Stream of Consciousness to Atomic Notes: A Powerful Note-Taking Workflow

Mindful Teacher
8 min readApr 3
Photo by Iewek Gnos

Many of us turn to note-taking and journaling to keep track of our thoughts and ideas.

At times, however, we struggle to make the distinction between notes and journal entries and the whole process becomes messy.

In this article, I discuss a hybrid note-taking workflow that allows you to write freely but still stay organised. It can help you close the open loops in your mind and allow you to think clearly and creatively.

Choose Your Tool

The first step in this workflow is to choose a note-taking app that suits your needs. Ideally, it should have the capacity to use wiki links. I use Bear for its slick UX on mobile and desktop. It also uses end-to-end encryption and allows you to add a further lock to any private notes. There are other apps out there that use wiki links, so if you’ve got one that works for you then go ahead and use that. Obsidian would be my second choice.

Writing Style

Every new note I take starts exactly the same — it’s a journal entry titled YYYY-MM-DD-HHmm, and tagged with #journal. this way, you can write whatever you want without thinking about how you’re going to title your note, which kills your flow. If you’re also using Bear, I have an iOS shortcut to create a new note in this format straight from my home screen, you can get it here.

This process works best in a stream-of-consciousness style. It allows your thoughts to flow onto the page without any constraints or limitations. The important thing here is to write openly and honestly, about whatever you want. Whether it’s about what you had for lunch, or deep personal trauma, it doesn’t matter. Just get it off your chest. Doing this consistently is probably the hardest part of this process. It takes time and persistence, but if you stick with it you’ll uncover a side of yourself that you didn’t know was there.

Writing in this style helps you to clear your mind and get everything out there onto the page and out of your head. The process alone is like having a weight lifted off your shoulders. Instead of constantly trying to keep track of all these things floating around in your consciousness, they’re now stored in your notes. This…

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