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1c5 - Building relationships with proximity

Last updated Aug 15, 2023

Here is perhaps our sneakiest relationship-building mechanism: Proximity.

Everyone tends to overlook how proximity makes relationships between notes. 

There are 3 types of proximity.

  1. Alphabetical
  2. Chronological
  3. Topical

Let’s explore each.

# Ways to use proximity

# Alphabetical proximity

In any folder, notes live next to other notes. They “physically” inhabit parts of the screen that are near each other. Sometimes this is random. Sometimes this is intentional.

Can you see how alphabetical proximity can be both unreliable and reliable?

# Chronological proximity

Besides the alphabet, the next most common way to sort notes is by time. Time is often an effective way to leverage proximity because we often lean on our ability to recall things through our temporal context, i.e., we’ll think, “It happened around the same time as…”

# Topical proximity

Topical proximity is the most intentional. It is how we can walk in the shoes of the Ancients and use spatial context to construct meaning. The Ancients used “mind palaces” but we can use MOC notes. Well, MOCs are the best way, but we actually can use three types of topical proximity:

Using just a single note—an MOC—you can identify and build relationships between notes.