Personal Knowledge Management How to Choose the Right System for You.

Denise Todd
6 min readJan 19, 2022

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) applications have burgeoned in the last few years. Notion, Roam Research, Obsidian, LogSeq, Craft and many others have burst onto the scene that was once held by competitors like Evernote.

Do you think it might be time to update your PKM? But what should you consider? This checklist may help.

Photo by Seyed Sina Fazeli on Unsplash

Focus on your WHY?

Moving to a new Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) system can take time and effort, especially if the underlying file structure, features, and functionality are different. Internalizing your WHY offsets the anguish of learning something new, converting and cleaning data, and retooling workflows. Repeating your WHY mantra soothes frustration when it sets in and reminds you of all the new features that will level-up your current processes.

Type out two lists and keep them front and center. First, list everything you don’t like about your old system, and second, define your must-have outcomes. Include considerations listed below if they aren’t there already.

Security, Privacy, and Data Control

Don’t make any assumptions here. Is your data secure? What about uploads or attachments to your PKM system? Can others access your data without your permission? Can you encrypt your data (if that’s important to you)? Is the application or data cloud-based or local? Do you control the data, or does the company? Can the company access or use your data in any way?

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

The answers to these questions might knock out a few contenders before the opening bell.

Future Proof

No matter how careful you are or how much research you do — companies go out of business for surprising reasons (think pandemic).

Put your PKM choices to the test — if the company goes out of business, or even if they just lose a few key developers — how do I proceed?

Can I access my data if their internet-doors are closed? Do I know how to access or use my…

Denise Todd

Author/Speaker writing about supporting other writers, critical thinking, knowledge management, story structure, and other things that matter.