I have my PhD place confirmed, I start October – I’d rather start right now, but I am making the best of things by preparing ahead.

Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place”. It refers to the setup required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.

I know that one of my failings is organisation. I try, I really do, however I’ve never found a system that I can trust and that I feel comfortable using. I’ve tried digital – Trello and its ilk, I’ve tried analogue – bullet journaling, Filofax, but everything seems to either let things fall through the cracks or I disliked the system so I never used it.

By preference I like to write things down, for a techie/geeky person I do love my Filofax and handwritten journal, however my Filofax isn’t quite enough and with bullet journaling I got fed up of re-writing stuff again and again. Although I spent a LOT of hours looking at everyone’s amazing set-ups.

(I mean, what else is a PhD for but an excuse to buy more stationery?)

A couple of months ago I found a newish start-up system called Roam Research. I love the concept, the linking of words and thoughts and the possibilities has amazing potential – and is so useful for someone whose memory isn’t so much a sieve but a bucket with a large hole in the bottom.

However, good as Roam looks I couldn’t see it as an organisational tool in the way I needed. I’d come across Notion while I was mooching around the internet but again, didn’t quite ‘get it’. Until I came across this guy in the video below. He is soooo organised, and shows how he uses both Notion and Roam to track his life and create content.

I’ve adapted his Notion setup to suit me and, as there’s an app, I am now able to send all the interesting articles I usually keep open in my phone/surface browser to my Notion ‘vault’ to read later. I’d tried Pocket and other saving type apps before but I do prefer to keep things all in one place where possible.

So I am tracking my daily life, projects, tasks, habits etc in Notion and using Roam to contain and connect my thoughts. Let’s see how it goes …