so the notetaking system i've started using recently is called logseq, the core premise of it and a lot other new-ish notetaking systems (notably obsidian and notion) is adding web-style hyperlinks into notes so you can easily link ideas together. for example, if you take a note about wanted to add a section to your website, you could do something like:
● add [[cooking]] section to [[website]]
to link that note to both the "cooking" page and the "website" page. later, if you look on the website page, you can see this note linked to it, and you can also click on the cooking link in order to see all of the previous notes linked to cooking. additionally, any note (also called a "block") which is under a link ("page reference") will also be linked to that page. so if you have multiple thoughts about a single topic (especially useful for lists), you could do:
◎ hang pots and pans?
◎ look into recipes to use with food processor
◎ need to restock oatmeal #shopping
(note: you can use #page instead of [[page]] in order to link to a page, it means the same thing. i like to use the #page syntax at the end of a note if it doesn't sound natural with the [[page]] syntax, but you can do whichever you want)
one of the things i like about logseq specifically is that it's modelled around a daily journal, so you can just shove all of your thoughts into today's journal page. so instead of having to specifically choose which specific note you want a thought to go in, you can just add it to the main journal page. linking to pages makes the journal entries are way more useful than a traditional journal because it's significantly easier for previous notes to resurface. if i have a quick thought, i can punch it into my daily journal, like:
● add songs / covers page to [[website]] #activities
before i might think this or write it down and then forget about it forever, but if i'm looking for something to do, i can check the "activities" page and i might see this note and decide to do it! this is also what makes it so useful for keeping track of TODOs for me. any time i have something i need to do, i can just write it down in my journal page, like this:
● TODO put a coat hook in [[room]]
logseq will automatically convert "TODO" into a clickable checkbox (other notetaking software uses slightly different syntax, but same idea). if i check for TODO entries or check the [[room]] page, i can see that note and i won't forget about it, even if it takes me a really really long time to actually do it. for more important things, i will link them to the [[tasks]] page (or for school, the [[school]] page, for work the [[work]] page, etc). crucially, logseq lets you define custom queries (obsidian has dataviews for this) which can automatically aggregate certain notes. so, i have a query that shows me any blocks with a TODO that are marked with the [[tasks]] page. then, in my daily journal i can throw in tasks:
● TODO buy bus pass
● TODO repair laptop
● TODO send mom the pictures she asked about
and then i know that i'll be able to find these because they'll automatically be pulled in by the tasks query. similarly, if i have work specific tasks i can find them with my work TODO query. you can also include queries on your home page (today's journal), so right on your main screen you can see your tasks, or you can make a page to hold your queries. finally, there's the /scheduled and /deadline commands for keeping track of dates. blocks with these will automatically show up on your home page under the "scheduled and deadline" section. after you type a note, you can type eg. /deadline and a date picker will open up, and it will look like this after you choose a date:
● TODO #school math homework #2
DEADLINE: <2023-11-12 Sun 23:59>
and you'll be able to see that in the scheduled and deadline section up until you mark it as DONE or until the deadline passes
i like logseq a lot but it can be rather rough around the edges. it's free and open source, but it can be kind of slow and requires more technical tweaking than i would prefer, especially in terms of recommending it to non-technical users. if you're a computer toucher you'll probably like the flexibility, although i have found its advanced queries (programming in clojure datalog) to be rather unintuitive. documentation is frusturatingly sparse, and half of the "documentation" is youtube videos by productivity-bros. you also have to figure out how to sync, which is surprisingly difficult if you want to sync to a mobile device. if you have an iOS device you have to do some seriously strange workarounds.
obsidian is a lot more polished on a lot of these fronts (from what i have heard and seen a bit, i haven't really used it extensively), but isn't open source. they also have a sync which is apparently very good, but it's a paid service (you can still sync with third party tools for free). you also cannot use it for keeping track of work things without paying for a commerical license(!). it also doesn't use the journal model which i think is unfortunate, but i could see how that may be better for some users. i don't really have experience or knowledge about notion or any others. my general across-the-board recommendation would probably be obsidian, but if you are willing to do some tinkering i think logseq offers more flexibility.