expect, to keep "absolute chronological order" in personal productivity consumes huge effort. PoIC says, "Don't do that. And just follow your mind."

The result of "chronological order" is shown on top of this section. Perhaps people surprise how chaotic this system is. Yes, that is true. Our life is chaos. What I see is, however, a certain pattern after a while. That is, cosmos "after" chaos. To see a pattern, we need "sufficient number of index cards" and "some time".

Following is the principles to keep system chaotic before seeing cosmos. Leave your system some time and maximize randomness until time will come.

Do not classify

I introduced Four Cards in previous section. Again, the four kinds is not for classification of cards in a dock. Because classification in a personal system always becomes a bottle-neck. Noguchi (1993) gives clear criteria for needs of classification; chronological accumulation for a personal system, and classification for a public system. Public system is, for example, a library or a museum. We can imagine a library system will easily corrupt if it adopts chronological accumulation. In public system, everyone shares same system. So classification is needed as common search key. Conversely, it is unnecessary to keep a strict classification for a personal system, because one not need to share the system with others. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Classification v.s. chronological order

I have experimented on which is better, classification or chronological order by using these two dock systems. I own two dock systems in my home and office. I call them dock@home and dock@office, respectively.

For one, dock@home, I keep simple chronological order. For the other, dock@office, I classified cards by project, and then in each project kept chronological order. I had believed classification was better for productivity.

After several months, the difference in the two systems became obvious. On one hand, cards in dock@home increased successfully, but not for dock@office. This difference was dramatic. The only difference was classification or not. And it became a bottle neck. And someday, it may become a mental resistance on a subconscious level.

What I found through this experiment is that what is important in a personal card system is that convenience does not come from classification; but rather, capture ideas sequentially with a simple chronological order. I understand people have an obsession with classification, but this is most harmful for a personal card system. Index cards should not be "indexed" in the PoIC. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Gray zone doesn't exist

Left: Classification (Space 2-dim + Time 1-dim), Right : Chronological Order (Time 1-dim). There is no gray zone in Chronological Order.

What makes situation difficult is that there is always going to be a "gray zone" when it comes to classification. There will always be cards that belong to both project A and project B. Its troubling to decide which project a card belongs to. Soon, one gives up being troubled with strict classification, and puts a card in a project without thinking. This kind of compromise accumulates with the growth of cards in the system. As a result, it will become untrustworthy, even though it is one's own personal system.

This situation become clear from view point of dimension. Ordinary index card systems are based on classification. They are 2-dimensional with space (x and y). On the other hand, chronological order is 1-dimensional, with time (t). Only one matter is of concern. There exists no gray zone in chronological order. I think it keeps the PoIC system simple, trustworthy, and comfortable.

Do not search

An issue of analog system is how to search. It become more difficult with system growth. And people always ask me "how do you search?"

Only one search key in the PoIC's chronological order is time axis, that is one's memory and history. Then I need index of cards to supplement my history. It is not realistic because number of cards exceed several hundred, several thousand easily.

Besides such concerns by audience, all I can say through my experience is, practically speaking, there is not many occasion to search whole cards in a dock. There is some reasons for this statement.

  • I always try to concentrate to capture new ideas
  • If I completely forget about a topic in past, I don’t need search at all. In other words, no way to search what I completely forget.
  • If I partly remember a topic in past, I write it on a new card rather than search card in past. This is much faster and better.
  • Search area is quite limited, say 3 days to a week past, relying on my memory.

Only few time I scan all card in a dock to find certain cards through a year. In addition, it is frequently happen for me, but while searching a certain card, I already forget what I’ve thinking. When I find the card, I already lost an idea.

A computer is good at classification and search, but only human brain can generate new ideas. As a result of no-search, I have similar but slightly different cards. It is good to express one topic in different ways. It is a measure of how I understand well about the topic. And how the topic is important for me. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Do not revise order

Noguchi Filing System (1993) is the most famous chronological file management in Japan. In Noguchi Filing System, first stack all files in chronological order, then picked file from the sequence will be returned always at one side of shelf. It keeps system active and dynamic. Frequently used file, that is useful file, is naturally selected in this way.

It is, however, not purpose of the PoIC to make system active with introducing this kind of revision rule. It looks like the chronological management of the Noguchi Filing and the PoIC is same, but in fact, they are completely different in character, in size of information, and how to regulate the system. It is enough to understand you don't need revise order now. I describe the difference in detail later. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Partitioning of dock

Partitioning of the Dock

Three partitions made from wood are attached to the Correct's Dock. A partition in the Dock is made by time to make easy to access to the cards in the dock.

At this moment, I have two docks at home. The most frequently accessed card should be close to me according to law of accessibility. I made partitions like in the picture. From front of left dock to the end of right dock,

  • Left Dock : Today / This week / Last week + Last 3 months
  • Right Dock : Older than Last 3 months / Older than Last 3 months

If the number of the cards keep growing, I just prepare a new dock, and slide the contents. Different from HDD on computer, a partitioning of the dock is easy even after constructing the system. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Breaking a block

Partitioning gives accessibility to the system. I used to keep a big single sequence in the dock without the partition. I use index (separator made from paper) as indicator of a month, though. As a number of card increase, I skipped review process. Perhaps I felt difficult to break the big single lump of cards. I realized a "partitioning" become more important along with system growth. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

God Card and Holy zone

Noguchi (1993) call high frequency of use files as "God File" and separate from chronological sequence and classified.

An address cards, list of books may be more useful if it is classified. I incorporate Noguchi's idea into PoIC. I call useful cards as "God Card" and place them front-end single partition of the Dock. I call this area as "Holy Zone" because there Gods lives. This area is out of rule of PoIC's no-classification, no-search. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平

Task force

Organize Task Force. Dock in right keeps chronological order. Dock in left is the Task Force.

Entropy is a physical concept to understand randomness of information in a system. The entropy in a dock shows one-way growth along accumulation of cards with chronological order. It may look this card system will corrupt some day.

In nature, entropy increases with time. One need "effort" to prevent this natural order. In library, it is realized by paying efforts for classification of books by staffs and payment for them. As I wrote, however, I don't classify and search positively in PoIC system.

Then how I prevent the system from corruption. The answer is quite simple. I search and classify after all. Big difference from previous card system is, they comes at the last stage of a project. A purpose of writing cards in the PoIC is to construct personal knowledge database. But this is still preparation stage. Our destination is to reproduce new knowledge and accomplishments using the database. And then, I can say "Get Things Done!".

Classification and search as ultimate weapon

When I accumulate enough cards about a particular project, I extract all the cards related to the project from the dock. I call this process as organizing "Task Force", after Watanabe (1976). Now, I can search and classify within those cards until I'm satisfied. That is, search and classification comes just before the accomplishment of a project. And it is enough. Previous card systems became corrupted because they used this "ultimate weapon" at the beginning. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平 After they reach their final destination, all the cards chosen for the Task Force won't need to return to dock. Watanabe (1976) calls this "Retirement". When I need to refer to a contents of card, all I need is to use the accomplishments (for example, this manual).

In this way, the number of cards in a dock decreases along our reproduction. All the remaining cards are left in a dock, and will be used some day. So now, we can concentrate for gathering information and reproduction, without consuming our effort for search and classification. 网通传奇私服 电子秤 电子天平 电子分析天平