BEWARE of procrastination disguised as productivity.
Personal Knowledge Management tools like Notion, Obsidian, and Roam Research have exploded in popularity recently.
While these tools have enabled many professionals to organize their thoughts and streamline workflows… for others they have become a sophisticated form of procrastination.
In this video, Sam Matla breaks down how personal knowledge management, if you’re not careful, can be counterproductive, and he offers actionable tips for using these tools more effectively.
Important Items from the Video
- Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) makes you feel productive and smart without doing real work. Tinkering with notes and links gives a false sense of progress.
- Many PKM users chase the elusive “perfect system”, constantly optimizing when good enough will do.
- Collecting information without creating anything tangible is a hollow endeavor.
- PKM feels like work—but it’s not the actual work that needs to be done.
5 Ways to Make PKM Work for You:
- Stick to one tool for at least 6 months. Don’t chase every new shiny object.
- Trust your brain. Good ideas come from thinking, not just note taking.
- Be project-based. Take notes to build something, not just for the sake of it.
- Improve work capacity first before optimizing systems.
- Set limits on PKM time. It’s a means to an end, not the end itself.
I’m a huge fan of Notion… so I’ll be honest—this one hit me.
Sam is exactly right that these tools can become a huge distraction that sucks your time away. As you work in them, you FEEL like you are being productive, but in reality you aren’t producing any results.
And results are what matter at the end of the day.
If your note taking does not ultimately translate into more and better outputs, it is not serving its purpose.
I love Sam’s advice to keep your personal knowledge management time limited, stick to one tool, and stay focused on completing projects rather than just gathering information.
Stick to these rules, and tools like Notion can be incredible useful.
What do you think? Have you struggled to keep PKM from becoming a time sink? Do you set limits on yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below!