Stop Hoarding Notes

Every time you encounter an old note, or any note, it is a good time ask yourself:

Is this note bringing me explicit value or can it be deleted?

Don’t hoard notes. If they are not serving their purpose they are useless. Get rid of them.

Note taking is similar to coding in this aspect in my brain.

Time for a story:

Early in my career, my mentor told me not to get “married to my code”. He explained further and I wish I had known at the time what an impact this statement would have on me.

Over the years I have created my own understanding of this statement. Throughout your time as a software engineer, you will write lots of code, and you will delete lots of code.

Don’t be sad that you or someone else has to delete your code.

You will write more.

Don’t let your pride get in your way and convince you that the removal of the code means anything more than it no longer serves its purpose in the codebase.

It’s 1’s and 0’s vibrating on metal.

The second you decide that it represents your worth you discount all the amazing code you have yet to write. There is a good bet that if you had to rewrite it, you’d do it differently.

The code is not important, the lessons you learned while building it are though and they aren’t going anywhere. The code’s purpose has been served. It was once needed but now it no longer is.

By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. - Marie Kondo.

Much like code, your notes should be created with a particular goal in mind and when they no longer serve that goal, it is time to thank them and delete them.

Chances are if you start traversing through your notes, you will find lots of things you forgot you saved. That is likely a sign that you haven’t been back to it since it was created. The information is in the note, you found it before when you needed it, and you will find it again.

If you are finding lots of information that would have been helpful had it been accessible, it’s time to find ways to make sure it resurfaces. Your brain is not a hard drive, it is not good at storage. What it is good at is making connections. Find ways to connect this note to others so there is a clear entry path or put new notes in a box (folder) that you review once a week. After potentially not seeing, or needing, it for an entire week, you may feel differently about its plans to take up space in your system. Regardless of implementation, the result is the same.

Less low quality notes, more notes that you bring you value.

Don’t hoard your notes. Like physical possessions, they do nothing but hide the beauty underneath.

Andrew Mason's profile image

Hey, I'm Andrew 👋

I'm a senior product engineer at Podia, co-host of Remote Ruby and Ruby for All, and co-editor of Ruby Radar. You can explore my writing, learn more about me, or subscribe to my RSS feed.

Page Info

12 February 2022
Reading Time:
3 min read