Mem is a powerful note-taking tool that can help you organize your digital life and maximize your output. But if you’re not capturing with intention, your notes will remain scattered and useless. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for capturing notes in Mem and how to turn them into building blocks for knowledge creation.

One of the hardest things to get used to in Mem is the paradox of organizing information in a self-organizing workspace. If you're used to organizing information in hierarchical structures like folders, you might be tempted to do that inside of Mem.

Mem is different from traditional note-taking apps because it uses a network structure rather than a hierarchy. This means that instead of organizing your notes in folders, you can use tags and bidirectional links to create a self-organizing system. This system allows you to easily access and connect related notes, regardless of where you stored them. Additionally, by using tags and bidirectional links, you're able to create connections between notes that wouldn't be possible with a traditional folder structure. This allows you to see patterns and relationships that you might not have noticed otherwise.

Capture with Intention

The key to capturing notes in Mem is to capture with intention. You want to give some thought to how you might be able to use the information in the future. That might mean tagging it with a tag related to something else, or linking it to a particular project.

For example, if you’re working on a project and you come across an article related to it, you can link it to that project. That way, you can easily access the information when you need it.

Occasionally, you won't know how you'll use something you capture. That's OK because you'll still be able to find it when you need it by applying the three best practices below.

1.Give Every Note a Title

The first key to best practices in Mem is to give every single note that you capture a title. Titles are more important than tags or any of the other ways that you think about organizing your notes because titles are what effectively enable you to make connections between your ideas. When you give every note a title, you’re able to easily find what you’re looking for and combine notes to create something new.

2.Take Smart Notes

The second best practice is to take smart notes.  Smart notes are notes that are rewritten in your own words. That way, if you want to combine them to create something new—like a blog post or a book—they become a lot more useful than if you had just a bunch of quotes.

The third best practice is to use bidirectional links.  Using bidirectional links, you can connect new notes to existing notes, connect what you learn to what you know, and embed links to other notes in sentences. This allows you to capture ideas as they occur, link related notes together, and better understand the context and reasoning behind your ideas. Additionally, bidirectional links make it easy to retrace the line of thought that sparked an idea, creating a web of interconnected ideas.
If you follow these three best practices consistently, what you'll see is that knowledge organized in a network is generative. Every idea you capture will often lead to another, and new ideas are the offspring of idea sex.

As you capture notes on different topics, you increase your diversity of input and your knowledge assets increase creation power. With more notes, you have more opportunities to make connections between your ideas and generate new ideas. Additionally, by making connections between your ideas, you can identify relationships and associations between them, and surface ideas you may have missed.

By using the three best practices of giving every note a title, taking smart notes, and using bidirectional links, you can take advantage of the network structure of Mem to organize and complete projects. Next week, I'll share some best practices for organizing your knowledge in Mem.