‘Project’ is now ‘system’
Until now, I have used the word ‘project’ as a term to mean the thing that you’re organising and/or the result of doing the organising.
For example, the Workbook’s cover sheet reads:
A guide to setting up a single-project system and working the Decimal way
This is imprecise and confusing. What if you’re not organising a project? This results in me having to qualify it, for example:
Yours might not feel like ‘a project’ in the typical sense.
In defining this system, I believe that precision and clarity matters.
I want to help you to be more organised. If you’re confused about what I mean, that’s just going to get in the way.
And if we all use different terms when we discuss things on the forum, we’re going to be talking across each other.
The site and Workbook will be updated to reflect these new terms. (This will improve clarity, but nothing fundamental has changed.)
I’ll add a new page to the main site with the definitions minus the background contained in this post.
The Johnny.Decimal System
Is a collection of methods, tools, and behaviours as documented at johnnydecimal.com.
The Johnny.Decimal system
The system(for short)
Your Johnny.Decimal system
Is your implementation of this system, customised to suit whatever it is that you’re organising.
Your Johnny.Decimal system
Your system(for short)
We considered the repeated use of the term system here but it’s just too natural a word to ignore.
It’s a very ‘active’ word: a system is a machine, an organism. It has components. It evolves.
And your system is just an implementation of the system. They’re the same system.
Your system is shown ‘breaking out’ of the bottom of the Johnny.Decimal system to indicate that it’s customisable.
You don’t have to follow my ‘rules’ to the letter (although I think you should).
Johnny.Decimal systems are made up of components.
The list of components is not restricted, but the following are all common components:
- The index (see below).
- File system.
- Notes (either an app or on paper).
- Tasks, to-dos, and reminders.
- Bookmarks and other saved links.
The index is a specific component of your system; it serves to link all other components together in to a cohesive whole.
Your stuff is the real-world thing that you’re organising with Johnny.Decimal.
I can’t specify the thing you’re organising — because you can organise anything you want.
It’s your home life, or your job, or a work project, or a community group, or your university study, or anything else.
Your stuff(yes, really)
Collection of systems
You may need more than one system to manage everything in your life.
We refer to this as your collection of systems.
Collection of Johnny.Decimal systems
Collection of systems(for short)
Domains group together systems which have one or more shared components.
For example, when you go to work, everything might be on the company’s systems: your index, your file system, your email; everything.
‘Work’ is its own domain in this situation.
But if you use your personal phone’s notes app to keep notes related to the system at work, that app just became a shared component.
‘Work’ is no longer its own domain; it has merged with your ‘home’ domain.
This is relevant when we consider the extended naming of your systems.
A system which is the only system in a domain can be uniquely identified by the standard
11.01can only refer to an item in one system.
When a domain contains two or more systems, this is no longer the case:
11.01could refer to an item in two or more systems.
A note on the word ‘project’
I’ve said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating.
I consider ‘a project’ to be a very large thing. In the Workbook we use the analogy of painting the kitchen.
People colloquially call painting the kitchen ‘a project’.
It is crucial to understand that painting the kitchen can be handled within a single Johnny.Decimal ID.
It is not what we used to call a project; what we now call a system. You don’t need ten areas and a hundred categories and ten thousand IDs to paint the kitchen.
So let’s remodel the kitchen. Does that need its own system (née project) yet? No. It could still fit in a bunch of IDs; at most, it’s its own category.
Let’s rebuild the house. Full system? Nope! Definitely a category; potentially an area.
So what does it take to ‘fill’ an entire system? I say you need to build a farm.
One area builds you the house. Another might deal with connecting your plot to the local infrastructure: a category each for roads, electricity, and water. One more for setting up a working farm, and we’re done with room to spare.
I tell you this to encourage you to think big.
Design broad categories. Design very broad areas.
Your entire life can easily fit in a single Johnny.Decimal system.
Discuss this on the forum.