Podcast: Actions vs. Reference - Nested Folders Episode 12

A few weeks back we mentioned Agenda being featured in a Nested Folders podcast about how to do productivity with others. This week Rosemary Orchard and Agenda user Scotty Jackson (@heyscottyj) talk about the difference between and management of actions/tasks and reference material, and where Agenda comes in. Another great listen!

Besides the above podcast episode Scotty also wrote a blog post, sharing a basic Shortcut to make cross-linked projects in both Agenda and OmniFocus.


Thanks so much for the shoutout, @mekentosj! I hope there’s useful content here for folks.


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I’m glad you enjoyed the episode!

That was indeed a good topic to hear discussed. Thanks @RosemaryOrchard & @heyscottyj.

I found it especially useful to hear “deep reference” or archive material mentioned, as that’s one type of data for which I’m trying to figure out a home… And is that home Agenda or Keep It/Devonthink/similar? I gather that Agenda is not ideal for such material (as it’s meant more for dated, on-going or project-oriented material) but it sure would be nice to not have to incorporate yet another app/service to contain that material. Rose started to get into this around 25:25 but it would be good to hear more thoughts on it.

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Thanks for listening, @beilnarman!

Most of my “deep reference” that has to be put somewhere lands in one of three places:

  1. Physical filing (and I am pretty strict about how folders are labelled)
  2. Files (and I am zero strict about this, I pretty much have a “Files” folder that everything goes in to)
  3. Agenda (a lot of my deep reference is plain text, and the ability to now archive projects here helps me be tidy)

Hope this helps, but I’ll let Rose talk about hers. I think she deals in documents a lot more than I do.

A lot of my reference is actually stuff that doesn’t need to go anywhere and which I refer to via search, mostly email or Slack content. Most of the documents I use at work are Google Drive-based, so search is my pal.

Glad this was a helpful conversation, and interested to hear how you end up structuring yours!


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That’s good to hear about your deep reference divisions number 1, 2 and 3.

Is no. 1 physical paper?
Is no. 2 a regular ol’ folder in the Mac Finder?

I do like the idea of Agenda being the home for my deep reference too, but I will need to do some further proof-of-concept testing. I have been getting away from paper for years, so I need a place to have a “digital filing cabinet” (with reliable, versatile search.) Some of my material is plain text as well, but a fair bit of my reference material will be PDFs (that I need to be able to have searchable.)

I get the impression that @RosemaryOrchard has her deep reference material in Devonthink (as do many others), I just fear two things about DT, 1) that it is far more complex than I need and 2) the difference between the Mac version and the iOS version will be “annoying”.

I sure would love to figure it out once and for all.

Yes and yes, re: 1 and 2!