I talk a lot on here about efforts to improve my memory by using tools like Anki. I believe that knowing some things by heart is important.
On the other hand, I have an extensive notes database that I constantly manicure (currently in Tana) so that I have a record of things that I want to be able to reference later.
It’s a bit of a contradiction, but I’m ok with that. In a recent post, my friend Bill shared a simple quote: “We write things down so we can forget them.“, and I really like comparing that to my system.
Generally speaking, all of my notes go in Tana — these could be from books, meetings, sermons, or anything else. Everything goes in there so that I can reference it later when needed. Some small pieces, though, are put into Anki so that I can remember them. It stands to reason, then, that notes I put into Tana (but not into Anki) are things that I don’t want to remember but I want to be able to potentially reference in the future.
As Bill points out in his post, a great example of this “intentional forgetting” is for things like calendar appointments. When I add a meeting for next month on a Tuesday at 3:30, I absolutely don’t want to carry that around in my head — I just want Google Calendar to remind me about it when it’s time.
Another great example is the old thought from David Allen that you should “only think about cat food once“. If you need something from the store like cat food, write it on a list and get it out of your head.
In talking about Anki years ago, I said that some things are worth remembering.
Beyond that, clearly, some things aren’t.